Friday, May 9, 2014

The Hardest Part

My heart has been heavy this week. At times I have felt like I am carrying a stone around in my chest. When emotions are really centered in the brain why do we feel them in our hearts?

Anyone who reads my blog knows I have a daughter with special needs. I am in a constant state of indecision as to how much to share publicly regarding her needs. We don't have a specific diagnosis for which to advocate. And while I know from experience that sharing an emotional experience publicly can be cathartic, I cannot get past the idea that it is a violation of her privacy.

So, without sharing details, I will say this. We have done some extensive testing, and the message I received most clearly from the report is that school is not a happy place for Maggie. It is an overwhelming place, a stressful place, and a challenging place. Her only option at times is to retreat to her books or her daydreams. And every day, she departs on the bus without so much as a whimper. She knows she has to go to school, and she doesn't complain.

I don't know how to make it better. I don't know which Kindergarten placement would be the better one. I don't know if we should give up on public school and try homeschooling (an option I dread but will not entirely dismiss) or private school (when $40,000 drops from the sky into our laps).

I wish I could be more optimistic, but I've worked in schools, and I know how hard it is to meet some students' needs. I am 100% convinced that the teachers she works with now are caring individuals who work hard on her behalf, and I believe we are likely to encounter the same at her next school. But no matter how well-trained and well-meaning the employees are, they have limited resources and a whole lot of kids to serve.

So June 2 looms on the horizon as we sit between the school system hinting for one placement and the psychologist strongly advocating for the other, between the neurologist suggesting one course of action and the psychologist the other. And us in between knowing whatever decision we
make will have tremendous ramifications. It's our call.

What no one told me about parenting is how hard the decisions are. No one can predict which path will screw your kid and which is the road to improvement.

12 comments :

  1. *hugs* I wish I had anything supportive or helpful to say in response, but I'm afraid you're entirely shit out of luck with me.

    *sigh*

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    1. Well, not shit out of luck. You're somewhat worthwhile.

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  2. I'm sorry you are having such a tough time trying to decide what to do about Maggie's schooling. Like Lizzi, I wish I could say something that would help. I'll just say that I'm thinking about you. Oh, and that your daughter is precious in her polka dots.

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  3. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I know that making decisions for your kids is the hardest thing to do. I know it is for me anyway. I find myself constantly second guessing any decision I make, Do I make it with my head or my heart? I wish there was a magic fix. Hang in there, you're an incredible mom!

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    1. Oh, thank you, Sandy, for your understanding and affirmation.

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  4. Sarah, will keep you and your family in prayer. Your decisions for her will surely work out!, because you want the best for her. A happy Mother's Day!

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  5. Hey Sarah,
    I felt the same way trying to figure out which program to have Tucker in this past spring and which to try for the fall. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a fluid decision and that if he seems really stressed, or is not doing well, I'm completely ready to yank him out and demand a new review. I hate that private schools are so expensive. I looked into one here and yup, $37,000/year. Actually I didn't look into it really but a friend did and I didn't even go because I knew I'd love it. Sigh.
    Hopefully, I'll win the lottery (note to self - buy ticket) and build the Best Special Needs Our Land School in the World. You and hubby can teach there and Maggie can attend with Tucker! WIN WIN!
    Still, sorry this is so hard. Let me know if I can do anything to help. And hugs.

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    1. You know, that's what the principal said, and that's really quite comforting to keep in mind. Nothing is permanent if it's not working. We're fortunate that there are two settings at this school so it wouldn't be a school switch.
      That's how I kind of feel about this one school I visited. I almost wish I hadn't because I loved it so much. I won't tell you the name so you won't have to think about it.
      Open your school! Hire me! Tucker and Maggie can be friends!

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  6. I had to face a similar decision once upon a time. In fact, during the early days, I thought both boys (I have twins) would require the special education (and double the tuition). I don't know where you live, but try to reach out to other moms, even if you don't have a specific diagnosis, they will have valuable Intel. I seriously considered homeschooling as well (at the kindergarten transition), but knew I wasn't wired for it. It's so hard, but don't give up on the school system. You have rights! Also, consider consulting with a professional advocate.

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    1. We're not giving up quite yet. And fortunately, we do know our rights and have a great advocate. I'm worried that my daughter is one of those in-between kids who doesn't quite fit into one of molds for which the special education services are designed.

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