Another Day, Another Phone Call

Written by TAA President and CEO, Amanda Talty

15 days of school. 4 telephone meetings. Daily behavior report cards and multiple emails. He’s six years old. He hates himself because he “can’t be good”. My fun loving, intelligent, intuitive son has had maybe three full “good” days of school. I believe there are certain parents who have pulled away from us because he is a “bad” kid and they do not want their children influenced. We have had BIP’s, IEP’s, a 1:1 and yet still school sees a different version of the child I see. I’ve been asked questions like, “Has anyone said he has ADHD or mentioned ODD to you?” The answer is no. The answer is I wish I had an answer.

How many of you are in this same boat? How many of you have a child who despite your best efforts still comes home from school each day branded “the bad kid”?

Here is what I have found helpful to remember:

  • You know your child best. Its your job to advocate for your child and if that puts you in the “crazy momma” category then so be it. I hate to word smith my son’s teacher but I know what he responds to and what he doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to speak up and send them as many resources as you think they need until you are satisfied. It isn’t always easy but its necessary and in the best interest of your child.
  • Know your rights and speak their language. I have been blatantly lied to in IEP meetings. It was assumed I knew less then the players in the room. Get educated. Do you know the difference between an IEP and a 504? Do you know what a 3:1:1 class is? Does the school have integrated co-teaching classes? Here’s a glossary of education terminology.
  • Enlist outside support when necessary.
  • In our case I was lucky enough to be referred to a fantastic psychologist who understands my son well and sees him through the clearest of lenses. Her support has been integral in helping my son and, frankly, helping me stay sane through it all. If that is not available, confide in someone you trust and reach out to support groups and advocacy groups in your area.
  • Keep things in perspective. This can be a tough one I know. Too many times has my stress manifested into tears. When I read he had another tough day I can’t help but sigh and think “when will this get better?” Then I remember we are all healthy, have a roof over our head and food in our belly. Things could always be worse.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Fart jokes never come in more handy than after a long, tough day and my son loves them. The song about the dog who ate the baby’s dirty diaper or just about any song by the Toilet Bowl Cleaners is sure to help you leave your worries behind even if its only for a few minutes. If that’s not up your alley find and do what makes you laugh. Everyone benefits from laughter.
  • Let the haters hate. It is not in your or your child’s interest to spend time on individuals who demonstrate a lack of willingness to understand not all pegs fit in round holes. Find your people and surround yourself with them as often as you can.

I’ll conclude this by saying my kid is awesome and I bet yours is too. It may take a while for them to realize it but its true. The wounds heal and hopefully will leave our children, and us, stronger, more resilient, compassionate and fierce then they were before. So hang in there and pull my finger…. 😊