A scary sad conclusion has been drawn. Please don’t be me, and if something smells fishy at your school, then go to the school board, go to the press, fight for your children…
About three years ago, we arrived at Eglin AFB. When we left Wright-Patterson AFB, my son had graduated from kindergarten and was able to read spontaneously, identify a few sight words, and even do easy math. We got here, and he had a typical regression with a PCS move that turned into an absolute nightmare. Two weeks into the school year, the teacher made a questionable accusation that my son had solicited a sexual act against another student. It is not questionable that he said what she said he said. What was questionable was that he went to another student. If you don’t know my son, then you don’t know that he would just as soon talk to a rock than another student (he is coming out of that now, he is more social with his peers, but when he first got here he would have none of that communicating thing). Anyway, this lead to a new rule that my son would have to wear pants. He was on risperadone at the time, and risperadone inhibits the body’s ability to regulate temperature. He was forced to wear pants in 90* degree heat in August and September, this is a child that was born in Germany, spent much of his childhood in Minot, Virginia, and Ohio (hardly the south). Needless to say, this caused tantrums, lots and lots and lots of tantrums. Eventually, six weeks after the new rule was in place, at gym time, my son had a tantrum where he banged his head against a desk 14 times. He complained about not being able to see. The “teacher” (I use this term very loosely, because at this juncture in time I would love to slash her tires and spray paint her car– if this does happen, it wasn’t me, I have an alibi), said that it was because he had pink eye. I took him to the ER, where he was declared OK to go home. What I didn’t know and have since learned is heartbreaking and I blame myself.
Yesterday, my son was diagnosed with epilepsy. The area of the brain where the seizures are occurring is in the left temporal lobe near a learning center. This affects behavior, cognition, and learning. 9 out of 10 people who have seizures in this location also have a learning difficulties. This is also a location that is damaged when someone has a head injury. The occurrences of seizures and the regression all happened after my son had banged his head. And we have come to the conclusion that perhaps my son’s epilepsy may have been caused by the head banging incident. Unfortunately, there is no way to prove with absolute certainty that this was the cause– 1/3 of children on the autism spectrum develop epilepsy, he had a propensity to bang his head in the past, and he was in the middle of a significant regression from a PCS move.
In retrospect, however, this is very likely the cause. When I first took him to school, something sent off alarm bells, especially the classroom placement (he was in a classroom with 8 other children with varying special needs, varying developmental levels, and one teacher). The school was very, very underhanded when dealing with us, and my gut instinct was to place him in a private school from the get go. I was talked out of it and reassured that I was over-reacting.
Sadly, I was not incorrect, and this is the result of not following your gut instinct. I wish I could sue the school district, or make them aware of what they did, and how antiquated the current placement of special education children is in the state of Florida, but I really don’t know where or how to start.