I am re-publishing this post because of a strange turn of events! The kid mentioned below (now likely 19-20 years old) who mocked my Bird has actually approached my husband at a store and apologized and told him that he looks at people in a different light after I gave him the 411 in loud angry tones. I am stunned and thrilled and wrote the email below to close friends and now you! NEVER BE AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT….make sure it is right though.
In hind sight things would have been fine at the swim meet last night but over coming my fear of how other kids treat Bird or ignore him (which is worse) and how he does with lots of unstructured time left me with a pit in my stomach while I had to time swimmer and his siblings and dad were not at the B-meet at our pool.
While Bird has been on a swim team for 4 years and virtually unsupervised at all B-Meets and many A-meet due to my always timing swimmers (all parents have to volunteer or we don’t have a swim meet and I have 3 kids on the swim team which means that I will need to do more than a parent with say 1 child) and my husbands work schedule was in the past not a problem but more a part of life. However, Bird has always had his twin sister and older brother (by 13 months) with him not to supervise but more for a place to sit and either A)be ignored which is not to uncommon or B) play with another child or C) read by himself near Herd or Peep.
I have at my old pool had some unpleasant issues with really nasty kids who have done everything from mocking Bird when he was 5 and they were 13 to a little boy named Andrew L. who we had on video tape beating Bird with a bottle (it was not worth telling his parents as nobody I know has every witnessed them parenting). Needless to say we left that pool and changed to a pool with leaders who would not tolerate such bad behavior. Even still I worry about what happens when Bird with high functioning autism is surrounded by kids many of whom ignore him, one called him a “fagot “last week and others who quickly lose interest because while Bird is really social he does not possess the skills to work a conversation for more than 15 minutes yet.
The solution to this problem is continued work with Bird on conversations, staying on topic, no sound effects to replace words he does not know, understanding when people are being inappropriate with them, lots of pray, a desire to have a valium fix so that I am less stressed at each and every swim meet and as many opportunities as possible for play dates.
Bird is so sociable my fear is that rejection, confusion about relationships and the occasional mean kid will create a person who is less likely to seek relationships and more likely to be introverted which is something we do not see in him but could materialize simply from lack of skill.