Saturday, January 23, 2010

World turned upside down...

Ok so first I promise my next post will have cute baby pictures in it :)

Secondly, I know some of you have mailed me this week and haven't heard back, I'm sorry, I am behind with my e-mails but we've had our entire world, schedule and budget (and a little bit of my faith) blown to bits this week. Let me explain.

As you know both my sons have something "special" about them. Cody has ADHD, which prior to having him, I didn't believe existed myself but once again, life has shown me otherwise. It IS real, it IS a condition and it DOES exist (and messes up lives).
John, who suffered brain damage in utero, has mild CP, vision and hearing problems, ADD and SID (and the docs can't agree on whether he does have PDD-Nos or not)

However, all of these, we have worked on since we got the diagnosis 2 years ago... and we have worked hard, and we have made TREMENDOUS progress. The boys have fit in socially just like any other "normal" (what an empty definition this is btw!) child.
They do everything, we go to swim class, we go to the movies, playgroups and we NEVER had a problem except the normal disagreements ANY child can have when they play...

So thinking it would be best, I enrolled them to a private pre-school thinking they would get better treatment and they would lean over any issue that would arise and generally take care of them better than in the overflowing and under-budgeted public system.
I talked to their teacher in the summer and truth be told, she did her research although she looked very young (and she gave me a gut feeling of being a little inexperienced) I thought we would give her a chance.
I was in very close contact with her all through the year and any problems they arose, I thought, I nipped at the bud.
Their class (which was small I must admit) had 27 children in it with a teacher and an aid.
Some of the children were born in 2006 so they wouldn't qualify for this pre-school class (pre-K). However they were several younger children in the class.
To cut a long story short, the teacher lost control of the class. The too many kids plus the younger kids plus they knew mine came with a "tag" attached, they started throwing John out of the class.

John himself was showing me in every possible way (recently he vocalized it too) that he didn't want to be in that class. He started mixing up his vowels when he spoke, even his voice volume came down to the point I couldn't hear him any more (which is also due to the fact that I have hearing loss as well).
When at school he would wet himself and recently he was SO overstimulated he started hiding under the tables and twice he hit someone who had felt offended him.

Last Tuesday, the principal called me in his office to let me know that the class wasn't working and that my two (note: Cody was NEVER part of this or a disruptive influence in the class) combined with I don't know how many more, were to blame.
We had a long talk during which he even accused me that I hadn't told him of the boys' diagnoses (NOT true as I had warned the teacher months in advance). He said he wouldn't kick them out because the teachers told him not to, BUT I was to take them home at 1pm daily because after 1pm, they have free play and my boys would kill someone or something.

Needless to say, the minute I left the school I started calling schools. I couldn't get them in public school, they were already full to the brim plus there is a special selection process, and we had been turned down already by the system (note: Pre-K is optional so the government can say no to any child but Kindergarten is compulsory so next year they HAVE To take us if we apply to Public School).

I was also on the phone with the child-psychiatrist that knows the kids and their therapist and it was decided, the "shock" of changing schools mid-year was less than them remaining another 6 months in that environment.

It was very difficult to find TWO spots in any class mid-year. Most mothers in Greece work and the government does not help in the least, mothers so all schools are full.
Plus I was very strict and I had some very specific demands: not many kids in the class and a good, experienced teacher AND the boys to be in different classrooms. (the child psychiatrist agreed 100%)
Finally I found just the school! However, it is even FURTHER away than our last school AND it's more expensive :(
But it's all I was looking for...

So in one week, our budget was blown to bits (more expensive school plus a ton more gas to get there and our car unfortunately is not an economic car when it comes to petrol), the boys had a huge shock and for the first time it was blown to my face that although we have tried, the boys have worked very hard, John especially is still not on par with his peers.

When I took him at age 2 1/2, John was scoring at 1 years old. Not cognitively but his psyche, his soul, the way he saw, understood and reacted to the world was that of a one year old. He was 18 months behind...
Today at age 4y 2m, he scores at age 3 1/2+, he is 6 months behind socially.
Instead of his "advanced" environment to help him reach his full potential, it nearly destroyed two years of hard work.

Am I angry at the school and the teacher? Kind of... if John was the only one with an "issue" in the class, it wouldn't be a problem... but there were so many younger children who SHOULDN'T be there in the first place that John's needs couldn't be treated and the teacher lost it.
Kicking a child out who already knows is different and is asking questions, because that's all you can do, because you don't know what else to do and call that child "wild" is SO wrong on so many levels...

So anyway.. I've been away from home from the time I got up until it was almost time to get them to bed this week and I didn't work that much at all. I was so exhausted by the time I got home and emotionally drained... so I'm sorry if I didn't get back to you. The new school seems to be working so I am feeling much better now emotionally. I still have to deal with the financial thing so expect babies to be put out for sale this coming week lol :)
(but no, please don't ask, I don't take custom orders any more, it's a level of pressure, honestly, I can't deal with right now, I am spent!)

When they told me John would have "issues" I didn't cry... I could see his issues, I am neither deluded nor blind, but I decided to focus on the things John had similar to any other child, the positive. He is MORE like "normal" children than he is not... those who know him, whose kids have played with him, say he is totally "normal" and fine...
This week, I've cried my eyes out... it hurt me SO bad. I LOVED this school, I graduated from this school, so did my mother and my brothers (both with ISSUES -ADHD and severe Dyslexia - AND THEY WERE NEVER KICKED OUT and did you know my MOTHER is deaf!!!?!?)
I am angry, I am worried about the financial repercussions of this... and I am so sad. I feel like this was John's real test in society and we failed it. All I want, ALL I WANTED, was for John to stand on his own not apart... and that's all this school environment managed to do... I literally yanked them out, I couldn't stand the thought of the teacher dreading her day, treating my son like that, HATING her job and taking it out on the kids and I couldn't get the image of my son, on the photocopy room floor, after he'd been kicked out playing with toys... and I can't get his words out of my head "Mommy why did God made me this way?" "Mommy why do I wear glasses?" "Mommy I can never win in musical chairs, I just can't run like the other kids and I always lose :("... I always tell him he is a very special little boy, and God made him PERFECT, BETTER than anyone else.. John is scoring at the level of a 10 year old in intelligence... It's really hard to build his confidence when the school tears it down like that...

Hopefully THIS new school will be a better fit... they had a GREAT time on Friday and they seemed to fit right in... PLEASE say a prayer for us. You know how a school system/teacher even, can make or break a child... but I promise you this: NOBODY will break my child while I draw breath. I will break their back first! On the other hand, no child of mine will do something inappropriate and not be punished, I am not blind...

Thanks for letting me vent...
It will be hard but I think we can make it... please keep us in your prayers!


christine said...

You and your family will always be in my prayers, you know that Tina...

christine said...

You and your family will always be in my prayers, you know that Tina...

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