Friday, February 6, 2009

pondering things...

so I sit here at the computer, exhausted, after a difficult week with my son Caleb.

What made it difficult?

I forgot this week that his issues that come out as behaviors- are a disability. I bought into the lie that "he really can do it if we force him to, or con him to."

yup. I did. Just like parents of dyslexic kids who for years were told that their children were lazy readers- because all the other area of academics in their lives, they were doing well in. It took years, research and someone taking the time to listen to these children to realize that dyslexia was a REAL disablity and not an excuse for lazy children.

My son was restrained three times this week. Three. You would think after the first I would have called a's a warning that something isn't going correctly.

He is terrified of going to school. So angry that this morning he took off his clothes as the bus pulled in our driveway because he knew that we would not be able to force him on the bus, in this cold, in underwear.

Then, when my husband, already late for work (and he works for the governor who is watching for lazy state employees that she can lay off to fix her economic problems- you know ones that come to work late often...which is him...because of Caleb but he always stays late to make up the time)....stressed...and my 21 year old tried to get him in the car; he refused.

he walked up to me quietly and whispered in my ear, "I am running away but don't tell anyone because they will stop me."

When my husband left for work, I called the school and indicated that we couldn't safely get him to school after all; feeling guilt as a parent that I was not able to get my son to school; feeling fear as a parent because at what point will they hospitalize him for his "acting out"...

With a screaming toddler in tow, I convinced Caleb to cuddle with me while I put Sam down for a nap. Curling up with him, I asked him, "you know how much your daddy and I love you and for how long we wanted you, right?"

He answered, "1,000 million"

I responded, "more, can you tell me about school?"

Caleb explained that he hated school because play time was too long away. He thought it a better idea to do math, then play; read, then play. He proceeded to explain that when he has to work all morning and can't play until after lunch; that his body starts to feel funny. He told me that when his body feels funny, he looses his "good boundaries" which frustrates and angers him. That is when he starts acting out, or he gets bored until his head hurts.

What amazes me with his answer is that it seems to be always around 10:30 that he starts to "loose it" at school.

Second, he misses his favorite toys. He had some toys (a batmobile) that were taken by the teacher and returned to the locked closet because he was told they are toys for younger kids.

Third, he hates restraints. He went on to show me how they covered his mouth with his shirt and held his head down. He said his feet and hands hurt when they hold him down.

I have always been against restraints. I have been trained at my work that they are dangerous, only get temporary results, and teach kids with sensory issues to get the input that they need inappropriately.

The time has come for me to evaluate the effectiveness of this program for Caleb. When I homeschool him, he does very well. My confusion comes in with the question, "am I enabling him to shelter himself in his house?" Does a child with autism have to learn to wake up everyday and go meet life?

My husband pointed out to me that if a child is wheel chair bound, do we treat it as behavioral when he can't walk?

My son can't work on academics without physical breaks. He is socially developmentally delayed; batman toys are still appropriate for him. Restraints? Well, they just scare the crap out of me, can you imagine him? When the state has decided that spankings are abusive and restraints are ok (they are more likely to cause death and/or injury) then what kind of world do we live in?

The real question that I continue to face is, am I ready to homeschool him full time? Am I able? Am I qualified? Will I ruin his life?

Can I do it?

hmmm and more importantly- Don't you find it AMAZING that in 5 minutes of listening to a "disabled" child; he was able to tell me what the problems are?


wanting more said...

I think it IS truly amazing what you can find out in 5 minutes! So many times when I have been worried about what I'm doing or if I'm going to mess up with my children, I've been reminded that just the fact that I'm worrying is a sign that I'll do fine. My sister is toying with the idea of homeschooling also. It is a tough decision for some, understandably. I am not sure I could do it - well, I think I COULD do it, but I'm not sure I would WANT to do it because we might kill each other...However, you know your son best and you know what he needs and how he learns and so in some ways, that makes YOU the most qualified.
I have a very good friend that homeschools. She is actually a single mother of 3, and she teaches at a co-op, and she has just begun to gain income by writing her own curriculum for writing and teaching online writing classes. Anyway, I was amazed at her kids and how socially adept they are. She doesn't just sit them down at a desk and do work stuff. She does that, but she also uses outside activities as part of their school. They go places and do educational things, one is in cooking classes, one is in a lego league, they go to nature centers and dig in the dirt and take pictures and stuff...and her kids are 15, 11, and 8. She started all of this with her oldest when he was pre-school aged.
Sorry to blabber for so long! This post just caught my heart a little...and it's just obvious that you are a great mom. Hope you feel it!

tysdaddy said...

This is exquisite writing. And I am in awe of your dedication to your son.

I worked with young adults with developmental disabilities for many years, and did more than my share of "therapeutic interventions". I always hated it. Sure, many times it was for the protection of others, but it always felt like too much medicine for the individual's pain.

You are in my thoughts . . .