His father’s background was being brought up with many siblings and so any perceived weakness was either ignored or not discussed. As I grew up an only child I was heavily focused on and so thought perhaps my own perception was wrong and I was just “over reacting”.
By the time I was ready to go back to work, I had a babysitter. Years later I was told she simply could not handle him but didn’t know how to tell me. It was a daily challenge for her to just keep him safe until one of us got home. He then went to a home- based daycare (this was by far the WORST mistake (in my case) I’ve ever made).
I would get reports from the daycare lady that “he can’t even color what’s wrong with him? or “he acts so weird” “why does he laugh when people are upset?”. As a mother it took all my power to not mention that perhaps daycare was not her best professional choice:) Perhaps a career in a child free environment was more suited to her, but I digress.
Eventually the 1st day of school came, this after another stint at a public licensed daycare by my work at the time (where I’d be called almost daily). He was either flailing about, hitting, biting or hiding under something. Eventually he simply had his own “special safe spot” to diffuse his meltdowns and not hurt himself or other children.
As one little girl got hurt when he felt that today was a good day to chuck rocks at others:(. My work at the time was giving me slack for missed days (and had no pity for why when it was explained). I figured “well I need to be sure I’m at work to feed this wee fellow” and so the “special space” was agreed upon.
Only for those times they simply could not control him. In case your wondering why I couldn’t just pop over and “control him”. I showed up -often. Even worse, he didn’t seem to “see” me. He stared right through me like I was not there. It was like the meltdown never happened.
Then once he was left alone for a good set of time he seemed to “snap out of it”. He would act like nothing ever happened. He’s banged his head on walls, scraped himself up, had a bloody lip from these fits, taken desks and chucked them across the room and seems oblivious to how it ever even happened.
As many parents of special needs children have shared (from my viewpoint most being male’s) it became a genuine worry that someone would think he was not being treated well at home. It was also a genuine concern (as kid’s can be nasty when no one is looking) that he could be seriously injured by a kid who did not understand him.
As a parent or guardian, it overwhelms your days and nights thinking of this little person’s safety and well being. Then there’s the self blame game “should I have drank more juice when I was pregnant? “Does his birth order have an effect in this?“. I also wondered if the issues I had as a child might have somehow been passed down. It turns out that in most cases a parent or close relative has these issues and it’s highly connected to a genetic component.
This struck home when my son’s pediatrician said to me “Debra I’m just wondering from what your telling me of your back round, have you ever been tested yourself? After many sessions with a top notch shrink and a battery of tests, which included looking back at my school records (where almost each report card stated that “Debra is socializing too much and needs to focus”. It turns out I have a very profound and serious case of ADHD and never connected the things I experienced growing up and as an adult with it.
My son’s academic career thus far consisted of numerous meetings with groups of staff (who sit around you in a large intimidating group and stare at you with pity). They are very quick to tell me his shortcomings and issues, not so quick with solutions.
In my case it got to the point where I simply said “if you don’t have a solution to implement don’t bother with meetings and calls. This then turned into not being told anything at all unless it was severe.
In between this mess was the worry and constant research trying to figure out if he was affected by Autism or ADHD or both and what the difference was?
What’s best for these kids while at school?. Is medication the answer? Is social training or physiotherapy the answer? I set out to explore this….
(Continued in Part 3 of 3) Special Groups