(Lisa Kahn hugs her son Grayson, 7, who was diagnosed with autism in 2017. He was expelled from school for striking an educational assistant. He now stays at the family home in Guelph, Ont., getting private instruction from the school district while his parents appeal the expulsion.)

Lisa Kahn developed a daily routine this fall. She’d eat breakfast, feed her family and get her two children ready for school – Grayson, a seven-year-old boy with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes, and his older sister, Avery. After she dropped them off, she’d practise deep breathing with help from an app on her watch.

And then she would brace herself for the phone call.

At some point during the day, she knew that Grayson’s school was likely to call and ask her to pick him up because he was causing trouble. If she made it through the day without the phone ringing, she’d steel herself at pickup for a staff member to approach and tell her about something awful her son had done…

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