Ok, I take that back...I need to remind myself that things could be worse. I've been reading about my son's condition, and every case online is so much more of an issue than what we are dealing with...but because its my son, its affecting me to the core.
We've worried abou him for awhile, but everyone always said that he was ok. There was just something "different" about him, you know? His sister is so athletic, so strong of mind, so courageous, so solid. Not him. He's always been my little lover, never a fighter. He's always been my hugger. He's always been my baby.
I recall early in the year (maybe February) that we were out in the yard playing baseball. My daughter would smack the ball with her great eye-hand coordination, but my son shied away from even trying. This was not just being disinterested. He displayed some serious anxiety with even the thought of picking up a bat! It was such a strong reaction that it startled us both. His teacher had asked if we had him evaluated for fine motor issues, as he tired after using a pencil often. We knew he had a speech issue, so we lined both of those evaluations up and waited the two months until the appointment.
The initial appointment indicated only an additional speech evaluation was needed. So, the following month we had that done. But yeah, no fine motor issue identified by these experts! We did everything that the school district instructed to ensure that he would get help in the following school year for his speech deficiency. We dual-enrolled him, we had a completed IEP, we made every deadline without issue.
We attended his speech sessions starting in August without issue, and after several, we were told abruptly that he was not eligible for services since he attended a for-profit private school. Now, a non-profit private school would have been ok to contine services (and apparentlty the fact that there are some non-profit schools in the area that cost more than our for-profit doesn't make a difference). So, he was unceremoniously dropped with no notice from speech therapy. Didn't matter that they signed the IEP, which consistutes a contract. Didn't matter that they were supposed to give 6 weeks notice before ending services. Apparently, my son simply didn't matter.
That same week, his teacher scheduled a special conference to address his issues in class. She once again asked if we had his fine motor skills tested, and we said yes, no issue. She has had him in her class for 2 years already, and indicated that she had concerns about him advancing and that we may be looking at keeping him in kindergarten next school year as well.....it was so bad that 6 weeks into the semester, she was already predicting that he needed to repeat kindergarten! He was distracted, not interested in learning, didn't participate in activities, was dismissive to the PE teacher. Really, this was not my loving child. In fact, she may have seen that, but every single week at school was getting worse and worse. He had developed more anxiety with every passing week. He hated school. He wanted nothing to do with school. He was stressing/crying about school.
It all felt like a ton of bricks. My child tested in the top 7% of cognitive skills, and yet, he was going to be held back. It just didn't make sense. There was something else going on here! And of course, most places already have lined up their schedules for the entire school semester. So, we started calling around, calling our doctor, calling our insurance company, calling anyone that would listen.
I had his eyes tested, and it turns out that he is +2 far-sighted in both eyes. We got a script for +1 in both eyes, hoping his eye muscles will gain strength to compensate more. So, this was a HUGE step forward and explains a lot, but not everything that is going on with him.
I finally got him re-evaluated for speech and occupational therapy. They want to start him with two speech therapy sessions/week and two occupational sessions/week. No insurance. So, this will be costing me about $800/month. Not only that, but we typically pick the kids up at 5pm from aftercare. So, between 5pm and 8:30pm, during the week, we need to do all of this, every night:
- handwriting workbook
- physical activity (we need to get this boy moving to increase his muscle mass)
- reading (if we don't get him to advance here, he cannot handle the first grade work)
- some family time (even if its in front of the TV for 22 minutes)
So, yes, this has been a hellish year. I'm overwhelmed. I've gained weight throughout all of this. I cannot get enough sleep. I'm in worse shape than I was just 6-8 months ago. I'm now going to be broke. My son's self esteem is completely in the gutter and I'm spending every ounce of myself trying to find ways to lessen the stress on him.
I also need to focus on the positives. My daughter is doing amazingly well! She is one of the top performers in her class and is a strong, beautiful, positive, witty girl! My son's vision issue has been addressed (even if nobody ever suspected a vision issue). He is cooperating more at school because of it, and isn't quite so distant and dismissive with his teachers. He now rates a "65" on speech, whereas back in April he was a "59". I'm now more involved than ever in his schoolwork and see issues I didn't see before, and I can now work more cooperatively with his teacher to address these.
But, I also need to focus on me. I don't see that happening in the next month, while we let all of his issues find a groove. He is my priority right now, and my fitness/hobbies have to be pushed aside for a bit. I hope to start back running, even if its just 20 minutes/3 times a week. I know it would do my stress level wonders....and yet the time is not there. Sure, people can say (and I've said it before), that if you want it bad enough, you find a way. I do want it bad enough, but I want my son happy even "badder" ...as parents, we pick and chose our priorities and they are not always about us. So, once day at a time here for me. Hopefully, you will see me more as I need to vent and find myself and my motivation again...and seriously, this blog does help.