Why is it so hard?

Why does it all have to be so hard? 

I am pretty frustrated at the moment. I think I’m upset because up until now, we’ve actually had it pretty easy. We have gotten what we needed for our son with some elbow grease but not needing advocates, and lawyers, and what not, you hear so many people complaining about in the Special Education community. 

I am not saying we have not had to hold our ground and not let the school district push us around, but for the most part, when we showed muscle, they backed down. 

My lil man, well he is now transitioning to middle school. He is almost done with the 5th grade and we are trying to work with his IEP team to find the right fit for him next year. This time however, we are dealing with ego’s and agenda’s that have nothing to do with our son. His current SDC teacher has been pushing the district to create a program for kids with behavior issues in the middle school (and possibly high school environment) for 3 years now. What an admirable thing in my opinion. I think there SHOULD be a program like his in the middle and high schools. Absolutely. I just don’t think my kid should be in it, and especially because it will be at that school. Yes, I said “that school.” I have heard horror stories about how the student body treats kids with special needs, and how the administration doesn’t really do anything about it. It is a culture at some schools, to treat Special Education students with lack of empathy and no respect, and thus, the fight. 

I think this program my son is in now, the one they want to start in the middle school, has done wonders for him. I also feel like it has possibly restricted him in some ways the past couple of years. However, because I can not clone my child and run him through both paths at one time to see which one is best, I have to trust my gut. 

The current program was a pilot program. My son has been in it for several years. Five to be exact. First through now 5th grade. The program has adapted and changed along the way. However, at some point we feel it has failed our son. I can’t tell you the exact moment it happened. I don’t think it happened intentionally. I surely, don’t think it happened with malicious intent. I do not blame the teacher or administration for the fact that it happened. However, I am a realist and I can not ignore the fact THAT IT HAPPENED. Somewhere along the line in this pilot program, my son missed his window to seperate himself from the group of kids. They all came into the program together, they are all giving the same guidelines, homework, and treated the same… Somehow.. his IEP turned into a GEP (GROUP education plan). ONE out of the 5 of them moved to full time mainstream only,  ONE. There was a moment when our son could have been moved, we asked that he be moved, they chose NOT to move him. We didn’t fight it, we should have fought harder. We didn’t. 

So now, here we are. 

At a point where I have never been more perplexed about what to do in my life. 

I do not know WHAT to do. Literally. I am frozen. I am frozen in fear, I am frozen in worry. I am frozen in self-doubt. I am frozen in blame, and shame. I am frozen in every single possible emotion that is available to me for I feel as though my child’s ENTIRE future is riding on this ONE decision: What program is best for Steve, at which school and at what level of engagement. 

There are times when I just want to explode. Like literally, internally com-bust, the pressure is so much. Pressure from so many sources. My kid, even though he has no clue he is doing it, pressures me into doing what is best for him since he can’t do that himself. My ex-husband, again unknowingly, puts pressure on me to do all the research and to “know everything” and inform him as to what is the best path. My ex-in-laws and the family…. I can’t even get STARTED on how much pressure they put on me.  My own family who literally has NO CLUE about what I am even going through raising my two kids with ADHD (and my son who also has autism). The pressure from the school and the IEP team who only shares PART of the information with me, then expects me to make corrections and additions. None of this even compares to the amount of pressure I put on myself. 

I just do not see why it all has to be so hard.

There is a child, who is named Steve, who has learning disabilities, several of them. Steve needs help with his education. Period. Why is it so hard to find what is best for Steve?

It all seems so simple to me, so why do we all have to make it so damned hard. Well you see now, his teacher , who is the leader of his IEP team, wants him to continue in HIS behavior program because that’s how he positioned it to the district, THESE KIDS, need this program, they are all moving on to middle school and will not survive without it. And while yes, my son DOES have some behavioral issues, they are now 90% or more concentrated in the area of academic unpreparedness (remember i mentioned ego’s and agenda’s, yeah that!). Steve no longer, rolls on the floor and can’t sit still and listen to the teacher. He does listen for the most part, at least that’s what his daily behavior report is telling me. He now has a harder time staying engaged and focused in class and getting his ideas in his head out onto paper. The “behaviors” have come to virtually none in a day, or even several weeks. So I am not seeing how a behavior program is suited for him anymore (especially when said Behavior program, is at a school that does not take seriously the treatment of its Special Education members, as I’ve been told by MULTIPLE people). 

Would this program be a better option if it were located in the ONE middle school in the district that has the BEST handle on special education I have ever seen (I’m not kidding, EVER SEEN!). Absolutely, however… isn’t there always a “however,” – that school already has a Special Education program for Autism. 

So I look into THAT program since my son also has an autism diagnosis. 

