Friday, October 30, 2015

Ignorance and Judgement is Present in Every Type of School

It is common knowledge among the special needs community that as special needs parents we accept a level of ignorance and judgement from the public when it comes to our children; we even accept it from our family. While it shouldn't be so widely accepted now a days, it is and it seems to be spreading. This week I felt ignorance and judgement from a place no parent should ever feel it, one of my son's teachers. I know a lot of us have been there but that doesn't mean we should or that I am going to accept this as being normal.

Here's a little back story:

I've dealt with ignorance before. I've even written about my family's experience with the school districts we've dealt with in the past and it leading us to choose homeschool, Until now I'd never dealt with it from a homeschool teacher. I hope to never deal with this again. My family uses the K12 program which heavily pushes a General Education and Special Education curriculum for their students, as most schools do; however in our case my son's teacher doesn't require the General Ed class be attended if we can't make it. Now before you get all up in arms over this lack of inclusion-K12 is homeschool. It isn't exactly the same as a brick and mortar school.

With that said, this is what happened:

During Math class this week my son's teacher, whom has nothing to do with his case, asked us to wait ten minutes after class in the blackboard room. Of course I did as asked. When she finally came in she was full of attitude from the start. She immediately asked how Z was doing in General Education to which I replied that he wasn't going because his teacher doesn't require it seeing as though Zain is schooled with his little brother on the same level as him. I was surprised when she replied that she had only asked to see if she "had the right kid."

Now pay attention, this is where it gets good.

She followed this up by putting her nose so deep into things that are none of her business that I am surprised she didn't suffocate. She began by trying to tell me what is best for my son as far as his schooling and scheduling goes. Keep in mind this woman has never met my child or me nor has she looked at his case in depth. She is just a teacher that takes my son's homeroom teachers kids for Math. She didn't stop there though.

To sum it up, she went on to tell me that while making school and real world schedules meet up is hard it's something that must be done. I'd just have to try harder. Let me stop here and tell you that I home school two children with one computer. Between these two children I have 20 classes a day (some that are more than an hour long a piece), no less than 2 class connect classes with a teacher everyday, and 2 therapy sessions a week-all on the computer. Yet I'm suppose to find time for multiple additional classes that are 3 grade levels above where my son is all based on one woman's personal preference. Needless to say I was fuming at this point but she didn't stop there. She went on to tell me that "My choices are causing my son to be behind" [his peers in school]. At this point I was borderline homicidal.

I am extremely proud of myself for how I handled this, if you know me you will be too. I excused us from her class; told her to have a nice day; then emailed the teacher that is in charge of my son's case. His case manager was more than apologetic, which I appreciated more than she'll ever know. She also said she was going to have a talk with the teacher in question. Now let's just hope she does and this doesn't happen again. Until this point we were enjoying the K12 program.

Now this is my question, my point: When did teachers start thinking that it was OK to talk to a parent in this fashion? We know our children are behind, we set through IEP meetings, therapy appointments, and Doctors visits and listen to the percentages and levels several times a year. Did she say this stuff for fun? Did it make her feel better about herself to tell a mother that has worked her butt off over a decade that she was the cause of her child being behind? I'm assuming this teacher has no children of her own or she wouldn't have opened her mouth.

What is for sure is that she left this special needs mother confused. I felt every emotion a person can feel when she said these things. People need to think before they speak. I think it comes down to that. We are losing the ability to stop and think. When that happens people get their feelings hurt and families pay the price. While with this particular subject I desire for liberosis when it comes down to it this is one that we all must care about. The public needs to realize that this isolation we feel, this condemning judgment shown to us special needs parents extends into our schools as well.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Assume is Such a Nasty Word

I was suffering from writers block a few months back. I was so busy and stressed out over life, yet to my dismay my normal stress reliever (writing) wasn't producing results. I'd sit down in front of the computer and nothing, and more nothing followed that... after that, you guessed it, even more nothing. I was sure my brain had broken. It has been driving me insane. My conclusion to this problem?

