I sometimes feel that with Josh, I have to be there every minute of his waking day. Not because he needs someone watching him, I think sometimes that I have to be there to defend him in the off chance that “Someone” wonders “Whats wrong with him.” A lot of times when he “Freaks out” about something he appears to be that spoiled brat who didn’t get his way, and while I try to keep him out of those situations, they are, however, inevitable. They are going to happen sooner or later, and I always think I have to be there to help defend him in the off chance he doesn’t like something.
With school starting soon, I have been to various meetings. Trying to hear mostly what everyone has to say, trying to decide whats best for Josh, trying to understand whats being said, and really just hoping someone knows what they are talking about, because I don’t.
The plain and simple truth is he is getting older, and while he has made great progress, he is still a long way from where he could be. When people hear that he is almost seven they sort of gasp, shake their head or finger and give a list of things that he “Should be doing” now that hes seven. As if I don’t know. As if because I help him do certain things, he is being held back. I get it. I tell myself the same thing everyday, I put into practice just about everything that everyone tells me to do – but it doesn’t always work – because he just isn’t there yet.
Hes not stupid, and Im afraid that’s the one assumption that people make. Because he doesn’t talk – he obviously cant understand. Because he doesn’t look like hes listening – he obviously cant hear. And if he cant hear – then he wont understand that what we are saying is being said about him. Because he cant understand – we can say whatever we want, with him standing right there – because he simply wont care.
It makes me so mad, and I try to defend him. Even though I don’t know if I should be. Honestly I don’t know if I should or shouldn’t be doing ½ the things I do/don’t because depending on who you ask, either way is wrong. “He needs earlier bed time.” “He needs a later bed time.” “He needs a better schedule.” Why is he on such a rigid schedule.” I sometimes wonder if all those years of trying to please everyone, and failing to succeed was really just preparation for this kid – because I cant try to please everyone with him. I have to really fly by the seat of my pants, doing what I think is best at any given moment. Which is not easy for me.
Trying to get him into the right class for him this year has been difficult. I tend to shy away from giving my two cents when there is someone who knows more about it than I do. I take them at their word, and accept it as being the best…when really…it might not be. So far, so good. But the other day when I met with a teacher and a few other people who will be working with him this year, I got the feeling that they were trying to push their opinion over on me, and while it may work with “Most kids” Josh is not “Most kids.”
I debated for a while about saying anything. Wondering if it would just get shot down, but then I remembered that this is for Josh, that if I don’t say anything, they will be spending a better portion of the school year trying to figure him out – only to fail – which will mean Josh will fail and we will be on the big cycle of “Well why didn’t that work” for another year.
So I said something. I asked if they had gotten the notes from his teacher last year, if they had gotten the paper work from everyone else and when I was met with blank stares I really just wanted to pound my head on the desk. Im afraid its going to be a very long year. Yes. They had gotten the paper work. What did that have to do with ANTHING. I tried to explain about Josh, the best I could, to the best of my abilities…and was left standing there – as they waited for the punch line.
And I waited for them to acknowledge that I had even said anything about him.
After a few seconds of awkward silence the woman looked at me with a well known look. The fake look of sympathy. “We know about Josh.” She said in a hushed tone. Which didn’t help the awkward moment at all but instead made me wonder if I should be signing all rights over to her – because that’s the kind of woman she is. She thinks she knows everything, and makes every other opinion feel like it shouldn’t have even been hatched. “We know about him, and we will do everything we can to ensure he has the best year possible.” She continued to look, nodding her head in agreement with herself.
To say I was uncomfortable would be a complete understatement. To say I wish I could pull Josh out and send him to a completely different school would also be an understatement. I didn’t even want to ask what she knew about him, or what was going to ensure he had the best year possible. Im not asking for the best year, Im not asking for special treatment. Im asking that they give him some space and realize that hes a kid too. Im asking that they teach him what he is there to learn, and maybe in the process learn a thing or two from him.
Im afraid that sometimes in my haste to defend him, and pave a smooth road for him, that maybe Im just causing him more harm. Maybe if I hadn’t said anything she would have taken him at face value and treated him like any other kid. Of course she would have learned that he isn’t like any other kid – and most likely will spend the rest of the school year trying to understand him.
I wonder sometimes if in my trying to help him, I am actually holding him back.
And now I worry that this school year will be met with fits and tears from all involved. If only this were easier, then maybe I could start to understand.