Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    As I contemplate the IEP process and all it implies, I realize that the first step is acceptance for manster. Though I have come to it myself, I realize the impact that the journey for me has had on him. Let me explain. I began to sense something was different about him when he was fairly young. As many of you know, I came to motherhood late, after going through infertility for 13 years and this is my miracle child. I brought a lot of emotion into our relationship from the beginning. As I began to do a lot of internet research on symptoms and went from thinking he had ADHD to bipolar and finally to the realization that the spectrum fit best, he watched. He saw that I was obsessive about understanding what was going on and I'm sure he got the message "something is wrong with me". It kills me now to think of the damage I caused him in the name of love and motherhood. I'm disgusted with myself actually. Now that I understand and have found unconditional acceptance I have to convey it to him. The idea of Special Education upsets him. He says "you think I'm stupid, why do you want to put me with "those" kids". And he's stuck on it, no matter how much I try to convince him otherwise, he has it in his head that "those kids" have something wrong with them and how can I put him in that category. So now I have to help him come to love and accept himself. I hope you all can help me with that. Any ideas or direction that might help me guide him along the path to acceptance and gaining self confidence. To help me undo the wreckage that ignorance begets.

    I have come so far. I totally get it now. He is a gift, a truly unique precious, amazing, insightful being who brings me incredible joy. I wouldn't change a thing accept for the pain being different brings. ATnd yet again, I wouldn't even change the pain because pain brings about opportunities for enlightenment.

    So I keep telling myself every day, I am experiencing enlightenment. :)

    Thank you for letting me write about this. I'm sorry that I haven't been more supportive or available lately. Seems to be my mantra. I will try to do better. I hate to just take all the time and give nothing in return.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I am so sorry that you are going through all of this guilt....

    As for Manster feeling better about "Special Education"...? Perhaps that needs to come from the Special Education teacher.

    My son was in the Special Education program and I HATED that label. I hated that he had to be pulled out of mainstream classes for the Special Education program.

    But the Special Education teacher made those kids feel truly priviledged to be in her class. She gave out prizes and awards that no other kids could earn (stuffed animals, playground balls) and regularly held "fun" activities like pizza parties. She was wonderful!

    So as much as I hated the thought of what that "Special Education" label would do to my child's self-esteem--it actually helped him a LOT. He loved the teacher, and loved the program and the one-on-one attention gave him a lot of confidence.

    Perhaps Manster will get to experience the same thing?

    Here's hoping...

  3. bramblewoodbabydoll

    bramblewoodbabydoll Ambiguous Witch

    I was in Special Education. From 2nd grade to the end of 4th grade I stayed in my sped class all day long every day of the week and it was one of the best times of my life.
    I learned so much more than how to read and do math. I learned compassion for those who are different. I was loved regardless of my inablity to focus or as other kids called it 'stupidity' by my teachers who were excellent.
    Much like the previous reply, the teachers made it great. I got lots of one on one and we played games, got great rewards and had parties... I only experienced anxiety, depression and shame in school before I went into sped. Granted I was much younger when I started it I was relieved when school was no longer a terrifying experience filled with grief. I got to succeed! It was amazing, just to succeed for the first time. 2 years in kindergarten and nearly a whole year of failing in 1st grade... Success had only been something that others could experience, never me. I cant tell you how good it felt to do well for a change and belong. Dont worry, this could be his big break and he probably doesnt even know it yet.
    It broke my mothers heart to know something was 'wrong' with me but she was an advocate for me in elementary school, she went to bat for me all the time and that is what I remember about those days. You have not ruined anything. It will be ok in the end- if its not ok then its not the end:D
    much love
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I agree with the might sting now, but he'll look back and see what you did for him. And ultimately, successful adults is what we're all after here...

    Even tho last year was a disaster, wee difficult child still loved his sped teacher last year, and REALLY loves her this year. She goes above and beyond to build a rapport with him and he eats it up. She even emails him when he's not at school, just to say hi.

    hopefully Manster will have a similar experience and will worry less about bein "different'.

    You should maybe also contact the school counselor and have him/her work with Manster's peers on acceptance. After all, that's their job!
  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Although K is still so young especially in her thinking. She does know something is different about her. She does think she is "stupid" she does want to be like the other kids. She wants it all to stop a lot of the time.
    Her therapist is very blunt and honest with her. So was her Neuro-psychiatric, which was one of the best things.
    We were able to put it to her like this, "Your brain thinks and learns differently than other kids. So sometimes you can stay in your class for some of the learning, but for other things you need special ways to learn things, so you go to the Teachers that can teach you in special ways that only you can understand"

    We explained that it doesn't make her stupid, her brain just learns differently than others, just because there are other kids in the room doesn't mean they all learn the same way. Some learn faster and some need more time. I told her just because some of the kids in the room are faster than her, it doesn't mean a thing and just because she is faster, same thing.
    At times she may be leaving the room because she is smarter than the other kids, or maybe because she just doesn't read the same way.
    I also told her flat out, " K you can't sit still, so sometimes it is better for you to be in a different space so you can get some room to move and even just walking to the other class helps."

