Archives for March 13, 2010

Clarification

My brother called me on the phone after checking on my blog and said, “so does this mean you’re homeschooling Charlie now?’
No.
Not right now.
I have every intention of sending him to school in August.
What I’m talking about is figuring out the best thing for my child–and I think every parent should be doing the same thing. If your child were ridiculously gifted in music or art, would you send them off to a lesson and then never ask them about it? Would you never encourage them to practice? Of course not, that’s silly. You’d be involved.
Well, parenting a special needs child is no different. In some cases, you might end up taking them out of the traditional classroom–just as you would if your child were a skilled actress who worked six nights a week on Broadway. In some cases, some school might work–I have a genius friend who spent her afternoons at a local college while still enrolled in high school. There are similar programs for kids who are dance, theater, or music. Maybe your child will attend regular school all day like I did. It’s not the how that matters–it’s whether or not it works.
I’ve never seen a successful student that didn’t have an involved parent. Parents are a child’s first teacher. They are the reinforcer. They are the ones who put the spark and love of learning in their kids eyes. Thinking that job belongs to someone else is a cop-out.
You gotta figure out how to make it work–for you and your child. That’s not about one answer–that’s about a lot of different answers for a lot of different circumstances. That’s what I’m trying to do here–empower parents when the answers aren’t obvious and easy. Show them that they are still the guiding force in their child’s education.
I’m not so deluded that I think everyone wants to hear this–hell, I don’t want to hear it. After I started a Facebook page about teaching my special needs kid I felt the weight of that action–Lord was that heavy. Me. In charge of my child’s education.
Guess what? Doesn’t matter if it feels huge or not because it’s my responsibility. And I don’t have to do it alone–thirty-seven other people have agreed to do this with me or at least cheer me on as I try it. Yes, it’s scary, but there’s strength in numbers, and one way or another it’s gotta get done.

Charlie “dancing”

An Interesting Development

Something new happened on our trip to Disney World.

Charlie found his voice.

I mean, he’s not talking, but his voice? It’s officially been located. Before, he never even seemed to be trying to talk. Now, he says, “Um” approximately one thousand times a day. That’s a rough estimate of course. He says it in response to questions, when he’s hungry or thirsty, or to let his therapists know that he’s being ignored. His favorite time to use it is when he wants you to change the song that’s playing. With this new-found skill he’s letting us know that he’d like to listen to the first ten seconds of many, many songs rather than listening to any song all the way through.

I don’t know where this will take us, but I sure am happy about the development.
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