"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them,
they should've behaved better."
Anne Lamott, April 23, 2012
I retweeted that quote. I thought it was humorous. I have some stories I could tell, but I restrain myself. Then this morning, I woke up and saw this post at Journeys With Autism, which was originally posted by Jill at Yeah. Good Times. And I saw Ann's tweet in a whole different light. Not everyone is able to tell their stories.
Akian wasn't able to tell his dad that his teachers were bullying him. Now, for the record, I believe that most teachers are good. I used to be a teacher, and have taught special ed as well. For the most part, experience with teachers at the local school system have been positive. But there are some bad situations, and there are bad teachers. These teachers were telling a boy with autism who had verbal difficulties to "shut your mouth" and calling him a "bastard". The following is reposted from Jill's blog. Thank you, Jill. Thank you, Rachel. And Stuart, my heart goes out to you and Akian. This is the story that no parent wants to hear. But it's the story that every person must tell to make a better world for our children. There is an excellent article here - Countering a Culture of Abuse, written by a parent and teacher of special needs students.
Outrage for Akian: It’s about dignity
Note: Feel free to reprint this post anywhere you like, just please include the links to the sites I have at the bottom. I don’t need to be credited for it, but Stuart does.
I know I said I was tired of talking about autism, but this is something I just can’t stay quiet about.
I’ve spent a lot of time here talking about how one of the most frustrating things about autism, for me, is that when Child 1 is upset, he has so much trouble telling me why, that oftentimes I just won’t ever know. When he comes home from school upset, which luckily doesn’t happen often, I will do anything and everything to try to find out why.
Can you imagine if your sweet and happy autistic child started getting aggressive at school for no reason, how much you would try to find out why? Do you know the lengths you would go to for your child? I would do whatever it took, I can tell you that. Whatever it took.
I saw a video today, posted on reddit. It was of a father whose sweet and happy autistic child, exactly Child 1′s age, suddenly started getting aggressive and violent at school and he had no idea why. They had IEP meetings, they met with a Behaviorist, he worked the system just like he was “supposed to,” for 6 months. But when he got nowhere, he played a hunch, put a wire on his kid and sent him to school to record what happened there.
It turned out that his son, Akian, was being verbally abused by his teacher and aide in his classroom. I’m posting the video below, but I have to warn you that it is VERY upsetting. I had a hard time getting through it all, but I will sum it up for you.
It’s mostly Akian’s dad, Stuart, describing what happened, and you also hear some of the recording of the horrible things those people say to him.
They called him a bastard. These adults, whose job was to protect and help and teach children… they laughed at him, made fun of him and called him a bastard. I’m horrified by this.
Stuart doesn’t think the matter is closed. In the video he says directly to the adults involved: “I want a public apology for what you did to my son. I want your full name out. I want you to come forward. I want you to take responsibility for what you do and then I want you to resign…. Not for me, but so one day I can play this video back for my son and say, ‘Akian, you didn’t deserve anything that happened to you. These people are at fault.’ I’m not looking to sue anybody. I’m not going to file a lawsuit. It’s not about money. It’s about dignity. This is to reclaim my son’s dignity. You owe it to him.”
Let’s help him get the word out. Below the video I’m posting some links where you can get more information.