    I don't know if he is going to be mainstreamed part of the time or how it is going to work?
    But this and a variation have seemed to work so far for us.
    We also asked her if she gets frustrated in class? YES, well this might help. It does, so it is a good thing.

    They also give the kids prizes and points.

    I also always try to relate something that is going on with her to husband or me. It is kind of easy because I have BiPolar (BP), but like with food, husband eats super fast, he shovels food and so does K. So they work on it together.
    I tell her that I get scared, and that I did in school.
    N is terrified of bathrooms or bugs we tell her stories of someone we know or one of us who was as well.

    You are a good Mom, we all can relate.
    husband and I are going through some guilt things right now ourselves. I think there is always something. Woulda coulda shoulda....
    Please don't beat yourself up.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    If you think about it, anyone on either side of the "normal" continuum, whether it's gifted or learning disabled, is part of Special Education. It just means they can't use the standard template for teaching these kids. It means they get from A to Z in their learning process by a route that's off the beaten path. Doesn't make it any better or worse, it's just a different way of getting to the same end result (like Shari said): A functioning and successful ADULT.

    Maybe if you talk to him about it that way -- that there is more than one way to get somewhere. The majority of people may take the freeway, but some folks do better on the scenic route, or taking side streets, or walking, or riding a bike. They still get to the same place, but by a different route. That's all.
  7. hoobear

    hoobear Guest

    Hi, this is my first post to the forum, though I've been lurking for months. I just wanted to let you know that I so understand how you are feeling right now. When my son entered sped in the middle of the first grade, I cried at the IEP meeting. It was like the death of the dream I had for him when he was born. Never did I think that I would have a child that would have meltdowns in class and try to run out of the building. We were told he would have to leave his class and be placed in a self-contained class in a school half an hour away (we do sped by county here). I was getting a masters in education myself at the time.

    Well, I still grieve. Just this year he needed to be moved out of regular sped and go to a thereputic placement. At 10 yrs. old he was just getting too big to be restrained in the classroom if he got physical. I have felt at turns numb and anxious for months. I even had to take Xanax for panic attacks. Once again I wondered why this was happening to us. I would look at pictures of him when he was young and see such potential and hope.

    The good news? He loves his new school! He came home for the first time in years yesterday and talked about what he learned! Yes, he still asks if he will always have Aspergers, but I think he really feels secure in his new environment. I'm sorry this post is so long, I just wanted you to know that I understand how you feel. I'm going through the same journey.

    I'm sending good thoughts and strength your way.

  8. bramblewoodbabydoll

    bramblewoodbabydoll Ambiguous Witch

    Totoro, I was mainstreamed in 5th grade and went almost directly into a gifted program for science and english.... It can be surprising how quickly you can go from 'stupid' to 'nerd'.
    Another thing to think about, I hate for mothers to tear into themselves with guilt about this stuff even when I do it myself (cause I do) but kids are not completely fragile. I was called stupid by 'normal' kids for years. When I left sped (and I remember it hurt my feelings at first to be a sped but then I thought these mean loser kids that pick on me are not what I want to be either) I tested into gifted, was an A/B student in everything but I never got past a C in math. I was never able to overcome my number block but I still became a nurse... I figured out just enough to do dosage calculations... but I PASSED COLLEGE ALGEBRA! My ultimate point is that nerds dont like being nerds either. They dont like nerd treatment. I got picked on in 7th grade for being a nerdy "know it all" girl with braces even with my C average in math.
    ok so that was really longwinded but my point is:
    Being singled out for anything hurts, but this is enlightenment as the original post says. 98% of my compassion for others comes from a tumultuous childhood. These are oppertunities even when they seem like miserable dead ends....
    I promise to shut up now lol
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Being on an IEP doesn't necessarily mean being in Special Education classes. But to answer your question, difficult child and I just had this conversation today even though he has had an IEP for a few years. I have always explained to him that all people have their own unique set of qualities and things they need help with. I explained dyslexia and autism to him as examples. I pointed out how many, many people with these struggles have accomplished great things and lived normal lives but needed extra help in school to help them learn because most teachers in average classes only know how to teach to children who fit into a "box", but all people don't fit into a box. Similarly, when difficult child was telling his psychiatrist once that he didn't want more medications, psychiatrist told him that he knew he(difficult child) was trying hard to deal with everything himself and on his own but he didn't want him to struggle so much when there was available help to make things easier for him. That was a good approach, I thought.
  10. hoobear

    hoobear Guest

    In my prior response, I did not mean to imply that everyone who had an IEP were in special education classes. I was expressing what happened in my personal experience. Take from it what helps and leave the rest. My best to all who are in similar situations.

