WHO WILL CHANGE THE GAME?

boy in brown hoodie carrying red backpack while walking on dirt road near tall trees

I’ve taken a back seat to the autism world lately. It’s been nice. I don’t want to come back. But I am compelled.

You see, I don’t write and advocate just for me. I am fine. My family is fine. Actually, we are great, and I am so thankful. But this little boy I know, he is not fine.

This little boy is just starting his journey in school. And he can’t find a place. You see, most of the independent schools won’t take him. “I think he needs to find somewhere that can better fit his needs,” they say.

What are his needs anyway, mama wonders? He just gets a little over-stimulated at times, she guesses. Sometimes the loud noises and crowds and fast pace of things upsets him and that keeps him from learning.

But he is really smart and would thrive in a small, quieter environment with a little more individual attention. His mama knows that for sure.

Well, we don’t really know what his needs are, they say. But we don’t have supports for kids like him. He’ll struggle. We will struggle.

We don’t have funds for that.

Another school makes zero accommodations for anyone. Most kids learn just fine under our system, they proudly exclaim. That’s your problem, not ours, they say to the struggling student.

We have always done it this way.

Another school says they can take him. And they proceed to isolate him in a room alone all day. Mama pulls the plug on that one fast.

Another school says they have no room. Another has no teacher. Another doesn’t even return the phone call.

Mama dials again.

But the big public school will take him. Absolutely. We will develop a governing document, we will do the evaluations, we will bring in an aid, we will help integrate him with his peers. We can do this. I guess this is one instance where the federal government is a great protector, and thankfully so.

God bless these amazing teachers.

But yes, this school is 30 minutes from mom and dad’s home. It’s 45 minutes from the office. And, even worse, it separates him from his brother.

Separation and isolation.

Is this the best we can do? Do we leave the different learners, the beautiful, talented, precious young minds to governmental care? Does mama pass seven independent schools on the way to his, the one farthest away? Is this their only option? Do we make up excuses as to why this child does not fit in, do we ignore the phone call?

Get it together, world.

God has great plans for the 1 in 40 children today on the autism spectrum. He makes no mistakes. And all of His creation is beautiful, created in His own spectacular image.

They have smart minds, they have intense focus. They are compassionate, deep, creative thinkers who are kind, old souls. They don’t play the popularity game and instead see things for what they are. For who they are. And they are not afraid to walk a different path.

And by the way, this goes for all of the kids out there who learn just a bit differently. Who may feel less-than because they sense the failure. Who struggle to sit still or organize their thoughts. And who work for hours on a project that should take minutes.

You are not a problem. You are not a burden.

Our future needs thinkers like this. Like you.

We should beg for the opportunity to teach them -to teach you- in our schools.

 

4 thoughts on “WHO WILL CHANGE THE GAME?

  1. Welcome back to the autism world, friend. (Although we both know you never really left!)

    You just told our story and the story of so many others. We lost our son’s sizeable grant this year because we could not find an independent school who would accommodate him.

    And we, merely three years into our schooling journey with him, have PTSD from independent schools. Will this be the day they call and say he can’t come back??? No one can live like that.

    But heck, if they can’t figure out a way to bring out the best in our boy, they don’t deserve him.

    Like

  2. Beautifully written, Amanda. This is my sisters story whose now 51 years old. She spent the night with me last night. She is brilliant, kind, intensely compassionate. The memories of shame and “feeling less than” taint any pride in the long extra hours she spent earning a college degree. Her communication differences have isolated her through the years. Last night she had a melt down, temper tantrum, and I did not respond with anything that comforted my sister who feels ashamed, embarrassed and hopeless. When she grew up in the 70’s and 80’s diagnosis were vague. She’s still labeled with many mental illness tags. Physicians and counselors can’t even agree.
    Today I feel hopeless. But God will not let me waller in this. I will love her where she’s at and continue to help my sister find her purpose with help from anywhere.
    May God continue to bless you and yours Amanda and all your readers. Your words are healing and encouraging !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the best sister!! I know it is so hard. We struggle all of this with my brother too. This morning I am encouraged with this: 2 Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…”

      Much love to you, friend!

      Like

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