What a week... The reentry from vacation will inevitably be bumpy, but, honestly, I was not expecting the week to unfold as it did. (If you want to fast forward through the gloom bits, I won't be offended- be sure and see the last paragraph, though, because it is all about our beloved Braja!)
I muddled through Monday and Tuesday, powered through Wednesday with the help of my new medicine (although I was disappointed Wednesday night to not hear from Braja after we had set up a phone date for after she got to the airport), and headed into Thursday knowing it would be tough....
Thursday morning my husband and I had an IEP meeting with Destructo's (I really need to come up with a new alias for this kid) school. An IEP, for those blessedly not in-the-know, is an Individualized Education Plan. What's that? Don't make me say it. Okay, fine, dammit. An IEP is Special Ed. And my darling little guy, addled by his ADHD, really, truly needs it.
Wait... I need to Hit the button: QUICK: Scare away the darkness and bring in the unicorns and rainbows!!!
I want to bail on this post. I am still so fragile and sorting out this whole thing. Suffice it to say, no matter how comfortable/accepting one might be with a diagnosis of ADHD for their child (or themselves! :); accepting that it is a real, physical condition, that medicine really can make a difference, that your baby will have difficulties at school.... It is heartbreaking to know that your bright, lovable child really is the odd guy out in the class. That he cannot relate to the other kids easily or follow the social rules that most first graders are well-acquainted with. That he comes home and asks why he doesn't have friends. That I have to remember what I was like at that age to the kids in my class that needed special help is particularly difficult and tears at me. I know that I am doing everything to defend him and help him now, but it is excruciating
to remember and then to follow that with the thought that kids are kids and there will be children (just like me) that treat him like a non-entity or worse because of his issues.
On the upside, Destructo is, blessedly, a smart boy. He is getting the concepts that he needs to be learning, even if he can't write them down as well as the other kids. He is a charming oddball that doesn't act out in violent or aggressive ways. He is a profficient reader and great at math. All kids have issues and his just require a bit more work than others'. And, fortunately, he's got his parents on his side, making sure that he gets the help he needs in appropriate ways.
Setting up an IEP is a lengthy process that takes a team of people. The teacher, the principal of the school, the school psychologist, sometimes the school nurse, a district representative who handles the "case," and the parents all meet for a series of meetings that determine if your child needs extra help, what the extra help will entail, and then more meetings later to discuss how the extra assistance is working for the child.
So far, the process has been good, if emotionally draining, and the Madison school district, our school in particular, has been extremely helpful and supportive. Destructo, who was diagnosed last year, in Kindergarten, has been working with a therapist, and has been taking medication to help control the symptoms, which for him include wandering around the room, inability to finish work, and a lack of social skills that integrate him with his peers. That he is only 6 (almost 7), and starting this now is a GREAT thing.
But... all this IEP work and effort and clarification at the meeting of how the ADHD is actually affecting him at school sent me into an absolute tailspin of self-doubt and terror about our impending move to England. ADHD kids have to have routine to be at their best and the thought of uprooting him is anathema! How long will it take for him to acclimate? How will the schools deal with him?? How are we supposed to re-learn how to navigate all of this school burocracy to get him special help over there? Isn't our life difficul enough right here at home, where we know our doctors (let's see: the psychologist, the psychiatrist, the diagnosing psychiatrist, the allergist, the ENT, the family doc,.... anyone left out?), where we know the school, where, conceivably, he will have an assistant already set up for school next year, with the same teacher (b/c he is in a 1/2 classroom)...???
Why would we put our family into such a pressure-cooker?
And, I am ending there for today. I will continue tomorrow. Maybe working Totally Awkward Tuesday into the mix. I certainly never lack for awkward moments in all of this! :)
One more bit, though: Another facet of this overwrought week was the fact that one of my best blogging friends was hurt in a devastating car accident, so I was upset and frantic for information about this event that had occured on the other side of the world. The good news is that I TALKED to Braja on Sunday morning!!!! She called from the hospital and was in high enough spirits that she instructed my husband to hand me the phone with the words, "I don't know who it is." if I asked. Nice. I was so floored and overwhelmed with emotion (who, Me??? ;-) that I can't tell you everything she said.... but she let me know that she could feel all of our love and well-wishes and that it meant so much. She sounded tired, but strong. I told her that all her blogging friends were thinking of her constantly and wishing for her recovery and that the on-line rallying for her was incredible to behold. She said that she will remain in India for at least another month to recover, as she still has some surgeries to undergo. I am sorry that I didn't ask how her husband was doing. I was completely verklempt, to be honest, and barely holding myself together. :) Believe me when I tell you, though, that she KNOWS that we love her and are praying for her and sending her every bit of positive energy that we can muster.
Read more here and here.