Tag Archives: Private school and autism


Change is hard. It usually involves having to do something differently than you have been accustomed to; like trying to eat healthy after a long holiday season filled with gluttony.

For most people on the spectrum, change can be quite difficult.  I used to think it was my son’s kryptonite. But, as he’s matured, and with proper prompting he has done better with new situations. Even last minute surprises are not as problematic as when he was a toddler and we were first figuring out how to deal with his outbursts.

Now, instead of lashing out at unexpected variations in his day, I see him turning internally and spending more time alone. I think this is a typical pre-teen reaction to transformations. And I think it’s good he is trying to process. Yet, I recall Jenna dealing with “teenage things” and asking me questions or turning to her social circle to figure out the world. Ryan doesn’t do this. He doesn’t ask me the types of questions Jenna did, like: “Why won’t she talk to me, I don’t know what I did wrong?” Or: “Why did she move away, she was my best friend?”

Ryan is more a big picture guy. The things that affect how he moves through his day matter most. Like, losing his therapist that had been with him since he was four. Nothing bad happened to her (thankfully), she just moved on to a new job. But this change is big. I would consider it big for anyone who had worked side by side with someone for eight years, but for Ryan is could potentially be catastrophic. His whole apple cart could turn over. Luckily she coordinated her departure to coincide with the holiday break from school; so he had a good transition period. And we prompted him like crazy that she wouldn’t be there when he went back.

Not to say he didn’t grieve for the loss of her, but he didn’t ever ask me why she left or inquire when she would come back, like Jenna may have asked. Maybe I didn’t give him the chance because I was so afraid of what the change would do to him that I kept talking about it. Maybe he didn’t have the time to worry because I continually reassured him it would be okay. Either way, I did notice him spending a lot more time in his room.

During that same school break, also came his orthodontic braces. For any kid having a metal bracket attached on each tooth is no picnic. There are many sensations in your mouth at once: the thickness of the brackets and how they tear at your cheeks and the tightness the metal causes on all of your teeth just to name a few. Coincidentally, Jenna was getting hers off the exact same day Ryan’s came on—the irony of that was not lost on any of us. But, I anticipated she would be a good visual to show the final result. Plus I thought I needed to tell him something tangible that the braces would do, so I told him we needed to make his teeth strong so he could continue to eat his favorite snack. He did great while getting the braces on: sat nicely and stayed calm–I was so proud. It wasn’t until later that evening when I realized how long he had been in his room alone when he came to me and said. “Okay mom, I’m ready for my new teeth.” As if the braces could work that fast.

Every time he tried to eat he practically cried from the pain. Ryan is a tough kid, so for him to say something hurts, it must be really bad. Needless to say, he didn’t want to eat much. And I heard the phrase “You have to take these braces off” a lot. He spent more time alone in his room those first few days. Processing: I assumed. Then, it was time to go back to school and he pepped up. I hoped he had found his way to deal with the braces. Ryan is one of the very few kids who wants to go back to school. He loves the routine, the schedules and the predictability. Even minus his life-long friend, he went back willingly. Even with the new braces inserted in his face, he was ready to roll.

Well, that’s enough change for now—I thought. Of course it wasn’t. We received notice that his school is closing. Let those words sink in for a minute. His school is closing at the end of the year.

For those of you who read my book, there is a considerable amount of time I discuss finding a school for Ryan when the public school was no longer an option for us. There are only so many schools in our immediate area and the continual ‘no’s’ I received were just one painful slap in the face after another. So the thought of finding another place that could fit all our needs, is to say the least, daunting.

More change… Will he handle it? Can he handle it?

He has heard us say the school is closing, but I don’t think he gets the finality of it. I don’t think I get it yet either. And I’m not ready to prime him for this change. Again.

So, what we do now is: pray; keep our fingers crossed; throw coins in a fountain; blow on dandelions; and send all the positive “vibes” we can to people in charge of Ryan’s school to keep it going…somehow.

I can keep the faith, and make wishes—that is what got me this far. But, sometimes I just really hate change.




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“Like what you see?” Ms. Abrahms asks from the doorway of her classroom.

I don’t know how long she’s been standing there, but I know I have a goofy grin on my face that I know she could see even in profile. I jump a little at her the sound of her voice and answer enthusiastically.

“Yes! Yes, I do.”

