How would you react if your child with #Autism came home from school and told you this….?

I wasn’t going to share this at first, not until after we had met with the school. However, I think it’s important to see how we handle a situation like this. I hope this helps someone or there.

Everyday when I pick up the boys from school I ask them how their day was.  When I got to Gavin, he explained that he lost 2 points today. 

I asked him what happened and he said that he got frustrated in Math class and that cost him a point.  That’s a known problem and his math teacher is working with him. 

He further explained that he lost a point in reading because he had a stomachache and he couldn’t pay attention. 

I asked him if he had told his teachers he wasn’t feeling well? When I heard his response, I nearly slammed on the brakes in shock. Gavin says that when he told his teacher that his stomach hurt, she replied “well, what do you want me to do about that”.


Lizze and I looked at each other and said excuse me? Gavin said, “Dad, that’s what they always say when I tell them I’m having chest pain or when my sides hurt.”

I asked Gavin what he says in response.  He simply told us that he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to say, so he just sits back down in his seat. 

Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking serious?

It took everything I had not to turn the car around and address this right then and there.  However, we decided that we were to upset at the time and we wanted to cool off and meet with the principal in the morning. 

Lizze and I have made at least three attempts to explain his health issues to his teachers, but we haven’t actually had a sit down meeting with them yet because we thought we were all on the same page and it’s not like Gavin’s a new student.

If this is indeed what is happening, we are clearly not on the same page. 

Now, it needs to be said that while Lizze and I both believe what Gavin was telling us, he’s not exactly reliable when it comes to reading people’s intentions or understanding what they mean.  This could be a misunderstanding and so we are going to be cool about things until we know otherwise. 

That said, Gavin didn’t understand why we were upset and when he finally figured out we were mad at the way he said he was being treated, he shutdown and didn’t want to get his teachers in trouble. 

I have no question in my mind that the words were said to him.  The thing I need to clarify is the intention behind them. 

Perhaps they were asking “Gavin, what do you want me to do about it?”  That is something that would be very confusing to Gavin. Maybe Gavin was being really loud and dramatic, which he can be, and was disrupting the class? I just don’t know. 

I’m ready to deal with whatever comes our way in the morning. 

To be perfectly honest, I can see how this could turn out to be a misunderstanding but we still need to figure out exactly what’s going on. 

While it’s difficult not to react emotionally and go off half cocked, I’m doing to wait until I hear both sides of the story.  However, if I find out that he was indeed being blown off, well that’s a different story now, isn’t it. 

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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AMDuser chefaimee Yup. It’s complicated and you’re right, it may have been that bad that he complained. There’s no way to know for sure. Sadly, this is likely going to become increasingly more difficult as Gavin get worse.

Dee Brake

also… dont they have a daily log for any concerns. my children have an agenda, the teacher will write things like. “Ayden tripped and bumped his knee, he seemed fine but i thought you should know”
funny how now i think about this. last week my girl tells me she had a nosebleed at school and her nose was very sore, i checked her journal and nothing was in there. SAD. last years teacher would post all concerns… This year the teacher does not seem as “hands on”

Dee Brake

it is good you cooled off, i remember rushing off to school with a whole plan of attack against the principal and teachers when my child had a tale of this sort. it is good that i calmed down on the drive, because a plan of “attack” is just that. an attack and you are guaranteed to get your words . tangled and be angry and come off poorly in their eyes. talking things out is much better than yelling. but after i said my piece, i also called the following day to be sure that what was promised was followed through. it is terrible to feel like you need to hold your childs hand while they are in school, wishing we were a fly on the wall….
I am sure Gavin is trying very hard to not lose points, and sometimes the teachers need to smarten up! losing a point because he has a sore stomach doesnt sound fair. 🙁 i remember losing points in GYM because my toenails would bust through the edges of skin and bleed. i would not run or refuse to participate, so i would lose a point. after so many point you were sent to sit at the office. and i spent many gym periods there. in the end, i failed gym. the only glass i ever failed, probably the only class i ever scored less than 80 🙁

Chehra Bou

I think communication between parents and the school is the most important to get ride of any misunderstanding or issues. For my part from the first day of school I grab teacher and talk to him /her about my son’s needs issues, I don’t care ,I don’t wait to the parent/teachers conference. Because I believe the teacher needs to know something I will pass it.

