I have a litany of topics to blog about. Friday was one of those days... But some of the events, revelations, and conversations are still too painful to talk about with grace. Several of you have had the opportunity to listen to my rant, and I am forever thankful for the people who I can "dump" on. I am also forever thankful for my son's teacher, Dana.
But what I can write about is choices... I work for and live in a district that primarily does what parents want. Threaten a lawsuit and you can usually get your way. I do not want to operate that way and I am a trusting person. I trust that others are making the best decisions for my children. They are, afterall, the ESE professionals. They are the ones who went to school for the skills to work with children like mine.
On the same token, I expect my students' parents' to trust me to make the right decisions for their children. I don't particularily care for parents who tell me how to run my classroom. I sincerely appreciate their input about their child and suggestions. But don't tell me how to run my classroom. So, I pray that I give that same respect to my children's teachers.
Zachary has been with an amazingly patient, loving, and structured teacher. She has pushed Zach, she has nurtured Zach, and she has disciplined Zach. She has brought the best out in him and she has stood up for us, time and again. Ryan has also had great teachers, but Dana belongs on a pedestal.
The ESE aides that work with my kids are equally phenomenal. They push and nurture my kids and are forever patient with them - too patient sometimes, but anyway...
I know... get to the point.
My boys are "intellectually disabled" - I love that term. Anyway, they would not function in a regular classroom. Mainstreaming these guys would not work. It would come at a huge cost to all involved parties. I understand that. And I am definitely advocating for that.
My school district allows parents to choose, with certain parameters, which school they choose to send their children to. My boys go to Venice Elementary because they are the school in south county with the classroom they need.
I don't have a choice as to which elementary school to send them to. I was told where they had to go.
Many parents have a choice as to which teachers they children have. There are usually several per grade level and parents can choose (again with parameters). I don't have a choice. I absolutely love Dana, so I'm lucky!
But next year, there is only one teacher who has a classroom that services my little men. That means Zach and Ryan will be in the same class. A kindergartner and 4th grader. Together. Under one roof. Not fair for Dana or Ryan.
So I lack choice, again.
Ryan has manipulated his therapists into thinking he can only say 3 or 4 words. At home, I've lost count of the words he says. In fact, this morning, he said, "Momma, I hate you." But that's another topic... Ryan acts like a total brat, has a temper tantrum, flops on the floor, and tells his therapists, "No." So what do they do? End therapy and send him back to his room. Ryan needs a different therapist. But, again, I lack choices.
So I am asking they be sent to a different school. A school that specializes in children like mine. A school that doesn't have a ton of choices either, but at least everyone at the school can handle children like mine. And the principal won't sit in the meetings and give me patronizing looks. Or give me this God-awful look of "sympathy" when she sees me holding hands with my boys. As if I need her sympathy. Try understanding, hon, it works better. (Wow, the sorority girl in me just popped out and wrote that.)
A school where the specials are tailored to their needs. Zachary won't have to go to specials with kindergartners - when he is in 4th grade! Ryan won't have to eat by himself in the classroom by himself. A school where they can put Ryan in time out when he acts like a brat. A school where Ryan can't manipulate the therapists.
So this new choice sounds great, right? Only, it's not mine to make. I have to jump through hoops and pile work upon several people - most especially Dana.
All I'm saying is... If I don't get my choice, I will become one of those parents. The hard part is... it's not in my nature and getting my message across without it sounding like the teachers are the problem. They aren't. It's the rest of the picture...