  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My son also does not want to be Special Education. In fact, he says he isn't (don't know if he doesn't realize it or he is just in denial). He has always been mainstreamed but pulled out for reading and math. He thinks of it as just the group he goes to. I do know at some level he knows he struggles more than others because of where he is at compared to his peers.

    I teach in a room that is full inclusion. Most of the kids don't even realize that the co-teacher in my room isn't the Special Education teacher (even though she is only in their part of each day).

    In the past with a couple of my students who are Learning Disability (LD) and felt not smart, I would google famous people with Learning Disabilities and shared them with the kids. They were amazed and it completely changed their attitude around.

    I think it's great you are at the total acceptance phase of things (I don't know if I'm there or not yet)!
  12. ML

    ML Guest

    Thanks so much. I realize that the acceptance process has taken a while and I've probably written about this stuff ad nauseum here. It is going to be a lifelong process though, and I don't expect I'll ever truly arrive. One day at a time and continuing to be open to growth opportunities (no problems just opportunities for solutions lol). I also know I need help and I'm so glad to have a great therapist. I appreciate everyone's kindness and patience with me here. I love all of you so much. I have read every word and will re-read them again and again because they touch my soul.
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{ML}}} I so get where you are at right now. I think the big thing to remember (and help Manster understand) is that he is living his life. He was born with inherent strengths and weaknesses that make him unique. The traits he brought into this world are neither good nor bad... they just are. Needing a service or an inclusive classroom isn't a reflection on him as a person, but rather a reflection of his educational needs... just as Totoro has previously stated.

    Duckie goes through this... I think of it as a twisted version of sick gazelle syndrome. She still won't ask her gym teacher to go to the nurse if she needs her inhaler because she's embarrassed. Her music teacher has complemented her publicly about her pretty voice; she now is lip synching because she's self conscious. She doesn't want to be different even if she suffers for it. The need to be the same, to fit, is so strong in older children and teens.

    I think, maybe, the key is to help our hopelessly different kids to make their own niche by playing on their strengths. And then maybe their weaknesses won't seem as big a deal to themselves.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It is a long, hard road, isn't it? just getting to where you are now is an accomplishment. Sending many many hugs.

    Just remember:

    Progress. Not Perfection.

    It applies to this as well as to almost everything.

    Don't ever forget that we love you too. Just keep following your Mommy Instincts. They will point you in the right direction and kick your patootie if you start there. Don't let the experts, relatives, magazines, or even us (stop with the gasping and fish eyes and pick your jaw up off the floor Star!) lead you toward something your instincts tells you to keep him away from .

  15. ML

    ML Guest

    THANK YOU all. Susie I appreciate you so much dear friend.

    More of my thoughts on the journey. I woke up this morning with this on my mind and had to write it down:

    And the road gets even bumpier because, as I'm learning, choices come with enlightenment. Once you understand, or begin to understand autism and all that goes with it, you then get to make a choice, or a series of choices. You can choose to hide it or educate about it. Being silent, unfortunately is a passive choice, a lie of omission is still a lie, if just a white one. It takes so much courage. I'm learning that the most courageous acts are born of necessity more than anything else; a tool for survival.

    I spoke with a young man at work who has recently discovered he is on the spectrum and I've sort of become his office mom because I get him. He is very lonely and isolated and feels like girls hate him. I encouraged him to join online groups because there is world of folks that really do "get it" out there. He said he didn't want to voice a label. I explained that we all have labels. I told him he's tall, male, young, etc. He said no, I don't want a "negative" one. Lighbulb time. If he perceives it as negative then it all begins with him. We have to change our views about ourselves before we can effect how others see us, which really shouldn't matter at all but sadly does. But if we can only learn to cherish our own inner light, then the rest doesn't matter. Education and enlightment begin at home.

    Today I choose to talk about the gifts that come with autism. To focus on the beauty. Let's face it, the cup is always either half full or half empty and you're right no matter how you see it. I'm grateful there's anything left in my cup at all :)

    I hope you're all not getting too tired of my ramblings yet.
  16. bramblewoodbabydoll

    bramblewoodbabydoll Ambiguous Witch

    I think you are making wonderful choices... I also think many of our most courageous acts are indeed born of necessity as you say. We think we'll never be able to handle it and then, we do.
    Love you ML, Brambles