June 9, 2009


Today, I watched a woman verbally eviscerate an entire room full of people on behalf of my son.

I love her. I want to bake her cookies. Make her a meatloaf. Decorate her a stunning 3-tier celebration cake in a whole rainbow of colors.

This woman is the advocate I hired to help my beloved Aspie get into a school where he can get what he needs to be successful, to thrive, and honestly to learn that he is worth loving, something that his dad and I haven't been able to teach him by ourselves, despite nearly 11 years of trying.

He's a great kid. Super smart, full of heart, naive and trusting. And the public schools in our area - and I'm a huge advocate of public schools, I really am - they are killing him.

So I hired this woman to do what I cannot. To raise her voice and stand up for him. To yell at people and call them names. To make them see what should be right in front of their noses. That he needs to be around kids like him, if for no other reason than so he can make real friends. That he needs help to manage the emotional minefield of peer relationships, and even teacher/student interaction. That he needs small groups of students and patient teachers to thrive, to learn, to find his own version of success. And that he is smart enough - this kid, he's so smart! - that surviving should not, by itself, be enough.

We got his classification changed. After 5 years of pushing and testing and more pushing, the schools now finally admit that yes, he has Asperger's syndrome. (You don't want to know what they'd labeled him before - it just pisses me off.)

Other than that, though, we failed. The entire elementary school team was on his side, and we failed. Dozens of tests, the endorsement of a truckload of psychiatrists, along with that of the biggest name institution in this field. And we failed.

We failed because of one inane bit of bureaucracy. Our elementary school never asked for help. Under enormous stress because of the regular school environment, he acted out. More than once. Tried to run away from school. And because they love him, they managed it themselves. They never asked for help, unless it was from me.

So now, he's not getting any.

We have one more - very unlikely - shot. And I'm going to bring my new best friend along to articulate what I cannot.

I hope she skewers another dozen people and roasts them over an open flame.

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