Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Day in the Life

Today, I am wearing grown up shoes. They came from Talbot's. So did my pants, for thst matter. Oh! And I am even wearing pearls!

This can mean one of two things: either my parents are in town or it is CSE season. And, since my house is still incredibly dirty, you can bet my parents haven't even crossed the border into this state.

Today I sat in on a Committee on Special Education meeting (CSE) for a family that I know merely to be an extra set of eyes and ears. Perhaps I would serve as support. These meetings can be very difficult. These meetings determine the educational setting and level of services for our children each year. The bottom line for one side of the table is the future of a son or daughter. The bottom line for the opposing side is money.

I wonder if the general public knows some of the issues that are discussed during these meetings? Do people know that parents face in black and white print the realization that their child is severely disabled across the board, will never live independently, is a behavioral threat to his educators or could be faced with physical restraint and/or seclusion due to his disability?

To anyone who is a parent, could you handle hearing educators state that your child is weaker on one side versus another, therefore he should be first pinned down from that side?

I have been the parent of a restrained child, a five-year-old who was having a gastric reflux attack, however, since he is nonverbal, his crying reached a level which concerned his teachers regarding his safety. Rather than calling me, who lived less than a minute from the school, they opted to have five administrators pin him down for 45 minutes with the hope of calming him.

I don't know many children who find it calming to be controlled in such a manner in school and in a situation where their opinion is not being considered.

It is a hot topic. Our educators want to stay safe. They want control of their classrooms. They think that they can force submission into our children. Perhaps it works with some kids. It doesn't work with mine.

Today's parents strongly felt that this approach was damaging to their child, and as I sat at that meeting today, I could hear my own child's voice, nearly four years ago, when he came home from school scraped and bruised and with only the ability to tell me, "Ouch. Hurt."

I thought this occassion warrented my presentable clothes, my pearls, my presence and, if needed, my voice. This child works so hard just to exist in the world with others. He deserves as many people fighting for him as possible.

What an honor it was to be one of them.

1 comment:

  1. So poignant! Yes, I sit at those tables supporting parents also. It is an honor, but one I'd gladly wish wasn't needed.