My heart is broken today. I saw this story on the newsfeed of my facebook page:
I am just so, so sad. A five year old autistic little boy was having a meltdown. The paraprofessional was outside the school hitting him. The bruises on his back are the evidence. As I am typing this, I just can’t control the hurt that I feel, the tears are just pouring out.
I can’t comprehend the fact that other parents didn’t intervene. I was reading the facebook comments and many people were defending the teacher’s aide. “Well you don’t know what the kid did.” Or “What is the aide supposed to do when he throws his tantrum? Call mommy so she can come and hug him till he feels better?” or the famous one “There are two sides to every story.”
The fact that not everyone is outraged because a little boy has those type of bruises on his back from people that, we as parents, entrust to protect them. To love them. To take care of them. I am flabbergasted that we live in a society where we lay blame on a five year old.
Now, I am not saying that handling an autistic kids is easy. I know that this is far from the truth. I know how difficult it is every day to handle a child who struggles with sensory issues. Who has meltdowns because he cannot communicate. I understand it since I live with this every day.
But this aide, this woman, chose to work in this field. How dare she feels she has the right to touch this little boy. I am beyond furious with her. But I am also mad at the system that made her feel she can. The system that lets her do this. Because I am sure this is not the first time. For her to do this outside, in front of other parents, well that takes balls. (I’m sorry about my word usage.) That means she felt she had this right to hurt a child. And that is the systems fault.
So today, I pledge this. I pledge to do whatever I can to take on the system. To be the voice for these kids who don’t have one. How? First, by creating an open dialogue. Let’s talk to these aids, teachers, volunteers, therapists that work with kids on the specturm. Let’s talk about the whens. For example, when my son has a meltdown. How do we address it? What are the do’s and don’ts? Where is the line that needs to be drawn? I don’t have all the answers. But we can work together to have a plan of action. Let’s call the district and see what trainings are in place to deal with kids on he spectrum. Lets meet with other parents to see what their take is on this. Let’s organize a parent group, to be united, and have a stronger voice.
I know not everyone will see this video and take it as hard as I have. I know many people feel I may have over exaggerated. But you have to understand, that when I saw this video, all I saw was my monkey, on the floor, trying to get away from the aide. All I saw is a back with bruises. But I also know how easy it is to see an injustice, and just say poor little boy, and move on with life as usual. But as a mom with a special needs child, how can I go on without doing anything? Because then, I am that bystander that I was complaining about before. The one that didn’t do a thing. I don’t want to justify my lack of getting involved by saying it is not my business.
Because like Mr. Jobs said, “The ones that are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.”