Dismissed at School, Thriving at Home: My Autistic Child’s Journey – Finding Cooper’s Voice

My daughter who has autism, Olivia, was sent home from school on May 22nd, just one hour into her school day.

It was the day before the last day of school. She was having behaviors they said they couldn’t get under control.

They said they tried all things sensory, but nothing worked. I went to pick her up, and she was walking slowly and calmly with her teacher, so she must’ve recovered fairly quickly from those uncontrollable behaviors in the 20 minutes it took me to change my clothes and get up to the school.
She stood there calmly as the teacher explained to me that in addition to her meltdown, she seemed “spacey and slow-moving. More so than usual.” A few weeks ago prior I figured out they were not having her wear her glasses, and she has some complex vision issues. That could be why she was “spacey and slow-moving,” and could also explain her dysregulated body and mind.

I noticed her backpack was stuffed full of all her belongings. The teacher said, “We packed up all her stuff just in case she doesn’t come back for the last day of school. It is just a half day anyway.” Message received. I did not send her back.

Since that last day of school, she has been relaxed and happy.

She has done math and reading work on the computer, home speech therapy, played board games, drawn pictures, worked on puzzles, played with sand, read books with me, and had an extremely successful trip to the oral surgeon, even allowing two sets of x-rays. We have stripped her bed, sorted clothes, and worked on some kitchen tasks.

We also went out for lunch last weekend with her auntie and cousins, and she did a fabulous job! I have also seen a burst in language and a desire for personal interactions with us.

I know her hormones will start to ramp up and that anxiety will take hold of her at some point; it always does. I am certainly not blaming the school team for things like that.

However, they could take steps to make things easier on her, like making sure she is wearing her medically necessary glasses. Maybe then she wouldn’t be so “spacey and slow,” and she would have fewer headaches, blurry vision, and light sensitivity.

I feel like my girl is just relieved to be home. She is more comfortable, and she feels safe. I just wish she felt that way at school. When she is regulated and comfortable, she is filled with joy and love.

Written by Laura Simzyk of Olivia’s Extraordinary Journey 


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