Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life's Hard Choices... {a cry for help}

Did I get you with that title??  First I want to start with saying that I have been MIA from the blog for GREAT reasons!!  I went to Las Vegas for 5 days with my husband, Mom and Dad!  Our very first true vacation with no kids!!

Once we got back I realized I had sooo much to do, and the blog just had to wait.  I have so many posts lined up, and all sorts of projects in the works that I cannot wait to share with you!!

Today I wanted to share a story with you all that has been a giant hurdle for our family this year.  Also, today is the day we make the final decision.... (please pray for me will you?)

It starts with this little boy.......... 

Meet Gage:

He has always been such a happy, yet reserved child.  He worries about everything, and does not like to take risks.  This is a child that gets worried when driving over bridges or down steep hills.  Love him to pieces!

We never thought it was an issue as he grew up, however he also does not like to go into public places, or even to a park if there are too many kids.  He has always slept with his sister.  Even when she was a baby, we would find him curled up on the floor in front of her crib.  It was so sweet at the time, and to this day he likes to sleep in her room.  Good thing she has a trundle bed!

We had asked our pediatrician about it in the past and he reassured us that he was going through a "phase".  Yes all kids go through them, some worse than others.  When Gage started school he never had any problems all the way through the second grade.  He did need help with reading, but once he was placed in a program, he excelled all year long!

We had no idea that this year would bring a whole new ballgame, and a mass heartbreak.  It started about 2 weeks into the school year.  

His teacher asked me to come in and talk about Gage.  She brought to my attention that he was having a hard time doing anything in class, and not paying attention.  She also told me that she found he has a speech impediment.  Her suggestion was to see our pediatrician and talk about medications. (although she did not directly say medication, she said everything that comes along with that) 

As a mom this all came as a huge shock, being that he has been in this school for 3 years now and never had any problems.

I took a few days to process everything that was said, and even talked to some friends of mine that are teachers as well.  I decided I needed a second opinion and also to have the principal involved.  And I did just that.  She talked to the teacher, and things quieted down for about 3 weeks.  Then came the parent teacher conference....

I had no clue what was about to hit.  Things were said that may have caused my jaw to drop to the floor.  I wont go into detail, however to sum it up, my son was now not able to do anything in her classroom.  Even the basics of school.  But now, he has a learning disability.... so she is claiming.  She also informed me that my son had been moved to a new location at the front of the classroom with an empty "buffer" desk between him and the other kids.  His desk had also been turned around so that he would not fiddle with anything inside of it.

Don't get me wrong.  I am all for finding ways to keep children focused in class, but this was all being done the wrong way, and with horrible communication.  I could talk for hours about the negatives here, but I am trying to stay on the point.

At this point we agreed to have him tested for Special Education as she had suggested, and we also had agreed to see our pediatrician.

During the next few months Gage was having emotional breakdowns in the morning, and even physically trying to make himself sink in order to avoid school.  We would spend a number of mornings sitting in the office just to calm him down.  My gut told me that this was not right.

Two months went by and we were nearing Christmas break.  Gage wanted to take me into his classroom to show me the salmon eggs that were hatching, and while in there he said "oh mom, I had to move again, that's where I sit now" as he pointed to his desk, I felt this sense of anger and disgust fill my body.  She had now moved my child to his own "island" in the front of the classroom, still turned around.   Keep in mind that all of the desks are connected to each other, except my child!  This has now been taken too far.

I went home again, talked to my husband, talked to the principal and asked Gage how this made him feel, and wouldn't ya know it.... NOT GOOD!  He felt embarrassed, humiliated and confused.  He said he just wanted another chance to sit with the other kids.  But no such luck. 

Over the Christmas break we had contemplated taking Gage out of that classroom, and placing him in another classroom, but the Principal had urged us to give it another try after the break.  We had plans to see our pediatrician on the 5th of January, and so we had decided to stick with it.

January 5th came, and it was a very emotional yet informative day.  We sat down and talked about it all.  And Gage was diagnosed with Child Anxiety in the form of Social Phobia.  What?   As he explained it, it all made sense.  Why did I not catch this sooner?  Why is it so elevated this year at school?  Well his school merged with another school which brought it over 200 new kids, and a bunch of new teachers, one of which was his.

This poor child is suffering and I did not even know it. I felt much less of a mother, but my husband was right there to pick me up off the floor and reassure me I am a great mother and have done all I can for my child.

Then came the talk of all talks.... medication.  My heart sank, as I held back the tears.  We talked about many kinds and decided to go with Zoloft.  This terrified me, I know as an adult how strong that drug is, and I am supposed to give it to my child?  He told us to give it 3 weeks for his blood levels to even out... so we did it.

I was terrified of the possible side effects, and having to explain to our daughter what her brother would be going through.  At this time I went to the school and said exactly what the doctor had said and that we had another 3 weeks to wait. I explained the side effects and how important it is to pay attention to his behavior and to let me know right away if anything seemed off.

Well luck would have it.. at the end of week ONE, yes ONE week his teacher pulled me aside in the front of the school (in front of other people) and let me have it.  Told me my son made her feel like a failure as a teacher, she had the worst day, actually week ever.  He had horrible behavior, yet she never sent him to the principals office.  The last straw for me was this comment "When he comes in next week, he will be moving back to his "island".  I know this will not help his anxiety, but I have no other choice."  

Excuse me?!?!?  I have another choice!  Well I kept my cool, and waited until I got in the car to let out my tears.  Did she really just do that?  She couldn't have waited, or maybe nicely told me he had a rough week?  And now she wants to dis-regard his medical diagnosis for her own good?

As you can tell, I was D.O.N.E with this teacher.  The following day was my birthday, and my children were headed to my parents for the weekend.  But I was so upset that I spent most of the time in tears wondering where to turn to next.

Luckily for me, it was a three day weekend, so I had time to think.  We had come to the decision to yank him and I mean YANK from her classroom.  I sat down to my computer and drafted an e-mail to the principal wiping many tears as I typed.  I had to take breaks along the way, just to re-gain composure.  

My exact words were "He will not be returning to school until he is placed in another classroom"  and low and behold, Tuesday morning, he did not go to school.  I was not willing to put him through this any longer.  I now knew that my gut feeling was right all along.  I felt horrible for not acting sooner.

I got a call from the Principal that afternoon, and right away he was moved!  His new teacher is WONDERFUL and so positive.  I know my son may have a few problems, but being negative will only make things worse.

Today is the day we meet to discuss the options for an IEP or a 504.  These will be specialized education plans for him to help him get back into the 3rd grade groove.  This has been the hardest journey with school so far.

So many times I was asking myself, how did this happen?  What am I doing wrong?  Part of me now thinks it's not me.....

Now the questions for you all are:  Have you been through this?  Am I doing something wrong?  What would you do?

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I would love prayers or even good thoughts sent our way, it may be a rough night.

I promise to be back soon with some new crafty fun!!!


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