Together: The Diagnosis

Autism.

We are learning together.

By we, I mean my husband, Ben, our son, Hayes, and me. Our daughter will learn one day, too, but, for now; the baby is Hayes’s best audience.

Free from it all: from crowds, from being a part of the conveyor belt taking belt buckles for future khaki pants, and from stockings, closed toe heels, and black blazers. From the perfect criss-cross applesauce …

I’m tired of grad school. I just want to stop. It’s like a high speed train going off the rails into mud, flipping over, and cars sliding all around. I’m tired of closing up and holding back because I just want to scream at everyone to “Fuck off.” 

“I don’t know why Hayes would say ‘I hate Ms. _______________,'” a voice said to me. Do I need to explain again? “He thinks in a different way. We have to try to understand his way of thinking and figure out why he is taking some of these actions,” I said.

My grandmother said years ago, “You need to teach in the public school system. You will have more security that way.”  My favorite professor said, “I’ve heard the horror stories coming out of the public schools with special needs children.” 

Breathe.

Years ago, as a journalist, I took up a story about a mother with two sons with ASD.  The school board had shifted around teacher assistants to different school trying to hide the fact that it was cutting teacher assistants’ hours when the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder was on the rise.

The school board gave its assistant district superintendents a raise.

Breathe.

“As future teachers, you will need to watch what you say.” I don’t speak of my profession, but as a mom, I feel like yelling at the top of my lungs.

Why?

You might as well ask Why God – if you believe in Him – made us differently.

When my professor took ten points off my assignment making it a B because it was late, and I had taken my son to receive his diagnosis; I wanted to scream.

Ben, Hayes, and I will get through this together.

Yes, I wanted to scream when the professor said, “Everyone has a busy schedule.” Are you fucking kidding me? Did you really just say that, professor of the year?

Ben, Hayes, and I will get though this together because it’s been us since the beginning – since I decided not to get an abortion and leave journalism, five glasses of wine a day, and my ex. Since his family was cool with sweeping shit under the carpet.

Because I know from being a teacher in the field of special education everyday with my game face, with standards, professionalism to brim, and a smile is different than –

being told, “Your son falls on the autism spectrum                                               scale. He sees the world in a different way.”

Angry. No, I’m not angry. I just need to get some lesson plans done, a few projects, and get over the feeling like it’s my son’s fault because instructional time is lost in the classroom, and other people are helping him when it is not their jobs.

“Mommy, why are you crying?” he said to me. 

 

for my son

Rebecca T. Bridges 

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