Public School PTSD

Oh My Gosh!!!!  I usually spend hours thinking about and writing my blogs but I had to get this down ASAP, so forgive the brevity and poor composition!

I just got back from Glasgow Middle School (J's new home-base school) to sign a form giving them consent to do an OT evaluation on Jackson.  Even though he is homeschooled, J still has access to any services that are in his current IEP and/or any services that are recommended by a teacher.  Before leaving the autism program in October at Poe Middle School, he was referred for OT because his handwriting was poor...not because he has massive sensory issue...which is a whole other blog...

Anyway, so I brought J with me for what was supposed to be a quick trip in and out.  The minute he set foot into that building he lost his mind.  It was like watching Jekyll turn into Hyde right before my eyes as he passed through the doors.  You could see all his senses spike and his anxiety soar!  He whipped his head around like a caged animal and even crawled down the hallway on all fours barking - I am NOT KIDDING!

We made it into the woman's office after this bizarre episode and he immediately began spinning around wildly saying, "no detention, no follow your rules, no bad day, no Mr. Beret, etc..."  It was heartbreaking to watch.  I could barely comprehend what I was seeing.  He started kicking the desk and refused to even sit down in the chair.  We eventually made our way out and the second he passed back through those doors into the fresh air, he smiled and said to me, "Phew, that was close."

I began to cry in the car as I felt so guilty for not realizing sooner how bad the public middle school program was for him.  How could I not know and let him stay there for so long - 8 weeks of that is enough to create a powerful anxiety disorder for him that might last years.  We couldn't get him within 100 feet of a dentist for 5 years after they strapped him to a board when he was only 4 to do a routine cleaning.  This kid never forgets and harbors anxiety on a deep level that I never understood until today.

I promise not to expose him to that again until he has recovered from his experiences at Poe Middle might be awhile and I am OK with that!


  1. Ally,

    I am sorry sorry for you and Jackson! Reading this breaks my heart,too. Especially,since I get to see how much he enjoys coming to a "school" like environment every Saturday!

    Sending both of you virtual hugs!!

  2. Oh, my word! K qualifies for OT for handwriting, too, but not sensory. We left our last dental visit in tears (both of us) because they tried to hold her down and threatened to make me leave the room. SOOOO glad for J that you are his Mama and have his best in mind. He's a blessed boy!

  3. JJ - that is what makes this especially frustrating for me - it is not a structured environment that he is rebelling against, it is THIS specific environment. He does awesome in all sorts of "formal" setting where calm and focused behavior is expected. But there is something about that program/teachers that sent him screaming to the hills!!

    AW - I'm so sorry for K @ the dentist:( We finally found a great one up here if you are desperate and wanted to make a bit of a drive. I am trying out these new handwriting pencils this week and will let you know if they help J.

  4. oh geez, poor J! my heart breaks for him, but at least he kept it in perspective and has a sense of humor about the situation!

  5. Hi Allison, I csnnot imagine how hard that must have been for both of you...I admire your strength and conviction to help him find his way in this world!


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