The Lens of Special Education

Does public education for your special needs kiddo make anyone else feel extremely anxious and nervous? Like it’s a game where you don’t entirely know the rules. And you think it’s going okay. And then someone will ask you what your nonverbal son is learning and you get a blank look on your face?

Or maybe you ask a question to the teacher and you get a really odd response. Or no response.

Or maybe you just feel like something is off but you can’t put your finger on it.

If you are me you ‘think’ you are doing the right things. You communicate daily with his teacher. You ask questions. You investigate. But yet, despite all that, deep down, it feels like this isn’t the best situation for your child.

What do you do?

This is the worst feeling in the world. It’s so awful. I feel really trapped.

And then there is the emotional side. Seeing all of the fun activities the ‘typical’ kids do. Field trips. Movies. Activities. These are all things my child can’t do.

It hurts so much that often I have to completely block it out.

I also feel like I have to be constantly choosing my battles. I am unhappy about so much and which ‘parts’ do I choose to make a stink about.

And, oh sweet lord, the energy exerted just maintaining your child’s basic rights. No one prepared me for that.

I feel like I am forced to be a watchdog. To seek out issues. To constantly be monitoring for problems. It’s gross. And not me. And I hate it.

I feel like as Cooper’s mom I have to ask a dozen more questions than other parents. I have to ask about super basic things like recess, lunch, using the toilet, etc. Things that other parents wouldn’t even think to ask.

And then there is the fact that I know my baby can’t be in a typical classroom. I know that in my heart. Trust me. I am not blind. But I feel like he is secluded. Or excluded.

Or maybe your IEP meetings have always went fantastic. Like ours. Then you find out that your kids IEP isn’t actually that great. It’s light. It’s fluffy.

Or you feel tricked. A year or so ago I asked for more resources around toilet training and was given 5 or so reasons why it wasn’t the best time. When I pushed back I was simply told, ‘it’s not in his IEP.’

I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I didn’t know it had to be in the IEP. No one mentioned it.

Every human uses the damn toilet. I wasn’t asking for anything crazy. It’s a damn basic right.

Cooper is 6. He is a little boy. He is not a piece of paper. He is an actual human just like every other kid at that damn school.

I feel like we are at a crossroads with public education. And in Minnesota there are very few options. I CANNOT home school. Nope. Nope. Nope. I would not be best for Cooper. That is a fact. I also work full-time. And if my little pumpkin continues to need a new iPad every 3 months then mama has to work.

Work, work, work.

I am looking into some full-time ABA programs. They are all full. I’ve also been told that Cooper is not a good candidate for ABA because he does not like 1:1 teaching. He looks to be in a group of peers.

So, is that it? Do I just make the best out of what we are receiving?

As a parent you never know. Am I doing the right thing? Do I fight harder? When do I say, ENOUGH.

Yesterday I picked Coop’s up from school and I was given a glum, honest report. He isn’t doing well transitioning back after break. He is hitting, kicking. He is struggling.

I spent the whole entire night thinking about it.

And after the beating of the kiddo in Chicago I actually considered running away and starting a new life with my family in some remote place.

Public education is great. Special education is great. Those teachers are saints. But….what if Cooper needs more.

I want to get to the point in his life or education where I can say…’we made it.’ And I want to take a deep breath and relax and know that Cooper is receiving the best care and that I finally made all the right decisions.

I want to find our normal. And not feel like I am trying to find the ‘bad’ all the time.

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2 thoughts on “The Lens of Special Education

  1. Second to the “Warrior Mom Club” I am exhausted having to quarterback my sons needs at school. Just when I think EVERYONE is on the same page bam something happens. He comes home in a torrential rain storm without his rain boots on soaked getting off the bus or he had to wait to do Math while 2 new students hit each other then the teacher. Parents of NT kids have no clue. So when the school board tried to save money by closing one set of washrooms down bec of reduced attendance I was already in warrior mode and said to other parents it’s time to say something and complain bec if you just sit and accept your kids won’t get what they need. Bathrooms are open:) so the upside is think about how fierce you will be for Sawyer;)

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