Ms. Abrahms has proven to be not just an outstanding teacher, but an amazing person.   I heard through the rumor mill, she actually asked to be his teacher when the principal told the staff he was coming aboard.  She later told me she has a friend who’s son is autistic.  And she really wanted to learn about autism.  Sometimes “fate” doesn’t explain when things like that happen.  I know there is a higher hand involved, simply guiding us to the right people at the right time.

“Good, good…”  She returns my smile and walks to her desk.  She doesn’t seem bothered that I am here unattended. I took advantage of an open door and let myself in to snoop before our team meeting today.

“I hope you don’t mind, I came in early…I love seeing his work.” I say sheepishly at being caught, but also beaming with pride.   She waves her hand in dismissal.

“Help yourself; this room is always open to you.” She begins gathering papers on her desk and I continue around the room.

I only give her a nod as I have my arms wrapped tightly around myself;  Either to hold in my joy or to keep me from snatching his work off the wall and sobbing.   I can always pick out his papers as his writing is messy and his pictures not as advanced as the other children’s.  However, there are a few pictures and writing samples that I notice are similar to his.  I don’t care either way.  I am simply overjoyed at the fact he even has work on the walls; that he is participating and getting the opportunity to learn.

One by one, the rest of our team assembles.  Brie, Toni, Leigh, and then Dan.

“Hello ladies, nice seeing me again.” He says with his charming grin.  They all roll their eyes and giggle politely as they all are too familiar with his lame jokes.  I too, smile at him as we all take a place around the semi-circular table.

I am floating with bliss at the reports of his success: with conversations with peers, with reading, with using the bathroom alone (a feat he could not do at public school-somehow he would hold his bladder: All Day).  I’m also amazed at his interaction with Ms. Abrahms.  She often asks to work with him alone and actually was able to access him with his academic progress.  Something the public school district staff had difficulty doing.  And she did it in a few short weeks.

“He’s not the top of the class and he’s surely not the bottom.  He’s right in the middle.” Ms. Abrahms says matter of factly and then gives a broad smile.  I can tell that she’s proud, and already invested in him…and I want to hug her across the table.

Right in the middle, right in the middle…I keep chanting it in my head.  Who would have thought how beautiful the equivalent of “average” could sound?

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I know they won’t approve it, and in my mind our journey with the school district has ended.  I feel bittersweet.  I don’t want to separate my kids now that I have had them at the same place; I don’t want two school schedules, two drop off times, two pickup times, two different holiday breaks.

But I also can’t bear to have Ryan go through another school year with doubts about the aide and their training  even though we write in the IEP the aide must have training, we know it us just semantics “training” can be a one-day seminar to them.

I am relieved to be free of the monthly meetings that accomplish nothing.  We openly discuss his issues, shortcomings and offer behavior plans that are never looked at.  When we go back to the next meeting nothing has been done to “fix” his issues.  Whatever progress he’s made has happened at home with us and Dr. Hunter’s therapists.

I am glad to be free of the fear they could change his aide at any moment.  The language is clear in the IEP they have the right to change.  And they have.  It was like a revolving door for a period of two weeks.  The aide assigned to us had some personal family issues.  And instead of putting herself out for two weeks, she called in everyday, leaving the district little room to provide the same aide.  It wasn’t their fault and I did sort of feel badly for them scrambling each day.  But I did not appreciate the repercussions it had on Ryan.  It was the beginning of his downward spiral.  A beginning to what made us consider ending his career at public school.

The clincher for me was after the Thanksgiving break.  I put their backpacks in the closet as usual for the weekend.  And as it was a long weekend it was in there awhile.  I hadn’t realized how visually significant that was to Ryan.  When I got the backpacks out on Sunday he started to cry.  And in his “broken” verbiage he pleaded to me.

“No school…no school. Backpack in closet. Backpack in closet.” He wailed.

In his short life, he had never tried to persuade me so vehemently with words.  There were many times he used his fists or legs to show disproval, but this was really communicating with me.  I felt my heart rip in two at the dichotomy of this: my baby was conveying his feelings so well! My baby is begging me to not take him to school…

“Well, that’s it. What do you think?” Dan says bringing me out of my thoughts. He leans back in the chair and stretches his arms over his head.

I sit silent still rummaging through my thoughts.  I don’t have the energy to sum up all I’ve been thinking so I just shrug and think for a few seconds.

“I guess it’s what I expected.  Just glad it’s out there.  It feels like we’ve been lying to them or something.” I confess to him.

