To enroll Aaron in the job skills school that he attended for two years involved weeks of testing through our local high school. We had home schooled Aaron for 8 years and so there was the process of also enrolling him at Goddard High School so that they could refer him on to the special school. Finally everything was done and Aaron was ready to go. He hopped on the bus – his first bus! – and seemed completely at home. I was a mess!
The testing had taken longer than planned and so Aaron was a few days late in starting his new school. On his first day, the staff assigned a student to be Aaron’s shadow all day. She was to help Aaron learn the ropes and understand his new routine. Ashley was a very nice girl, but Ashley was also very bossy. Aaron doesn’t do bossy. All day long, this is what Aaron was hearing: “Aaron, don’t sit there. Aaron, sit here. Aaron, don’t pick up that pen. Aaron, don’t put that in your pocket. Aaron, put your notebook here. Aaron, don’t go in that room. Aaron, be quiet! Aaron, don’t go outside. Aaron, don’t eat that!” As the day wore on, he was becoming more and more agitated until finally he started flicking Ashley on her arm with his finger and thumb. Those little stinging reminders to Ashley were Aaron’s way of telling Ashley to please hush and leave him alone! The school called me that afternoon, telling me the situation, and reminding me that what Aaron was doing was considered assault. Assault?! Oh my! We had some work to do.
That night as we ate supper, Gary and I asked Aaron all about his day. He was not impressed with his experience, mostly because of his bossy shadow. We tried to smooth the situation and then we told Aaron over and over during supper, “Aaron, tomorrow do NOT touch Ashley.” All evening, at every opportunity, we reminded him, “Aaron, tomorrow do NOT touch Ashley.” Before he left on the bus the next morning my parting words were, “Aaron, remember, do NOT touch Ashley.” Amazingly, I didn’t receive a call from the school that day and so we were very hopeful.
We were anxious to hear all about Aaron’s day as we sat down to eat that night. We didn’t want to harp on the negative and so we listened to Aaron describe the events of his day. Finally, I asked the question – “Aaron, did you touch Ashley?” He quickly answered, “No!………………….but I hit her with my notebook.” Oh, my literal Aaron! We didn’t tell him not to hit her with his notebook. It’s hard to cover all the bases with such a black and white, literal thinker. And so we had to change our instruction to, “Aaron, don’t touch Ashley with your hands or ANYTHING else!” He and Ashley were never good friends. Go figure.