By the time Alex was preparing to enter kindergarten, his parents began noticing quirks in his behavior. Though precocious and mild-mannered, Alex struggled to control his emotions at times. His parents, Angi Brookshire and James Thompson, suspected what was recently diagnosed: Like more than a million children in the United States, their son has autism. We are concealing his true name to protect his identity.
The married couple was proactive, hiring an occupational therapist when Alex was 3 and notifying the staff at Alex’s school that their son may have unique learning needs. That was the fall of 2016. The parents never imagined Alex would be sent home 12 times his first year of kindergarten for behavior that Brookshire and Thompson said easily could have been handled at school if the staff had the proper training and adequate resources.
“He doesn’t handle social situations well at times,” Thomson said. “But how is he going to learn if they keep sending him home?”