Wednesday, August 13

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

I do not like being a dough head. I usually don't add this to my list of qualities when turning in my resume. Lately, I have been feeling this way much too often for my comfort zone and was hoping my fellow bloggers, family and friends could enlighten me.

I am feeling terribly overwhelmed and ignorant about Spencer attending school in the next few weeks. I have received a few letters from the traditional kindergarten teacher, welcoming Spencer to her class. Well, Spencer will not be attending her class per se, he will be in the cognitively impaired classroom full time. Is this just a formality? Also, there is an online list of school supplies for each classroom. Kindergarten is listed and then cognitive disabilities for 4-6 grade. Which list is for Spencer? Open House/registration is dated but not next to cognitively disabled. Do we attend?

I feel so out of my depth, so I emailed Spencer's ld teacher from the school website asking these questions and apologizing for my ignorance. I have only met her once, this last spring, when evaluating Spencer for the ld room and if we and the teacher thought he would be a good fit. I instantly liked her and she said Spencer would be a perfect fit for her room. That is the last I have heard from her and wonder if I should have done or should be doing more. I realize this is "real" school and not the Early Childhood program where much hand holding was done with parents. Am I overreacting? You can tell me, I don't mind. It might be just what I need to hear. Overprotective parent, maybe? I am slightly, ok a lot, OCD; is this a factor? Oh, heck, Jesus take me now!!!

Also Spencer just had an MRI, goes for a consultation with his neurosurgeon this next Monday, I will explain more later, has therapy (which I need to take off work for) every Wednesday morning, has an eye appointment the second day of school and needs a physical by a certain date. Calgon!!!

Welcome to not only being a parent of a school age child but a special needs one. Is this overwhelming panic typical and will it become less overbearing as I get used to it? Do I need a large and herbal smelling chill pill?

Please advise...

At the times when I feel like I am drowning in life, I look at pictures of my three heroes. Left, my gone but not forgotten nephew, Colin, center, Spencer and right, my nephew Sam. This was taken Christmas morning in 2003. Three little boys with more on their shoulders than ever should be. Makes my whining seem petty and then I stop!


Razor Family Farms said...

My dear friend, Katy, must deal with issues just like this. Her wonderful son, Willy, has Aspergers and while Katy is not the "card-carrying, cape and tights" Aspy mom (thank goodness because I couldn't stand it if she were) she does have a pretty dreadful time of it. She must hunt and track down teachers and doctors to help Willy. She may just resort to bribing them with small sugary snacks. A few of them are so dumb that rattling her keys might be more effective. It's ridiculous how much she has to do to get Willy treated fairly.

I'm continually amazed at her strength and tolerance of (from what I can tell) a world that quickly forgets that her son and other's like him are real people and their parents genuinely love and value them.

You're doing just fine. You did the right thing by emailing the teacher.


Anonymous said...

You are too hard on yourself! I think the responsibility should fall on the schools' shoulders to let you know what you need to bring for Spencer and where/how things will work for him.
I don't know if it would be safe to assume that because they don't specify anything for his class, that you should follow the usual kindergarten rules or not. Get in touch with his teacher...I'm sure you are not the first confused parent to come through.
Hang in there. Before you know it, it'll be routine and you'll wonder why you worried in the first place.
Feel free to use break at work as time to vent; I don't mind one bit.

Love ya
Pam :)

Brandy said...

A special needs mom checking in. :) And it does get overwhelming! I think sending that email was a good start. If you don't hear back from Spencer's id teacher within a couple of days, I'd get on the phone and call and ask to speak with the special education dept. Typically, the receptionist can answer questions like that for you. If not, they can leave a message for someone who can. While I don't consider myself one of those pushy, overbearing mothers, I do expect people to get back to me in a timely manner. If I don't hear back within a day or two, I'm calling and/or emailing again or someone else to get my answers.

As far as supplies, honestly, it depends on the school. Nate starts kindy in 2 weeks and we still haven't received any type of notificiation for supplies. I've been hitting the penny sales at Staples and Office Max and picking up the basics like pencils, glue, crayons, etc. Where Spencer won't be in the "typical" classroom, the classroom he is in may have special requests (larger crayons for easier holding, pencils with grips, etc.). In our kindy class, the supplies are community supplies where all the kids share them.

I tend to get a bit overwhelmed when we have lots of appointments in a short period of time. I really try to space them out some but I understand where it may not be an option for you.

As far as you overreatting - not at all. Kindergarten is a stressful for parents of NT kids, let alone for parents of special needs kids. In my experience though, the teachers/therapists that work with special needs kids are beyond amazing. They really seem to understand that we, as parents, need a little handholding ESPECIALLY at the beginning. I remember when Nate started at the preschool (at the elementary school) at age 3, I was either talking with or emailing the teacher EVERY single day finding out how and what he was doing. They were SO nice and tolerant of me. LOL

Now that I've written a short novel, I'll email you with some more info later on. Joe's headed out of town again this afternoon so I'll have some free time tonight after the kids go to bed. :)

Tanya said...

That picture tugs hard at my heart every time I see it.

At our school, the ld children are included in as many of the regular ed classroom activities as possible. He is a Kindergartener just like the rest of them, even if most of his time will be spent outside the actual classroom.

As a parent, you have quite a bit of power in saying how much or how little you'd like Spencer included. If you insist that they try to incorporate some of his daily activities in the classroom as much as possible with his peers, they should comply, although they would obviously leave the room with him if he was being really loud or something like that.

Since you know him better than anyone, I would request a meeting with his aide and his teacher to discuss exactly what the goals will be both socially and academically. Your most important relationship will be with that aide...she'll be with him most of the day and you'll definitely want to make sure you're on the same page!

Faith said...

Sheri, Tanya Said right on the head. You are the mother you know best and they will work with you all the way and if they do not you step up and let them know. You are not over reacting. You are a loving mother and this is your first time. You will see. You are a good mommy. You will get into a groove in both the regular and special class. In Bre's class they had a boy who had a stroke in the womb. He could not talk and was in a wheel chair. He came a long way in both classes. It was amazing. You will see I promise you and Spencer will love it. You have every right to ask all the questions you want of any of them any time. It is our jobs as parents. They work for us and our children. Love Ya. Faith