School is difficult for many children of all abilities. But when a child is living with Autism and ADHD, it is even more difficult. Growing up, school was the last place I wanted to be for so many reasons. I enjoyed school until 4th grade. 4th grade was tough, because I had a teacher who struggled to understand me. Ms. D was hard on all her students, but she was the hardest on me because she struggled to understand and accept me, because I was the only student in her class that had disabilities.
I was mainstreamed into General Education because when I started at Fitzgerald Elementary, there were no special ed classes. They always mainstreamed the special education students and they decided that I did not qualify for RSP (Resource Special Program). When my IEP (Individualized Education Plan) was being made, the IEP team made the mistake of putting ADHD as my primary disability and Autism as my secondary disability. They should have put Autism as my primary disability because when a person is living with both Autism and ADHD, their Autism affects them more than their ADHD.
Many of my classmates struggled to understand and accept me too. I was always left out of conversations and group activities unless the teachers made the other kids include me. The other students HATED including me! Growing up in the 1990’s, it was not known at the time that people with Autism think differently. I lost count as to how many times my mother had to tell my father and brother that my mind works differently than theirs.
One example as to how my mind works differently was last week, Dad and I were putting together an electric snow shovel that is battery operated. He needed a way to get the wires in the pipes to put it together and we were having trouble. When he said we needed something to pound the wires in with our dead blow hammer, I suggested a center-punch tool, and he said to get our flat tipped one, and sure enough, it worked. We could not use one with a point on the end, because it would cut the wire. A center-punch is a tool used to put a dent in metal to mark where you are going to drill into it. But any tool has multiple uses. When Mum came home from an errand, Dad told her about my idea and how it worked, and she told him, that is because my brain works differently. I learn alot when I help my Dad with projects, and sometimes, I think of ideas that will solve problems we have with our projects. This is one of many examples of how my brain works differently.
When I was in school, no one cared for my ideas. They thought what I had to say was stupid and I was never given a chance to contribute to the group. When I tried to say something during group activities, I was either ignored or told to shut up. To this day, I HATE group activities and will not participate in them, because of years of being treated poorly by my classmates in school.
Another thing that I was excluded from was when kids were showing each other something they brought to school, and when I took interest and asked to see it, they would hide the item and would say, “No”. No one wanted to share their lunch with me either. They also would give each other gifts during Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas. Most years, I did not get anything from my classmates. I remember many nights of crying myself to sleep over this, because all I wanted was to be included, and for some reason, I was not allowed to be.
I remember one Christmas season in high school, my friend’s aide saw me crying after class and asked me why I was crying. I told her that the other students were giving each other gifts and I didnt get any, so she gave me a loaf of lemon shortbread that someone gave her that she did not want. I appreciated her giving it to me and took it home and ate it for dessert during that week.
During P.E. I was chosen last for games and made fun of because I could not run very well, due to Dyspraxia and due to asthma. I still cannot run very well, and prefer walking. I even had balls thrown at me when the teachers were not nearby and was even physically abused by the other students that were on my team, because they said it was my fault that their team lost. I was beaten up pretty badly in April of 2003 during P.E. because I was blamed for my team losing a game of kickball. To this day, I still hate kickball, because of that day. The other students beat the living daylights out of me, kicked me, and even stomped on my back, which resulted in chronic back spasms throughout the years. Kids are cruel, and I saw it with my own eyes, being on the receiving end of it. Kids are especially cruel in middle school.
The other students and some teachers treated me poorly, because they thought my Autism and ADHD was more profound than it really was. They could not understand how my disabilities affected me, nor did they want to accept me as I am. They did not want to take time to get to know me, because when they thought of me, all they saw were disability labels instead of a person. They did not see me as someone who wanted to be successful in life. So many people thought I was never going to graduate high school, and I ended up graduating in the top 15%.
I have always been talented as a writer and am looking to turn that into a career, in addition to wanting to write for Motorola. I love to write about anything and everything. I am hoping to make money blogging and making crafts to sell, once I get better at crocheting and knitting. I have an awesome crocheting and knitting teacher who works with me every week on Zoom. Many people from school did not think I was going to be as successful as I am today, and I sure proved them wrong! That is why you should never judge anyone, because you do not know enough about them to know whether or not they will be able to do things to be successful or not. You also should not judge others by the way they look or where they come from. That is why people should not have labels. It just makes people misjudge others. Get to know your classmates or co-workers that are different. They may be able to help with success in class or the company you are working for!