Category Archives: Uncategorized

It Wasn’t Really Nice While It Lasted

Beloved daughter submitted her two-week notice of departure to her boss today. The job looked so promising, but it turned out to be horrible.

Childcare center. So they should care about the kids, right? Wrong–the other teachers just wanted to sit down and let the infants and toddlers fight it out in the middle of the room. Many bite marks and scrapes resulted. When daughter tried to introduce activities and engage the kids, the other teachers became hostile (too much work). The boss was only interested in saving money, so almost nothing you would expect was provided by the center. Kleenex? Paper towels to clean up after the kids? Diaper cream? Batteries for toys? Crayons? Tape? It all had to come out of the pockets of the seriously underpaid teachers.

The boss herself was a real piece of work. She lied to our daughter about what she would be doing, she lied to her about what her hiring bonus would be. (We have the flyer advertising the job–but the amount listed is not what she got.) The boss also lied to parents about what their kids were doing, how their kids were doing, who was teaching them, etc. My favorite lies are the ridiculous ones she told parents about my daughter, who is Chinese by birth. The boss told the Korean parents that my daughter was Korean, the Venezuelan parents that she was Venezuelan, the German parents that she was German! (I could not possibly make this up . . .)

The boss wanted my daughter to do as she was told, even if it meant hurting the kids–and that’s what BD refused to do. So she was criticized for insubordination. She has an auditory processing disorder, and had some trouble hearing the boss if all the kids were screaming. So the boss actually made her repeat back her instructions word for word, like my daughter was some sort of idiot.

The worst, though, was what led up to her resignation. The kids’ parents all loved my daughter, because their kids all loved her. So the boss, in an effort to exert control, reduced her hours with them, and assigned her to diaper changing rather than activities. And when the parents became enraged, the boss blamed my daughter, claiming she had “chosen” not to work with the kids, and was just “in a bad mood.” So there was a huge scene, daughter became overwhelmed, and gave her notice as soon as she got home. (With the full support of both parents, of course!)

And people wonder why autistic unemployment is so high.

The Spirit of Giving

Most of my stories tend to be a bit grim. But today is different.

There is a family in my town—a single mom and her autistic son. Every week they go to the grocery store and buy bologna from the nice lady at the deli counter, who always talks—to both of them. A few weeks ago, she asked the young man what he wanted for Christmas and he replied “a guitar.”

These are poor people. Chances are, the mom couldn’t afford any presents at all this year, let alone a guitar. And the nice lady at the deli counter was maybe just a little bit better off. She wasn’t going on any shopping spree.

But when the family came into the store this week, there was a gift waiting for them. The deli lady gave the young man her own, well-loved guitar. There is a picture of him, holding it and beaming, in our local paper.

This isn’t inspiration porn. This isn’t a story about benevolence granted from on high to the sad autistic person. This is a story about the true spirit of giving, about poor people, in this year of death and misery, being kind to one another.

For those of you who celebrate this holiday—Merry Christmas!

Reblogging from the Politics of Autism Blog: Texas, Social Workers, Discrimination — Autism Policy and Politics

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss  the civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities. Edgar Walters at The Texas Tribune:Texas social workers are criticizing a state regulatory board’s decision this week to remove protections for LGBTQ clients and clients with disabilities who seek social work services.The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously Monday to change a section of its code…

Texas, Social Workers, Discrimination — Autism Policy and Politics

Save the Post Office!

Truck driving away with mailboxes taken from sites in Oregon State

Folks with disabilities often vote by mail–especially if they lack transportation or have mobility issues. We need a properly functioning post office, with all the machinery needed to sort mail quickly, and with allowance for overtime pay, so that postal workers can make sure ballots get returned on time. The current postmaster general has pulled out and destroyed hundreds of sorting machines, so that they can’t be replaced. He removed many mailboxes (exact number unknown), before the media found out what was going on and public opinion stopped him. And he’s stopped paying overtime to postal workers so that they can put in the hours to get mail sorted and delivered on time. I think this is not “good management,” but rather a blatant attack on mail-in voting. Give us back our post office!

Graduation!

Beloved older daughter has finally completed all the course work she needs, and is scheduled to graduate from college at the end of this month! Of course, there won’t be an actual graduation ceremony because of the pandemic. But she has ordered a cap and gown, so we will at least be able to take pictures of her.

It’s been a long and difficult haul for her, but she persevered. I’m so proud.

“Re-homing”

There’s been a lot of controversy about Myka Stauffer and her husband’s decision to “re-home” their adopted autistic child. Today in the Washington Post Katherine Sanford did a version of the traditional “walk a mile in their shoes“ argument in their defense. To her credit, Sanford mostly blamed the lack of social supports for parents of special needs kids, although she also managed to get in a few whines about how hard it is to deal with a non-verbal 13-year-old in diapers.

Well, guess what? I’ve already walked the mile. Been there. Done that. Wiped the feces off the wall. Bandaged the bites and kicks. And I say it’s time for parents who either gave birth to or adopted a special needs kid to stop thinking about how hard it is for them and start thinking about how hard it is for their kid.

These kids have minds—even if their thoughts are concealed by their lack of speech. They have hearts—even if you can’t recognize their feelings. They hear what you say to them and to others, and react to it—even if you don’t understand their reactions.

Stauffer’s son has already been rejected by one set of parents in China. And now he’s been rejected by another set in the U.S. So what do his mind and heart tell him about this? That he’s worthless. That he’s so bad that adults just can’t stand to keep him around. It’s not ok to do that to a kid. Any kid. Autistic or not.