Fifth grade is starting out like last year. Teachers full of encouragement and optimism. It is definitely appreciated. When I look back, fifth grade was one of my hardest grades. So hard, I had to repeat it. I remember my teachers names and what classes they taught. I'm friends with many of my fifth grade classmates today on Facebook and I remember the ups and the downs. I remember that kids were mean and finding my way was hard. Harder even the 2nd time around. I was a strong kid and was able to survive it. I think to myself that if I was like Marissa, I would have buckled in a heart beat.
Unlike, Marissa, I understand that kids are probably making fun of her. This is the first year, where she doesn't really talk about having "friends". Thankfully, due to her special needs, she seems to be oblivious to it. She's been hitting and throwing…..the school nightmare continues.
But, in this blog, I am going to write about me. My struggle as a parent with a special needs child in regular education. The decisions that I have to make regarding my daughter's future. The battle that wages in my heart and mind. (Unfortunately, two of Marissa's classmates mother's had the "opportunity" to hear my vents over the weekend. Sorry.)
Marissa is smart. Marissa when pushed can learn the material but she needs receptiveness. She has five teachers. Three regular ed and two special ed, plus her one on one aide. ("Normal" kids only have three teachers.) She goes to special ed for some reading and math. Her mornings on jammed back full of transitions. At some point, she will hit her boiling point, and its all over from there.
Over the summer, I was able to get Marissa's brain trained to go to the bathroom. She has a nifty little watch that vibrates when she has to go. But, she had an accident. In class. With other kids. So then I was faced with pull-up or no pull-up. Decided to go with pull-up to avoid any extra teasing and now she is refusing to go to the bathroom. It becomes a control issue and a meltdown shortly comes and then the whole afternoon is slightly to completely lost. Pull-up, no Pull-up? What do I do?
Each little decision I make comes with thought. Can she handle that outfit today? Oh, yeah, no bows. Team shirt on Fridays. Which thermos does she want? Christmas music in September, sure! Uh, oh, I tied her shoe too loose or I tied it too tight. Is today the day, I told her she could wear a dress.
I know that some people may wonder why I don't put her in a self-contained class. The reason, once Marissa comes out of regular ed, she goes on a Lifeskills track with limited academics. Which means no chance of a High School Diploma just a Certificate of Completion. So I push. I want her to succeed. My mind goes to all the what ifs. Can you imagine making such an important decision for your child at the ripe old age of 10? Is a complicated situation. One that I don't know what to do. I get myself into this box and say "I'm going to do this" and then "this" happens and I'm like, "no, I meant that". But, as long as I have HOPE, HOPE that one day, my girl will get passed this and one day, I will get to see my girl that I only get glimpses of from time to time. HOPE.