Message From The Archives | Taking A Stand For My Autistic Son With His Teacher … circa 2006

Note: Genevieve is my long name. Eve my short name. These emails are an exchange between myself and a teacher when my son, Jared, was in junior high. — Eve Reiland

Oct 11, 2006, 11:25 AM

I’m concerned about Jared.  How is he expected to learn anything and pass this class if he just sits and does nothing? 

His current grade is (  F ).


Wed, Oct 11, 2006, 12:56 PM

I really don’t know how to respond to this… It sounds like Jared is in full on shut down mode in your class, which shows up as him sitting there and doing nothing – or sleeping.

Anytime Jared feels overwhelmed he will do this. His doctor and Ms. K have said this is a coping skill for him.

I know its frustrating trying to get through to him and I will talk to him about this. Sometimes it’s something really simple triggering his shut down modes and other times it’s really complicated or not so easy to define (like noise, texture or light irritations and/or changes in his routine).

Occasionally, I have success finding out what the issues are when we talk.

He’s had some similar issues in his other classes this year. I know he has improved a lot in his math class and Mary, Jared’s autism teacher or math teacher might have some suggestions on what works in their classes that might help.

While Jared has an F in your class, he’s making great strides in many areas. Last year (and previous years) he’s had all F’s or close to it. This year his F’s are higher and only in two classes. Every small success on his part needs to be noticed and celebrated.  

I appreciate that you took the time to communicate this to me, and in the future hope that you will provide more information about what you are doing in class — the types of exercises Jared needs assistance with and how you are reaching out to him– and the actions he displays.

Your note has a very clear underlying tone of frustration and appears to have been written more to vent that frustration than a tool to advise and inform

And I will remind you, the boy we are talking about is my son, who is a higher needs student and a person whom I love very much. Please know that an F in your class does not mean that he is a failure, nor does it mean he isn’t trying.



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