Bloggy Moms

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Fathers' Day Tribute to a Very Special Daddy

As I child and young adult, I never really celebrated Fathers' Day much. In fact, the only thing I knew was that my younger brother was born on this blessed day. I had the privilege of having an absentee father. Since he was never around during my formative years and when he finally did show up, he was less than stellar, I appreciate even more my little girl's father.
When I was dating the man who would I would eventually marry, he told me that he wanted to have a girl to spoil like I never had. He wanted me to see what true love was. I believe that God does grant you the desires of your heart, so it was no surprise to me when I learned that I was pregnant with a girl. My husband kept his promise from the moment our special girl was born.
At times I was jealous of their bond. She did many firsts with him: first giggle, first word (DaDa) etc. Overtime, I grew to appreciate this special bond. It was like watching the childhood that I should have had.
When we first learned that our daughter possibly had a mental illness. He stuck by me. He vowed to keep being the kind of dad our special girl needed. It was hard work. It nearly broke him to see her in so much distress. Together we worked to get her the help that she needed.
Then once she was stable, we noticed that she had many characteristics similar to those of an autistic. This led to an eventual diagnosis of autism. It was another blow to my sports loving husband as he saw his dreams for her slip away. We both worked on new dreams for our daughter. The additional diagnosis of autism was just sinking in when we learned that our daughter had a brain tumor and needed emergency surgery.
Again, my husband, my Knight in shining armor, stepped up to the plate. He kept a vigil by her bedside those first few days. We were led to believe or led ourselves to believe that our daughter would be cured once the tumor was removed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
During this time, my husband had been reinventing himself. He accomplished his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, the only job he could find took him hours away from his precious daughter. So he began a quest to find a teaching position closer to home. It became clear very early on that in order to find a job closer to home, he'd have to move his family. A move that took us miles away from family and friends. A move that at first our daughter resented very much.
Shortly after our move, we noticed that the symptoms that led us to the diagnosis of the brain tumor, had returned. I put on my mama bear hat and went to work finding answers. We learned that the tumor had, thankfully, not returned, but its absence was sending mixed signals to our girl's right side. Her speech, swallowing, and movement we affected. While I set about getting our daughter the necessary treatment, my Knight set about providing for us. He was very much a part of any decisions that were made on her behalf. He never told our daughter that she couldn't do something or that she looked funny. These were phrases that I'd heard from my father. I am so glad that my daughter only hears encouraging phrases from her daddy.
Last week, our daughter underwent anesthesia for Botox injections that may or may not improve the dystonia and spasticity on her right side. Since it is summer vacation, my Knight, my daughter's daddy, was able to be present after she woke up. I know he'll continue to be her biggest cheerleader whatever curveballs life throws her way.

Any man can be a father. It takes someone very special to be able to be called Daddy

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tell me Again Why Can't I Help in My Special Needs Child's Classroom?

My daughter has been in Special Ed since third grade. Well technically, since second grade when she was in the Resource Specialist Program at our local elementary school in Southern California. Since needing more supports, first in a Special Day Class on a General Education campus and eventually at a special school for students who need even more supports, I have never been made to feel welcome in her classroom. Never once have parent volunteer slips been sent home. I've always accepted this at face value.

Recently, it's started to become more of a problem. My daughter's school is having an Open House/ BBQ that parents are invited to attend. Unfortunately, it falls on a day when my daughter will be at a very important doctor's appointment that we have been waiting for months for. It cannot be rescheduled. I thought I had the perfect solution, attend the class party celebrating the class's completion of a virtual trip around the world. Parents were asked to contribute potluck dishes from countries that were visited. The email invitation did not specify whether or not parents could attend, so I asked the classroom teacher. I actually had to ask twice. Eventually, I was told that because the party fell during school hours, parents were not to attend. Makes no sense to me. Especially, since the Open House/ BBQ is during regular school hours. My daughter's school even holds an annual Thanksgiving Feast during school hours. Parents are invited to both of these events.

So why is it that parents of gen ed students are welcome in their child's classroom, but not if that same child is in an SDC class or at a special education school? I've heard that schools/ districts do this for privacy reasons (FERPA/HIPPA), however as a former classroom teacher, I know that even General Education teachers are not allowed to divulge private information yet parents are welcome to volunteer in the classroom.

I've also heard the excuse that students do better when their parents are not in the classroom. Here's the thing though. Shouldn't I be given the opportunity to at least volunteer? Then I can decide for myself if I want to continue doing so. I haven't even been asked to volunteer in the office. Heck, I'd be happy to make copies occasionally. However, when it is convenient for the school i.e. they need my support with a field trip, then all of a sudden the volunteer gates are open. I call that a double standard.

Honestly, when things are kept under a veil of secrecy one can't help but to wonder what the big secret is. I'm all for transparency. Thankfully, our school district has scheduled one more IEP, on the last day no less. When they ask for parent input, I'm going to ask to see a copy of the school's policy regarding parent observations. It will be interesting to see what the school and district's response is. Stay tuned.

What are your thoughts on this? Experiences? Any insights would be appreciated.

I'd love to know what this little cutie is up to during the school day. 
Wouldn't you, if she were your child?