I had an incident happen earlier this week that left me upset. Nothing I’m going to lose too much sleep over and certainly nothing that completely affects me, but it bothered me, so you’re getting to hear about it. Feel free to tell me to get over it, it’s no big deal (although, be warned, I might debate back that it IS a big deal in the broader sense of life).

I had to borrow a piece of equipment from my old department at my job. It’s the only department that has this particular machine on the whole campus, so off I went. If you’ve never played with a binding machine before – you’re not missing anything.

Careful! You could poke someone’s eye out with that thing! Don’t ask me how I know this…

(courtesy of Laminator.com – no affiliation)

Anyway – as I’m talking with my old coworker (umm…I’ll call her Babs – she looks like a Babs), the new coworker (let’s see…we’ll name her Bonnie – why? Because I’m not very creative with names!) asks Babs if this is the Karaboo she’s been talking about. Bonnie proceeds to argue with Babs that I can’t be the Karaboo that she’s talking about, but okay, since I’m there, she’ll ask me her questions.

***Side note – I’m not sure why she would doubt I’m the Karaboo Babs was talking about, but whatever – I’ve had stranger things happen to me!

So, Bonnie proceeds to ask me about how I have handled Buddy’s issues with ADD as she is struggling with her own son’s diagnosis. I really don’t mind talking to people about all of the struggles both Buddy and I have been through in his early years – if it helps someone else, I’m all for talking about it – which is why Babs knows about the struggles I’ve been through.

Bonnie continues to tell me that her son has been officially diagnosed with MR and ADHD and have the medications I’ve had my own son on helped him with his concentration? I told her Buddy’s story and the things we went through in his early years (late walking, late talking, late everything, struggles in school, testing, holding him back a grade, medication decisions, being placed in special education and finally being main-streamed with modifications to his lesson plan to address his specific needs). I spoke about the fact that every child is different and how there are a lot of medications out there that may or may not actually help her particular child. I commented that she has to work closely with her child and his physician to decide which medication (if any) is right for her child.

She then, in the midst of her story about what she’s done with her own child, made the comment that upset me. AFTER talking about having him tested at an official testing facility near us (same one I used) and disagreeing with the results, and AFTER talking about putting him on prescribed medication and refusing to give it to him after a couple of doses because the child complained about the side effects – but not bothering to go back to the physician about the issues – she just stopped giving him the medication, and AFTER talking about how she’s put him in three different schools in the same district attempting to get the teachers to teacher her son something without putting him in special education classes, and AFTER she said that she was refusing to put the child in a special school recommended by both the testing place and the teachers because she shouldn’t have to do that, and AFTER she said that she’s done all she can do to help her child learn by using flash cards….she made the comment.

She said she’s angry at the teachers and told them, “You’re the teachers, YOU need to figure out a way to teach MY son!” She then proceeded to ask me, “What should I do?”

It was all I could do not to scream at her!

NO ONE is a better advocate for your child than you are yourself. NO ONE is going to care if your child is left behind except for YOU. NO ONE can speak and do what is necessary for your child better than YOU!

I held my tongue and told her calmly – no one else can advocate for your son but you. If that means going back to the doctor every week until you find a medication that works (if there is one available), that’s what you do. If that means you put him in the school everyone is recommending, you do that too. If you have to rearrange your life to better serve your child’s needs, that’s what you do. The teachers cannot care for all of the kids they have in their class like you can care for your own child. You cannot rely on them to do it for you. You have to step up yourself and take on that responsibility.

She countered with the complaint that the special school was too expensive! I responded with, “Have you looked into grants and scholarships?” No, came the answer. How do you know it’s too expensive if you don’t at least research it? Mumbling was what I heard from across the desk.

The brief (20 minute) encounter ended when Bonnie had to leave for a meeting.

Once I was back in my own office, I asked myself what made me so upset over her questions. It boiled down, for me, to her attitude. That it was everyone else’s responsibility to figure out how to help her child, but to do it in a way she approved of (i.e. matched her opinion/thinking) and anything else was dismissed as not relevant.

I realized that the attitude I witnessed from Bonnie is exactly the same attitude I see from Jetsam on a regular basis.

As for how it affects me – not greatly in the grand scheme of things. But it makes me sad to know there are parents out there that want others to raise their children for them, but only if they do it in a way the parent approves of.

Teachers definitely do not get paid enough to deal with this crap.