This post published prematurely as I was sorting through my thoughts. What does this mean? I will say it is a challenge to figure out what is going on inside the brain of my child. Every day is completely different. The emotional demands of trying to figure out what is working and what is not working. There are so many thoughts and ideas. The one that is most frustrating is from people who say “you can’t believe everything from doctors”. I am never one to believe unless I have substantial facts behind the diagnosis. When you bring a child home you are hopeful that everything in their life moving forward is wonderful. However it is unfortunate that as a parent you cannot predict your life path and the various detours. The hope is that you will raise your children in a two parent household with all the love and nurturing they need before going into the world. Next comes divorce and you scramble to find stability especially when you choose to leave your old life.
Divorce brings a whole new level of emotions for children. I think all becomes obvious when a search for a school was a priority. When I first looked around for schools I thought spending a little more per month would render great results. I was a little disappointed that a smaller class to teacher ratio didn’t address the early signs of reading difficulty. Fast forward to Kindergarten and a great teacher. This was a trying year because it was the first time with a structured classroom setting, homework and sharing space with over twenty kids. It was a challenge however we managed to get through it and it was the first signs of struggles with focus and handling emotions. Next, it was 1st grade and the worst teacher in my experience as a parent with two kids. I have never witnessed a more disparaging individual hired to teach young minds. It was beyond a challenge and I was elated when the year ended. Unfortunately in the school aside from the psychologist’s evaluation we were left with a diagnosis and little else in terms of resources. My child’s struggles were beyond reading difficulties and although there was an afterschool reading club this was not the intense focus my child needed.
My planning process was how to change schools that would provide the resources for a child with learning differences. I researched public schools and housing in the surrounding area to determine which school district had the resources to assist my child. Thanks to a website that reviews the school districts as well as the neighborhood I found a new school district. Fast forward seven months and we moved, I changed jobs and we are in another school district. After two months of the new school year, we received follow-up from the school district to gain permission for an evaluation. I learned that the evaluation request is based on the evaluation received by the previous school. The psychologist was very thorough with communicating his testing and action plans. One month later there is a new diagnosis which closely matches the previous evaluation. The only additional assessment was to determine if ADHD was a potential factor.
Unfortunately, the conclusion of ADHD correlates with her learning difficulties in math, reading and writing. I really wanted to push to have the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting before Christmas break. It is my hope that we (school, my child and myself) all can start the New Year with a viable plan. There is now a meeting date for an IEP to address math, reading and writing support services with her current teacher, psychologist, special education teacher and principal. For some reason the word IEP has always made me feel angst because I assumed it was something bad and unwarranted specifically for African American children. I learned that I had to base the conclusion on my observations with my child and what I felt was necessary. It is obvious struggles exist and dealing with a child with ADHD creates a challenges each day. I have to tailor each step I take because of the fluctuations in her inability to focus and effectively handle emotions. As a parent, this can be exhausting because each day is different and you have to learn to adjust your temperament. I am struggling to learn what works and how to minimize the instability. It is a daily learning process and I wish I had the right formula to get us through it all.
I think what has relieved my thoughts is speaking with an aide at the school who adores my child. She told me do not worry you are in the right place both of children received support services and my daughter is a chemical engineer. As a single parent you desire confirmation and guidance when you are making major decisions so this was a proverbial “pat on the back”.