Getting used to insensitivity (originally written 1/10/2008)

I wasn’t going to post about this, but I’ve been thinking about it all morning, so I’m at least going to write about it and then might or might not publish the post.

Last night, I went early to our Cubbies classroom at church to set up for AWANA. The school teacher was still in there, so she and I talked while I set up. I had Nate and Lucy with me, so Lucy sat in the stroller and I set up some crayons and coloring sheet to occupy Nate. (It was quite cute: the sheet was a picture of Noah and the ark, and after I told Nate that, he started singing the “Who built the ark?” song, which we haven’t sung together in some time.)

Nate’s autism came up. The first thing the teacher said was, “Oh, I had two boys in my class last year with autism,” and she raised her eyebrows and cocked her head in an expression of “can you believe that? Just my terrible luck.” She talked about how some days were OK, but other times one or both of the boys would just be unmanageable, and she’d “finally just have to send one home.”

I’m sure I’m a little hyper-sensitive right now as I’m running on way less sleep than I need, but still, come on lady! I’m a mom to one of those boys!

My first thought was, “Well, I just hope Nate doesn’t end up with a teacher like her one day.” But he probably will. I’d like to prepare myself for it now, not be blindsided or shocked when it happens. Even teachers who may end up loving Nate would not choose to have “someone like him” in their classrooms, because it means more work for them. And when they read the piece of paper that says they’re teaching a boy with autism this year, they don’t see the cute, funny, aiming to please, smart boy they’ll be teaching; they see a piece of paper, words, AUTISM.

Just like many parents begin praying for their children’s future spouses years ahead of time, I can begin praying for Nate’s future teachers–that God would prepare their hearts and pave the way for Nate, placing him in the right classrooms with the right teachers and classmates.

There, I feel better! šŸ™‚