Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Forget what Hurt you, but never forget what it taught you....

I read something the other day, that for the life of me I can't remember where.....possibly Facebook, I like to follow inspirational people, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Doreen Virtue.....it may have been from one of their posts.  Basically it spoke to me LOUDLY, and I'm trying to stop and notice that when things resonate with me, when they STAND OUT, I should pay attention.

This was a little movie, that talked about letting go of things that were bothering you.....and the word SCHOOL came out....and I stopped in my tracks.  I have been holding on to a LOT of anger with respect to school.

Limefreckle Jr. pointed out to me the other day that it was his 4th year anniversary at his new school.  I don't know why I say "new" school....because he's spent twice as much time there now as his "old" school, but it's a habit that I've gotten into.

If you don't know our story already, I'll give you a brief overview.  Limefreckle Jr. has autism, and he entered the public school system at age 4, senior kindergarten.  Our school was a  Catholic school, publicly funded.  I enrolled him there because I had hoped that being in the Catholic system would help us to raise Limefreckle Jr. in our faith.  We hadn't really been church goers since he learned to walk, because the Catholic Church and wild autistic children really don't gel that well, in my humble opinion.  Our church had no child care to speak of, no spot to go when he was getting overwhelmed, no support to speak of with respect to this part of our lives.  Mass can be a long, tiring process of standing and sitting, not a lot to amuse a young child that has a hard time fitting into society in general.  It was hard to keep him "under control" and behaving.

So we entered our school, confident in the fact that we were going to find professionals that could help us with this journey in our lives.  We couldn't have been more wrong!  Instead we encountered judgement, criticism, resentment, impatience and intolerance, both from the administration of the school and from other families.  Not EVERYONE behaved badly, there were some great supports for me among some of the mom's I met along the way, both mom's of other kids with Autism, and mom's of typical kids.  Limefreckle Jr. made some friends.  Not a lot, but he did OK, and he always found SOMEONE to connect with, at each level.

The administration at the school was a different story.  We worked well together at first, but I later learned that was because I didn't rock the boat, I kept quiet when things bothered me, and I tried to just get along.  When they called to tell me that he was misbehaving and I needed to pick him up, I arrived within minutes to retrieve him.  When he spilled his water in his backpack, and was upset, and I was asked to bring him home, I was there.  When he "uttered a death threat" (told someone that he whould kill them) I raced to the school and brought him home immediately, embarrassed that my son was not 'towing the line" and behaving in the manner that they expected from him.  The moment I questioned something alarming that I had heard from other children in the school (neighbours of mine told us that they had seen our son locked in a room) I was immediately shut down.  Limefreckle Jr. was denied some accommodations that he had been previously given (access to a sensory room that helped him to get some needed movement and exercise breaks throughout the day).  No one would talk to me at pick up or drop off, it became awkward and uncomfortable to be around anyone at the school.  Meetings became standoff's.....we were urged to seek further medical assessments because our child was clearly very troubled, far more was wrong than Autism in their professional opinions.

We left that school and found a wonderful, private school for children on the Autism Spectrum.  Limefreckle Jr. has thrived in this environment.  Nothing more is "wrong" with him, aside from his Autism Spectrum diagnosis.  They "GET IT".

But here we are, 4 years later, and I can't get over it.  I'm still so angry at the old school for the things that they did to us.....I think of it often.  Too often.  I'm angry that we are not able to access publicly funded education (although I guess that is not completely true....we can go back anytime if we are prepared to risk what this could do to Limefreckle Jr.)  I'm angry that they represented themselves as experts when clearly they didn't have the first clue as to how to work with our son.  Sending him home for every little transgression was absolutely the WRONG thing to do, and any professional with any real understanding of how to work with a boy like him would have known that.  I feel that we were duped.  I feel that our government let us down.  I feel like our school board let us down.  Lately there has been a lot of unrest with our teacher's unions here in Ontario and it absolutely INFURIATES ME and I don't even have a child in the public system anymore! 

I know that this is something I have to work towards letting go of.  I have to forgive these people, and move on......and I'm going to really try.....the first step is going to be by repeating this new mantra "forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you"....we are so lucky that what happened to us did, because otherwise we never would have found our current school.  I can say with certainty that had we not gone through the experience that we had, that Limefreckle Jr. would not be the boy that he is today.  Everything happened for a reason, and I really, truly believe that.....I do believe that we needed to go through what we did, to get to where we are......but that still doesn't make it easier to forget.......


Shawn said...

No matter what the "problem" no school should ever handle a child with such disregard, lack of respect and cruelty. You're better than me, I would have gone in there buns a blazin'. Kudos for being such an advocate for your son!

Thanks for linking up with us!