by Kevin Hosseini
What I remember first about school was the bell in the hallway. Any time it rang and I was close to it I became agitated and scared. The bell hurt my ears. It startled me so much I got angry and felt like kicking or hitting or yelling. I wanted to take the pain away and give it to somebody else.
Everyday I’d go to the cafeteria for lunch. There was also a bell by the cafeteria. The bell rang and hurt my ears. I’d cover my ears and I couldn’t eat. The bell made me angry and I felt like kicking or hitting or yelling.
The bell was outside the boy’s bathroom. I didn’t go to the bathroom because I was afraid the bell would ring. My mom tells me it wasn’t until I had therapy for my ears that I was able to go to the regular boy’s bathroom at school. I held my pee and went to the bathroom at home.
The teacher told me the bell was for a reason. It told the kids when it was time to go to class, time for recess, time for lunch, and time to go home. For me the bell was the most scary thing at school. I thought the bell was used to hurt my ears. I thought they were punishing me.
One day the bell went off and wouldn’t stop. It seemed to go on forever. All the kids got up and it was chaos. The teacher told me to get in line. The bell didn’t stop. I covered my ears. I wanted the bell to stop so I kicked a girl in line. “Fire Drill” someone told me. I didn’t know what fire drill meant. That’s when I learned that the bell went off if there was a fire in the school. Sometimes we’d pretend there was a fire but there wasn’t a fire. The bell still scared me.
Another day we had a fire drill in the morning. It made me agitated. It rang and rang and rang. Now I knew that bell was for fires! Then I went to lunch and the bell rang again. I screamed. I thought we were having a fire. I yelled and yelled and yelled. Somebody grabbed me and held me so I couldn’t hit or kick. I screamed more because I thought the school was on fire.
They called my mom to pick me up. I was happy I was safe.
The bell bothered me until I was in the 6th grade.
Kevin Hosseini is 20 years old. He’s living in supported living home and is writing his impressions of being on the autism spectrum. His website is www.kevingallery.com.
Debra (editor and Kevin’s mom) comment: It wasn’t until having a long conversation with Kevin while driving to Mexico this week that this story came out. Until this week we thought Kevin was agitated in the cafeteria because of all the kids and the unstructured time. Kevin had auditory integration therapy when he was in 2nd grade that helped with some of his sound sensitivities. Auditory integration therapy is a ten-day listening program that helps with hypersensitive hearing issues.