I decided to start writing about my life instead of trying to come up with topics that'd grab attention.

My life, after all, is pretty awesome. Most days that is. Why not share it?! 

My Family

With that said: Here you go....

Please Forgive Me, I Woke Up Today Inside of Someone Else

When a bad day becomes a gift:

I wake up exceptionally early each day in order to get things done before my demon spawns fly out of their rooms and wreak havoc. Waking up that early isn’t fun but it is literally the only quite time I get a lot of days. Most days this desire seems to fall upon my children's "deaf ears" though. This morning was no exception.

I awoke at 5:45am and preceded to listen to music while I picked up the house and looked over their home school plan for the day. Looking over the plan and getting it ready is imperative to the day going smoothly. In case you don't already know, Zain has autism and can be a handful at times. He requires sameness each and every day. This routine is important to him being able to function. None of this diminishes how amazing he is though. In addition to Zain’s autism, Dryden has ADHD and as a result is beyond hyper and inattentive. At times it is way too much to take. I honestly think it is a whole lot for him to deal with too. His poor brain never stops. It is so extreme that he hurt his neck months back due to his hyperactivity.

Courtesy of:

Courtesy of:

But I digress…
Fifteen minutes after I got out of bed Zain sensed my presence missing from my room and came stomping into the living room. With utter selfishness I thought, "There goes my hour of alone time. No quite time today. Another day without it. I do believe this is a record by now." Of course I didn’t say any of this. Not saying the selfish things that we think is part of being a good parent. So, undoubtedly this isn't what I said. Instead I carried on with the mommy thing and said good morning, hugged him, and made breakfast.

Let me just take a moment to ask you this: Are there any other mothers or fathers out there that plead for that hour of quite time, even if part of it is spent cleaning? If you said you don't and you love having you children around you 24/7 I am here to tell you that you're a damn liar. We all entreat for that time. We love our children but it’s how we keep ourselves sane. You know that invisible "line" that tells you that you are a parent and a productive member of society, you know, the one that also reminds you that you aren't a rock star that has no responsibilities? You know that "line," it’s called reality. Yeah, that hour of quite keeps that line from blurring. So you see, knowing this makes it understandable that I was somewhat irritated by the whole day at this point.

Shortly after Zain woke up Dryden did too. He came out of his room rubbing his eyes, in nothing but underwear (which were in no way what he went to bed in.) He immediately asked if it was really a school day or if he dreamed it. To this Zain replied by saying, "Yes there is school Dryden, we have to do school every day. No stop." This came out in an extremely smart-ass tone. To which Dryden snapped back, "Nuh uh Zain, we get breaks." Now it is on. Zain's authority and his word have been questioned. Blood must be shed. (While I am kidding, in a way I am not.) It’s the one-sided thinking that Zain lives with as a result of his autism that caused this fight. He wasn’t giving up and the exchange lasted for about 5 minutes. What am I doing during this you may ask? I was laughing inside, yes, ok... I admit it. This has become such a common occurrence in our home we have to find the humor. I definitely found the humor in this, right away. I might as well have popped popcorn. It is hilarious the things a 9 and 12-year-old will come up with. I do believe I was compared to a disgraceful slave driver, a callous Police Officer, and the President of the United States.

Instead of getting mad in that moment I surprisingly realized that this is a boon, definitely a desirable state of mind to find yourself. A certain way that I can tell I’m a good mother. You see, nowhere in there did my children accuse me of being their friend. Obviously I'm doing something right. Amazing insight for me in my life. My point? Don't always assume something is going to ruin your day; those moments of stress can in turn be a piece of good fortune. I'm just now learning that. Sometimes assuming can cause you to wreck your day. What I assumed was going to end up being a stressful day ended up being made before 7 am. I doubt I’ll be lucky enough to have such a learning situation thrown at me again for a while but I'll take this smile and wear it for as long as I can.

Then again it seems maybe I haven't learned my lesson about assuming after all.

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