The labels don't fit
I just recently met a recess monitor at Logan's school and when she learned I was Logan's mom I got that look...like..."OH!, that kid!" eyes wide, eyebrows raised.
The other women standing there at that moment most likely didn't notice but I sure did. It's not the first time I've gotten that look. After the moment has passed and the playground is clear of kids those 5 seconds of my day lurches in my stomach.
Logan is THAT kid for most of the workers who have no idea he has an IEP and what is on it, they have no idea that he is on the Autism Spectrum. To them I'm sure he's labeled "strange", "weird", "difficult"...I could go on and on for I've been there as women on the playground talk/gossip about another child who happens to fit those labels too. Not knowing as they look on at my Nuero-typical child, Zane, that I have another child just like the one they are all talking about. I know now what has to happen and I wish I thought of this at the beginning of the school year, but alas I didn't. I need to write a short letter to each person in the school who deals with Logan. A cliff note version of how to interact with someone on the Autism Spectrum because it's very clear they have never dealt with a child on the spectrum nor is the school training them in these areas. Ha! That's laughable because the county won't even train the teachers who know Logan's IEP!
I was actually hesitant on doing this at the beginning of the school year because I don't want Logan to be known as the "autistic kid" in his school. I don't want the autism to be how they only see him. Clearly we live in an environment where people are not as open minded as we first perceived. Instead of thinking that Logan is interesting because he does things differently, he is only observed by how different he is and to them that means he's being defiant.
Oh moments like these make my heart ache for Seattle. In Seattle, as I'm sure many other cities on the left coast, people raise their families differently. In Seattle it isn't uncommon to find yourself in a room full of breast feeding, attachment parenting, family bed sharing mamas and papas. It's funny that I know those things would also get the "weird" label here in Greenbelt, if one of the kids in Logan's kindergarten class drew a picture of sharing a bed with his parents I have no doubt that an eyebrow would be raised and a conference with the parents would be made thinking the worst.
It's so sad that the child who beats everyone up on the playground is more accepted by the adults then my kid who sits off to the side of the other kids and plays in the dirt. Or throws himself on the ground or into people over and over again. (this is a clear sign of being over stimulated in his environment.)
It just breaks my heart that this is the mentality here...maybe I'm not an east coaster after all. Or maybe I just need a different city.
( the picture is Logan being over stimulated in a crowd at Mt Vernon)