I usually try my best to put a slightly amusing and funny spin on the craziness that is middle school, but sometimes there's something that really isn't so funny about the things we see. Face it, teachers see the underbelly of society a lot of the time, and a lot of what we see is downright tragic and sad.
Case in point.
I've talked about a student I had last year, Meltdown Boy, who was very, very smart but had absolutely no social or coping skills. Meltdown Boy had meltdowns in nearly every class nearly every day and it didn't take us long to realize that Something Is Very Wrong Here. We're talking about a kid who would lay down on the classroom floor and wail because he got teased on the bus. A kid who would stand with his head in his locker to avoid people. A kid who actually scared some of my big bad football players when he'd shriek and wail because you'd put a red "no homework turned in" stamp in his agenda. Not your typical 7th grade behavior.
We all suspected he had Asperger's Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism because he had so many of the characteristics. His mother, however, simply thought he had some "social problems", was ADD and apparently her physicians (they're military so you get what you get when you go see a doctor on post) didn't disagree with her. And, as teachers, since we aren't physicians, we can't come out and tell a parent that we suspect her kid has Asperger's without opening the door to some potential legal nastiness.
I have, in all honesty, never met a more miserable, depressed, unhappy child in my life. We all wondered how on earth he'd ever make it through high school. This is, after all, a kid who threatened suicide a number of times last year and apparently a few times this year. I have never, ever, in my life seen this child smile.
A few weeks ago the threat was particularly scary and, finally, his well-meaning but completely clueless mother took him to the doctor, he finally saw there was Something Very Wrong, and he was committed to a state mental hospital.
Word has come down that he has - finally - been diagnosed with Asperger's. Finally, finally, finally, there is a diagnosis which means he can get some kind of help with his problems. High school will probably still be hell for him, but perhaps he can get some therapies to help him.
So, as Ms Reading said when I told the team this at lunch, "It's nice to know we were right on this and maybe now he can get some help."
Good luck Meltdown Boy. Bless your sad little heart. I hope you finally find some happiness now that you'll be getting the help you need.