Continuing on with the daily discussion for Autism Acceptance Month, we will be talking about one’s independence and how it is for me and what I want and dangers that are out there. This will include topics for all ranges on the spectrum.
Recently, I have seen an ad on Facebook for a “listening” system for low-verbal and non-verbal persons ont the spectrum. It realized the true reality of abuse by trusted adults and how commonplace it is. The example provided is that this mother purchased the device for her son who was transitioning out of public school and into a day program. She listened for the first time and discovered audibily that her son was being verbally abused to the point he was screaming “Call Mommy.” She came to the rescue and removed him from the situation.
With that ad on Facebook, it brought to light the instances of abuse by trusted bullying, Abuse and Grooming by trusted adults. I have sometimes been a victim of all three during my childhood. However, I have garnished the street smarts in my adulthood to defend safeguard myself from becoming vulnarable.
Looking at bullying, I have never been truly bullied as an adult but according to my last two posts of cyber and physical and mental form. Oftentimes individuals on the spectrum take things literally and as a result I get bullied from time to time both at my day program and in public. Another instance is where another individual spoke out for herself in a public forum and when I was asked for the opportunity to voice my opinion, in which I believe could make her case better, I was shut down by her saying she didnt want to hear from me. One last instance was when I made a nonsence jerk and a bout of laughter at that same day program a week later. Another individual (not mentally well) told me to “shut up” and ” what the f*** was so funny” It hurt my feelings to the point that I didnt want to return to the program after the Christmas Break, which I have been a part of this program since I graduated from High School. While I brushed off the first and last instance I provided, I cant seem to fathom why none of the staff stood up for me in the middle instance. Anyway the individual from the latter instance no longer attends the program, providing some relief. However, taking things literally is something I continue to struggle with constantluy
As for abuse, I have been abused throuhgout Junior High and the occasional corrective hit or two by my parents. It has been tramatic for me to some extent. Addiitonally, there was a time where I had a direct care worker feel the need to restrain me when he felt the instance that I would strike him or cause bodily harm. This, along with other elements of the situation caused me trauma to some point, something that I continually struggle with. In fact, I can not frequent three business in our town of 8,000 that he frequents. One time he touched my backside in a supercenter. This made me regress in therapy for sometime. While he was charged with falsifying a college degree, he served his sentence in a program that resulted in that charge being expunged. In more recent years, he received an award from our local police department for subduing a would be robber in a convenience store. I was apalled, but everybody needs their fifteen seconds of fame and I have had a good share.
He was also a big groomer. While he worked with several individuals, he took a certain liking in me. I would stay at his house while my dad had cancer and was in the hospital. He would buy me things and buy me soda and other things to make me feel good about myself. We would go to restaurants alot to eat. I continually fear being unethical with other trusted individuals as a result.
In closing, we need to be evident of the abuse that could occur by those who cannot properly tell you all that occurs. Many individuals that cannot advocate have their parents who is indeed their best advocate and knows their child best. As for being independent, skills must be occured for an individual to know the difference between right and wrong and how and when to say NO!
Tomorrow, we touch on a rather sensitive subject, bathroom usage. While it is not extremely graphic, the post will contain some unique topics that are prevelent in those on the spectrum.
Let me start off by saying that I have been out of public school for 15 years this year and while it was never brought up in great detail about myself being abused by a professional in my public school career. It is becoming more and more commonplace that this is evident, specifically in the autism community.
I only recall of one specific instance of abuse by an school professional that was brought to my parents attention by another parent who’s child told his mom she was abusing me.
It was first grade, then it was the first year of attendance in public school all day, since kindergarten at the time was half day sessions. Nonetheless, I had teacher who was different at best. Granted, I was experiencing unknown symptoms and would not receive the proper disgnosis until seventh grade. However, I was diagnosed with the all too popular diagnosis of the 90s, ADHD. Something I now realize almost 30 years later that I have struggles with regularly. Anyway I can only recall the instances of her yelling at me and throwing things at me, I never realized that she forcibly struck me. Nonetheless my behavior became severe and my mom being an true advocate insisted on me being transferred to other class in the school. Keep in mind that these were mainstream classes and there were only two. Additionally, her daughter was in the class, as a result she was transferred to another school in the district.
A couple of weeks later it was discovered by a student of that prior classroom that I was being abused by the teacher. Keep in mind this was 1992, no school in our district has security cameras. In fact the Christmas break the year prior our senior high was vandalized by school students massively. School board members were asked why cameras weren’t in the building. They stated they didn’t think it would be good. It would be some years later until all schools and buses would be equipped with such devices.
In retrospect these incidents must have occurred some time prior to removal because years later I came across a aritcle in a local newspaper were was dressed like a pilgrim taking about the history of America being founded. I recently wonder with all these instances occuring in the open eye as if the teacher had remorse for her actions towards me.
The irony of that situation is that two years later I would find myself with a highly tenured teacher who didn’t want to accommodate so I was transferred to an emotional support classroom. Unique to that I would see the first grade teacher as this was the school her and her daughter were located at. The paraprofessional would make me show her milestones, like learning how to tie my shoes for example.
Nonetheless, I have heard of instances of abuse far and wide since my occurrence almost twenty years ago. I get some peace of mind that the board of education closed the school a couple of years ago and couldn’t use it because it contained mold and had zoning restrictions. It was razed and last summer I walked to it and had a sigh of relief.
I will close saying that I know several mom’s of children on the Autism Spectrum who would do and advocate for the needs of their children, including my own mother who indeed is my #1 cheerleader. The saying goes you are your child’s best advocate. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in my instance and I am indebted greatly thankful and appreciate it dearly.