“Yup, we put them on notice and now we just go forward with what we planned.” Dan nods as if confirming his own words.  Then he stands up. Well, I gotta get going.  I’ll see you later.” He leans down and kisses me and walks out.

Yes, what we planned.  We. What WE want…yes, it feels good to be back in control.  I smile a broad smile with satisfaction.

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“Are you going to say it or me?” I ask Dan as I hit the mute button. It’s time to throw down the gauntlet.

“Me.” He says firmly and sits up straight and pushes the speaker button.

“Jim, the bottom line is if we can’t bring in Dr. Hunter’s aides we are seriously considering pulling him from the school.”

I can almost hear the clang as the words drop on his desk.  There is a few seconds delay and I feel as if we are in slow-mo.

Pulling him? Where would you go?” He says and his voice is high. He seems agitated.

“We have some options we are looking at.” I say, trying not to sound smug.

Where?” he sounds high pitched again.

“We are looking at various private schools in the area.” I again say trying not to smile. Like a kid with a secret.

“Oh…private.”  He sounds relieved for a second.  “I have to say, I’m shocked.  I didn’t see this coming.” He trails off.  Is he…sad?

“We’ve done our best to have a good working relationship with your family.” Again his voice falls. Yup its sadness.

Then I have a pang of guilt.  I remember that Jim is pretty high up in the school district and doesn’t usually take part in the IEP’s.  I found this out from another mother who was trying to get services for her son.  We compared notes about our respective IEP’s and she did not have Jim there.  She was surprised when I told her he was taking such a big part of ours.  This woman’s son did not have near the issues Ryan did and I was surprised what lengths she was going through to get him services.  She even hired an advocate and was getting nowhere with the district.  After she told me the price of the advocate, it sealed the deal for me for just pulling him and moving on.

I feel I need to explain a little to him because he seems upset.

“Jim, we are very proud of our relationship with you and the district.  We have been a great team and appreciate all that you have done for us and all the time you have taken with Ryan’s case.” Dan rolls his eyes at me as it is apparent I’m laying it on thick.  I wave him away.

“We are not litigious people and did not want to go that route to get what we wanted for Ryan.”  I let my pseudo-threat hang in the air for affect.

There is an uncomfortable pause and I’m not sure if he is still there, and then I hear him shuffling papers again.

“Umm, well, I see.” His tone has changed and I’m not sure what he is thinking.  “I will speak to the school district’s attorney and get back to you with an answer.” He is back to being all business.  This makes me a little sad as he had so many moments in our various meetings that showed he really did care about us.

“Thank you, Jim we appreciate your time. Goodbye.” Dan says mirroring Jim’s business tone.  Dan hits the speaker phone to disconnect.

And it’s done.  We sit silent for a second.

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The phone rings as I am typing up an offer for a client.  I see Crestridge  School on the caller ID.  My heart skips a beat.  I take a deep breath an answer the phone.  I know this is it.

“Hi Mrs. Chergey, its Michelle from Crestride.” She says evenly and I don’t know if this is a good sign or not.

“Hi Michelle, how are you?” I say trying to sound casual.

“I’m fine, thank you.” She clears her throat as mine goes dry.  “So, we heard back from our corporate office regarding Ryan attending our school?” She says it like a question.

“Um hum.” I say thinking it a safe way to respond.

“Well…they are willing to try.” She says and it sounds like she’s smiling.

I feel as if I’m free falling for a second.  I respond quickly unable to control my excitement. “Oh! Good! That’s great! Wow, thank you!”

She giggles a little at my gushing, “Well, let me tell you some of the parameters before you get too excited.”Uh oh. “The aides will need to be fingerprinted and screened–.”

“—No problem.” I interrupt.

“And we will do this on a probationary status.” She says this in a firmer tone as if to warn me.

“What does that mean?” I ask, nervously.

“It means, if there are any…issues, ones we feel are not reconcilable, we have the right to expel him.” She says ‘expel’ with a little too much emphasis.

“That is perfectly reasonable.” I say to her calmly.  And suddenly I am calm.  I have such faith in Dr. Hunter and her team I know this is what we are supposed to do.

“Okay, great.  Well, come by to pick up an enrollment package and we will get the ball rolling for next year.” She says happily.

