I am so angry right now there are not words in me to express it.
I had a long conversation last night with a mother whose son has autism. What they are going through is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking in ways that it is difficult to imagine. She said she doesn’t know what to do anymore. And I didn’t know what to say. All I could do is listen. Listen and pray. And theirs is one story among thousands and thousands.
My own son was gasping for breath just two nights ago, doing that pacing thing that I recognize from my own asthma attacks, when your body moves to try to find the oxygen because you don’t instinctively know what else to do. Yeah, imagine that. And now picture that he only recently learned to walk and is still covered head to toe in baby fat. We avoided the hospital this time and were able to get his breathing back to normal, but my God it was scary.
My older son is getting new allergies every day, it seems. He is miserable and frustrated. We all are.
They will most definitely need special accommodation in their schools for their allergies and asthma. And I’ve already heard it from other parents of “normal” kids: why should we have to change what we do just because your kid has a problem? Why should I not be able to send nut-covered cupcakes to the classroom just because your son has allergies – it’s not fair! Yeah – talk to me about fair after living for one month in my house! You can take your nut cupcakes and shove ’em where the sun don’t shine.
And then I read this:
We just went and visited our local township community preschool. Out of 400 kids, 100 had a delay of some sort. The classroom they were going to put my son in had 20 kids, 12 autistic – with 1 teacher and 1 aide.
The kicker is they get to call these classrooms “mainstream” and “general education,” even though we all know they are anything but. If the ratio is 300 NT to 100 ASD, why are rooms over 50% autistic? Funny.
The point is – even if we are to shove off all these kids into their own special segregated rooms (“developmental preschool”) to spare the neurotypical 4 year olds not having as much attention bestowed upon them – it’s the same freaking thing. There’s TOO many of them. EVERYWHERE.
So my son is going to church-based K with an ABA-trained aide, paid for by ME. My school district told me these were my choices. Put my son in a room with 12 other ASD kids with no structure and no expectations, or pay for something else myself, all while my tax dollars go towards educating everyone else’s kids – just not mine.
And if we are going to get honest – *really* honest – I think that’s a load of shit. Why do I have to pay to educate your NT kids, and then pay out of pocket for my own just to get him an approprate education? Total crap.
It’s a giant, giant mess – and getting worse every single second.
And it makes me want to SCREAM. “There’s too many of them.” Them.
Why do you have to pay to educate our kids (at public school)? WHY? Because this is what it means to live in a community!! And do you think these kids or parents caused their problems? Do you want to hear my theory on what is causing epidemic levels of ASD and allergies in our children? I think we did this. I don’t know how, but my money is on toxins in our environment (GMOs, pesticides, etc.) or the use of technology we haven’t fully tested for long-term side effects (sonograms, medicines). We have bought wholesale and willy-nilly into whatever any damned swindler is selling us.
The least we can do is show a little fucking compassion. Let’s stop with all the “us” and “them” shit and get to work on finding a cause and a solution and do the best we can by all of our kids. Your “normal” kid and mine. All of our kids.
And guess what? In this generation of children, if your child is neurotypical and immunotypical, you are not more virtuous – you won the fucking lottery.
And yes, I said fuck and shit and damn.