I’m not going to get into details because nothing was decided. The meeting ended up being a forum for the school to argue their case for Monkey’s placement for next year. We were not surprised by anything we heard. We had read the reports and could discern the direction they were leaning. Duhdee and I…disagreed with… their conclusions; conclusions they reached based on the district’s1 special education philosophy and not targeted for Monkey specifically. That is to say, they are not picking on us. They are simply…misguided…in our oh so humble opinions2.
There were a few things that were said that were rather upsetting3 and we are working on our counter arguments and, also, preparing our argument for the placement we believe is most appropriate for Monkey. This all sounds so civilized doesn’t it? Some of you know better 😉
SO. The details are unimportant right now because it’s an ongoing discussion. There is something very important I want to say about the last few days. I suppose I should start with my mindset going in to yesterday’s meeting. If you have a child with an intellectual or developmental disability, you will know exactly how upsetting these reports always are. Even when the reports are glowing in reference to the progress your child is making, they are devastating when they (necessarily) point out how far behind your child is. It is heartwrenching and it is disheartening.
Speaking for myself, they make me question every decision I make about Monkey. Would he be so far behind if we’d done more or made different decisions? I feel personally responsible for everything, right down to his very genetic make up, that has put us in this situation. I don’t blame myself4 but I do feel like I should have worked harder somehow. Self-doubt creeps in.
I left for that meeting with those awful, dark voices whispering in my head. I’m failing him. I have made the best decisions I could and it’s still not enough. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I just need to let them decide. Maybe they know best. Maybe Monkey would be leaps and bounds ahead if we’d just listened back when he was 3 and put him in a self-contained ASD classroom.
Fortunately for me I have this personality quirk…I’m allowed to question myself, to doubt myself, but no one…NO ONE…is allowed to talk down to me or question my intelligence. I am allowed to question whether I5 have done enough to bring out the best in Monkey but no one…NO ONE…is allowed to question his potential. To do either enrages me. To do both…not good.
Some of you picked up on how angry I was yesterday…and I was much more polite publicly6 than I was in person. The texts I sent yesterday alone would probably win me a spot in hell 😉 It could have been really bad. I could have sent angry e-mails to the school. I could have continued in that useless spiral of anger but instead the most amazing thing happened.
You. You all lifted me up when I couldn’t see through the anger and hurt to do it myself. The support I received from other parents got me through that first rush of anger and despair so I could get to where I am now. Where Monkey needs me to be.
I have remembered why we have made all the decisions we have. I have remembered all of the inspirational stories you have shared about your perseverance and your kids’ resulting achievments. I have remembered that the only person with the power to hold Monkey back is *ME*. And I will be damned if I let that happen.
So, thanks to you all, we are re-committed to, and confident in, the course we chose 4 years ago. Monkey belongs. No matter how you phrase it, no matter how well meant it may be, you will not ever convince me that he doesn’t. I have the love and support of hundreds behind me…you will not win.