Tough Day

I just got back from a meeting of ‘Democrats Abroad,’ which I can attend because I haven’t actually demexited yet, at least not formally, officially, partly because I’m living abroad and it would be complex, but that’s probably an excuse, I’m sure I could figure out how to do it if I were really in a hurry, but it’s not as if there’s anywhere to go, so that’s reason #2.
Anyway, I went because a friend was running for a position on the board, and he’s a die hard Berner and I wanted to support him.
It went about as I expected. People speaking in general, non-heated terms. Some good folks, I ‘m just not sure we’re all in the same party any more.

Made a kid cry today. That’s not good, but it was kind of unavoidable. He was sitting at the back of the room, totally not getting the lesson, while 5 or 6 of the louder kids in the class were shouting out the answers to everything, and arguing like mad whenever I awarded the point to someone else. Anyway, I decided I had to bring him in to the conversation, and I still think I was right to do it. I made him change seats so he was sitting in the thick of the action, knelt down to eye level, and pretty much forced him to speak one simple, coherent sentence in English – I believe it was something like’the tree is green.’ Anyway, the other kids, well-intentioned, I’m sure, were shouting advice at him, telling him what to say, and he was yelling at them to shut up, he took it as an insult that they were giving him the answer, and he didn’t get it that they were giving him the answer. I could see the tears welling up in his eyes, but I had to persist at that point.
I felt bad about it, but I hope he learned something. Not the sentence. The need to participate. I doubt very much that I helped him overcome his fear of English, which would have been nice, but that’s expecting a bit much. Basically, I’m just hoping I didn’t traumatize the poor kid for life.

Need to get new glasses. Frame is cracked. Tried gluing it together yesterday but today the lens just popped right out – in my pocket. Tomorrow.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Tough Day

  1. Anonymous

    He sounds like he is on the autism spectrum. Being forced to participate can be so overwhelming – the energy from all those other people way too overloading on the senses. I’m sure it had little to do with whether he knew the answer or not. He was having a terrible day. He’s not going to forget you, but not in a good way.
    I am 57, was not diagnosed as a child, but this sounds like a childhood nightmare experience to me.
    Something to consider. Not all autistic children are obvious. Being overwhelmed by the other children happens. Watch if he tries to avoid you from now on.

  2. Anonymous

    And not all autism is debilitating, it is a spectrum. My clue was his yelling at the others to be quiet. They were probably more than distracting, it was unsettling to his brain. I don’t know what age he is. If he could have whispered an answer to you (then it’s side to side communication, not face on) that would be another clue. I remember yelling Stop Looking At Me, when forced to be the center of attention.
    It won’t ruin his life, it isn’t that dramatic, but I remember the adults who pushed me to do things that were uncomfortable. It didn’t make it easier as I got older. I wasn’t able to handle extroversion until I was a teenager and started smoking pot. That was a great social tool for me in many many ways. (Childhood was so difficult.)
    Also there are a lot of groups and crowds that I can’t handle, too much energy in too many directions, and I’m always checking that I have an exit plan. I’m good in an audience however. At a young age a classroom can be so unfocused, in college a classroom was a wonderful place.

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