Nicole Logan

My question is why hasn’t any communication been sent home at all that he has mentioned pain or discomfort? If he has known medical issues any mention needs to be noted so that parent is aware. If it is an avoidance thing…a pattern will be noticed. BUT if it isn’t then the parents NEED to be aware of any issue. I also agree…..when working with special needs children you do have to be aware of how you speak to them. These teachers know this. This makes me livid. I saw your other post that you have spoken to the principle and I hope that yields some explanation for you. If not, this is almost like that situation where that father sent his son in with a hidden recording device and found out the horrible way the teachers were speaking to his son. A sit down with the teacher on how to address when he isn’t feeling well does not sound unreasonable. If I am concerned I will not hesitate to request an IEP meeting myself (and yes you have the right to do that).

Lori Morton

It sounds like you guys have thought through the logistics possibilities of the issue but the bottom line is, you don’t say that to a kid, especially one with known medical issues. I work as an educational assistant with a boy on the spectrum, he is non verbal and uses an iPad mini with a speech program to communicate. He often tells me he has a head ache but has also been busted telling me that to avoid math. I still have to address the head ache, and note it in his communication book so the parents are aware. My point is, there is a proper way to address the complaints of illness and pain because you don’t want to miss the legitimate ones that can lead to other complications.

Jodi Langston

Could have been an honest question as to what he normally has done for him. It could have been worded differently, but more along the lines of meaning the of I really can’t do anything for a tummy ache. Or possibly he complains of a stomache ache every time he doesn’t want to do a certain subject in school…..or the teacher just messed up. Just remember if you go in hostile you will meet with hostile. Don’t escalate unless you have to. It’s all in the approach.

Lost and Tired

You make a really good point. Even if nothing malicious was meant, they shouldn’t be wording things that way.

Shalina J Black

Uhm…you’ll have to excuse my righteous indignation….But What. The. Hell?! I am going to have to presume that the teacher just had a brain fart because no teacher (whether dealing with special needs or neurotypical students) gets to use the phrase: “What do you want me to do about it?” That is just beyond the pale of reason. You are paid to take care of a child, which most of us consider our most valuable possession, and you better damn well take care of that child. (Mommy rant over). I say, “Get ’em”


I agree some what with chefaimee but I think isn’t gavin the one that does not say how he feels like he is in pain then it could have been that bad, but ya it is good to hear both sides.

Rob Gorski

I'm so sorry that you have to experience that, let alone you're little ones. Education is one of the toughest parts of being a special needs parent. We are asked to trust their teachers and one or two bad apples can make it very difficult to do so.


chefaimee @IanGJones you make a really good point.  That’s exactly why we have to handle things the way we do.  On the other hand, it seems as though Gavin isn’t cognitively capable of at least some of the more complex manipulative behaviors, as he once was.  He’s still a RAD kid son what you are suggesting is absolutely possible.  This is why we get both side of the story before freaking out on anyone.  🙂

Lost and Tired

Thank you for sharing that.


Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you frequently say yourself that Gavin is extremely manipulative. Two references come to mind: First, you’ve stated that he attempts to divide you and Lizze. Could he possibly be doing the same thing with the teacher and the two of you? Secondly, you have said that he gets overly dramatic – for example the pillow and the arm situation at the hospital not too long ago. I’m absolutely not trying to make any problems, and by now I think that you know that I’m not anti-Gavin and only care about your family. You have also said that he is unreliable when it comes to giving accurate reports in regards to his symptoms and that he has difficulty remembering nearly everything he’s told to do. It is clear that you were very angry when you wrote this post, I don’t blame you; I just would hate to see you damage the relationship between you and the teacher before everyone has a chance to get all the facts. I hope Gavin is feeling better.

Joey Caylor Spencer

I think its safe to say that no matter what the intention behind the comment, you don't say that to any kid who says they're sick. Add in his health problems and the fact he is autistic and very literal I would have turned around and demanded a explanation. My son doesn't say when he's sick or hurting until he's in extreme pain. I've had a hard time getting the school to realize that when he says it hurts .. IT HURTS!

Carol Dreyer

in reference to "how would you react". I have 2 situations to deal with. My daughter(non-autistic) has complain of stomach pains in the past to teachers and they have answered her in similar ways, just practically dismissing her. My son, autistic, who has made more serious claims of the way the staff has treated him, stated because of his disability, he cannot fully understand the situation and is unable to get the facts straight. I get so angry with both situations.


AutismParentMag Lost_and_Tired more education for teachers on ASC in Surrey there’s a course 4 teachers teaching downs kids but zero 4 ASC