Once Upon a Time in Autism Land


March 12, 2009 by Marj Hatzell

Once upon a time, there was a Princess Queen and  Prince Darling and they lived happily ever after.  Well, I mean, eventually they will live happily ever after, but for now they are happily.  The Queen and  Prince Darling have two beautiful little princes who rule the Kingdom of Autism.

Prince Bug Boy and Prince Bugaboo were fair and wise Princes.  In Autism Land, they gave everyone super powers.  All residents of Autism Land can hear better, see better, smell better and feel more strongly than anyone that has ever lived.  The Princes also decided that the Autistics should be better at electronics, video games and computers than anyone else.  And, for an added bonus, Prince Bugaboo made sure everyone was an expert locksmith and could do human slinky routines up and down stairs and on counter tops and knee walls.  It was a happy, happy place.  The Princes were happy.  The Queen and Prince were happy.  Everyone was happy.

But not really.

See, Prince Bug Boy went to the Kingdom of School.  He was learning tons, was pretty much the smartest kid in class, but had a tough time fitting in.  He had to go to the Kingdom of School in the Land of Popular.  The Populars just did not understand the Autistics.  See, the Autistics spoke a different language.  They didn’t look at Popular faces and they didn’t know how to socialize with the populars.  In fact, the Autistics wanted badly to fit in with the Populars, so badly that Prince Bug Boy begged the Queen and Prince Charming for UB Funkys and Bakugan and Pokemon and Crocs and other stuff that the Populars had.  The Queen and Prince Charming sometimes indulged but quickly realized that no toy or article of clothing or book or hat was ever going to make the social situation better.  The Autistics were different than the Populars and it was going to take much, much more to fit in.

They tried Sports. They tried Boy Scouts. They tried classes.  And still, the populars didn’t really want to play with the Autistics.  In school, the populars would form secret clubs and exclude the Autistics, mostly because they didn’t have the fun toys or because they couldn’t run as fast on the playground.  And still the Autistics persisted. They wanted to belong.  So the Populars would let them in the clubs, only to form new secret clubs.

It all came to a head one day when Prince Bug Boy was feeling especially vulnerable. His ears were hurting and because of his super-hearing-power he was a bit on edge.  One of the populars called him mean and said he was mean to everyone.  And the playdates dried up.  The party invites stopped coming.  And then the ultimate happened.  One of the Populars called Prince Bugaboo “crazy”.  Prince Bug Boy started spiraling down and crashed and burned and melted down for days.  So the Queen talked to the Smartest Teacher Ever and they hatched a plan.

Next month is Autism Awareness month.  The Queen is going to talk to the class about autism, read some stories and do an activity to help the kids understand and be a little more accepting.  She is also going to talk a bit about bullying, since the Autistics are an easy target (a very, very easy target).  The teacher even heads up the school-wide Autism project, where each child writes on and decorates a puzzle piece and they do a really neat event.  The Queen is amused.  She is happy that the Smartest Teacher Ever is so willing to work with the Autistics and the Populars and help them all get along and accept each other.  The Queen and the Smartest Teacher Ever know that they will never be best buddies and don’t expect them to be, but they sure would like them to get along just a tad better.

13 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in Autism Land

  1. natalie says:

    i hope everything works out. my niece goes to a special school for autistic kids. she is very high functioning compared to some of them and loves school. she has always loved school, but when she hit 2nd grade and the kids started to treat her differently in her regular school they decided to move her. they didn’t want her to lose her love for school because of some mean kids. they are fortunate that they could afford the special school. i’m so glad you have a great teacher! that makes all the difference!

  2. Marta says:

    I think the Queen and the Smartest Teacher Ever are awesome and have the best ideas.
    I don’t even know where kids get those things from, my daughter is three (three!!?) and today she was putting down a little friend at school. She never had that kind of example at home so where was that coming from?! I hope she won’t be doing it again (not after the looong talk we’ve had) but I will be watching much more closely and talking a lot more about friendship and acceptance.

  3. RuthWells says:

    Go get ’em, Queen. Great idea.

  4. Anjali says:

    I hope the Queen gets through to these kids…That would make for an awesome happy ending.

  5. Look at you rocking the land of autism!
    I hope the Populars ease off a little after the smartest teacher in the world’s idea!
    You are the Champion! (Queen)

  6. Melanie says:

    Gosh that sounds a lot like “the Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss…the whole populars being mean to the autistics. I hope your plan works.

  7. Kathy says:

    You might have heard of the above. My preschool is doing it at an early intervention level. Not sure if it translates to elementary school. Stay strong, Queen.

    Kathy from Canada

  8. HG says:

    Go Queen! (My heart is breaking for the Prince).

  9. nutmeg says:

    It sounds like the Princes go to the best school in the kingdom!

  10. Fantastic.

    What can we do to help out with Autism Month?

  11. pkzcass says:

    It breaks my heart that Prince Bug Boy has to go through this. He’s so lucky he has you for a momma. Hail to the Queen!

  12. Muffy says:

    Outstanding idea your majesty.

    It’s hard for parents of non-autistic children sometimes to remember to educate their kids. Thanks for being a part of making ALL the children more compassionate, more loving and more aware of the world around them.

  13. GeekChick says:

    Your Royal Majesty,
    If there is anyone on this planet that can touch those Populars and help them to see the errors of their ways, it is you. You are the Queen for a reason! It is breaking my heart, too, to think of Prince Bug Boy having such a hard time. As I watch my own son struggle with acceptance, it is really a tough thing for a mom. Luckily, he is Star of the Week this week and the positive attention he shall get will help. Let me know how it goes! This is an awesome idea!

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