I Forgot How Hard I Have to Fight

It is only the second day of school, and I am already getting push-back from Lanigan Elementary. I just called the Farmington Schools Special Education Supervisor, Shellie Cole, because Caleb’s teacher is making him do first grade math; we finished first grade math over the summer. So, now I have to fight for him to be treated as a gifted child as well as fight for his rights as an autistic child.

Why isn’t there a Special Needs Advocate in Oakland Schools? This should not be happening. Right now, Caleb is being punished for being so productive over the summer. And when Caleb is bored (which will happen if you ask him to do simple math) he acts out; Caleb needs the stimulation of thinking in order to stay on track. If it isn’t challenging for Caleb, why make him do it?

Plus, yesterday, on the first day of school, the administration started giving us a hard time at drop-off. Yes, parents are not supposed to get out of their car in the drop-off lane, but my husband was driving and Caleb and I hopped out. Why? Because there were no handicap spaces available and the parking lot was a) completely full, and b) a nightmare with cars going in the wrong direction just to find a place to park. Caleb cannot walk through a crazy busy parking lot while I’m carrying in a ton of school supplies. Why? Because we have to provide all of his food and snacks and whatever comes up because he is gluten-free/casein-free; if we didn’t supply the extra snacks, the school wouldn’t provide safe food for him during snack time or special celebrations. There is a kid in his class with a severe nut allergy; NOBODY brings anything in that has even been processed with nuts. My son’s response to gluten and casein is not life-threatening, so they don’t really see it as important. Caleb has regularly come home with a note saying he ate an Oreo or something.

1 in 37 boys have autism. Why aren’t we coming together as a force to be reckoned with? Why do I have to call administrators and talk to a zillion random Farmington workers and educators just to make sure that my son is given his proper education?

My son has the right to the kind of education that is responsive to his needs. My son has a parapro; it is not like it would be difficult for Caleb to do his own challenging work while other kids do theirs.

I forgot about all this hassle. I forgot how everything is a fight.
I hate fighting.
But I have to fight.
If I don’t fight for my son, who will?
Definitely not Lanigan. 😦

Author: jessicajean79

I have a B.A. in Interactive Multimedia and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology. I started my Ph.d. in 2007, but in 2009, my husband and I met and decided to have a baby. Caleb was a high-risk pregnancy and a high-needs baby. My husband and I both agreed that Caleb needed a stay-at-home mother more than I needed to finish my schooling. Instructional Technology is the study of how people learn. My focus of my research was motivation; my wickedly awesome dissertation that I never finished showed how to create an environment that fosters motivation. All this information has been invaluable to me. As far as learning theory goes, I believe in using Cognitivism, Constructivism, and Behaviorism. With young kids, Behavorism is most popular, and with reason; most of the studies on autism and learning have been based upon Behaviorism, specifically B. F. Skinner. I still believe in the use of all 3 learning theories. I am a mother, wife, doggy-mom, big spoon, little spoon, and data-driven.

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