Growing Up on the Spectrum

I was warned that the student did not like the word “NO”.  Well, most kids don’t; frankly, we adults aren’t all that crazy about that word either.  But when this student is told “NO”, she hits her head on the desk or wall or whatever is handy.  I almost made it through the day without saying it until I forgot once when telling her she had to go back to her desk.  When “NO” fell off my tongue, sure enough, she went back to her desk and proceeded to hit her head on it.

It didn’t seem to hurt her any.  The teacher assured me that sometimes she hits her head even when someone says something other than “NO”.  If it is negative such as “don’t…”, she will hit her head.  Even odder is she has the same reaction when she hears certain other words like “red”.  The teacher doesn’t have a clue as to why.  I hope she overcomes this urge since it can’t be good for her head and as we all know, “no” isn’t a word we easily avoid in life.   And when Christmas or Valentines comes along, it is hard to avoid the word “red”.

It is his first year out of pre-school special ed. He’s just shy of 7 years old and he still drinks milk from a bottle and has the same blankie.  He will drink from a straw but only if it isn’t his milk and the teacher pushes him to use the straw.  He is irresistible.  When he looks up to me with his big dark brown eyes and smiles, my heart drops!  His teacher is concerned about his infant-like behavior.  So for his own good, I resist the urge to coddle him too much.
He sees the big puddle on the baseball diamond.  All the kids are walking around the diamond but he makes a beeline for it.  He dives head first and swims in the muddy puddle.  By the time one of the aides reaches him and pulls him out, he is covered in red dirt from the top of his head to the soles of his feet.  His own mother might not have recognized him under all that muddy red dirt.  He doesn’t realize why all the commotion over him diving into a puddle.  He may have been thinking, “Isn’t that what puddles are for?”
The aide scolds him and he is in tears.  He claims he didn’t dive into the puddle but he is “caked” in red slime.  The P.E. assistant had the presence of mind to bring out two trash bags.  She made him wear a trash bag on both legs to get him into the school without leaving traces of the red diamond residue.  The aides and teacher take it in stride for it’s all in a day’s work with children on the spectrum.

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