Monday 7 March 2016

Autistic Anthony's always to blame, problems on the school run

A quarter of people with autism are non-verbal. They don't talk at all and may use other methods of communication. Our eldest son Anthony can talk well. He attends a regular mainstream school.  But that doesn't mean he's always understood. His honesty and difficulty communicating often means that without someone there who understands him, he is blamed for what's gone wrong.

Such an event happened on our way to school last week. Our school run, like many family's, is a busy one. David goes to a specialist ASD unit but we are lucky that this is located half a mile on the otherside of Anthony's school. This means we drive to David's school and park then Jane goes in buggy and Anthony goes on his scooter while we run this get to Anthony's school on time.  Yes, every single school day we are seen running across a cemetery. The traffic is so bad that it is more consistent to cut through the cemetery, with many other parents, than it is to try and drive and find somewhere else to park. Without the scooter for Anthony, we would be late everyday.

But with the scooter comes an extra hazard. We have practice stopping at roads and missing objects a lot. 

"Stop at the road"
"Look out for the gentleman" 
"Say excuse me"
"Careful by the buggy" 

These things get hollered a lot. 

Anthony has slipped on ice once this year, but on Friday it appeared he'd scootered straight into a little girl walking to his school.  It happened soo fast. My view was blocked for a second as we past a tree and then suddenly the little was on the floor and Anthony was stood their apologising. "I'm sorry," he said. "I couldn't get past. I hit her."

The girl was probably about five or six.  She was very upset, there was a lot of tears.  The girl's mother was giving her lots of hugs and said that these things happen. She even said for us to go so as there was no need for us both to be late for school. I think mostly the girl was just a bit surprised, but it looked like she'd hurt her hand and bumped her knee as she had fallen. I couldn't help feel guilty. I should have been closer, I should have shouted more warnings to Anthony. 

Then by the time I'd dropped Anthony to his class and talked to him and Jane, who was still in buggy, about being careful, I felt guilty in a different way.

I saw some great quotes on Twitter from The National Autistic Society and the AutismCon on Saturday.   According to a speaker, 99% of public say they have some understanding of autism but 84% of autistic people feel they are not understood. 

By the time Anthony had got to school I had determined by some answers from him (but mostly by conversing with Jane who is nearly three in comparison), that the little girl had infact stepped in front of Anthony and thrown her hand out to the side to point at something. Anthony had been passing but still hit her hand.

Despite the mum having said that these things happen I still felt like I should have defended him in some way. I felt guilty for almost assuming he was to blame.  I wanted to bump into the lady on the way back to our car, though what would I have said? "Excuse me, actually it wasn't only my son's fault that your daughter got hurt?"  Of course not, because I think the same, these things happen.

Anyone when they are in a stressful environment or hurt can have difficulties communicating. People whose first language is not English but can converse in it perfectly well can have difficulty and revert to their native tongue when stressed or in pain.  It's the same for lots of kids. My son will revert back to basic communication. "I hit her." He absolutely did hit her hand. "I couldn't get past." Well, no, neither would I if a hand was suddenly thrust into my path. "I'm sorry." Of course, no one wants anyone else to be hurt. 

I guess mostly I'm just aware that one day, these difficulties might have more serious repercussions. He's not going to grow of autism. What if he was asked to make an instant police report or appear in court? What if he was involved in a car accident? And this brings up the other point I saw from AutismCon. John Wilson said, "How do you communicate you are different if you have challenges with communication?"

This is undoubtedly something my boys and countless other autistic people face. And we will have to figure out how to help them with this.  He can learn. In the meantime, I can be proud that Anthony was very truthful about his actions, he didn't try and hide from what had happened. I can be proud that he was concerned for the little girl that was hurt. I can be pleased that his sister was there to help clarify what has happened. And I can try harder to keep up with him, so I'm right there if something happens. 

How do your kids handle confrontation or stressful situations? 


External links
National Autistic Society (NAS) - Conferences

Autistic child scooter on school run through cemetery

As listed on:

Cuddle Fairy

Brilliant blog posts on

Diary of an Imperfect Mum: Family Fun Linky


  1. OH hun, I am an early years SENCO and the number of people I have come across that don't understand ASD. I think its a parent thing to apologise in those situations just to keep the peace and get on with your day rather than because you thought he was in the wrong. If the other mum had made a big thing of it you would have had something to say about it! Big hugs xxx

  2. What an interesting read. I have a five year old in mainstream and so know where your coming from. It's so hard for them and communication is such a minefield #bloggerclubuk

  3. You've painted the scene well and have also shown autism in a light that not many can understand. I hope everyone involved was ok. Your son called it like he saw it, it's a tough situation but you and he death with it well

  4. My son used to get confused about the wording and when he did something by accident he'd come to me all upset and say, I did it on purpose. He didn't, it was an accident but it was very confusing. As the parent pf an autistic child, I get where you are coming from. I'm permanently on the defensive when it comes to my son but you know, these things really do happen. My son is in mainstream and a lot of kids go to school on scooters. I've been almost been mown down a few times.. What's impressed me is that your son immediately apologised to the girl. My son is so into 'slapstick' that he's likely to stand there laughing - not because he's unfeeling - but because he's seen it happen too many times on You've Been Framed.

  5. These things happen with any child. I understand that you would be more aware & on the look out with your son having autism but he sounds a lot like my middle child who does twirls & skips as he walks down the road - he doesn't pay any attention to who's around on the street & I have to tell him to watch where he's going. At least Anthony was being careful & did the best he could. Thanks so much for linking up with us at #bloggerclubuk

  6. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Many thanks! vespa primavera


I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

Have a look at our most recent posts:

@rainbowsaretoo Ann H on Google + rainbowsaretoo pinterest rainbowsaretoobeautiful bloglovin Instagram rainbowsaretoobeautiful