Thursday, February 01, 2007

The good, the bad and the heartbreaking

Having the ability to be in any elementary school in the county, has allowed me to see many things in a very short period of time. Some things are amazing, some are distressing and some are just heartbreaking.

I have been flooded with so many overwhelming emotions, that I've lost sleep. I can't seem to separate myself from them, however, I'm certain I don't want to. The detachment, lack of emotion and compassion is what has caused these circumstances that I find so tragic. Parents who refuse placement of their child in a special needs class for fear of having that child labeled or parents that just don't care. Administration that provides only lip service so all will look good on paper regardless of how it will effect a child. Teachers who have lost their softness and ability to teach and talk to the students, and not at them. However, the worst is having a caring parent, who wants the very best for the child and can't give it to them. They can't because they may be an immigrant family that hasn't mastered the English language and needs help, or they are not connected enough or don't have enough money. There is so much red tape involved that they drown before anything can be done. It's just not right!

This week I was in a Pre-K class with 15, four year olds. I know it sounds insane but it was one of the best days I've had. They were all little balls of sunshine, all wanting to do everything, all at once. There was a special little boy in that class, Patrick. He is autistic, diagnosed severe. He speaks only three words at the age of six and has all the actions of a child with autism. Patrick is a busy boy, it could make you wonder just what exactly he understands or what it is he is thinking. During one of his quiet moments he was sitting against me like a chair. I was talking to him like I would any other child, when he looked up at me with his huge chocolate brown eyes, a wrinkle on his brow and in that split second, if he could speakI believe would have said, "I'm in here, I just can't get out!" Yet he is in a regular education class, UGH!! Heartbreaking.

There is so much need but what do we do, where do we start? For me, it might just start with a little letter!


Blogger Renee said...

Good for you for taking action . . and caring. Most people don't do that much.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous sarahgrace said...

That is heartbreaking. I know just you being in there with those kids and making a difference. Keep up the good work.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Little Miss said...

The good news is there ARE parents out there who take control and make things happen for these kids. It may only be one child at a time, but we try our best.

My husband works in this field, and we have a son diagnosed with high functioning autism. It is truly heartbreaking so see things NOT being done. It's even worse to see funds being cut (because of Katrina) and then realizing those who desperately try to get the best for their kids come up empty handed.

I hope you will continue to fight. Awareness is the only way to bring attention to this disease, 1 in 4 children will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

1 in 4

these kids need voices because they can't use their own.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I totally understand where you are coming from; the flood of emotions and subsequent loss of sleep; yes, I know this too well.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

People are frustrating. I'm sure you are making a difference, because you care.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Aisha said...

I got tears in my eyes reading this. Its so heartbreaking and I remember it all too well. Its the most frustrating feeling in the world to see badly placed children and no one giving a rats behind to care to give them proper placements. Its so frustrating. Your story of the autistic boy gives me more motivation to do the type of work my fellowship will allow me to do because right this minute i'm trying to help a boy in a similar situation get the things he is entitled to.

Keep up the great work. You have no idea the difference you can make.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Meow said...

You are doing so much just by being there. What an amazing person you are.
Take care, Meow

10:10 PM  

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