Meet Maxine

I am married with four children. They range in age from ten to twenty. I have two girls and two boys.

I have been married to my wonderful husband for almost eleven years. He is one of those guys who does not look romantic, but is actually deeply romantic. I wake every day to a lovely note in which he calls me beautiful and tells me how much he loves me.

We were both married to other people in our pasts, but have found our missing puzzle piece in one another. We are a blended family. I brought three children into the marriage; he brought two. We had our last child together.

In 2009, when our youngest child was five, he was diagnosed with a high-functioning form of Autism, called Asperger’s Syndrome. Although this initially left us in shock and with the feeling of whiplash, we have a great support system around us and have done what we can to educate ourselves and make a better world for all of our children.

My blessings are far greater than my challenges. I am thankful every day for all that I have been given.

 

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  1. Maxine
    I just came across your post which asks the question of whether children with Aspergers can be bullies & ask your advice.
    Last week, a boy with Aspergers (highly functioning) reported that my son and his friends are bullying him on the bus. After speaking with my son and the Vice Principal of the Middle School (they are all 8th graders), I became aware of the situation:: E, the Autistic boy, has headphones as his ‘intense focus’, & became agitated when a group of boys, including my son M, were discussing headphones & stated opposing opinions from E. The group of boys were told, by the VP, not to discuss headphones as it ‘sets E off’. The group tried to move away from E on the bus, but he follows them.
    My son has come forward & let me know that E has been making fun of my sons headphones for the last two years because they are not the expensive brand which E focuses on (Dr. Dre’s) & has also told my son ‘I don’t like you/hate you because you are stupid’ more than once. When my son pulled out new headphones last week (from Kmart) & E asked if they were Dr. Dre’s, M answered no, that they were Dr. Suess’ by Big K. When asked why he would say that, he responded that he was tired of E making fun of him for not having the best & if he had to accept E’s picking on him cuz he has Aspergers, he is gonna speak to him just as he would any of his friends, & that if E can decipher the ‘best’ headphones & say some of the mean things he says, he should learn to take a joke.
    Again, E went & claimed bullying to his parents & the school, leading to my son & the group of boys to receive a final warning about not speaking of heaphones around E, EVEN IF HE BRINGS THEM UP??
    Basically, E has ‘bullied’ & teased my son for over 2 school years, including saying the comments @ headphones, hatiing him & being stupid.
    This seems wrong on so many levels, & I believe the school, and his parents, are failing E by putting a band aid on a serious situation; if he were to offend someone the way he does my son not in a school setting he could be physically hurt? Shouldn’t the school and his parents be teaching some type of coping plan for his anger over this topic? I am beginning to think this child is using his diagnosis to be a bully, & the adults are aiding him?
    I want to file a bullying report first, to stop the comments to my son, and secondly, so this issue is addressed with E before it’s too late and he is hurt physically.
    In your opinion, am I ‘right’?
    Sincerely & with much appreciation,
    Maureen

    • Hi, Maureen.
      First, I’d like to say that my heart breaks reading about this behavior toward your son. Our children may not always know why someone responds the way they do, but they do know when they are bothering someone, if it is pointed out to them.
      I believe the parents of this child have failed to teach him the proper response to a situation in which he has offended someone. The school needs to gently but firmly insist that the correct social etiquette by displayed to this child.
      It doesn’t always come naturally. They don’t always think to themselves, “Okay, I have hurt his feelings, so I should apologize and try to make it right with him.”
      I think that I have concluded that a child with high-functioning Autism can, indeed, bully another child. However, I do not think that the same negative feelings are behind it as would be in play if he was a typical child.
      When my son was diagnosed, the Psychologist said that we should never use his Asperger’s as an excuse for bad behavior, or to not expect him to learn. He said “He can do anything and learn anything that any other child can learn and do; it’s just gonna take a lot lot lot more work.”
      So, yes. I think some deliberate bullying is in play here, but I do not believe that he is a bad child. If I were you, I’d bring it up to the school, have a meeting with them and the parents, and insist that this child be taught some further skills in how to handle social situations and not hurting someone’s feelings, especially when he now clearly knows that he has done so.
      I hope that I have helped. Feel free to message me back if you could use further conversation.

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