This is our today.
This is our now.
This is months of work, intensive work supporting her, listening to her, hearing her.
This is months of undoing the fear she had, the anxiety she felt and today, I sit, wondering what to do.
As a mother its our job to support our children the best way we know how and honestly, Covid has taught me that with her. We have had our daughter in our home constantly for a year. An entire years with our daughter as parents and as her educators. We have learned what causes her stress and that anxiety and stress often turns into meldowns and when she was in school, restraint.
I am afraid to send my child back to school. Its not about the school loving her. They do. I say it all the time. The staff at our district is the most compassionate, loving group of individuals but educating a child with autism, creating a behavior plan that is executed properly is more than love. Its more than that.
While some parents are counting down the days until all their children can be in school, my husband and I fear it. We fear the return, the inability of our school to support her, to give her what she needs. We worry that they will undo all we have done.
I don’t fault the school, when a child is having behaviors often they are scared. How do they protect the child? Other students? Themselves? I get that often they turn to restraint but I will tell you, it broke my child. As she became more verbal, as we worked consistently here at home with her therapists willing to get in to her world she spoke.
The first time she told us “please don’t restrain me” I knew, she had been scared. I also knew that when school said that they almost felt she needed to be restrained to calm, I understood that they did not understand her. In the moment she used her words it was obvious to our home team that in school, she escalated to that extreme because she knew once she was restrained, it was over. She knew there was a break. A trip to the nurse. The support of a counselor or the principal. She knew then there was down time.
In the last nine months, we have worked to implement strategies and she’s become a different child. Yesterday we met with school for what will be our weekly call. I voiced my concerns over her return. They heard me. They acknowledged me. They understood. They also realized that they could not predict how she would react, how her plan would transfer to school and so I am scared. They won’t say that they won’t restrain and that scares me.
I am scared for her. I am scared for us. I am scared that all the work, time, effort and money we’ve put into private therapies will be lost when she returns to her school.
Our school systems are broken. Our schools don’t meet the needs of all students, I doubt they meet the needs of most students. I hear it from parents all the time.
This is our story but I know we are not alone. As I write, tears fall. Not for my child, for all children. I ache for the administrators, the educators doing their best measured by standards instead of individual growth and opportunity for success. Children often don’t fit the box socially, academically, medically. How are we as parents calling for better? How are educators saying, we need more? How are administrators asking for change from those in power? Are we changing the system so other children have a different path, a path of peace, a path of learning, socially, emotionally and academically? Reality is, its time to speak up for change. Not just for those who are disabled or need more support, for our
As I prepare for my child’s IEP, I carefully consider what is right and I wonder, is it this school?