We finish our pleasantries and I hang up and literally jump out of my chair and yelp for joy.  I feel relief as if it’s a tangible thing raining down on me.  I pick up the phone to call Dan and begin to waiver on the verge of tears.  I have these moments once in awhile.  As a mother of any child you have moments that move you to tears, but since Ryan was diagnosed I seem to have them more.  As if carrying around his diagnosis added a physical burden that seems to break me more often.

“Hello?” Dan says and I can tell he’s in his car.

I try to speak and nothing comes out. I begin to clear my throat and instead I sob.

“Lee? What’s the matter?” His voice pitches in my ear.

“Nothing, I…I just wanted to give you some good news.” I say and sniff while I’ll grab for a tissue.

“Are you crying?” He says concerned.

“Yes…” I heave my shoulders and let out another sob.

“Babe…what is it?” His voice is so tender it makes me cry more.

“Everything is fine. I…heard from Crestridge.” I sniff and sob and wipe my nose.  “They are going to let us in on a probationary basis.”

“Really? That’s great!” He says a loudly.

“I know, I know. I’m really happy.” And another sob comes out.

He laughs at the irony and says “Yeah, it sounds like you are thrilled.”


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“Well,” Dan turns to me briefly, arches his eyebrows as if to say…‘I got this’ sighs, and begins our usual story about Ryan. I let him do the talking.  He does a good job.  I often swell with pride when he talks about Ryan.  It reminds me that he could have easily set him aside and left it all up to me, but he is such a willing participant in the journey.  She sits back in her chair and steeples her fingers for a few seconds.  I feel as if I’m going to implode right there.  I can tell she is deep in thought.  I look at Dan quickly but he only shifts his eyes not his head.  As if he is sending her telepathic messages.

She then stands up and excuses herself to go speak with the principal.

After she walks out, Dan turns to me and says in a whisper. “This could work in our favor.” I nod and smile weakly.  Can’t get too excited…We wait in silence both of us staring straight ahead.  I’m trying to make out the mumbles I hear next door.

What feels like a short eternity passes and Michelle leans in the doorway. “Could you two join me in Mrs. Wilbur’s office?”

We practically jump from our chairs and follow her to the office next door.  She motions for us to take two seats and then walks behind the desk where Mrs. Wilbur is sitting.  Mrs. Wilber looks up at us.  She has thick glasses and very short brown hair.  She smiles nicely, but I sense she isn’t thrilled.

“Well, Mrs. Johnson has filled me in on your…situation.” She smiles thinly. “I have worked with special needs children before, so I know the challenges you have probably faced.”

Doubt it.

“I also know you understand how differently we operate from a public school.” She tilts her head.

“Yes, we understand.” I say sweetly.  I am gonna kill her with kindness.

“We’ve had aides here in the past and it…” She looks at Michelle quickly. “Didn’t go so well.” Then she looks down at her desk.

“In what way?” Dan asks.

She studies him for a second. “The aides weren’t…um…let’s say they were less than professional.” Her mouths makes a straight line and I can’t tell if she’s trying to smile or frown.

“Well, I can understand your hesitation,” I say with my sugary sweet tone, “But Dr. Hunter’s company has worked with many schools in the area who would be happy to give you a reference.”  I once again find my heart beating quickly and can’t stand the agony of rejection and again looking for another school.  Michelle is smiling sweetly at me and I implore her with my eyes.

“We are happy to consider this for you, but we need to make a few phone calls and speak to our corporate office.” Michelle tilts her head.  “That sound good to you guys?”

My heart skips a beat…I want to jump up and kiss her.

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“Turn left there…through the stop sign.” I instruct Dan.

“Yeah, yeah, I remember.” He says in a mildly gruff tone.

“Okay, wasn’t sure…” I say looking down at my notes. “Michelle Johnson.  She’s the campus director.”

“Is that who we ask for?” Dan says as he turns the car into a parking space in front.

“Umhmm.” I am putting on fresh lipgloss and checking for food in my teeth.

We get out and walk up the many stairs and I am recalling the fun Ryan had here.

“Ry loved going here…they have two swimming pools, but he didn’t like the kiddie pool, he always wanted to go into the big kids pool.” I turn to Dan with a big smile on my face he looks back blankly.

As we get “buzzed” in we walk into the office and ask for Mrs. Johnson.  She comes out of a office with a big smile.

“Hi, Dan-do you remember me? I’m Brad Johnson’s sister—”

“—Yes! Wow, I didn’t put the name together!” he says in a loud voice, shaking her hand with vigor.

