Why Do We Have to Go to School?
The new school year has begun again and, with it, the same old problems that have been plaguing us since my 7th grader was in preschool. Dylan now – suddenly, because he’s in school again – ‘needs to do this’ and he ‘needs to do that.’ Even with an IEP and constant contact with the school, the counselor and the special ed folks, no one seems to know what I do – that he was born this way for a reason. Squishing him into a public school box doesn’t do justice to his good points.
Dylan is multi-talented and incredibly intelligent. He solves problems that I couldn’t begin to solve, and his philosophical questions are He can do anything, mostly while spinning, singing and standing on his head. He doesn’t turn in anything on time. He doesn’t even remember sometimes that he’s done it. But Dylan is a master of many things. He can sing like an angel, so he’s taking chorus. He can imagine, design and build, so he’s taking robotics. He’s fascinated by technology and a whiz with A-V equipment, so before school he does behind-the-scenes work for the school TV show aptly titled, “Morning Show.”
So today, finally, I heard from his case manager – the person who, last year, was his saving grace and encouraged him in everything. But his NEW case manager is not warm and fuzzy. She is not encouraging or even pleasant. Worst of all, she rearranged his schedule to take him out of robotics. She planned to meet with him once a week DURING chorus. And when did she deliver this information to him? During his 15-minute “Morning Show.”
She said, “He may not like me for a few weeks.”
I said, “He may not like you for the whole year, but that’s not the point.”
The point is that, to Dylan, this feels like a punishment. You have ADHD, so let’s take you out of your favorite classes and activities. We’ll sit and talk about all the things you do wrong instead.
I spent hours on the phone today, then on email, then back on the phone … getting Dylan’s schedule back to normal, begging for the special ed folks to see him for the incredibly beautiful young man he’s becoming – and to realize, once again this year, that they are not dealing with an apathetic parent. I’ll fight till the ends of the earth for him if I have to.
And I may have to.