A child of mine has lived with me since she was 4 days old.
She has numerous special needs. That’s an umbrella term for ‘lots of stuff that isn’t like other kids’ or ‘m.m.r. / non verbal (though this doesn’t stop her from telling you what she wants ) adhd symptoms/ impulsive/compulsive/ sometimes real pain in the ass/ ‘
What she lacks in social skills, or IQ or common sense, she makes up for in teenage hormonal behavior, along with that, a 3 year old’s attitude of what the world owes them. So, if there is a behavioral meltdown, it’s teenager X toddler…..It’s overwhelming.
I have taught (or she taught herself, if she was interested enough in something) her all through her life. When I discovered there were so many ‘issues’ I made sure that she had a wide variety of experiences, books, animal interactions, and a lot of other things that folks originally shook their heads at and said ‘oh, she doesn’t understand that’….. ‘she will never be able to do ________ (fill in the blank) She has shown them all, on many things.
She has people who help her socialize and learn behavior in the community. She works with them a few days a week, and it is good. She listens to other people, who aren’t her mom….. She also learns best about responsibility from them.
Everything good that has happened for her is because I made the effort for her- even when there were people in the school systems that didn’t want to pay for it, or were sure it wasn’t going to work, or thought she wasn’t intelligent enough etc etc. This isn’t to say that I taught her all wonderful stuff; I taught some, and because of some fine and dedicated folks, she learned a bunch more from/because of them. I was the one at the very beginning, who knew she had a spark in her. It might not have been like the spark of some future rocket scientist, or the future geologist. I saw, in the beginning, through the sometimes murky depths of her issues, that she had a brain and was capable of learning. Especially if she was interested in it.
The school system she is in now understands that she has capabilities. They see her as an individual, who has some issues and may or may not succeed in everything, but at least they will give their all to provide her with the opportunities!
One of the behavioral workers (the ones who help her with learnng social behaviors) is very new. She’s enthusiastic, and I like her. I have talked, talked, talked about my kid, sometimes I am sure way too much! She probably was filled up by my speeches about my kid, like a sponge, and then, when saturated, couldn’t remember the rest…. I dont blame her.
Today, she seriously wanted to tell me that I was wrong about my kid’s reading ability. She misunderstood soomething I said once before. (my kid has the capability to read at her grade level. She retains it, and understands it. Is she interested in it? NO! )She wants to read at p.b.s kids level. She wants Disney jr books, about Doc McStuffins! This is where her interests lie. If you dont know, that is about a three to five year old level. She doesn’t want to read high school level stories. She wants Arthur! She wants Dora! Diego! … This doesn’t mean she doesn’t comprehend what she has to study in school.
Yes, she gets high school reading assignments in doses that she can absorb. The point is, that she CAN and DOES understand her level of reading. She is just not interested in it. She does pretty good at her special classes, and alot of it is because of the hard working educational technicians and her wonderful, dedicated teacher, Mrs Bowden.
When she comes home, my kid wants to read at the little kid level. There are some books she likes that are a few years older, like, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series, and ‘Nate the Great’. She also likes “Magic Treehouse’ another series of books for 8 to 10 year olds, I think.
So, I tried not to get annoyed when yet another ‘expert’ politely informed me that my kid isn’t interested in 11th grade reading. PUH LEEEEZ…… She STILL can comprehend it. I dont care if you believe me or not….. perhaps you have a degree in ‘special population’ and perhaps you are very enthusiastic. You might think you walk the walk, but honey you dont know much, yet.
By the way; we dont have tv anymore, because it affected my kid’s behavior. So a few years ago, got rid of it. She still uses a computer (yes, quite computer savvy) and probably watches some tv on it. She has an hour of computer time when she gets home. I am slowly, gradually, leading her away from PBSkids and Disney, not just because of the consumeristic crap, but it is not ‘real’ story telling, and I want her to have as broad a spectrum to read from as possible.
She recently brought home a paper she’d researched on the computer, and written (on the computer) on Africa, and some of the animals, poachers, etc….. She may be retarded, but she’s not a dumb ass.
No more than any other teen I know.