I'm Scared My Non-Verbal Child Will Be Abused at School

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I have this fear.

It is better when I talk about it.

You see… I am two halves of the same coin. I am a teacher. One of my eight years teaching was actually in special education.

I am a mother. One of my children has special needs and will be in a special education class for at least part of the day.

IMG_0341[1]In this world of special needs, I find myself compelled to offer advice on IEP questions when my new-found friends ask them. I can’t stop myself. I can feel their anxiety. I understand their fears. I relate to their worries.

From a teacher’s perspective, the things I want for my child are almost unreasonable. Almost.

If Alexander went to school right now, he would be non-verbal. This is one of my biggest fears. He will not be able to tell me about his day. The twins, at age 3, with their muddled version of reality, can at least give me a inkling of their day. They can tell me if they saw someone or what they had to eat.

Once… I worked in a home for adults with developmental disabilities. One man ate, but had no teeth (they used to pull them when you were institutionalized so you didn’t bite people) and he needed his food pureed. I watched a grown woman put everything from dinner in one blender and puree it together into one disgusting blob. Then she put it in front of him and told him to eat it. She was his caregiver. And -- for the record -- I did not report her.

Will Anyone Report This Woman If She Does This To My Son?

IMG_0718 I believe in inclusion. In our house, Alexander is included in everything. He eats at the table with us. He takes a bath with the twins. He folds his hands in prayer when we pray our bedtime prayers. He brushes his teeth when they brush their teeth. Would it be easier to just leave him somewhere while we did our bedtime our routine? YES. But that is not fair -- to the twins or Alexander.

Tonight, Alexander raised his hands up to hug his siblings. He turned the pages on a book appropriately. He held a spoon. He giggled when his siblings got into trouble. He is motivated to do things with them. Because he is included. It takes a lot of effort to make sure we adapt our day to include him in everyday activities. It takes a lot of time to make sure he is able to do these things. As a parent, I know my child will best benefit from this follow through in school. As a former teacher, I realize his teachers will probably hate me for expecting this.

Not only this, but Alexander will never be able to tell me if he sits in a classroom and stares at a wall everyday. (I’ve seen it happen.) Alexander will never be able to tell me if his teacher’s nickname for him is “Special Ed.” (The kid’s name was Ed... and, yes, I witnessed it.) Alexander will never be able to tell me if he was offered food orally before it was just “shoved in his tube.” Because honestly? If you are in a rush… no one wants to spend 45 minutes trying to orally feed him and then another 45 feeding him through his tube. **sigh**

I really want to put a video camera on him so I can see and hear what happens all day. That is how protective of him I am.

Because… Who will report people if they do something to my Son?

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