Parents Write About The Spectrum of School Success With a Child with Disabilities
On her blog, Along Came the Bird: the real life adventures of a special needs family, Lana describes the stellar (learning to use “yes” and “no” cards to answer questions) and the “not so stellar moments” (biting a teacher) in the first week of kindergarten for her daughter Lily, who was born with a number of medical issues and is autistic.
Lana’s blog and a number of others by parents and individuals with disabilities resonate with my experience as the mother of a child who is “different.” Charlie still needs lots of speech therapy and there are, and will be, times when he bangs his head or throws things. He’s learning how to to express frustration in other ways (going to a quiet place and making noises that are soothing to him). He’s also learning vocational skills and how to read single words.
As the short bus (the smaller school bus kids with disabilities often take) returns, Rob Rummel-Hudson of Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords writes that there’s worry in the air as his daughter Schuyler, who has a rare neurological condition and does not speak, may be changing schools very soon. But, showing the incredible spirit our kids have, “she nonetheless leapt onto the bus this morning without hesitation, and without so much as a glance back.”
Often I feel like just getting Charlie to the point when he’s stepping onto the school bus on the first day of school is the signature achievement of my year. Jean at Stimeyland has three sons on the autism spectrum and describes my experience times three: this year’s first day of school was even more “interesting” than usual for her because each of her three boys is going to different schools. (The buses didn’t all come on time but everyone got to school, eventually.)
Who doesn’t have a first-day-of-school photo in which you’re wearing some brand new outfit, with a new backpack to match? Tanis at Attack of the Red Neck Mommy is determined to take that first-day-of-school photo, though it takes a bit of effort to get a good one of her two teenagers carrying her youngest (who has multiple disabilities). In the process, Tanis reminisces with humor and insight about her (not, alas, perfect) first day as a junior in high school; I was reminded of how raising Charlie, with all of his challenges, has helped me put the woes of my teenage years into perspective.
Photo by bestlibrarian
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