When the assistant principal at my son's high school called to tell me that my son was caught skipping class and was being put on in-school detention, she had that 'tone'...
Sort of a - I'm exercising my authority - we have a zero tolerance here - and you better be scared because I'm calling your mother, tone.
She said she asked him why he wasn't in class and "he gave her some 'story' about being in the bathroom, and then he looked away and wouldn't say anything else ". [👀😂 I'm chuckling to myself] I could tell she had no idea that my son was autistic. She said he was being put on the skippers list, so anytime he wasn't in class, I would receive a call.
I went on to explain a few things, and her demeanor changed completely! When she replied, it was like her mouth had dropped open while I was talking, and she felt bad for the way she spoke about him. - I didn't mean to make her feel bad. I just knew she was misinterpreting his behavior.
She strongly advised that I personally reach out and share the same information with his teachers (apparently, it wasn't noted anywhere in his file 🤔).
It was a constant battle last year trying to get his teachers to understand that they couldn't expect the same level of initiative and responsibility from my son 😖. We jumped through hoops before we finally got his 504 implemented (near the end of the school year).
Hello All, *this is long, I apologize ahead of time*
I spoke with the assistant principal this morning about my son skipping classes, and I wanted to contact you all a couple weeks ago because I saw his grades. But I was referred to the mailbox in the online portal, and I have not been able to find a mailbox there (or your full names).
So there are couple different points for this email:
My son has Aspergers/ASD -and- ADD (we both do) and his autistic characteristics are often viewed as misbehavior or unwillingness to participate (mostly to do with his sensory processing, and processing speed). *Before we found out what was going on, he would get in trouble for most of these things at home, so I totally understand what it ‘looks like’. And no matter how educated I am about it as parent, it is still frustrating in the moment.
My son knows he needs to speak up so others can hear him, but he says that when he speaks loud enough for people to hear him, it actually sounds like someone is standing next to him yelling in his ear.
He has a hard time finishing work by a ‘deadline’ and / or doing things that require enthusiasm or noise/people.
If you say “Pick up the papers”, he might pick up the papers and just stand there holding them instead of putting them away.
This is often viewed as disrespectful, but it is really just him being literal.
On the extreme side: If you ask my son if he ‘has’ a name, he might just say “Yes” (but this is a common occurrence and he may know now that he needs to tell the person what his name is).
I know you all have a lot of students to work/deal with, so I am not asking for any exceptions. But I hope this helps shed some light on how his brain works.
He is really a good kid and I’m just trying to make sure the awareness is there because I had the same issues when I was his age, only I didn’t have a diagnosis and these characteristics just made life…difficult (to say the least).
Help Needed: Please keep this in mind and let me know if you notice any degradation or improvements with his work habits.
I have been inquiring with him about make-up work and I can make sure he does it. BUT he is not a reliable source as far as what needs to be done.
Help Needed: If you will tell me specifically what he can do to bring his grade up in your respective classes, I will make sure he gets it done. I would need to know (only for previously zeros/missing assignments that he can make up):
I will print out all the zeros and missing assignments and we will cross them out as he completes them, but I need to know which assignments CAN be made up -and- the best place to start.
*What hasn’t worked in past: Your son knows what he needs to do. Your son knows where to find everything. We gave him a letter and he was supposed to let you know. All the assignments are in the portal and all related materials are in Google classroom.
I know this might sound like a lot to ask, but I NEED explicit instructions directly from the teachers so that #1 I can be confident that “I” know exactly what he can and needs to do and make sure he gets it done without [me] being unsure and confused by his vague explanations (which leads to me having to ‘interrogate’, which eventually leads to him going mute) -and- #2 So HE knows ‘we’ are on the same page (aside from the autism, he is still a teenager, and I can’t always tell when he’s struggling -or- being evasive intentionally). If I can show him the guidance and instructions you provide me with, then there’s no room for debate (and I can actually help him if he doesn’t understand).
I am not asking for a run down of everything that’s communicated in class daily, we only need this level of help ONE time and only regarding missing assignments that he can make up (and/or anything he can do for extra credit).
Help Needed: Whoever has him right before lunch IF you think about it, if you could just encourage him to eat lunch or ask him if he is going to eat lunch (to make him think about it). – Just hoping this might help.
*Thank you all for taking the time read all this. I realize that a parent/teacher conference probably would have been more appropriate. It just takes me a while to articulate my thoughts, I get derailed by questions (during tough conversations) and just tend to do better with writing.
*Perfect example of what I described above.
Talk to me in the comments and let me know I am not alone 🌹🙏❤.