Wednesday, October 8, 2008

no one said it was going to be easy

I've been avoiding writing about this because I guess I was hoping the whole thing would just go away. Unfortunately life doesn't work like that. At open house a few weeks back Sam's teacher told me "We need to chat." and she raised her eyebrows and gave me THAT look. I immediately felt my stomach sink and my throat tighten and all the alarm bells started ringing. Over the next week I had to continually talk myself down from the edge of panic. It couldn't be all that bad. It wasn't like she needed to talk to me ASAP. She wasn't calling me every day to discuss his behaviour. So it couldn't be all that bad. Right?

We got together to chat last week. She didn't tell me anything I haven't heard before; immature, social issues, easily frustrated, trouble working independently, some crying, stimming, impulsive. Funny how having heard it before doesn't make hearing it again any easier. She has worked extensively with special needs students and I am very grateful for that because she is more than willing to make the small accommodations that can help Sam with some of his challenges. But as we talked, she agreed that some things are just who he is and will not change.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do not want to change my son. I love him for who he is. I accept him for who he is. He is sweet and thoughtful and sensitive and kind. He's a kid who worries about tidal waves and volcanoes and yet, is utterly fascinated with them. He plays soccer, basketball and baseball, and none of them very well. But he adores being part of a team and works hard to improve his skills. He's the boy on the team who stops chasing after the ball to help someone who fell. He is all heart. And God! it just breaks my heart that things can't be easy for him.

But what do I do? I don't necessarily want to make him fit in. I just want to make sure he feels accepted and loved for who he is after he walks out our door. How do I do that? We've been cultivating friendships with children. But he needs more than that. I need to teach him to interpret social cues appropriately. I need to help him understand why the other kids do what they do and reassure him that they're not bad kids. Even though he interacts with the best of motives and intentions, he doesn't think others are doing them same, even if they are. He is viewing interactions and comments with and from other children as if they are bad and are being mean. And, lets be honest, he is basing this on past experience. However, he can't go through life with a negative perspective. How do I reverse this belief that the other kids are just plain mean? I think its going to be one of those things that we will constantly be reinforcing and we won't see huge gains but progress will have to be measured in minute baby steps. His teacher was very honest and admitted that she did not think there was much the school system could do to help him with the challenges he faces. I talked with our pediatrician and he echoed this. Kids like Sam, they just seem to fall into this huge gray area. His academics are fine so school doesn't care. He's healthy so there's nothing for the doctor to treat. But he could be headed for a crash. I'm desperately trying to come up with ways to prevent this, without making him into someone he's not.

6 comments:

(fairy) Godmother said...

Hugs Marie... Sam is one spectacular kid and you are one amazing mother!

Sarah said...

big hugs to you. I'm sorry things can't be easier for you and S. You are both amazing and he'll do amazing things in his lifetime, I just know it.

Sarah said...

btw, do you ever write social stories for him? one way to explain some of the tricky social stuff...

kidletsmum said...

Is there a parents group for kids with special needs in your area? They might have some good strategies to help you and S through all this. You are doing a great job!

Anne said...

Sam could not be more lovable. You truly are an amazing mother, Marie. YOu are the first and last person I go to for parenting advice. Sam will learn that the friends worth having are the ones who appreciate kindness, thoughtfullness, and sensitivity. I'm certain he won't crash and I'm certain because he has you for a Mom. You are too smart, creative, and relentless in your parenting. Sam is lucky beyond measure.

Marie said...

Thanks for the pats on the back and the ideas. Love you all! mwah!