. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Educate Yourself About Autism Before You Make Snap Judgements

People really need to educate themselves on the characteristics of autism, especially if they are a vice principal of a school. 

Yes, my son has dyed his hair red. Yes, my son "talks to himself". Yes, my son isolates himself from others. Yes, my son does not look you in the eye, especially if he does not know you. 

No, this does not mean that my son dyed his hair red because he heard about the Aurora, CO shooter who dyed his hair the same exact color red as the Joker's and went to a movie theater to shoot up the attendees of "Batman: The Dark Night". No, this does not mean that my son has turned schizophrenic and hears "voices" in his head and is answering to them. No, this does not mean that my son is contemplating any deviant behavior by withdrawing from the general population of high school students. 

My son is "stimming", a very common characteristic of autistic children. His form of stimming involves an internal movie in his head that he has memorized and he verbalizes each scene, word by word, often acting out what he has seen. And about the hair color? He started with blue, being his favorite color, but then moved on to green, orange, and now red. Colors based on his mood or even just the season (green at St. Patrick's, orange at Halloween). Who knows why he chose red, but it sure wasn't because of the Joker in the Batman movie (by the way, he's never even seen that movie nor has heard of the Aurora movie theater shooting).

So when we got called by the school psychologist to come in for a meeting regarding the above (and regarding yesterday's post as well), we were quite concerned. Luckily, the psychologist has known my son and has been his case worker since he was 2 1/2 and in the special preschool for developmentally delayed kids here. She told us of the vice principal's concerns, clearly embarrassed over having to share them with us and very apologetic. She stood up for my son and totally explained  to the VP how he is a gentle, innocent, and naive soul who has no malicious intent with regards to planning a form of school violence. We thanked her for standing up for our son and for reassuring us that she is on our side (and gently encouraged us to gently encourage our son to choose his next hair color with discretion).

But a day later. You know what? I'm pissed. How dare that VP jump to snap judgements over a 15 year old boy just because of his hair color and behaviors. My son! My sweet, loving, funny, and brilliant son who happens to be on the autistic spectrum. Please, people, especially if you are school personnel, please educate yourself about autism before you make such snap judgements.

Thank you.

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