The Miracle of Mrs. Scott. When Muscles Don’t Work, The Heart Does.

“Robert needs an energetic, young male as his aide.” Said the teacher from the Collaborative program.

“He requires a young, strong male.” Reiterated  the special needs administrator from the same program.

“Robert should have a strong, young man as his one-to-one aide.” Agreed the special needs administrator representing  public school district.

It was the consensus reached during a meeting held  in March of 2006.  Robert’s behaviors  related to autism and to his OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)  demanded that he had an aide who was an energetic, young, strong male.

And so Robert’s aide was an energetic, young man.  Yet, by the end of 2005/2006 school year Robert was expelled from the Collaborative.

Well, “expelled” is not a right word.  Robert could not be “expelled” without involvement of the state’s department of education.  For some reason, nobody wanted such intrusion. Robert was not “expelled”, he was just not allowed into the summer extension of the program and not accepted into the program for the next school year.

Having an energetic, young, strong man as his aide did not work for Robert. His behavior was so difficult that, based on his profile written by the lead teacher from the Collaborative, he was considered a student  impossible to control or manage.  No wonder that no school showed any interest in teaching such a creature. For the  next four and a half months, I tried to find a place that would accept him even for a limited time.

Finally, in the last week of October, maybe because of the mediators’ arguments (I don’t know what they were), maybe because of the letter I wrote to the former commissioner of the state’s department of education, the public school agreed to accept Robert for two hours a day in its life skill classroom at the local  High School.

Moreover, the district already had an aide for Robert.

The aide was not a strong male.  The aide was a fragile woman.

The aide was not young. The aide  was a mother of four adult children.  She was a grandmother to many more.

She was Mrs. Scott.

At first, I felt confused and wanted to protest.  If Robert was a monster, the school painted him to be, how could the administrators choose someone not able to restrain him when such need would arise?

Then I remembered.  For the last two years, I, personally, never felt a need to restrain Robert.  I too, was an aging woman, physically not strong enough to deal with Robert’s tantrums.   I not only managed Robert’s behaviors, I succeeded in helping Robert to learn and to be.

So, despite my doubts, I kept my mouth shut. Mrs. Scott became Robert’s aide.

The Monday, following the last meeting I started driving Robert to school and picking him up after two hours.

Not even ten days later, when Robert got off the van, he noticed that he (I?)  forgot his school bag.  That created a potential for a disaster. Robert, given his OCD could not  go to school WITHOUT a school bag and he could not return home WITHOUT going into  the classroom.

Faced with this conundrum I expected a long  stalemate of whining, frowning, angry sounds, and maybe even slapping his own cheeks in distress.  Except, Mrs. Scott was there.

She was a mother of four, she was a grandmother to more than four.  She felt for him, she understood his distress.  She patted gently his cheeks and kept repeating, “It’s okay.  It’s okay.  Mom will bring the backpack later.  We go to school.  Mom will bring the backpack.  It’s okay.  It’s okay. ”

I saw my son’s  confusion disappearing.  His tension was melting.  He gave Mrs. Scott his hand and calmly walked with her to school.

A

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2 Comments

  1. Jean

     /  November 12, 2012

    Maria,
    I loved this. Assumptions about our children and their needs are often wrong, and this example is perfect.
    Jean

    Reply
  1. Unwanted | krymarh

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