Schoolyard scuffle

Dear Noah,

It was sprinkling rain when I went to pick you up from school. As I came around the corner the principal came out to meet me. She wanted to call me earlier in the day but never had time. She knew she would see me coming to pick you up so decided to wait and take me aside then. There was an "incident" today at lunch recess. Another little boy from your class kicked your lunch bag up to the wall of the school building but then picked it up to set it on the wall so it would not "get run over." This is what you told me. The principal said you totally misread the situation, and she never mentioned that the boy kicked your lunch bag...only that he picked it up and put it on the wall so it would not get run over. Run over by what I had no clue. Neither did you when I asked. So, we have conflicting stories, although I imagine the entire truth is a combination of everyone's story. The kid probably did kick it aside and then picked it up and placed it on the wall. Why you did not know and neither did I. The principal said the boy was trying to do a good thing, trying to help you, to protect your bag; but, it's not like cars drive around the playground, and all the other kids' lunch bags were sitting outside in line-up for when you went back to class. Why this child picked out your lunch bag to move is unknown.

Since you thought that this child was being mean, you tried to bite his arm and then successfully pinched his arm. You did not draw blood or break the skin. In fact, it sounds like the attempt at biting was totally unsuccessful. But you got called on for it, which you should have. I hope the situation was clear to the teachers on the playground, as it sounds as if the incident was fuzzy. I hope the old trend of you being the last one being seen doing anything and, hence, the only one getting into trouble, is not going to repeat itself. You usually only react if provoked. I have seen the so-called monitors on the playground, and I have to say that they do not always do a great job in monitoring what is going on all the time. You apologized to the boy. He accepted your apology. All was fine.

However, you now will be spending your time with a duty monitor at recess, which is something I requested a long time ago. I requested that your paraprofessional be with you at all times, even during playground/recess. I guess she has to have a lunch break and have other times away from you, too, though I do not understand why she cannot be on the same schedule as you. Anyway, someone now will be with you at all times, and they are to watch you at all times to hopefully help redirect you and make sure you stay on track. I'm not sure how effective this can be if they do not really know your situation or needs. And those needs are always evolving as you progress.

When the story came out today, my stomach instinctively knotted up as it used to every day when I picked you up from preschool because that is all we heard -- all the things you did wrong. I am thankful you have made progress, but we still have work to do. We will keep plugging away.

For moms out there with children diagnosed with autism, this is why the earlier you can begin working with your child, the better. It is much easier to try to teach these things to your child as soon as possible. It can take years for the child to master and understand them. You do not want to wait until they are teenagers to teach them social skills. An autistic teen could have an unfortunate incident where they instinctively act out or react inappropriately in a social situation and get into a lot more trouble -- they are older and bigger and can inflict more damage.

Noah, we will continue working on appropriate reactions and responses to specific social situations here at home.

I love you, Noah, to infinity and beyond...forever. Mommy



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