Nothing stops me in my tracks more than seeing the school’s number on my caller ID in the middle of the day, or while waiting to pick up the kids hearing the Principle or Vice Principle say… “I need to talk with you. Nothing serious… but Jay was in my office today.” Yesterday I was sick, so my husband was the one who heard those words. I must admit, I am very impressed on how he handle it too.
He waited until he got the kids home and settled then he asked Grace to go start her homework upstairs so that mommy and daddy could talk to Jay. Without a raised voice and with no sense of anger, he asked Jay what happened at Art. I sat there quiet since I had no clue what this was about. Well that is a lie… I knew that he must have gotten upset about something and acted out or else he would not have ended up in the vice-principle’s office obviously. But I sat down to listen to my baby tell his tale. And that is what it is to Jay… a Tale… a story with good guys and bad guys. It is all white and black with Jay. He cannot see the gray that falls somewhere in between. So here is how yesterday’s tale went… in Jay’s eyes.
Jay was in art class… when suddenly he noticed that his special pencil, which ironically happens to be gray, was suddenly missing. Immediately the fact that the pencil was missing meant to Jay that someone in his group had stolen it. They knew how much this pencil meant to him, remember this is through his eyes we are talking about, and they took the pencil anyway. So Jay became upset and angry and announced to the entire group, “I know one of you stole my pencil. You have to the end of the class to return it or else I will rip your heads off!” Then he sat down.
A student, understandably so, reported Jay’s threat to the teacher, and well… Jay was sent to the Vice Principle’s office. I love this school. They handle things so well. They know my son and they know that he would never hurt a fly but still procedures are procedures. They did not write it up, they simply addressed the issue with Jay.
This is where you will get an idea as to how my baby’s brain works. Jay understood what he did was wrong. It was a bad choice he admitted and even apologized. What he could not understand was how the other boy could have felt threatened. “Mom… there is no physical way I could ever really rip his head off. It was just words. Why would he get so upset?” At this point my son was fighting very hard to keep from loosing it. One single tear was rolling down his face but he was taking deep breaths so that others would not join it. He was twitching from the effort of doing so. These are the times that I just want to grab my son close to me and scream out at the world… “look what you are doing to him”. But I can’t. This is a situation that we have to address. Jay needs to develop a social story for this so that he can recall it the next time, and there will be a next time, so he knows how to act. But before we could go there, I knew I needed to make my son understand that I get him. So, I asked him about the pencil. My husband looked at me crazy, as if to say what does it matter about the pencil. “Jay”, I said, “What is so special about the gray pencil?” My son stopped and looked at me with a look that would melt your heart, in fact it did. “Mom, before we left Brazil, my friend Daniela gave me that pencil. She said to remember her when I use it. And I do mom. How can I remember her if the pencil is gone?”
My poor sweet boy. My poor sweet literal boy. And people say that kids with Autism don’t feel!