You know those rotten apples we talk about sometimes?
This one found her way into my inbox yesterday afternoon.
She wrote the email below in a response to an article I wrote this last Sunday for my column, This Modified Life. If you haven’t read the article yet, check it out FIRST so you have some context before reading the email from HER.
I’ve published it in it’s entirety but for now have chosen to leave her name off. I will say, for our local folks in Orange County, California, that this woman is an Adult Transition teacher at a high school in the Placentia-Yorba Linda school district.
I want you to pay attention to her voice. Her DISDAIN and visible DISGUST with our children and their behaviors. Her JUDGMENT of “parents like us.”
Now I want you to picture her in the classroom. If she can speak to a special needs parent like this, a parent she’s NEVER met, a parent she has judged based on an article she didn’t even UNDERSTAND, imagine what she must speak like to her students.
Dear Mrs. ASHLINE,
I just finished reading your column “Son with autism has lots of affection to go around”. I am shocked that you think it is sweet or cute for a child ( any child) to hug a stranger.
Would you tell your 10 year old daughter that it is safe to hug strangers? Would you say, ‘Yes, honey, go hug the strange people.’
I know you wouldn’t. Instead, you would teach your daughter ‘stranger danger’.
Fact is, if any adult, women included, tried to hug to your 10 year old ‘normal’ child .you would be on the phone immediately to the police department to report that a PERV is touching your child.
This is COMMON SENSE. Just because you have an autistic son, don’t treat him any different than you would a regular child. He needs to learn how to be safe.
And evil people come in both sexes. Just because someone wears lipstick and heels, they can still be evil and have thoughts of hurting your child.
I will give you benefit of the doubt that you are new to this and don’t know any better. BUT YOU NEED TO BECOME EDUCATED. Your naivete is actually hurting your child.
I teach Transition Skills 18 – 22 yrs olds with moderate to severe disabilities. I have 5 autistic students and 5 with ID disabilities. They are all well behaved and DO NOT have inappropriate behaviors, except for wanting hugs from strangers. They are in my class so I can teach them NOT TO APPROACH STRANGERS, AND NOT TO TOUCH STRANGERS. I am undoing the bad habits they were taught by their parents. Why? because asking for hugs is no longer cute pass the age of 5.
Thank goodness I have my students for 4 years. That gives me enough time to undo the bad habits parents like you have created.
Example: I just received an autistic student with disabilities who was a senior in high school. He got booted out of the high school because he was always asking for ‘hugs’ from the girls. The gen ed students were complaining because they were being taught not to let strange students touch their body and then here comes a spec ed student who is continuously asking for hugs and not leaving them alone. He is 18 and he was touching 15 year old boys and girls. That behavior is creepy.
This student was always asking a cute 15 yr old cheerleader for hugs. She told him they could high 5 but not hug. Next day, he hugged her again. When she tried to push him away, they both fell on the ground. She got hurt. Her father is a lawyer and wanted to press charges for him assaulting his daughter. Our district knew they were at fault for NOT curtailing his ‘affection’ for the female population.
So to insure the autistic student would not be prosecuted, the ‘sweet 18 yr old boy with ‘so much love to share’ was transferred to my class. He will not be graduating with his class. Everyone agreed, he should have been taught that asking for hugs was an inappropriate behavior past the age of 5.
Now I get to teach him what he should have been taught when he was a kid.
-Respect other people’s personal space
-Respect other people’s requests.
-Never talk to strangers
-Never let an stranger get close to you.
I pray I do not read about your child getting into ‘ a pretty ladies’ car because she said ‘Do you want to hug my puppy?’.
Nor do I want to read about him being arrested 10 years from now for non-consensual touching of a female on an OCTA bus.
The teaching of common courtesy and safety rules apply to ALL children. Don’t think your son doesn’t need to be taught these skills just because he is autistic. In fact, you should be doing just the OPPOSITE. It is proven fact that autistic individuals have a more difficult time understanding and applying social skills. You should be teaching correct behaviors now because it is going to take longer for him to understand ‘appropriate and inappropriate’ social skills…..of course you would have already seen the ‘red flag’ on his behavior if you took the time to find out how to social skills to your autistic child.
Time to take some parenting classes, Mom.
I’m going to send this email, along with one of my own, to the school board. What they do with it, I don’t know, but I cannot stand idly by while someone like this teacher spends her days “fixing” our children.
Tell me what you think.
Because change starts HERE.