by Lillian Csernica on March 19, 2014
Today I went to John’s school to meet with his caseworker, his one to one aide, the resource specialist, the Freshman Class counselor, and the school psychologist. My husband took the day off so he could attend the meeting. My sister came with us, because she does a lot to oversee his homework and his after school aides. Three from the Home Team, Five from the School Team, all of us there to figure out what we could do to help John. His stress levels are so high. His anxiety behaviors are almost constant. His grades are up and down. I know he has trouble sleeping. High school has been a bigger adjustment than we ever imagined.
After a semester of emails and phone calls and two face to face meetings, it was time to face the truth. John is in over his head. His difficulties with processing language are a serious impediment to him keeping up in classes that are increasingly lecture-based. He can’t listen, process, take notes, and retain the information all at once. And that’s just in one class. Multiply that strain times four and it’s easier to see why my 15 year old son is much too stressed out.
It’s time to accept the fact that expecting him to earn a diploma just isn’t realistic. I hate this. I burst into tears every time I have to think about it. Once again, I have to give up the dream of my child eventually learning to live a normal life. This is hitting me just as hard as the day I had to accept the fact that Michael will never walk.
The meeting went well. Once we identified the classes where John has the most trouble, the officials brainstormed acceptable alternatives. We kept at it, comparing and critiquing and combining until we had a new schedule we all felt would suit John’s needs and lower his stress. My husband, my sister, and I pulled together as a family to take care of family. We’re going to try the new schedule next week and see how John responds to it. If need be, we will come back to the table and have another meeting until we find the solution that’s best for John.
Dreams are beautiful, but sometimes the original pattern doesn’t fit. Alterations can hurt, but once all the work is complete, everybody will be more comfortable.