Monday, May 10, 2010

Here's a big fear, right here...

Let me begin by saying (as I may have before) I'm irish. I'm a catastrophiser. I was already carrying around a too-active mind, and a leaning toward the dark side before the 'a' word entered my life.

That's my disclaimer. I should just put this at the top of every post.

Today, I was driving home from the school drop off. Billy, slightly bizarrely, was thrilled to be back at school. He was immediately engulfed by wrestling boys, and was very happy to be there. They're working on animals, in preparation for a big trip to the zoo at the end of the term. So, he was happy - socially and cognitively. He was happy, and so I was happy... it's all good. He's safe, the world's a good place.

Then, they played this amazing song by Kate Miller Heidke on the radio.

It's a story from her life, she says. It's called Caught in the Crowd, and it tells of her reaction to a specific bullying in her school life. The description of the kid - the bullying victim, is the thing that got to me. He sounds a lot like he was autistic. He sounds a lot like Billy could be... at high school.

I don't want to write a failed future for my son. I truly do not believe that anything he does could be construed as a fail. He has such integrity. The way he lives in the moment, makes it (at least at this point in his life) very difficult for him to do anything but be himself.

But the world is an arse of a place sometimes. The pack is a dangerous entity. There is protection in being one of the crowd, and there is bravado in that protection. It is that unreal, immature bubble, that allows young people do horrible things. Especially when there is an easy target around - one who does not share a common understanding of simple teenage things like friendship and peer pressure.

I know he's very young right now, but at this point, I cannot see us sending Billy to a mainstream high school. I have no doubt that he can handle the school part. I do not believe it is fair to force him to handle the social part. It seems like sending a soldier into battle with fake weapons.

There must be another way of learning about the ins and outs of social transactions, without having to go through it on the coalface. We might not know how, yet, but given the generalities of what we know about how ASD people learn best... it can't be a huge leap to work it out.

This, to me, is one of the things we should be investing our research time and energy into... as this generation of ASD people grow into an adult world unused to such a big autistic population.

Just another thing to turn the mind to on a rainy afternoon.

But maybe not today, because today he's happy wrestling with his friends.


fionacrowls said...

WOW......I had never thought of it like that?
it IS a generations with a huge population of autistics.. and there is still a LOT of research that needs to be done regarding the adult years. Hmmmm, now you've got ME thinking!

Lisa said...

It must be time to write that post about the Weirdo Gang. I have less than an hour before they arrive home from school...

Mich9 said...

I like how that Irish, catastrophic mind works. It voices concerns that are so very relevant, especially to me at some point in the future. I have no answers... but keep on thinking, Val!