I am a little surprised but not shocked as this happens a lot since Dan has lived in this area for so long Seems like once a month someone recognizes the name and asks if I know Dan.  ‘Why yes, we sleep together’ is what I want to say. But I am usually polite and give the proper answer..he is a businessman after all.

He turns to me, “This is my wife, LeeAndra.”

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Johnson.” I say smiling.

“Hi, please call me Michelle.” She says warmly.

“How is Brad? I haven’t seen him in years.” Dan asks Michelle.

“He’s doing great…still in the area and…” She begins to tell him more details but I tune them out and look about the office.  I hadn’t been in this office as much as the pre-school office, so I want to see what is going on. Michelle then offers to take us for a tour and she and Dan continue to catch up on old times.  I am scanning every inch of the school as we walk.  I see the kiddie pool and then the big pool glistening.  The playground is freshly blacktopped and there is no trash against the fence.  It’s spotless and so lovely.  We arrive at the first grade class and the door is open so we peer in trying not to disturb the class.  There are again 12 kids.  Don’t get excited, chill out.  But it’s hard not to, I fight to keep my pulse slow.

We walk around the rest of the campus and I feel like my heart is going to burst.  It feels so right and I want it so badly….

We arrive back at her office and we sit down.

“So, tell me bout your son.” She says brightly.


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The burning of my lungs brings me back to my run.  Has to be an answer.  Has to be a way. I say in my head over the blaring of “Rage Against the Machine” in my headphones.  The obscenities he is yelling are in such contrast to my thoughts of the Christ-centered diva we met.  I wave to our neighbor as she passes me in her car,  and it hits me…we have overlooked one school.  The last one in the area….and we have already attended there.

I rush back to the house excited to tell Dan my revelation.

“Crestridge!” I say breathless.  He looks up at me. “Crestridge…why didn’t I think of it sooner?”

He stares blankly paused in his slathering of his bagel with cream cheese.  “What are you talking about?”

I put my hands on top of my head so I can slow down my breathing and begin pacing in the kitchen.

“How could we overlook them?  I mean Ryan has already gone there!” I practically yell at him still out of breath.

“Oh, oh, I get it now.  Schools. For Ryan. Hmmm.” He says mostly distracted by his bagel.  I don’t know how he could think I was speaking of anything else.  I have been on a serious mission from God for the last two weeks, yet I have to remind him what I’m talking about?

“Yeah, what else would I have I been blathering about?” I say with super sarcasm.

He walks to the coffee pot and I follow him, trying to give him a second  to process.

“Well? What do you think?” I say impatiently.

He gets out a two cups and pours staying silent.  I hate when he does that. Is if for effect or is he really just pondering?

“Hello?!” I wave my hand at him as if my cynicism isn’t enough.

“Yeah, yeah.  I’m thinking.”

“About what? What’s wrong with Crestridge?” I blurt out.

“Nothing,” He pauses as he stirs in cream, avoiding my eyes.  “I just don’t want you getting all excited.  Plus, it’s more expensive than the others.”

“What others? There are no others to consider, remember? They don’t do special needs.” I say with air quotes and a sneer.  He just looks calmly at me and I know I’m being an ass, but I am allowed once in awhile.

“Well…they don’t.” I let my frustration flitter away as I blow on my coffee.  I could rehash the treatment I’d had and how two-faced those schools are, but I don’t. He’s heard and re-heard it.  I let him finish his bagel before I speak again.

“Since both kids have been there, I figure they would talk to us.” I say trying to sound calm.

Jenna had attended their summer school between Kindergarten and first grade. I felt she needed it as I had seen a few kids get bounced back to kindergarten.  Our neighbor had sent her daughter to Crestridge and raved about.  I enrolled Ryan in their summer pre-school session at the same time.  Crestridge had allowed me to bring in Dr. Hunter’s aides to stay with him during the morning session.  Dr. Hunter thought it would be great for socialization and since the school district only offered summer school for a few weeks we agreed it would be good to keep him around kids.  He did very well and there were no problems.  I didn’t realize then how having Dr. Hunter’s aides with him was probably the reason for his success.  Damn hindsight.

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I wake up to the darkness and dress quietly and quickly for my morning run.  I think best when I’m out on the road alone.  There has to be answer.  I know this is what we are supposed to do.  I know I’m supposed to take control again…I just can’t find the place.

