It's not Halloween but I am going to share with a scary story.
If you've read my posts you may know that I have a 12 year old autistic daughter. She is very high functioning but just makes the spectrum.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011. A day I will never forget.
My daughter is in the drama club at her middle school. She attends the regular middle school in the town we live in. Last year she joined the club. She had no friends in the club. None of the "typical" kids would talk to her yet she loved going. This year one of her classmates is in the club. Yay!
When any after school activity is over the main office is open so kids can use a phone to call someone for a ride. In my daughter's case she always used that phone or her friend's cell to call me. A rehearsal schedule was not given out yet so I had no idea what time rehearsal would be over so I could expect my call.
Around 515 I realized she should be home. My wife was working so my son & I ran up to the middle school. The security guard told us that the drama club let out at least 45 minutes prior to us getting there. Immediately I went into "Oh shit" mode. Panic.
My son & I walked the parking lot. We split up to look around the middle school. We ran over to the high school which is right next door. Nothing.
We went back home in case someone gave her a ride. Nothing.
I know the parents of the friend who is drama club with her. So I called their house. The friend was absent from school that day.
I cannot describe to you the feelings I felt while this was happening. Is my girl gone? This happens to other people, not us! Am I going to be one of those people crying to Diane Sawyer on TV pleading for my girl's return? I kept picturing her face. My son was ready to burst. I had to keep it together for him.
A buddy of mine who happened to stop by right at that moment agreed to stay at my house to man the phones as I head out to search.
We went back to the school. Still nothing. As we started driving up & down Wantagh Ave my son is practically begging me to call the cops. I considered calling my father in law who lives nearby & is a retired policeman. I thought about calling my wife. I figured I don't need to call anyone, she's fine. Then again I was also thinking I need to call someone, she's gone! Every face you see on the street I studied. Every person I made eye contact with I hoped was going to be someone with info. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
This went on for over an hour.
Finally my buddy called me. He said my dog started barking so my buddy looked out the window. Nothing. But something had to be up if the dog was barking. All of a sudden in the backyard was my girl.
He called me. I raced home. I grabbed my girl who looked frazzled. She said the main office was closed, the security guard was on his phone for a long time, & her friend was absent. One of the main symptoms of autism is the lack of social skills-my daughter asked 2 girls she didn't know (which was a major thing for her to do) if she could borrow their cells. These girls were "typical" girls. They both said no. My daughter panicked so she ended up walking home. She went the long way.... crossing some major roads & walking close to 3 miles.... IN THE DARK!!!! My heart races just thinking about it. Sure enough the very next day in our town someone tried to throw a teenage girl into a van.
Needless to say I ran up to the school the next morning to kick some ass. Why would the teachers (yes there are more than one at drama club) leave the place without checking to see if everyone, especially the special needs child, is accounted for? Why is the security guard yapping on his phone instead of doing his job?? Why are the "typical" kids so freaking mean?? I thought there was a lot more acceptance these days!!
All school districts need to supply more knowledge, understanding, & acceptance into the general population of their schools, plain & simple. Autism numbers are rising all the time. Practically everyone is closely associated to someone with some kind of autism these days. I am appalled that these things happen.
I went out & bought her a cell phone the very next day.
Have you ever experienced something like this?
A few years ago my daughter's bus was lost for 2 hours. We were freaking out then too but I don't wanna make this post an even longer read. Point being no matter how many times this happens you never get used to it. The most scary feelings you will ever have, believe me.