Thursday, May 23, 2019

School Decision's & FASD

This blog has been silent for far too long. It isn't that I don't have anything to write about, but more that I don't know how much or even if I should share what life has been like these past months. 

School is one of the many issues we have been working on. Two years ago we decided to home school our children. The three youngest were struggling in most area's at school and after all we had been through emotionally in the three previous years, we thought perhaps it would be good to keep them home and focus on family for a while. Home school was exactly what everyone needed except for one person: mom. I was trying to be therapeutic mom, teacher, and therapist besides caring for all the other tasks a mom is responsible for and I was falling short in every area. I finally told Dean, "I can't do this anymore!!!" In reality it was more of a major meltdown on my part with me sobbing my heart out because I was so overwhelmed. We started discussing the possibility of sending the girls to school. We knew they would need a school that could meet both their academic needs as well as understanding a bit about trauma. Thankfully God opened doors and we found a school that will fit their needs. Even though the thought of sending the girls to school sometimes feels a bit overwhelming, we are hoping and praying that it will help them grow and flourish.

We had Joseph tested via the school district and the results showed pretty much what we thought. Now we have to decide do we send him to school or not? Homeschooling was exactly what he needed, but he is a very intense child and keeping him safe from all the potential dangers in his world drains me. His social skills are really poor which can be typical for those with FASD and his specific genetic problem, but is school the answer? He is incredibly vulnerable and I shudder to think what could happen if we send him to school, the flip side is are we depriving him of an opportunity to bloom by keeping him home? The public schools have access to many services he will might never have if we don't send him. I know my trust issues are playing a big role in this... I have so many fears, although in my defense they are all legit!

A story to emphasize my point: The other day I bought the children each a box of french fries as a reward. They ate them as we drove because....well, those of you who have children with developmental trauma know taking them into a restaurant alone can be disastrous! I bought them each a large box because they hadn't had much for lunch so I knew they would be hungry. We came home and Joseph asked me for a snack. I told him he had just eaten his french fries and that was enough food. He has no sense of portion control and will eat until he is sick if we aren't careful so we have a rule that he has to ask before getting food. He promptly burst into tears and said he was still hungry because he shared his fries with Lia. I asked a few questions and he said, "Lia asked if I have extra and I didn't want her to starve so I gave her mine!" I couldn't imagine that Lia had eaten two boxes so I asked for more details. Turned out he had given her a small handful, which to him meant he hadn't gotten enough, thus he was "starving!" He was thoroughly upset with me because he was soooo hungry and I wouldn't let him eat anything.  He proceeded to tell me I was mean, I didn't like him, and just wanted him to starve. I finally put him to bed with his stuffed animal and weighted blanket, he lay there and sobbed his heart out, leaving me feel like a terrible mom. Joseph misinterprets so many things, he cannot read people's expressions, and confuses fact with fiction...scary stuff when working with mandated reporters.

   All these years I have tried so hard to be everything for my children because if I didn't who would? It took a kind friend asking, "What is the worst thing that could happen if you give yourself a break?" I had to think about that and the answers weren't easy because the things that could happen are huge, terrifying things. Things that I want to avoid at all costs, but the alternative is not being there to meet any of their needs because I am too burned out. Please tell me I am not the only "trauma mama" out there who micromanages just to keep things from collapsing. For me, it is easier to run myself ragged rather than deal with the fallout from those who, well intentioned or no, try to tell us how to care for our children. So often I want to put my head in my hands and say, "If it were that easy, we wouldn't be where we are now!!!"  

We are praying for a perfect "education plan" for Joseph, one that would meet his needs and one that we could feel good about. I don't know if such a thing exists but if it does, we are praying for it!

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