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#59699 - 01/09/06 09:49 PM Understanding/supporting the survivor
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
The copy below is an email that I sent to my son's cold-hearted teacher. I am a resourceful, outspoken woman and it was difficult for me to do this, so I can understand why someone who isn't a Type A would feel stifled!

Anyway, here it is:

Hello All,

D suggested I add a tab to his folder titled "Completed Assignments." Would this help or is there a more specific process in place that I can support? Communication is extremely important here.

I would suggest (and support), to put a plan in place where if he loses something, there is some sort of concrete consequence that we can all agree upon. D frequently loses things at home too, it's part of the disorder (and part of being an 11 year-old boy), but not always acceptable.

Please keep in mind Mrs. A that my son is feeling a VERY high level of anxiety right now and I would expect that you keep that in the back of your mind while working with him. He is not comfortable in your classroom and for whatever reasons, in his own words, "I don't feel safe there Mom." I'm not writing this ti embarrass you or to make you feel badly, it's just a fact. I feel it's important that the entire team be aware of this so that things begin to make sense regarding some of D's reactions/actions. We've collaboratively decided to keep him there due to the complications he would endure by changing classrooms.

This anxiety D is experiencing is the same type he went through for the year prior to disclosing his molestation, which was quite severe. He needs to feel, if even a little bit, of compassion from the adults he spends time with while at school. That does not equate to coddling, or going out of one's way, just some understanding that he is completely afraid inside.

He's expressed to me that he is afraid of disappointing his teachers, he's afraid of having his feelings hurt (hence waking up in the middle of the night inconsolable), he's afraid of being abused again, and he's afraid of kids teasing him because of autism. That's A LOT to deal with for even the strongest of children. It pains me greatly to know that he's going through this and feels very alone while at school. As I told Mrs. T the other day, it took D 1.5 years after the last incident for him to disclose to me that he had been molested. It took that long for him to tell me, someone he trusts, something of that magnitude. And, he has still not been forthcoming about everything he endured. I only know because the perpetrator made a total confession. He is not very willingly going to discuss much with adults if he doesn't feel he trusts that particular person.

There, you all know now if you didn't before. Hopefully, this will provide some insight into what is going on in D's head. I feel this shouldn't be something taboo to discuss because, obviously, D did nothing wrong. He was a crime victim and it is enveloping his life more than any of us can imagine. Of course, this does not give any of us license to discuss this openly with anyone without contacting me first. I know you know that, but I feel a complete need to protect my son in any I can which I'm sure you can all imagine. 2005 was the most trying year I've ever experienced in my life. I can only hope that our lives will eventually return to something that resembles normality (can you ever have that when your child as autism anyway?!?!?) at some point.

If any of you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me. Thanks much.


I'll bet many of you have felt like writing something of this nature to a teacher, a boss, a friend or another family member who doesn't seem to understand or care how the abuse impacts your ENTIRE life.

Hopefully, this will help you go forward if you've wanted to at some point.


#59700 - 01/11/06 02:40 AM Re: Understanding/supporting the survivor
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

This is a good letter in any case, and especially if you are the outspoken type. Cold-hearted teachers get my dander up anyway. I think you made a lot of good points and let it be known how upset you are without sounding excessive.

Just a question from someone who doesn't have small kids any longer: are teachers taught these days how to handle kids with special needs, or for that matter, what to look out for in cases of suspected abuse? Are they trained about what to do if a kid says, for example: "My big brother is touching me and I'm scared"?

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#59701 - 01/11/06 01:00 PM Re: Understanding/supporting the survivor
Wifey1 Offline

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
Just wanted to give you a big giant "BRAVO!!" --

A few yrs back my own "D" was struggling with ADD/ADHD & the school system. It took moving a mountain just to get him an extra set of school books to keep at home to eliminate the repeated problem of "forgetting & misplacing" books, along with tons of other stuff.

Thank you for being a Type A LOVING Parent for your son. He is a brave soul for being so young & still coming forward to break the silence, and I am sure he gets that character from you!

Best Wishes and hope your son's "team" actually does some good for him in this situation.

Much Hugs and Best for your family,

#59702 - 01/11/06 11:57 PM Re: Understanding/supporting the survivor
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Larry and Sammy,

Thanks so much for your support and kind words. Some teachers are and some aren't trained in how to work with special needs kids. Unfortunately, D's teacher is very inflexible and really likes to work with GIFTED students. It's apparent she doesn't like to take the extra time it takes to explain things to Drew.

As far as being trained about what to look at regarding potential sex abuse, I doubt mnay are trained in that. In fact, most teachers (who are mandated reporters) won't report! That is utterly sad and disgusting.

D is brave. I am so very proud of him in all aveues of his life. He has a goal of being the first NBA player with autism. I swear, too, that he will do it. He's actually quite a good player!

By the way Sammy, two sets of books is a great idea! Organization is D's downfall. I have ADD and it is a strength of mine at work (I can't function without being organized), but it totally breaks down while at home.

Thanks again to you both and seek joy in the day!



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