Watching us, watching me, watching him

I heard today that Zak will be assessed while I’m teaching him. It’s a little unnerving as, after just four days in the job, I’m inevitably being assessed too. The purpose of the visit is to get Zak’s autism recognised by the local authority.

Zak, if I’m being honest, wore a little thin today. His perpetual questioning would test the patience of a Saint. I’m starting, in the nicest possible way, to filter some of the stuff thrown at me. Often this means I am talking over him, to direct him back to his work. At one point today, I stopped just as he was finishing this sentence ‘…why would you ride a donkey if it was dead?’.

He is preoccupied by death and danger. Everything is a potential threat to him. Often he recounts folk tales which are the subject of his recurring nightmares.  One story involved a lake, near to his home back in Iran. The lake contained an entire town of people. One winter, when the lake froze over, the entire town perished. In comparison to how Zak delivered the story, that’s a very, very abridged version. The point of it, I suppose, was to warn Zak against going on the frozen lake.  He believes it happened, despite my assurances it’s false.

In a few days time, he and his father will be visiting a local Secondary school, to check its suitability for next term. This is despite assertions from the school that Zak should be taught in a specialised environment. I suspect his parents don’t wish to consider that their son may have an emotional and behavioural disorder, and this is quite understandable.

Zak showed me a picture he had drawn of a volcano. The volcano was not erupting he said, as it had a large lid placed on it. I felt bad for filtering his questions earlier and promised myself to be more patient with him.


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