Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From Hell to Help (Redux)

Today was the beginning of a new school year and I have taken this opportunity to reprint a post from February 2010 about some of the trials and tribulations we had been through when collegeman was first diagnosed with autism. The point of the post was to tell the story of the wonderful special education director who finally helped collegeman. Professionals need to understand the lives they hold in the balance and the damage they can cause or the miracles to which they can become a part. (This post details both kinds of individuals.) Lucky for collegeman and HSB that this one particular man totally understood what it meant to hold out a compassionate hand.

This is also the beginning of the Jewish Days of Awe, which commence with Rosh Hashana and end with Yom Kippur. It is a time to relfect and review about who we are and the world in which we live. The Talmud tells us that to save a single life is to save an entire world, I cannot think of a better example of the power of good in a world of pain than what is discussed below. I also think that it is apropos to remember the sage advice from one of the greatest sages of all time Hillel: If I am not for myself, who will be for me; but if I am only for myself, what am I.

Almost on a daily basis we read in the paper or hear on the television about a child with autism who has been abused or even killed when restraints have been applied. Then in the alternative you read or hear about an autistic child who fights back from being restrained (would you allow someone to sit on you or hold you down or put you in a straight jacket willingly, so why should any autistic child?) and has been arrested by the local police. Recently, a six-year-old had been arrested and charged with a felony for biting his teacher during a meltdown and another 6 year old was taken away in handcuffs in a town in Florida for having a meltdown. What the news fails to tell everyone is how these meltdowns by these children can be and/or are precipitated by the classroom teachers either unwittingly or on purpose. Now how do I know this because it happened to collegeman.

When collegeman was in kindergarten in New York City, his classroom teacher did not want to have to deal with the issues he presented. At this time it had become very apparent that he had a major disability. He could not follow her class nor participate as she decided he should. In fact I distinctly remember her yelling at me because she had to hold his hand during a fire drill. (Interestingly when highschoolboy was in kindergarten town camp his counselor, whom to this day I could swear was nasty kindergartner teacher’s daughter, yelled at me about holding highschoolboy’s hand during a fire drill. In fact the bitch in training yelled at me that she had to help him with his art and that he would cry when I left. Needless to say I removed him from camp and complained to the town. Today I would walk in as a holy terror, but over a decade ago I was a very different person)

Finish the post here. It ends well after a fashion.

Until next time,

May all be inscribed in the Book of Life/Sefer Chaim for a good year. May blessings and God's countenance be upon all (Jew and Gentile) of our children.