"It's the hurt I hide that fuels the fire inside me" ~Ray Lamontagne~
I don't want to write this post. I don't. I can think of a million things I would rather do than sit here tapping away on my keyboard. In fact, I would prefer chewing on tinfoil than writing this post. But I have to. I don't feel as if I have a choice. It is finally quiet now..the kids are in bed...another week has ended-and I am thankful. It had started out as a promising week. We had Zoe's IEP meeting on Monday.(if you are new here-two posts down will explain our difficulties) We wound up getting everything we wanted for my girl and then some. So I'm not complaining. In fact the week was pretty good until Wednesday, when everything came crashing down.
Oscar came home on Wednesday with three quizzes he had taken at school. They were all marked with a 100%. At first, I just glanced at them-and immediately praised my boy for his work. Then, I sat down to look at them....and my heart dropped. It wasn't his work. Not at all.
Oscar has a full time aid at school. She helps him with math, spelling, and supports him in the classroom. He has difficulty with fine motor skills. He can write-but it is very frustrating for him (he is a whiz on the keyboard though) so his aid acts as a scribe for written assignments. She is to copy down what Oscar says word for word. She is not to correct or amend it. It is his work in his words. Or at least it is supposed to be This is how we have always done it. Now, Oscar has difficulty with both pragmatic and expressive language-it makes his work very distinctive- sometimes downright unusual. The point is-it is recognizable as Oscar's work. The quizzes he brought home-were too well written-too well thought out to be his. Because- it appears that his aid took it upon herself to write what she thought were the appropriate answers. Not Oscars answers-HERS. In her words. Now I'm sure her parents will be thrilled that their child, a graduate student, was able to ace a fourth grade quiz..but Oscar's parents aren't. Did she think that I wouldn't notice? Apparently not.
The next morning, I called the school. I spoke to everyone that I could think of. I was appalled..how could this happen? Why wasn't anyone saying anything!! Little did I know that my world was going to be turned upside down. You see, it was implied that perhaps this has been going on for a long time. That Oscar in reality has not been doing any of his work. That in essence, the school has been babysitting my son for the past...what? six weeks? months? years? My heart fell-dropped-imploded. I swear my blood literally ran cold. I felt like the wind was knocked right out of me. That someone could actually say this-to imply that Oscar was NOT capable..and furthermore allude to the fact that I had no idea after all these years-years!..I broke...crumbled..shattered. Because..I let myself believe it. Because I was afraid that maybe I did only want to hear the good things..that I allowed myself to be fooled..because it was about me..and not my boy. Could this be true? Could I be that shallow..that needy? I was sick with the thought of it-and damn near hysterical. What kind of mother am I?
I did the only thing I could think of. I called more people..I set up an emergency IEP meeting (this Wednesday) and I questioned those who had worked with my boy in the past. The latter shames me. There are some people at that school who have given their very best to my Oscar-who are passionate about what they do-who care and want him to work to the best of his abilities. HIS ABILITIES. People who have willingly given me their time in order to help my kids. I questioned them. I can only say now that I wasn't thinking clearly or rationally. I was so hurt for my boy..so very hurt. How could anyone think that this incredible child-this boy-my son was living a lie. Do they not understand how very difficult it is for him? Yet, he perseveres. Every little change, every single sound..sight..smell..everything is a distraction..and yet he still tries...and tries. And he succeeds-in his own way-in his own time. He does not need someone else's words-he has his own..and although they may seem odd from time to time-they are his and he earned them.
I am so sorry that I allowed myself to fall into that trap . The trap of doubting myself-and far worse-doubting my boy. He deserves better than that. He also deserves people around him who are responsible. Had I not bothered to look at his quizzes...had I not bothered to call..I would not have known any of this. It makes me wonder, would anyone have called me? I'm not sure. I do know this-the people who speculated about Oscars ability and my naivety are cowards. They have no problem discussing it behind closed doors..I'm sure they even acted appalled and shocked...but did they say anything to me? When they saw me in the hallway at school..did they express concern? Did they ask to speak to me..call me..send smoke signals-no. That is unacceptable.
I do not know what the outcome of this meeting will be. I do know that excuses have already been made..floundering has commenced-and I am angry. My son deserves to be treated with both dignity and respect. I'll not have it any other way.
I so did not want to write this post..I have three others almost ready to go-but this one...sigh...this one just needed to be let out. I'll be back to my regular self next week. You can count on it. Just as you can count on all of these issues being dealt with at Wednesdays IEP meeting. No doubt about it. None.