A Cow Amongst Sheep

“So, SP, do you want to do some work now?”


Thus went school yesterday.

But the teaching assistant did ask…and SP is never anything but honest.

He’s also not one to be swayed but what others are doing. It’s not just that he’s a black sheep amongst the class flock; he’s a  cow!

At the moment it’s cute and endearing, but I’m not really how long this will hold sway. An obstinate 4-year-old is one thing; but a defiant 15-year-old? Undoubtedly by some point he’ll be less likely to get his own way and get into trouble.

In which case I can’t help but feel that mainstream schooling isn’t in his best interests long-term. Can a system that likes things done in a particular way meet the needs of someone so intent to do it his own way? But the nearest ASD-specific schools are so far away. I’m not sure what’s more likely to change: SP or the local authority’s realisation that there’s a need for accessible support and tailored education. Both are the definition of stubborn.

But when SP wants to do it, it’s all there. He’s taken in everything taught whilst he’s shielded his ears on the carpet; he knows how to form letters, even if he refuses to pick up a goddamn pencil; in passing conversation he’ll thrown in some maths.

After piling up the daily homework sheets for 3 weeks, SP finally decided he wanted to tackle them all in one hit. Ok, he has no interest in picking up a pencil, but his letter formation (“round the face, down the hair and give her a curl” is how they learn to write ‘g’ these days apparently) and phonics sounds were spot on. He rattled through them. And again. And again and again and again. When he’d done he gathered the sheets and threw them in the air. “Surprise!”

You’re not kidding! Too right I’m surprised.

When I showed a video of this to his class teacher she laughed. He mimicked her perfectly. “He’s happy to sit during the sessions but he won’t speak. But he’s obviously taking it all in.”

I think they were also surprised that he actually joined in with everything in PE today, rather than sticking to whichever piece of apparatus he likes the most. So much so, he’s got Star of the Week. (Again! And he’s only been there for five weeks!

It’s been a good week for SP. I don’t expect him to comply with everything the same way an NT child would: he doesn’t have that need to please others (which is by turns infuriating and refreshing). But thankfully, right now, his school are thinking along the same lines. Which is just as well as SP getting along, albeit in his own way, makes for a far happier time for him and thus a far easier time for everyone else. And that’s what I hope for most: for him to be happy going about things in his own way.

If only society would see that the cows are just as good as the sheep. Things would be a lot happier and easier all round.



  1. Wanda B. Victorian · December 24, 2016

    I have a 23 year old autism spectrum child. His symptoms were not as pronounced as SP’s and so the closest to a diagnosis I got was the school being willing to label him obsessive defiance disorder. I disagreed with the diagnosis. So that left me to figure it out mostly on my own (I did have a family friend who happened to be and Occupational Therapist who deals with kids like this who helped in the early stages).

    Anyway, I felt compelled to comment because my SP is an auditory learner like your guy seems to be. “He’s taken in everything taught whilst he’s shielded his ears on the carpet”. I discovered this in my boy when I was giving him crap for not listening in the story time at church. (He was 5 or 6 years old and crawling around looking under chairs and peering into holes.) He told me he was listening. Ah Ha! I had him! “Okay, what was the story about!” He quoted the whole dang thing back nearly word for word! (He has also sung songs he has only heard once, played a guitar song on his tuba with one hearing and no notes.) So I had to change my tactic and not insist that he listen but insist that he “look like he’s listening”. And then I had to teach him what that meant: look at the person and not move around. My older boy picked up social cues on his own. My SP needed to have social norms and cues pointed out and explained.

    My SP is very smart (like yours seems to be) but when he isn’t interested in something he isn’t just “not interested”. He doesn’t “give a flying rats ass” about it. The trick was to find ways to make him want to care. “I know this is stupid, but if you want A you have to put up with B and C.”

    FYI my boy has turned out fine. He has a group of friends that he meets with regularly. They’d be labeled nerds by others but they are good young men. He works from home as an artist. This cuts down on the need to deal with people he can’t comprehend (lucky devil-I wish I could do that!) He isn’t getting rich quick but has reached the stage where he is contemplating moving out and I think with a room mate and some minor hovering on my part (ie.make sure he doesn’t live off of eggs and apples and remembers to pay his rent), he will succeed. There is hope. Granted, your case seems more pronounced than mine but I think there is always hope if you keep plugging along!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wanda B. Victorian · June 18, 2017

    Thanks for the like. You’ve been off line now for awhile. I was worried.


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