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College, Motherhood

Mommy over Everything.

Mommy over Everything

So, I attend a state university…with you know…adults/”smart people.” Or so I thought. I don’t really know how to start this…so I just will…

There is a boy (ahem, young man) in my political science program, who has shared multiple classes with me. I will leave out his name.

He is autistic. I mean, at least I think he is, I haven’t asked him. But I have had the opportunity to interact with other autistic people at work and well… I had my own son tested for autism once. There is always the chance that I am wrong, but I’m pretty positive that he has an autism spectrum disorder.

We are assigned group projects in most of my classes lately (ugghhhhh) and chance would have it that I was placed in a group with a guy (ahem, young man) that I had done a group assignment with in the past. Yay, it’s always nice to see a familiar face. As chance would also have it…the autistic man is in my group too. My old friend made it a point to tell me that “he” was in our group, but that he was going to make someone “trade for him” because “he’s not even messing around with his grade.” Because “everyone in the group gets the same grade, you know?”

Is this real life??

I stopped dead in my tracks in the hallway and stared up at him and wondered if it was hard to climb on to a horse that high every morning. Would someone really do this? In college? Try and “trade the special kid” like he was a card? Even more baffling was the fact that he thought that our professor would allow his condition to negatively affect our group’s grade. So basically, not only is he a jerk… he thinks that everyone else is too.

Is it really something that people understand so little? He has a hard time sitting still and doesn’t keep his shoes on in class. He keeps all of his books on the desk directly next to him so that no one sits too close. And yet, there he sits…in the same classroom as everyone else, a senior in college despite what so many see as a disability. I find him inspiring.

I immediately thought of his mother, and how she probably feared moments like this one. I thought of all of the crazy things that I thought about while waiting to have Jace tested. I thought about how all moms feared these moments… where their child would be made to feel like they weren’t good enough when in fact they were all along.

I realized fully in that moment, something that I already knew, just never in the same context. Being a mother changes you. Now, my initial reaction will always  be that of a mother. You relearn all of the qualities of kindness and inclusion that you were taught as a child whilst trying to instill them in your own children. It would seem that it is something many forget until you are reacquainted with innocence of childhood. You don’t treat someone that way just because they are different from you.

I firmly explained to my group that we wouldn’t be “trading him” for anyone. They call me “Miss Moral” as if it’s a bad thing.

I see now, that unique can be a burden. And one that I’m sure my new friend deals with all of the time. I am optimistic that this group project will have much more to teach the members of my group than the politics of Ideology and Propaganda.

Mommy over Everything.

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  • Wow, this is an amazing post. I’m a mom, and I feel it both ways – the anger over someone saying and doing those things to try to remove the autistic man from the group, and the guilt about that fact that I would probably have some of those same thoughts and fears about him being in my group. I guess it’s all in what we do with it – do we let our fears determine how we act, or our compassion for others? I can’t imagine how I would feel as his mom, with the fact that someone was trying to exclude them like the other members of the group. Way to stay strong and firm with them, and make the right choice!

  • Wow, this is an amazing post. I’m a mom, and I feel it both ways – the anger over someone saying and doing those things to try to remove the autistic man from the group, and the guilt about that fact that I would probably have some of those same thoughts and fears about him being in my group. I guess it’s all in what we do with it – do we let our fears determine how we act, or our compassion for others? I can’t imagine how I would feel as his mom, with the fact that someone was trying to exclude them like the other members of the group. Way to stay strong and firm with them, and make the right choice!

  • Anamika Ojha

    Nice Post…I really like the way you have been supporting that guy and you stood on yourself against all odds…way to go…!!

    • Thanks. It wasn’t all that heroic! Just well advised. I think my group member will learn better for next time. 🙂

  • Anamika Ojha

    Nice Post…I really like the way you have been supporting that guy and you stood on yourself against all odds…way to go…!!

    • Thanks. It wasn’t all that heroic! Just well advised. I think my group member will learn better for next time. 🙂

  • Brianna George

    This post makes me smile. Good job, Ms. Moral. 🙂

    http://unveiledandrevealed.wordpress.com

  • Brianna George

    This post makes me smile. Good job, Ms. Moral. 🙂

    http://unveiledandrevealed.wordpress.com

  • Shann Eva

    Being a mom definitely changes your perspective, and I think for the better . I have twins that were born premature, and that diagnosis could come anytime down the road. So disappointing that someone in a learning environment would feel and do something like that.

