When is it enough? How as a parent of a special needs child do we know when it’s time to wave the white flag? When Gavin was attending our local public school, it was Hell. Plain and simple.

He had an I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) that stated he was to be sent to the Behavioral Specialist with a note, or even a blank piece of paper pretending to be a note, if he became upset but still manageable. His teacher Ms. Chenault (I have no qualms using her name here because other parents need to know what she was like from the stand point of a parent as a special needs child.) refused to do this. She would get into power struggles with him. She would yell in his face. Banish him to one side of the room to sit alone because the other children feared him.

When I set his I.E.P. up for kindergarten that year, I had his therapist there. I also had the school psychologist as well as a few other professionals. While we planned the I.E.P. his therapist was going to give Ms. Chenault tips and tricks for dealing with Gavin. Ms. Chenault refused to attend the meeting, although by law she is required to do so at some point during the meeting. Then when it came time for her to sign it – thereby agreeing to follow it – we had to wait for her to return from the bank! She was too busy with her own life to do what is required by law for her job. Gavin’s I.E.P. had provisions for all of his difficulties. We tried our best to cover every base and every angle. Still Gavin struggled daily.

It became apparent to Rob and I that public schools, especially this particular district, was the wrong fit for Gavin when we were informed that Ms. Chenault had allowed another child’s grandparent/guardian to take Gavin into the hallway and yell at him for his behavior and frightening her granddaughter. This never should have happened.

It was shortly there after that we learned Gavin was Autistic. You should have seen how quickly the principal’s eyes became dollar signs when he heard that! I took great satisfaction in informing him that Gavin would be pulled from his school/school district to attend a charter school. He tried to assure me that his staff was “more than capable of teaching and caring for Gavin”. I assured him that “his dollar signs were showing and they weren’t quite so willing to teach him or care for him before the diagnosis so thanks but no thanks”. It made me sick.

Granted, Rob and I would have probably pulled him anyway. The staff had no interest in doing what was best for Gavin, especially not if it inconvenienced them. However, even if they had tried we would have pulled Gavin. Trying does not mean that it is the best environment for any child. Gavin’s teachers were in over their heads, on the best of days. His classmates were absolutely terrified of him. The other parents were wary of me because they had heard of me “through the grape vine”. It was uncomfortable, at best.

We pulled him for his own safety, as well as for the safety of his classmates. There comes a point, when as a parent you need to make a decision that may make your life more difficult. There comes a point where, as a parent you must realize the one thing you would like to ignore above all else…that your child is a threat to himself and others. There comes a point, when action needs to be taken and sticking your head in the sand is no longer a defense mechanism. At that point, denying the truth does nothing more than harm others and make you look completely irresponsible.

While to some this post may make perfect sense, I’m sure that to the rest of you this is completely confusing. Unfortunately, this is another of those situations where unless you’ve lived it, you cannot truly understand it.

I simply needed to vent this. I needed to put this out there, even if only for my own benefit.

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