Let me start by saying that I have nothing but respect for parents of autistic children. Having worked with kids who are on the spectrum in the past I know it’s not an easy road.
But as a mother I have to stand up for my son.
There is a boy who attends my son’s daycare. He is autistic and his communication skills are very poor. (Obviously I know that all autistic children are different, I’m just speaking about this particular child in this particular situation.)
I know the family work closely with the daycare centre to manage him, but his behaviour is out of control. It has been suggested that he may be more suited to a school focused on special needs but his mother was adamant she wanted her son to attend this preschool.
His siblings all went there and she has a strong connection to the community. She is also trying her best to give her son the most normal upbringing possible and I can understand that.
But when he is frustrated or angry he lashes out, kicking and punching. He is aggressive and violent and takes it out on other children.
The problem is that my son is his favourite target. It’s now at the point where he will seek him out across the playground, run to him and push him over, slapping him in the face.
A few weeks ago my son came home with two giant scratches down his face. I could clearly see the gouges of this boys nails on my son’s cheek. Seeing it made me angry. It made me want to cry. Why? Why does he have to put up with this?
I feel for the mother of this boy. Her child is 'that' one and just like every other mum she is trying to do the best by her child. I know the teachers have spoken to her and I can't imagine the worry and heartache she must go through.
I have tried to be understanding and compassionate. But at the same time I'm not okay with my child being a human punching bag. My son is now constantly looking over his shoulder to see whether or not this boy will be behind him, ready to interrupt his game by kicking him in the back of the head (yep, that happened).
Every single day last week my son came home with a story about how this child hurt him. At the start of the week it was a story about recess time. The children all sat down to eat their morning tea. For whatever reason this kid got upset. He got out of his seat, walked to the other end of the table and bit my son on the shoulder. Just sank his teeth in.