Thursday, October 28, 2010

Special Education -- Have They Given Up on Eddie?

Special education is a place where people who have a genuine interest in helping kids with challenges, sometimes enormous challenges, come to make an impact. The vast majority of teachers in this field of education are committed to seeing their students succeed in school and in life, providing them with invaluable services and attention. I have great respect for those teachers who actually live up to this calling. It is hard work, and my family knows it.

This has not been a stellar school year so far for my Eddie. He has not been his usual happy self at school. It seems that getting up at 5:40am every morning to get on a bus by 6:15am isn't agreeing with him, MAYBE. Or, it's the rods and pins in his back that could be causing him discomfort and keep him up at night, MAYBE. Or, his frustration in not being able to communicate his needs and wants, and having a teacher who was more concerned about feeding him toast than getting him to use a communication device (which he is supposed to have, but has yet to have introduced this year). Or, MAYBE it could be all of these things, and probably more.

I just received an email, after trying to get other issues in Eddie's educational experience corrected this year, suggesting that because my boy is having difficulty focusing, needing to be prompted, assessed as having limited capability to communicate, we should drop speech therapy back to consultation from actual therapy in the educational environment. Do you think, since this is not typical of my son's behavior, that before we suggest dropping the therapy hours back, we should attempt to discover WHY there has been such a tremendous change in my boy's attitude toward his learning environment?

Apparently, that is not important, but scheduling kids for therapy who CAN LEARN is. It is just too hard to work with Eddie, and we should give up -- not explore other options or look at the research and work on new techniques. Rather, the email imparted this attitude: TIME TO STOP TRYING PARENTS. (Forgive me, I don't often erupt this way on the blog.)

My goodness, if we had taken that approach when Eddie was a baby, we'd be visiting his grave right now, not arguing for continued therapy services. Obviously, they don't understand Eddie or our family.

We don't give up.

We work hard.

And, we expect that those around us who have an impact on our children will join us in in the effort.


Eddie was never supposed to roll over -- HE DID (10 months old)

Eddie was never supposed to sit on his own -- HE DID (14 months old)

Eddie was never supposed to crawl -- HE DID (27 months old)

Eddie was never supposed to walk independently -- HE DID (6.5 yrs old)

Eddie was not supposed to be social -- HE IS (from the very beginning)

Eddie is not supposed to communicate -- HE WILL, but not if we give up!

Could it be that Eddie has recognized that "success in 1 out of 3 attempts" is all that is expected, so why try harder? Could some of his frustration and lack of focus come from being bored with putting blocks into a bucket everyday? It sounds like the SYSTEM is ready to give up, and perhaps that is impacting Eddie's desire to learn.

Do they even recognize the great lengths he goes to on a daily basis just to be there to learn? I'm not unrealistic; I understand that my child has limitations. But, giving up is not an option.

The Lord reminds us to persevere in prayer; life is a prayer if it is given to God each day. Our good race is to persevere in life! -- to live it to the fullest and to never give up, always trusting in God and His Goodness.

Please help me pray for Eddie in his current educational circumstances.


Allison said...

I will offer a Holy Hour for you. :-) Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

How frustrating for you Kathy! I'm frustrated just reading this. You're in my prayers. You're an amazing advocate for Eddie. God surely chose Eddie's family well! Steph

Kathy said...


Some resolution has been reached. Much more to discuss.

Thank you for your prayers!

Cherie said...

Prayers for Eddie, I know you all will never give up.

Kathy said...

The nice thing about a blog is that you can always edit. I just went back and read the first sentence of this piece and it made NO SENSE!!! "Seeing" should have been "HELPING" -- that is changed now. Sorry for the confusing start to the piece for all of you who read it earlier. I had to write it and walk away, if you can understand. :o)

The Glasers said...

Eddie was communicating through his behaviors and they were not attentive enough to understand him.

To quote Galaxy Quest, "Never give up! Never surrender!"

It reminds me of a post I wrote for ChildLightUSA about my 21yo daughter who has autism and aphasia:

"My daughter has both autism and aphasia. During her first decade, she missed most of what we said and she could not form a single, coherent sentence. Language programs for autistic children failed her. When she turned ten, I learned about Mason and began reading aloud to her every day for hours. At twelve, we found a Mason-friendly reading program: she leapt from picture books to chapter books. She could finally hear some of what we said. At fifteen, we found the right language program, which included staples of Mason’s language arts program: copywork, dictation, and oral and written narrations. After three years of hard work, my daughter could put words together into sentences. At twenty-one, she makes herself understood to us. In moments of clarity, she converses with people outside her family."