This week has been very busy and rather anxiety ridden for me. You see the thing about having a special needs child is that you really need an amazing support system. The other thing about having a special needs child is that you don’t always have the time to engage that support system. So, I am the special needs co-chair on the elementary school’s PTA. There were only 2 other special needs parents who attended the first PTA meeting of the year, and one of those was the other special needs co-chair! The thing is that its often much, much more difficult to leave a SN child with a sitter if they have to be somewhat trained, experienced, etc. Even if you have a sitter that can handle them, it can often be a challenge to leave for a variety of other obstacles. For example, M wanted the sitter to help him with his homework, not me. My answer, “No”. M, “But whyyyyy?”. “Because she won’t know which parts of your homework to push you to do and which parts you need some guidance with.” It can be so challenging to figure out when they are being stubborn with a self-care (hair washing) or homework job (reading directions) and when they simply can’t do it, re: tying shoes, drawing detailed pictures for math). I digress. So, at the first meeting of the week I spoke up to get other SN parents involved in our newly formed parent support group for the school. The second meeting, regarding the curriculum for the year, was done by grade level and because M has an IEP (individualized education plan), some parts of the curriculum are a little different for him, but still. I was the only parent who spoke up concerned about the math portion. There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to how awful our math curriculum is here. Its time consuming, strays off topic and is harshly skewed toward children with certain motor skill and reading abilities. In addition to the old school word problems, which while not my forte’ are certainly relevant for applying what you know, the children are expected to write descriptions related to most math problems and draw what I consider to be large, detailed pictures to go along with it. M is really good at math and up until this point he has done amazingly well with his “drill” sheets of addition, subtraction and multiplication. His teachers even started using it as a confidence builder for his reading, which due to his ASD is not at grade level. He does math first, to build his confidence, works on his reading, and as a reward, gets to to some more math. Now it seems they are taking that away? I am SO angry. Spitting fire angry. I feel like the curriculum is taking away the one subject that M can relax with and enjoy and stretch his mind instead of struggle, and they’re making it another obstacle for him to tackle. Because he doesn’t have enough of those with pretty much the rest of his life. /sarcasm. So I brought this up at the school meeting and the other parents looked at me like I had grown a second head. Really?? You’re ok with this?? Have you seen the homework they’re sending home?? Its ridiculous. G says that most likely those parents had no idea what I was talking about because…. they just weren’t paying attention. They may not have needed to. If you have a neurotypical child who can handle multiple skills at once and integrated learning in that manner then it may have just been one of those moments where you thought, “Oh, wow, they sure taught that differently in MY day”. When you have a ASD child who has difficulty accessing the education due to a skill imbalance, its a whole new ballgame. I understand the school only has 1 curriculum, but how is M supposed to learn like that. If he is unable to use his math skills because the math is being integrated with reading comprehension and oddly, fine motor skills with the drawing, and it is combined with a subject where he is performing at a grade level or two below the math, what comes out in the mix? Has he then lost all quantifiable skill? How is it possible to accurately assess that? So I’m mad. And I’m not sure what to do. I did have some good conversations with the SpEd teachers (2 of them anyway) about why this is happening, but its not making me feel any better about it. I’m looking at alternatives. I’m not just letting this go.
Be Fierce. #GetMad