13 January, 2012 09:19

These episodes at school are like the big storms coming through. One is never prepared enough and it seems like only when you’re snowed-in under 100 inches of snow do you feel the brick hitting you on the head which triggers your ass to get to the store to buy the damn shovel you’ve been putting off for six months.

I mull over my head the things I really, REALLY want to say to the school’s teachers and principal, but what keeps me from utterly losing my shit is that I know it will be Doodicus that they’ll take it out on. Each year I seriously consider buying ADHD informational flyers, books, packets and handing them out, but I don’t want to come off as passive-aggressively telling someone who supposedly has an educational degree how to do their jobs teaching MY kid.

What really bugs me is that we go through this every damn year. The web-adage: lather, rinse, repeat, comes to mind frequently. Before I can even finish the question, “Why aren’t they better prepared for a child like mine?” I answer, “….because they blow them out of their tuition-padded doors and into the free public school system when parents realize they are paying to have their child treated like crap.”

IMHO, of course.

And this is where you ask, “Why are you paying tuition for a school to NOT provide your son a learning environment suitable for his ADHD?”

Ah, yes. Here’s where things get really stupid. Pull up a chair. Would you like lemon or cream in your tea?

This elementary school has a great reputation scholastically; for the normal child (note how I give you the air-quotes as I say that), that is. While we may (or may not) get the IEP or 504 assistance in the public school system, they are very 30-years-ago in lesson plans. What’s really at the heart of that question is simple: WE don’t pay the tuition. His grandparents, who insist that we educate the kids through this elementary school, pay the tuition. When we originally enrolled Doodicus in the private school, we had no idea that he was ADHD. Not that THAT is any excuse, but more of an FYI. I guess if I’m going to tell you gammy and grampy pay the tuition, I might as well tell the whole story.

So you might ask as you hide your accusing eyes by looking into your cup for an imaginary piece of lint, “Now that you know, why don’t you save your in-laws some money and get him out of that school?” Because we haven’t told our families that Doodicus is ADHD, and frankly, we have no intention of doing so. Two of my four sisters know, but that’s because they took care of the kids when I had my cancer surgery and they had to be prepared for the morning behaviors and to administer his medication. They are also a bit more forgiving, too.

With my husband’s family, they are UNforgiving and out-of-touch. They believe ADHD is an excuse for not being able to discipline a child. In their mind, ADHD is just a bullshit term by doctors to use to lazy parenting. When Dood was diagnosed three years ago, I convinced myself then that it wouldn’t be much longer and the grandparents would be a – how should I say – nonissue. Who knew that they would live forfuckingever?! See? I’m an ungrateful asshole.

But here’s my question: Why should a private school be able to shun their responsibility for continuing their education so they can be better prepared to teach children with ADHD (or ADD or autism or any other learning disability)? In the email I got from his teacher, she said (and yes, I am quoting), “…AND please discuss with him (again) the importance of getting his act together.”

Oh, yes, of course! *gives self a face-palm* It didn’t even occur to me these past six years that I should tell him to GET HIS ACT TOGETHER!

What do you think would happen if she told parent of a child with a visual impairment “please discuss with him (again) the importance of learning to see”?

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12 thoughts on “13 January, 2012 09:19”

  1. WTF!!! I would be fired and out the door if I told a parent (especially IN WRITING) that their kid needs to get his act together. Wow. Just move to NH and he can be in my class!!

  2. SHIT. I was pissed when I read your last post. Now I am REALLY pissed. Sweetie it doesn’t matter who is footing the bill, the issue is that the school is dropping the fucking ball. I am a product of private (ie expensive) education. Smaller classes, supposedly individualized attention blah blah blah. It’s all smoke and mirrors. The man behind the curtain doesn’t give a shit.

    The teachers email needs to make it to the editorial page of your newspaper. At the very least it needs to be read at the next school board meeting. That is the most asinine bull I have ever read. Doodicus doesn’t stand a chance with that teacher. She has already washed her hands of him and is focusing on the kids that she doesn’t need to break a sweat with.

    (I hear you on the inlaws. My FIL is the one who famously (when being told we were adopting a baby) said “But you don’t really know ‘what’ you’ll get”. He didn’t mean boy or girl. He clarified as to what *kind* of kid…you know, the one that someone else doesn’t want)….so yeah, I completely understand keeping your IL’s in the dark).

  3. I agree with most of the others. I would put him into an environment where they know how to deal with ADHD even though it might not be as good academically. A better school will not matter if he hates it. Your ILs do not need to know the reason and you can keep Aitch there.

  4. Go buy the damn shovel already. It’s not going to stop snowing anytime soon.

    Also, you don’t have to tell the grandparents anything beyond “It’s not a good fit for him. We want him to love learning, not hate it.” They won’t be paying for public school, so that’s all they need to know.

  5. And this is where I show my ignorance…

    Um, I would expect MORE from his school. If you are paying and I assume they have smaller class sizes – they should be able to provide more attention to him and also have such qualified staff so that this should be a non-issue in my eyes. The fact that they obviously DON’T know or care to know how to work with Dood and to help him is beyond ridiculous to me. I would be frustrated too and I totally get the not telling family thing. He doesn’t need that label from family or to be treated differently. He is living with ADHD, he isn’t ADHD.

    And that teacher’s email – beyond wrong in so many ways. I agree with the others that I think people think that you get a diagnosis and give the kid a pill and VIOLA fixed. And that isn’t the case. They need those pamphlets and a seminar and some continuing education classes on techniques to help students with different diagnoses.

  6. “…AND please discuss with him (again) the importance of getting his act together.”

    There are SO many things wrong with that statement, I don’t even know where to begin. So I can’t even imagine how exasperated you feel. I agree with Heather, though (said as I cast my eyes down into my tea cup to look for that lint). If you are having this issue year after year with the teachers then this is a broader problem not with just the teachers but with the school as well. And if they choose to take it out on Doodicus should you speak up and stand up for him for a medical condition HE has no control over, he is better off at a different school even if the academic level may be inferior. It doesn’t matter how great the academics are at this school if he can’t, or worse, doesn’t want, to learn.

    And for FWIW, I think your analogy that asking an ADHD kid to get his act together is like asking a blind person to learn to see is a powerful one. From all the comments you have shared with us, it seems this teacher (and probably others at his school too) think the same as your ILs, that ADHD is not a medical problem. Before they will be open to helping Doodicus in the ways that will actually help him, they need to understand that it is a medical issue and not just Doodicus not wanting to buckle down and do as he is told.

    Of course, this is all easy to say and hard to do.

  7. Here’s what I would do, and this may mean absolutely nothing since I’m not dealing with a child who is ADHD. I find it appalling that Doodicus’ school is not doing more for him. What do they think, diagnosis=fixed? The teachers’ email telling you to remind him to ‘get his act together’ speaks volumes on how little she understands ADHD. Anyway, back to what I was going to say, look at the public school stats and scores. If they are comparable to those of the school he is attending get him out of there. Even if they are a little lower, get him out.
    What’s going to happen, and may already be happening, is he will HATE school and learning because he is constantly labelled the ‘problem child’. Should he go to public school with the right assistance and help he will start to do better, excel, and begin to trust his teachers again.
    Sure, the IL’s are paying. I still don’t think you owe them the real reason for taking him out of that school.

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