Melina is the mother of Eros, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. Tired of the repeated situations of discrimination that her son was a victim of at school and, after feeling that she was not being listened to by either the authorities or the parents, she decided to publish a WhatsApp conversation on her Facebook profile that she sent to the chat “of mothers”, in which he wrote: “I am not looking for pity, I am looking for empathy”, but the responses were not what I expected.
Last year, when Eros was in his second year, Melina detected that the bullying he was receiving was becoming more frequent and that it was affecting him a lot. “She came to think of death and it was because of the rejection she had from her own classmates,” she sadly recalls. After repeated talks with the directors of the school in the city of La Plata in which she did not get answers, Melina had the idea of sending a message to the group of parents. “It was the only place where I felt like they were going to read and listen to me,” she explains. To her surprise, she only received a few responses, almost all of them telling her that they understood the situation and knew what was happening, but no family was willing to help or seek a solution.
When Eros started the garden at 3 years old, the teachers detected that the little boy did not respond to the instructions in the same way as the rest of his classmates. There began a pilgrimage by doctors and specialists, one even tried to medicate him. “It was quite difficult, because we went to various psychologists and psychopedagogues, but none of them gave us their exact diagnosis,” Melina recalls. Until when he was 6 years old, they found a child psychiatrist, who after several interviews, confirmed that Eros had Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Beyond the fact that Eros is a very intelligent boy because he entered first grade knowing how to read and write without being taught by anyone, Melina was worried about entering primary school. However, those years passed without problems, since “they had tolerance for his requests and always gave him a lot of support and understanding.” It was a state school and, although Melina affirms that she was not aware of the situation, the cabinet collaborated to give Eros a good education and he was able to graduate.
The situation changed completely in secondary school. Melina maintains that she never had favorable responses from the school cabinet or the directors, and she even says that many of the teachers were unaware of her son’s situation. For her, it is essential to train teachers in dealing with people with Asperger’s, but the managers never allowed it. “To this day the school situation in Eros continues in the same conditions,” says Melina. In search of making the problem visible, she decided to share what happened on the networks.
Eros finds it difficult to socialize, which is why his mother feels that ignorance makes “his colleagues do not accept him as he is, that they do not make him part of the activities and always exclude him.” Melina longs for a more inclusive education, and says that to achieve it, it is necessary to raise awareness in society. “Education should start from home – he thinks – and it should be more comprehensive.” In addition, it adds that in each educational institution there must be a team of professionals prepared for this type of case.
To parents who are going through a similar situation, Melina recommends that they first seek the help of a professional, but that once they have the diagnosis “go out and eat the world” and that under no circumstances can it be accepted that “a boy I don’t want to go to school anymore because it is hard for me. ” And she concludes: “It seems like a utopia, but hopefully making this kind of thing visible, help society change.”
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