We are just about a year into Diego's ASD diagnosis, and just beginning Kindergarten. I spent the better part of last year fighting the local school district to get Diego the IEP he needed, eventually hiring an educational advocate because the people at out local school district kept treating me like 'psycho crazy mom'. Once she showed up I was 'wonderful pro-active concerned mom', it is amazing what bringing somebody in that knows special education law like the back of their hand does, although with the California budget we could only get so much.
But this isn't about the gut wrenching process of IEP's, it is about how hard school is for our babies.
If you sift through any of the blogs on the Hopeful Parents Blogroll or mine, you will find a group of parents desperately trying to make the new school year transition as easy as they can for their child.
Before Diego started Kindergarten, I read a lot about how hard school can be on our babies even with an excellent IEP and assistance. Nothing I have ever read could prepare for what has happened to Diego since starting school last week.
Diego isn't in public school, he is in a private school mainly because the student to teacher ratio is 8:1. The local school district wouldn't supply Diego with an aide and planned on main streaming him, they were going to take a wait and see approach. My kid in a class with 26 students and one teacher without an aide?!?
Unfortunately this was almost our reality.
The private school that Diego attended for pre-school offered Diego a scholarship last minute and we took it. Every kid in his class is NT, but they are familiar as all of the kids have the attended pre-school as well. The private school is also partnering with a local autism group and training their teachers for an inclusion program that the school is piloting. All of this had me fooled into thinking that the repercussions of the change to Kindergarten would be minor.
Diego is a different kid right now, I have never seen him this dysregulated. He is busting his precious butt to keep it together at school, but once he comes home the flood gates open and there isn't a damn thing I can do to help him.
It isn't just me who feels this way, I know, I am not alone.
I hope that we will all get through this, that at some point things will get better and settled. But in the midst of all of the pain and frustration that is going on, I wonder if the administrators and teachers in the school really understand how hard it is for our children. When a special education team hides behind their half a**ed administered assessments, arrogant and dismissive at best, do they understand that we are on the other side fighting as hard as we can ,not to be a pain in the a**, but to ensure that our kids gets a chance to succeed?
Why is that frowned upon?
Why don't they care this much??
I get that times are hard, money is low and our teachers are over worked.
But it isn't an excuse not to take a minute to think about what it is like for our kids to fight a total assault on their senses 7-8 hrs a day.
I doubt any educator went into the line of work for the money.
I am not saying that all educators are like this, I happen to have a few friends that are amazing teachers.
What I am saying is that the push back from schools is all too apparent when you talk to a special needs mom or dad, and once we are done trying to fix school so that the next day might be easier for our little one, we go home and try to help our child pick up the pieces in hopes that they don't completely fall apart.
Again, Nothing could have prepared me for how hard this is.
Shivon Carreno blogs about life with a child on the spectrum at 'My Brain Wants To Go Home'