Dignity

Christmas holidays went far too fast.  I am worried sick, my bully was pulled up before the holidays, after years of ridicule and eventually they believed me.  This will be my first day back after the holidays.   Maths is first, I can cope with that, but my bully is in my English class. My stomach is churning even more than usual, but I must go to school.  Exams are soon and my dream is to be a maths teacher.  I excel at maths. 

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Maths class went OK and now I am heading to English.  My friend is still on holiday so I have to sit by myself.   My bully stares at me.  Where is the teacher, I think, why is she not in yet? 

My bully approaches the front of the class “The reality of Autism” she announces with a print out in her hands.  “Written by Catherine McDonald.  I am in shock, I stick my head firmly on my desk, not looking at anyone.  What on earth has she seen, what the hell has my mother written?  

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” Autism has caused my divorce” the first paragraph, what?  I think my dad said their divorce had nothing to do with that, my dad lied.   , “Sophie still isn’t toilet trained and she is 5″, this created a huge uprow of laughter from all the kids in the class.  It was deafening.   My bully puts the article down and marches to my desk ” you used to smear shit didn’t you, all over your room, so you still do that? “.  Another child shouted “what a retard”.    Your poor mum went through all this crap due to you, my bully shouted, you are scum, you should never have been born “. The bully put the print out on my desk. She had printed the comments too, people thanking my mum for being brave, being honest, telling it like it is, wondering how she did it all.  This was enough I jumped up, and ran, I pushed my teacher over running out of the room.  I knew exactly where I was going.  This was too much.

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As I had predicted, the run to the bridge took 8 minutes 26 seconds.  I allowed myself 120 seconds to try and solve my predicament.  As previously calculated it took 10.12 seconds for me to jump and my head to smash off a rock below.  This was my final calculation.

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As you will have guessed this is a fictional character, but unfortunately may well be a real one. 

The one place a child should be safe to be themselves is at home.

Critics would say we need awareness.  People need to understand the struggles families go through.     Parents need to be able to relate to each other, I get it,I really do.  Its therapeutic to write your issues down.  Its rewarding to get positive feedback.  Its reassuring to read something that is similar to your own life.  I honestly understand.  That is why private and closed groups on social media are good.  You can share, you can learn, you can get great ideas

Your kids grow up , that non verbal little tot who seems difficult to connect with may achieve a fully independent, competent, life, in fact whether they do or not, it is not just your story to share, it is theirs too.  Its simply not your business to be sharing this with the world. 

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So how can we get our stories out without being 100% honest about who we are?  Use a different name, call your kid “squiggle”, use stock photos. Just respect their privacy.

One thing I would like to also say though is please keep an eye in your mental health.  Yes writing down things may seem therapeutic, but publishing your articles in magazines, press etc is not a long term solution.  Many publishers would be only too happy to accept your articles.  Often the more negative and depressing the article, the more positive feedback it can get.  People love a tragic story.  Just remember these articles stay online forever.  Look after yourself

An article like this can be a weapon for bullies, put off a future love interest, dismiss a college application, ruin a job opportunity.  These people won’t have the knowledge you do about your child, but will have the ability to do a google search.  Don’t ruin your child’s life by prioritising the need to vent about your own.

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