Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm back :-)

Thanks to a little help from my mom I have a brand new computer and am back online. I should have tons of fabulous new projects to share but I have been concentrating on the people in my life.... spending time with my children and doing things around my home.

I also called one of our second grade teachers from last year. My family switched to a new doctor. When we talked about Jeremy's Aspergers this new doctor asked if a teacher had ever approached us about using a low dose of Ritalin with him. The doc said it was found to help some children with autism focus in the classroom. No one had ever mentioned this to me before and it kind of took me by surprise. Thankfully his teacher from last year is also a friend and I knew she would not mind a phone call so I called to ask her opinion. She said Jeremy was not an "out of his seat" kind of kid but that he did occasionally "check out" for a bit when feeling overwhelmed by a task. She also said he is usually able to redirect himself back on task after some processing time. We discussed how 3rd grade is such a huge year as far as learning new skills and her advice was that I should just mention to our 3rd grade teacher that the doc brought this up as a possibility if needed and leave it at that. As a mom I was always opposed to the use of medications like these but since I started working for the school district I have changed that opinion. I have seen very bright children struggle so hard every day because they just can't manage to even sit still long enough to learn.

It got me to thinking about how much harder "inclusion" and acceptance are for those children who DON"T show huge outward signs of being different. My Jeremy is an example. He has come a long way and can most times just blend in as part of the group so someone who did not know about his Autism might think he is just immature or bratty.

My oldest daughter is another example. It seemed we fought the school system every year since her Neurofibromatosis was diagnosed. Outwardly she looked like any other healthy teen. No matter how much information I provided her new teachers at the beginning of each year they always seemed to think there was nothing really wrong with her and fought her 504 plan that was in place. We did not ask for a lot...... we asked for her to be allowed to go to a quiet room to be able to do her biofeedback techniques anytime her pain got out of control, we asked for time extension for missed assignments when she was in too much pain to go to school, and she was medically exempted from PE because her PE teacher refused to accept that she needed to be allowed to judge when she was and was not in too much pain to participate. Her teachers' attitudes definitely had a negative impact on her ability to accept and cope with her diagnosis.

Why am I sharing all of this? I'm not really sure. This is just what my heart told me to post about today....... maybe just to get people thinking that not all people with disabilities have noticeable differences but they do all have needs just like anyone else. I love this organization and what it stands for and am honored to be even a little part of that.


Kristie Lippert said...

Peggy, you are absolutely right about perception. People may think you look fine on the outside, but they don't see the inward struggles and pain a person may go through and just assume "they look okay so they must not have a medical condition." Makes you think twice about things.

PeggyS said...

It certainly does :-)


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