I used to dread these. My kid is only in second grade, but our journey into education land was wrought with frustration and issues, and many many many questions. Starting in Pre School, my son had issues with school. Apparently above and beyond the usual “he’s just a boy and they aren’t programmed for typical classroom settings”. He was unable to sit still and participate. He was a head-scratcher for the teachers, though, because he was smart. It’s not like they could say he was disruptive and it resulted in him not participating. The problem was that he sometimes over participated while simultaneously disrupted the kids around him. And to add salt to the wound, refused to use socially acceptable language.
I wont rundown all his offenses because there is a mega-gig limit to this blog entry and I’m sure I’d exceed it according to some of his first teachers. However, things began to turn around in Kindergarten
Yes… i said that right. Pre School was a loooooong road of headaches.
Kindergarten would have been the same way had we not struck gold with his teacher. A teacher who, combined with his charm and spirit, saw in my kid a need to accomplish something positive or his entire educational career would be one negative experience after another on a daily basis. She had to break down my son’s days into five minute increments to find the positive behavior and rebuild from there. It began to work! Things started sssllllooowwwllly progressing. I did my part and got him evaluated for sensory issues on the tip of a good friend whom I still credit with providing me that missing puzzle piece. Sensory issues. Not ADD or ADHD or Autism or any other disorders you can throw an initial at. This seemed to be the missing link.
But we had to move… again.
I carried over the new info to his first grade teacher and she continued to help build up his positive behaviors. Once I got him into outside therapy (Occupational Therapy) to support the minimal services he (barely) qualified for at school, things began to progress quicker and a lot of his issues started to smooth out. He’s by no means completely finished and on level playing ground, but this last parent/teacher conference had me leaving with my head held high, a smile on my face, and a sense of pride for my child.
Something every parent deserves. Something every child deserves to have a parent feel about them.
My son is such an interesting case to me. I’ve worked with and been around a few kids before having my son. I thought I had a small inkling of what I was in for, but really I had no clue. My background has allowed me some cracked windows that I had to shove open with sheer determination. I’m so glad I fought.
For all the times i’ve had people question my son’s need for extra help, I finally have solid proof we’ve been doing right by him the past year and a half. For all the tilted heads and raised eyebrows and comments like, “Ok, but isn’t that just him being ‘a boy’ ?” I can honestly say this;
I know my child. I may not know much about a lot, but I know everything that needs knowing about my kids. Especially my son. Nothing about this child is from a mold. I have had many heart-wrenching cries and frustrations over/because of/for this kid and it’s all been worth it because it’s led us to this place. A place where he is enjoying reading. He’s is keeping up with math, he is loving and excelling at science, and he is a role model to the new kids in class because he loves helping others. He has a teacher who is proud of her student because he participates, volunteers, responds, and is an important and necessary member of their classroom community. His teacher finds joy in teaching him.
Please do not judge my child based on his appearance. He looks like a typical kid, yes. He’s so much more than that. He needs a little more help than the average 7 year old, but he’ll eventually outgrow that. Please do not downplay his requirements because you are not comfortable with it. His success does not depend on you, it depends on him. If I do not ensure he is given the tools to thrive, then what am I doing? So many people like to judge nowadays. We have an overabundance of desk chair critics and it hardens our perception of the world. It’s a shame, because if people stop assuming they know what’s best for others, they might actually admit what they can better right in front of them. My kid is somewhere in the middle of needing a lot of help, and not needing much. It’s a tough spot to be in sometimes, but it’s where we live. It’s our experience and our lives.
For those of you who are out there surfing blogs blindly and in a vegetative state because you’ve been wrung out from a day of fighting and bickering and talking back and loving and cuddling and reasoning and arguing with children, it gets better! I swear it! It might take half a decade, but the skies will clear up a bit. Honest! Have a drink. Have a moment. Cry/scream/punch the couch pillows. Do what you need for yourself to get through those hard moments, but know that at some point you will look at your child and feel like it’s all finally come together.
at least, this is my hope. Until then, I will raise my glass to all the parents out there in the thick of it, and all the parents who will be in the trenches for the long haul. I have it light and airy compared to a whole lot of you.
Wow… I was originally going to write a light and fun piece about my kid finally knocking one out of the park but it turned emotional…. go figure.