friendship

"Your child might have special needs but it does not give them the right to hurt mine."

What would you do in this situation?

My daughter, an outgoing three-year-old loves her daycare. She happily skips off with her Dora the Explorer backpack weighing her down. She used to hardly take a second glance backwards.

And then she did.

Then she started crying, clinging, shaking when I tried to drop her off. At first I just assumed it was a “stage”. That it would pass. And then it didn’t.

It’s heartbreaking when your child suddenly doesn’t want to do something they previously loved. You start to wonder what went wrong, why the sudden about-shift. Something must have happened.

“Jackson hits me.”

So tell your teacher sweetie.

“I did but he still does.”

And then I began to notice the bruises and the scratches and one day a bite mark.

My daughter is the youngest of our bunch… so I have been through a whole heap of kid stuff. I’ve been the mum of the child who gets hit and I’ve been the mum of the child who hits and I know from both sides how tough it can be.

He hits me Mama. Image via iStock.

So I left it for a while encouraging her to speak out loudly and ask him not to hit her. I taught her to say "STOP Jackson I don’t like it". to speak out. I reminded her to tell her teachers and to move away if she felt concerned.

I tried all the tricks I knew and a few I had just read about but it kept happening.

The tears, the clinginess, the bruises.

So I went to see her carers and was met with a challenge - the boy who was hitting her has special needs.

Here is a short video on how to talk to children about autism. Post continues after the video

They have a special needs teacher at certain times of the day, they informed me, and they were aware of his behaviour but could I understand how difficult the situation was?

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They were managing things to the best of their ability.

They had spoken to him.

They were putting in place a system to try and stop this boy harming others.

All very fair answers. But no solution.

"I thought I had been understanding..." Image via iStock.

They asked me if I could be understanding.

So here’s the thing. I HAVE been understanding. I have been patient and thoughtful and tried to be wise but this kid is hurting my daughter. I am now stuck, she doesn’t want to go. They are limited in what they can do.

I know the benefits of having a child with special needs cared for with children without special needs. In many ways this boy is no different than my kids, he just presents other challenges. And I feel for his parents so much so that I don’t want to make them feel awkward so I don’t feel like I can confront them about the situation.

I feel like we are dancing around the issue here, this child isn’t well managed, he isn’t in control and he is making my child’s life hell.

I understand that this boy has emotions he can’t control. I understand that every child at some stage has emotions that they can’t control, and that in a child who is on the autism spectrum it is difficult to ascertain his triggers. I know this isn’t just some uncontrolled kid assaulting my daughter.

I know he is just a kid too, but I need it to stop.

I just don’t know how.

What would you do in this situation? Do you have any advice for this mother?

The author of this post is known to us, but we have chosen to protect her identity for the protection of the children involved.

Want more? Try:

I never thought I would have the child that hits. 

What to say to a parent of a child with special needs.

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