Saturday, March 28, 2009

On Bullying...

It is starting to look like Salamander is being bullied by another boy.. who also has an autism spectrum disorder (the struggles in their interactions have been going for a while now.. I've written about it before HERE and HERE). If the boy was neurotypical, I would know exactly how to handle things with school. But as the other boy is also on the spectrum, it complicates matters. Link

I keep reminding myself 'behavior is communication', but for the life of me I cannot figure out what the other boy is trying to communicate by making Salamander's life miserable during snack, recess and lunch times. What is this other boy getting out of doing what he's been doing? Attention? And really, having an ASD should never be an excuse for making another person miserable (whether if it's unintended..).

Any advice?

I am considering having an 'off the record' chat with the principal on Monday, just to lay out what Salamander has told me has been happening (and a whole bunch of things came to a head today), and to seek his counsel on what we can do next. The principal has been nothing but supportive of Salamander (and me) on anything and everything we've raised to his attention for the past 3 years..


At 9:53 PM, March 27, 2009 , Blogger K Fuller said...

If it was your son doing the bullying, would they have an off the record conversation?
I would rally all of the troops to stop it before it becomes a habit for the bully. It is much harder to extinguish a behavior when it has been ignored. I am happy your son can let you know that this is happening.
When someone hurts my boy, OMG, I have to be careful or I will end up in jail!!!

At 1:01 AM, March 28, 2009 , Blogger Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

That is a tough situation - and even worse to deal with it when you are sick. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way. Hope you feel better soon and that the meeting goes well on Monday.

At 9:34 PM, March 29, 2009 , Blogger Petra said...

K - your comment certainly made me think. And we've been in a situation before where Salamander *lost it* and did something completely inappropriate and was immediately threatened with a suspension from school (which didn't happen, as I pushed back on that major league big time). So no, if Salamander was the perpetrator, there would be no *off the record* conversation, there would immediately be an action plan instituted for Salamander, to be followed to the letter. But that's beside the point as that is not the situation we're dealing with here.

My first reaction tends to be, whenever somebody causes Salamander substantial distress (and trust me, Salamander has been in substantial emotional distress ever since Friday late afternoon when the stories on what has been happening came pouring out) is to morph into somebody that's part Momma Bear, part Momma Lion with a good dollop of Wolverine tossed in for good measure and to crush, crush, crush the bastard that dares to hurt my baby.

But the thing is my baby really isn't a baby anymore. He's growing up. And he's progressed so much, especially socially, that he is now on the very high functioning side of things. And I do not think that it is in his best interest (no matter how temporarily gratifying to me) for me to swoop down like a bat(woman) out of hell on the school. It is in Salamander's best interest to actively acquire the tools he is going to need to deal with situations like these, as face it, he's going to come across people that act like total jerks for the rest of his life.

And it is with this in mind, with this need there is for Salamander to learn to confidently navigate these situations, that I have decided to not call a school meeting, I am also not going to meet with the principal tomorrow.

Salamander and I talked for almost an hour and 20 minutes about strategies, about how he can go about dealing with the confrontations, how he can get attention from the school staff in a positive, mature way to get HIS side of the story out. I'll be writing a separate blog post about the highlights of our conversation. And Salamander feels GOOD about the strategies we discussed, he is confident that he can regain emotional control of the situation.

I very much realize that the fact that he is so incredibly high functioning is a HUGE part of us being able to discuss things in detail, and for me to be *OK* with putting a lot more actions and responsibility in resolving the situation on Salamander. And yes, I am nervous as hell about trying things THIS way (instead of me moving in and fixing everything) as I don't know if it's gonna work.

More later. I need to go write an email to school to at least prime them for what Salamander and I discussed and what may happen tomorrow in school.

[word ver *balls*.. too effin funny]

At 10:35 PM, March 29, 2009 , Blogger K Fuller said...

I will hold a good thought that he can stay in the moment and not go to the fight,flight,fright place!
I hope he succeeds at standing up for himself, it would be such a great thing for his self esteem!
He has so much more to remember than other kids do.
It is a good thing he has you to help him!


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