I stretch a little on the front step and begin a slow pace, as the rhythmic steps begin, I let the juices take over.  Trying to block out the disappointments of the private schools…but still amazed how all of them acted.  The coup de grace was the school we were the most familiar with.

The “interview” was going perfectly.  We told the principal what families we knew that attended there and were met with big smiles.  We toured the campus and liked what we saw.  We didn’t flinch when she exclaimed: “Let’s pray!”  We locked hands across the shabby chic desk and lowered our heads, ignoring her rings digging into our fingers.  It felt like it was a test.   We patiently listened to the “Christ-centered” decrees the school implents.  And we sat in her office and tried to ignore her overdone hair and makeup, spilling our guts with our sad story until she too handed out those words of bigotry.

“Oh, we certainly cannot offer that kind of service.” She said with a sardonic smile on her face. I was glad Dan was with me this time to see it.

“No, no, we will bring in the aide.” He says. The words I have said so many times in the last few days. “We don’t expect you to provide that.” Yup, those too.

“I understand that,” she says her white teeth peeking out from her red, glossy lips, “but we aren’t equipped to support a special needs child like him.”

It’s amazing how differently they all say the same thing. 

I shift in my seat and see Dan turn towards me and we meet eyes.  I see the frustration in his eyes and raise my eyebrows as if to say, “See what I mean?”  He nods and sighs. I take this as my cue. I turn back to the Dolly Parton look-alike.

“We aren’t looking for you to support him, just give us an educational backdrop that we can modify for him.” I say this as slowly and pleasantly as I can muster. I even flash her a sweet smile.  She sits unmoved.

“This campus would be such a great environment for him.”  I stretch this truth a little, but flattery always gets you places and I am again feeling desperate.  We are out of options.

“I am sorry. But it just isn’t something we can do.” Her smile more subdued and almost sympathetic.

“Let’s pray!”

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Maybe we are supposed to be here. I think to myself as I walk through the parking lot to pick up the kids.  He could be purple and they accept him.  Well, they have to accept him at public school, it’s the law.  But still.  I had no idea it would be such a challenge finding a private school.  If you are paying, they should welcome you. Right?  At least here they don’t discriminate against him. That’s it…it’s the discrimination.  That is why I was so upset at that saint-something private school.

Earlier today, at the last stop, another “Christian” school, I am met with similar reception as the saint-something.  The young woman I met there wasn’t as crass as the other cross-wearing hypocrite, but she made it clear they have never “done” anything like this and I would need to meet with the principal.  I scheduled a meeting for the next day.  I barely got out of the parking lot when they called to reschedule.  She was going to be busy for “awhile”.  I did politely tell them I would call back later to find a time that worked.  But I knew I wouldn’t.  I didn’t want them if they didn’t want us.

My euphoria of getting him out of here has vanished leaving me disheartened and sad.  I hear the classroom door open and the loud children start filling out.  I stand up and see Ryan’s aide and walk towards her to get a report of the day.  Instead she keeps moving quickly and yells towards me to ‘have a nice day’.  What? That’s it? I weave through the kids to classroom door and peer in to see Ryan playing with some blocks.

“Hi.” I say to his teacher. “Everything o.k.? Terri rushed away and didn’t give me a run down of the day.”

His teacher looks at me with a puzzled look . “No, he had a good day. Not sure why she didn’t speak to you.  Maybe she had to pick up her daughter.” She says with a perk in her voice that I am guessing is supposed to make it better.  That ‘mother-to-mother’ thing.  Whatever. She could have told me that. 

I hate not knowing what happened in his day.  The school IEP team didn’t want to do a communication journal from the aide, because I see her after school.  But it’s days like these, and there are many, I have no idea what his day was like.  I can’t expect his teacher to give me a breakdown of every minute, since she has 25 other kids to worry about.

“Yeah, maybe.” I say but with a harshness in my voice.  I see her pick up on my mood, because I am normally very positive and try to be appreciative. I see she has three other moms waiting to speak to her so I let it go and walk over to Ryan.  I stop for a second and stare at him while he’s playing nicely.  Maybe I shouldn’t move him; maybe it isn’t so bad here… at least he isn’t black labeled or treated like he has a disease…

We walk to our car like any other day, yet it isn’t to me. Today is the day I felt the first sting of intolerance, and prejudice.  All because of a word.  What if I told them he had AIDS or cancer? Would they have acted the same? I sigh and realize it doesn’t matter.  I don’t like the reaction I received and now I have to start all over again. 

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