My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 4 yoa and was eligible for a wonderful kindergarten program for children with special needs. The teacher was amazing and with her help I could manage my son’s behavior and never having to medicate him. The kindergarten was in a different school than the elementary school he’d be attending for first through sixth grade; the school his older sibling had been attending for the past four years. At the end of the kindergarten year I was quickly informed by the Director of Special Needs that the first graders with special needs would not be going to my local elementary school but would be bused to another school entirely. That was incomprehensible to me. I had worked very hard to not label my son in order to make him feel like he was unique of other children. He was excited about going to the school where his older sibling and his neighborhood friends were going and now the school region was changing that. The Director explained that the final decision was being made in the morning and I’d must “deal with it”. I was very upset but determined to do something.
I had to the school region Superintendent’s office without an appointment and planned on sitting there all day until she gave me five minutes of her time. Following a short wait she welcome me into her office and I explained my issue. I informed her that we a course in miracles knew the school region had the best interests of the children as the primary goal; I knew that she could understand benefit of normalcy and consistency for children with ADHD; I knew that she could know how important it was for my son to not feel “different”; I knew that having been a former special needs teacher, she would be impressed with the improvements that my son was making and that sending him even to another school than his sibling and his friends would be detrimental to his tender self-esteem. She listened, validated my feelings and laughed and said that although the decision was already 95% made, she’d take my concerns under consideration.
I received a phone call from the frustrated Director of Special Needs two days later wanting to know what Used to do and said because the Superintendent changed her mind and moved the first grade program to my local school. I thought to myself
That was a huge lesson and a good bigger turning point for me. I realized that giving up because I hit some bumps along the journey should never be an option. The smaller lesson was that we would have to fight for my son’s protection under the law along every step of his education; the bigger lesson was that no action is ever wasted. Your choice that the Superintendent made that day many years ago set my son on a path that eventually led to him taking advanced classes in middle school and earning his place on the High Honor Roll most semesters. He still has challenges but he faces them head on with such a kind, thoughtful predisposition that we am often in shock; he’s become one of my greatest teachers.