Raising children is not for the faint of heart. There are moments where what your child has overcome and accomplished will take your breath away, sudden twists and turns where your fingers are clinched into whatever you can reach and times when the floor seems to drop out from underneath you and fear has a vise grip hold on your heart and you just might have wet yourself a little…not enough that it shows. And then there are the challenges of a parent of an awesomely unique individual with special needs. Join me on this adventure as I delve deeper into my top ten list of what this mama does not want to hear. Please start a list of your own. I would love to hear yours.
10. We don’t see that kind of behavior here.
9. We are having trouble locating your child.
8. Our policy just doesn’t allow us to do that…whatever that is at the moment.
7. Our next available appointment is six months out.
6. We are going to have to reschedule your appointment…the one you waited on for six months.
5. I’m sorry. We can’t help. You have already done everything we would try.
4. We don’t have a current script for that and if we did that medication is on back order.
3. It’s environmental. If the parents would just…
2. All kids need is kind, caring, consistent parents to be successful in life.
1. Have you considered a sticker chart?
10. We don’t see that kind of behavior here – While I was thrilled that my children were not physically attacking staff or other students, having a meltdown registering on the rector scale or destroying property, the suggestion that I come to and observe how “they” managed behaviors to reduce meltdowns at home, could have earned me a mommy time-out. True story. When our then 14-year-old hit a rough patch that resulted in 3 acute inpatient stays and a 4-month residential stay recommended by his team, a staff member from his school, that had limited exposure to him, demanded to know who to speak to about the decision because they didn’t see behavior at school that warranted a residential stay. In addition, they suggested if “we” were to be on the same page at home we might see fewer concerning behaviors. In most cases, it is not that parents of children with extra needs have missed the mark of “good” parenting, it is that the parents know their child and have created an environment where the child who has held it together outside the home feels SAFE to explode or melt down when they return after a stressful day. On one occasion a therapist asked our son, “do you treat your teacher like you treat your mom?” He replied, “NO! I know my mom is going to be there no matter what I do. My teacher might get mad at me and send me to the office.” While it doesn’t feel like a privilege to be the receiver of our kid’s challenging behavior, it does mean they know we are their safe person.