I've delayed writing this piece, I think hoping it was my final installment of the 'Friend or Foe' debate. Soon after I published Part Two, the school set to work identifying the child on the bus that was talking to Evan and was able to establish that this child was just trying to be his friend but had some social awkwardness of his own.
It was the best possible outcome, and I was able to tell Evan that the boy was trying to be his friend and that it was o.k. to talk to him.
"What if I don't want to be his friend?", Evan asked.
"Then you don't have to be his friend.", was my reply.
The boy had been asked to give Evan some space, and so it seemed that the following couple of weeks went by without incident.
Until yesterday. When I had just been thinking that I really needed to follow up with the bus story, lest people be losing sleep over the outcome. I guess this was the hiccup I had been waiting for...
...Evan got off the bus and told me that the boy had passed him and said, "why are you wearing that headphones?", and touched/pushed on his headphones. I sent an immediate email went out to the school and they are looking into the matter.
You might be wondering why the school is being so responsive to my complaints about a (maybe) problem? Well, they have to be. Thankfully we live in a state where anti-bullying efforts for kids with autism is written into state law. The Anti-Bullying bill was signed in 2010, and according to the Mass Advocates for Children, who sum it up nicely,
"the law ensures that IEP teams address bullying of children on the autism spectrum, specifically focusing on the skills necessary to help individual children avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing."
My mind is too crazy right now to write anything better than this (I'm thinking about the piece I want to publish tomorrow, but needed to get this off my plate so I could move on), so if you HAVE been losing sleep because you didn't know what was happening on the bus, please sleep easy tonight knowing that I'm plugging along, that I'm listening to what Evan is telling me, and that I am not letting the school off the hook on this issue.