    • It WAS disappointing. But I just don’t even think they realized what they were doing. That might be even worse, but who knows. I truly think that they will realize that he’s not so different once they give him a chance. And maybe, they’ll know better for next time. 🙂

  • Shann Eva

    Being a mom definitely changes your perspective, and I think for the better . I have twins that were born premature, and that diagnosis could come anytime down the road. So disappointing that someone in a learning environment would feel and do something like that.

    • It WAS disappointing. But I just don’t even think they realized what they were doing. That might be even worse, but who knows. I truly think that they will realize that he’s not so different once they give him a chance. And maybe, they’ll know better for next time. 🙂

  • yanique

    Motherhood changed my perspective on so many things. I know I would go crazy if I knew someone treated my child like that. I would hope that someone would intervene

    • It was a very indirect form of bullying. My autistic friend will never even know it happened. I think that my group members will learn from him, Moms are good for teaching life lessons, after all. 😉

  • yanique

    Motherhood changed my perspective on so many things. I know I would go crazy if I knew someone treated my child like that. I would hope that someone would intervene

    • It was a very indirect form of bullying. My autistic friend will never even know it happened. I think that my group members will learn from him, Moms are good for teaching life lessons, after all. 😉

  • I have a disabled sister who is in her second year of college. Even as an older sibling I worry constantly that people aren’t giving her a fair deal. As a Mother I now see a different side to how rude other people are when it comes to disabled children. Mom’s in my moms groups always feel like they need to warn me of about disabled children. I don’t know why they feel the need to do that. They’re all the same at the end of the day. Wonderful children.

    • Yes. Autism especially, I believe to be a really misunderstood condition. I think interacting with the member of my group will teach them a little something about it. 🙂

  • I have a disabled sister who is in her second year of college. Even as an older sibling I worry constantly that people aren’t giving her a fair deal. As a Mother I now see a different side to how rude other people are when it comes to disabled children. Mom’s in my moms groups always feel like they need to warn me of about disabled children. I don’t know why they feel the need to do that. They’re all the same at the end of the day. Wonderful children.

    • Yes. Autism especially, I believe to be a really misunderstood condition. I think interacting with the member of my group will teach them a little something about it. 🙂

  • Rae

    Good for you for sticking up for him. If he’s showing up every day, he obviously wants to be there. I don’t know why people assume autistic people are dumb and cannot be successful in a group setting. Best of luck to you on your group project and I hope he meets more people like you along his college journey.

    • Exactly! Autistic people can actually be EXTREMELY smart. They just don’t behave exactly like everyone else. I think my group will learn from him. I know that I’ve learned a lot from interacting and working with people who have the disorder. 🙂

  • Rae

    Good for you for sticking up for him. If he’s showing up every day, he obviously wants to be there. I don’t know why people assume autistic people are dumb and cannot be successful in a group setting. Best of luck to you on your group project and I hope he meets more people like you along his college journey.

    • Exactly! Autistic people can actually be EXTREMELY smart. They just don’t behave exactly like everyone else. I think my group will learn from him. I know that I’ve learned a lot from interacting and working with people who have the disorder. 🙂

  • That is so great of you!! The wield we live in is cruel unfortunately. It’s good to know there are amazing people like you out there!

    • The weird part is…I don’t think he meant to be cruel. I just truly think that people don’t understand disorders like autism. Im hoping they learn something from the experience. Thanks for reading.

  • That is so great of you!! The wield we live in is cruel unfortunately. It’s good to know there are amazing people like you out there!

    • The weird part is…I don’t think he meant to be cruel. I just truly think that people don’t understand disorders like autism. Im hoping they learn something from the experience. Thanks for reading.

  • Keri Gold

    Indeed mommy over everything. People can be so mean. Continue supporting and standing up for him.

    • Of course! Im hoping that my group member learn something from interacting with him. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Keri Gold

    Indeed mommy over everything. People can be so mean. Continue supporting and standing up for him.

    • Of course! Im hoping that my group member learn something from interacting with him. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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