I signed up for this, I agreed to parent 2 boys who I knew had list of needs as long as my arm. You could say they were special needs, you could also say that they are just children who have needs, all children need things, and it is part of being a child. Some children have fewer needs than others. Some children can remember a routine from day to day, they can learn in a way that makes similar to many of the other children around them, they can slow down and think before they speak and realise that their words might hurt the person they are saying them to.
My son Fudge needs help with all of those things. He can not do things that other 8 year olds can do, he is unable to remember the order of a routine, he does not learn like everyone else, he does not think before he speaks and you can not see his disabilities until you get to know him. We support him as best we can at home, we know what he needs and we do what we can to make sure he is successful. We do not get offended when he says something mean or hurtful; we discuss it and move on. We understand that his brain does not work like ours and that is not his fault and he will eventually learn how to make things work for him.
Why is it then, that if I, an adult with a certain amount of experience in working with children can wrap my mind around his needs that it is so difficult for other adults with similar experiences to mine to understand his needs and work with him to make him successful?
Fudge is in 3rd grade, he has a teacher who has more than 20 years of experience and she known to be great with tough and challenging kids. She was Calvin’s teacher last year and she managed him pretty well but she is not managing with Fudge at all. In fact she having a really hard time getting anywhere with him and she refuses to listen to any advice that I ( his primary caregiver and a fellow teacher) may have for her.
She says that she knows how to handle kids like Fudge in one breath and than calls me at night frustrated because Fudge is being impulsive and getting into trouble every time she turns her head. When I try to offer some suggestions or ideas about how we can work through this and support him she tells me that she has it under control, she just wants me to be informed. *
Well I am informed, I live with Fudge each and every day and I totally know what it is like to try to teach him anything. It is hard, frustrating and challenging. I get it, I hear you, I can help you out with this, if you will let me.
If you are having such a hard time would not be good idea to perhaps hear what works for him in other environments and at least give it a try. Maybe trying something new might work better than using the same old technique that is clearly not working with this child.
I am no expert but I am his mother and I have learned a lot about his mind works, I don’t know everything but I do know what doesn’t work because I have probably tried it. I am able to help him because I pay attention to his needs and try my best to make accommodations that work for him. It really isn’t that hard if you are willing to try new things and step outside of the box.
J. blogs at Stellar Parenting 101 where she talks about being a Mom to 2 fabulous boys while living in the great white north.
* Fudge does not yet have an IEP because we are waiting for some things to be formally identified before we go ahead with one. He receives a little extra support in the classroom but he is in a small class and everyone knows that he needs the help