So i’m slowly making my way down a new path with my son. He’s 6 and very much a character. From the beginning he’s been my challenging one. Sweet, sassy, opinionated and independent are just a few of the words that come to mind. He was a colicky baby who ended up in a correctional helmet at 3 1/2 months old. Along with this came physical therapy and lots of adjustments with the helmet.
This was my introduction to motherhood.
As a toddler he was not afraid to talk back, spit, make jokes, be goofy, and had an inability to recognize that the parents were in charge.
Around preschool, i began to wonder why my kiddo was such a challenge for his teachers as well. I knew how he was at home, but most of the challenges resulted from home stuff. Authority stuff. Following directions, etc. He loved socializing and was usually great with other kids… usually.
His problem was he socialized too much and only his way. He didn’t ‘get’ that there were social cues and boundaries with the other kids. This trickled into the classroom and I had meeting after meeting about behavior and attention issues and impulse problems.
I was told so. many. different. things.
Remembering this is my first experience with motherhood/navigating schools/dealing with teachers/following through with things at home, etc, i felt lost. I didn’t want to believe my kid was bad, and i knew he wasn’t. He was just going to always require more of his teachers than the mainstream student.
Can he help that? No.
Can I help that? Not really.
So it’s come to this path i’m on now where i’ve advocated for him to get extra help and support in his classroom. It’s taken until now, mid-December, to finally get this all accepted and moving forward… three months into the school year.
I’m mixed about my feelings for this scenario. I have seen both sides professionally, and now personally. First and foremost, i’m a mom. I’m a mom who’s honest and open about my kid. I don’t expect teachers to blow smoke up my ass, but on the other hand, i expect them to do whatever necessary to educate my kid.
The approval was given yesterday that services will be provided through his school, and my initial response and feeling was, “WHEW!! Thank goodness!”
But the more i’ve talked about it with people, they’ve made me feel I should have a different feeling. Like worry or shame, maybe? I felt relived that he could get support to succeed at school instead of me being the only person to try and explain and justify his behaviors. As a bonus, it’s all on the district’s dime, and if memory serves they even get money to accommodate him.
I was okay with it all until i read through the Occupational Therapists findings. I began to get a little sad. A little sad that he’s got to work harder than the other kids to get the same information. I’m sad because a little piece of my brain tells me that if i had been a better mom, maybe we could have avoided some of this. I’m worried that he will see the difference between the kids who get to just participate in class and ‘get it’ without having to be pulled out by three different specialists. I worry that my job to make him realize how fantastic and special he is just got a little harder, because I never want him to doubt himself. We can work with the thoughts and feelings of others, but if it’s coming from him, that would break my heart.
But then i do what i do best, and i suck it up. I take a deep breath. I am thankful I have the experience i have , and know what to ask for for my kid. I will not stand by and let him flounder and leave it to the school to figure it out for him.
We all know that wouldn’t happen.
I’m thankful that more than just his teacher get to meet him and hear the funny things he has to say. I’m hopeful this will strengthen his character and help him grow to see hard work makes a difference.
Am I ashamed my kid is ‘different’ ?
Absolutely not. I am proud he’s not like any other kid…… i wish daytime drinking was more socially acceptable so i could deal with it all a little better, but in the end, it is what it is and i wouldn’t trade him for the meekest, quietest overachiever in the world.
I’d love to hear from anyone else out there who has had to walk this path with the school system and their child.
My son will be working with an occupational therapist to strengthen his upper body and build up the muscles necessary to support writing and desk work. Along with this, he needs help with sensory input. He’s going to have some tools to use as an outlet for his overactive body instead of using classmates and disruptive items. Paired with that, he’ll be seeing a speech therapist to figure out how to make those pesky “r” sounds instead of “w” sounds… like Road instead of Woad. The spelling tests will be so much easier for him ! 🙂 Lastly, he’ll get to work with his case manager, a Special Education teacher, who will help him understand turn taking and patience and general conversation as it would be acceptable at school. Poopy Head is somehow not an acceptable call sign anymore
We haven’t gone down the road of seeking any sort of diagnosis or label for what he’s got going on. It doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of what’s necessary for him right now. I’m just glad school will be the cool place he gets to go learn stuff. Not the place he goes and cant seem to not get in trouble.
(although, i must say, he’s doing so much better than he was, and his teacher has assured me that even from the beginning of this school year, he’s already improved.) I’m hoping this continues, and it’s all looking like once we get it locked down and narrowed in, this will not be something that follows him his entire school career. Fingers crossed!!