The last two weeks of my life have been really impactful. In just two weeks I have changed... dramtically. I have been frustrated to tears, I've felt enormous weight and responsibility on my shoulders and I've resented every aspect of my life. I've been the worst mother I've ever been and I've not been the best wife... needless to say I was scrapping the bottom of my reserves and the barrel was empty. I had nothing left to give... or more acurately nothing more I wanted to give.
Between all three kids in three different schools, Ethan in therapy 2 afternoons a week and Owen and Lorali in dance I was in a constant state of runnig around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I hated every minute of it. It was a constant waste. I was trying to surrender myself and my time to the school year. Thinking it was for the best. In reality it was the worst decision ever for my family. Everyone was miserable.
Since school started 7 weeks ago Ethan has been bullied at school. A LOT. He's come home asking what new colorful words mean because he's being called them, he's been scratched, excluded, teased and taunted. He's crying the minute he gets in the car, he is hiding in his room at night refusing to be with the family and I am losing my happy, inquisitive son. NOT TO AUTISM to the school! I've spoken to the school administrators about it but they repeated feel like it's acase of Ethan's perceptions not malicious intent from other kids. It's on the playground, in the lunchroom, in the class and there is really no escaping it. The final straw came when I was brushing Ethan's hair 2 weeks ago and found a big chunk of chewed up food.... I asked Ethan what it was and he said someone in the lunchroom had been spitting on him! He had told the teachers in the room but they had told him to just move seats. I cried for a week, met with the school counselor, teachers and special needs coordinator and still didn't feel like this was something they considered a priority. I was furious at the world for a week and ended up taking it out on my family. On top of this I had been noticing that the work he'd been bringing home from school was SIMPLE. 9+1, 6+4, 8+7, etc. on his math worksheet. With comments from the teacher like "Ethan got 100% on this one! Great job buddy!" What?!? Of course he got 100% That is Kindergarten math! He's been out of Kindergarten math since before he left kindergarten! He is supposed to be in 3rd grade, not 1st! They'd send home journal entries that had two sentences and were 100% illegible. When asked about it they responded with 'We're just glad he's willing to do anything'. What?! Yeah.... They don't believe in him and they certainly do NOT see his potential. Yes, Autism is a diagnosis but it does NOT mean STUPID. Ethan is brilliant and even though he learns differently he loves to learn. He absolutely wants to be the expert on practically every topic he learns. It's a joy to be with him and to see him learn and understand. Don't get me wrong, I think the teachers are doing the best they can but they are doing the bare minimum. They are refusing to seperate from the pack and become the cream that Ethan needs. They're happy with mediocre. I tried to have faith in the system and I just can't do it anymore. I'm done being the fighter.
SO after a long hard two weeks of frustration, arguing, tears and prayers. It looks like it's finally time to Surrender. Surrender to Autism, Surrender to the school system, and surrender myself to improving Ethan's education. No more self-doubt allowed. Ethan needs me. He needs Doug and he needs to know without a doubt that we believe in him wholeheartedly. So Doug and I have decided to homeschool him. In the past I've come up with excuses... I don't know what he needs, I'm not equipt to teach him the way he needs, I don't have a degree, I don't have the time, I don't have the patience.... trust me I've thought of 2 million and 1 reasons why it's a bad idea but ultimately Ethan needs me. He's been in 3 different schools, with 6 different teachers in the 16 months since we've lived here.... it's not fair to him anymore. Parents can not force teachers to believe in thier kids. Frankly, we got really lucky in Bethlehem. Ethan had teachers that believed in him and worked with him and cheered him on in more ways then we as parents did. They knew he was capible and they were not going to let him do anything but succeed. They learned right along with him. How to teach him and how to connect with him were ever changing targets and they were determined to ease his struggles and they taught me to do the same. They taught me to believe in his abilities and use that to his advantage. So while I don't have a degree, and I don't have the best of everything I do have my childs best intrests in mind and I know that he belongs with me. I can put everything I have into him and teach him the way he needs to be taught. I know I can remind him of his passion for learning, I know I can give him his confidence back and I know he will improve and again, exceed all of our expectations.
"Surrender does not mean being passive, it means engaging yourself totally in what you are doing and then letting go of the outcome."
-Yogi Amrit Desai
Wish us both luck!