Only problem, that school wants and needs the recommendation of his IEP team for the program. The IEP team who told me, they didn’t even know a single thing about that program in the district and who are pushing their OWN new program and who basically told us that if we opt not to put our son in this new program, that his life will be completely ruined and he may even get kicked out of school because that is what has happened to some of the other kids they’ve seen. Yeah, THAT IEP team. You think THEY will make the right choices for my son? (ok I’m taking a breath now… breathing innnnnn breathing ouuuuuuuuuuut… sorry about that! I digress). 

Ohhhhhh… But wait… I thought WE were “members” of the IEP team? Do “We” not get a VOTE on this? And As his parents, shouldn’t our vote count MORE than your vote? It is just so darned frustrating. 

Why does it have to be so hard and complicated?

 

~me 

 

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Rediculously Rediculous 

I get that everyone has a different parenting style. 

I get that most people, admittedly, or not, judge other people’s parenting style. 

What I do NOT get is how someone can tell someone else how to parent, without walking in the other persons shoes. 

Let’s take a parent sponsored FIFTH  grade dance party for example. All parents are invited to participate in the planning and throwing of a congratulatory celebration for the class. A donated space has been offered to the class for the event. Every child who wanted to attend was asked to donate $10 to the “cause” to get a DJ, photo booth, food and decorations. The parents who are donating their time and energy to put on this thing are doing it for the kids. It’s been a tradition for years, some would like to see it continue. 

But then, there are the parents who want to tell the “committee” how to do it. These parents write several long winded emails outlining all of their expectations for the event. Expectations that range from questions about serving alcohol to 10 and 11 year olds to expecting a dancing style that would not embarrass their grandmothers (yes, those words were used). 

When these “concerned” parents with all the opinions are offered a position to chaperone the event to ensure them a position of caring for their own child’s behavior and that of others since CLEARLY we committe members and chaperones have raised nothing but VILE children, they say no. However, they have no issue in writing MORE e-mails expressing specific duties for each chaperone to agree to. 

So, let me get this straight, you are not offering any extra donation money, none of your time hunting down the best deals on decorations, food, or entertainment. You have not offered to help with set up, take down or creating signs or goodie bags. However, you want to tell the committee how to run the event item number by item number and still not even chaperone yourself. 

I have 3 words for you…. GO SCREW YOURSELF! 

Honestly, just go screw yourself. There are several of you that I have known for MANY years now that I will NEVER be able to respect again. It has really been an eye opening experience. How dare you feel that you have to tell me what my job is while chaperoning. How dare you, oh darling person who personally knows every person on the committee, tell us we don’t know how to parent, protect, and preserve the well being of the children. 

Let me guess, you are going to tell me how to to throw my next birthday party now too. 

I mean I always knew there were “these” people out there……But WOW. Just amazed, saddened, and so very disappointed.

~me

It is just a TOOTH

A rough outline of the conversation with Brooklyn tonight. 

 

My dear dear Brooklyn. Your tears tonight are killing me. Why are you crying in sheer terror just because I want to check your loose tooth? Every time I come toward your mouth you let out a cry for the ages. It’s just a tooth for crying out loud! 

 

It took me a while to get the fact that you were not crying over the several loose teeth in your mouth. You were crying over what the soon to be missing teeth would symbolize. You were crying in anguish of what’s about to come…. The pre-teen “ugly” years. 

 

The fear of that missing tooth might mean the cute boy might not like you anymore. The fear that you will be made fun of because you have a hole where a tooth once lived. The fear that everything is about to change. Everything. 

 

You have NO IDEA how beautiful you are. That your beauty resides not on your skin, in your clothes or the style of your hair. YOUR beauty, Brooklyn, resides inside your heart. Your beauty resides in your compassion, your kindness, your work ethic, your infectious joy, your singing, and your friendship. Your beauty is so much more than what is happening in your mouth. 

 

Yesterday, you asked me, “What does overcoming obstacles mean?” This baby girl, this, is an obstacle you will have to overcome. I will tell you this though…. No one will do it with nearly as much thoughtfulness as you.  

 

I am sorry I never made sure your questions and concerns were heard before your Dad and I just moved ahead with plans for your teeth. I will try to do better next time. I do feel the decisions are the best for you and they were made with love and concern. 

 

Here is the other thing I’ll tell Ya, if this boy stops liking you because your baby tooth came out and there isn’t one there to replace it right now, then he isn’t worth your time. But from what I’ve seen, I don’t think an earthquake can rattle this boys attention away from you. 

 

It’s time for bed now sweet darling. Are you feeling better? Yes, Mama thank you. You are welcome my love. You are welcome. 

 
 

Image is of Brooklyn this morning wearing her favorite shirt when she was in a much happier mood and we were NOT discussing missing teeth and jacked up smiles.