Okay so today I had an Evaluation Planning meeting at school because to change an incorrect Eligibility Catagory, another evaluation needs to be done. So we met today to plan what tests are going to be used.
So it was going along great, with me managing to adequately articulate what my son’s needs are and my concerns. I advocated for a personal assistant and had favorable input from the teachers, and we even got him placed into a “pilot” social skills group being formed for Gabe and some other high functioning children in this class. I really felt good. I felt heard. Amazing given a lot of the horror stories I’ve heard out there from the area. I feel so grateful for this, these people who are making my transition from Mom 101 into Super Advocate Mom a seemingly easy one. I say “seemingly” because I would be a fool to lower my guard and just trust everything at face value. I’m never in the middle, I swing either totally one way or the other. So, while I’m please with how this is going so far, I need to keep in the back of my mind to keep vigilant, ask questions… a lot of questions. Get answers.
I’m sitting at the table, feeling prepared and in control. I was dressed business casual, hair done, just the right amount of
war paint makeup. I mean, I felt realy good. Suddenly I get side swiped from left field and went down hard. Gabe’s special ed teacher asked me if Gabe had any friends outside of school, and friends at all. Suddenly I was a bawling pile of oatmeal. Sigh. No, he doesn’t have any friends, no playmates. This has been the situation from day one. My husband and I are older parents and whatever friends we do have are our age with grown children. My sister has grown children. My brother has two daughters just the right age for Gabe, but they are out of state and inaccessible on an every day basis. I’ve been to a mom’s club before preschool started but I spent most of that time worrying about maybe my child hurting another child there and I never relaxed and never enjoyed the company of the other moms, well, most of the other moms. Then school started and I drifted away because we were not from the same areas. I chat up the moms at school, but none are from our grade and certainly none are moms of a special needs child. Also, it seems as if everyone has such a hectic schedule. So, I took the opportunity (again) at this meeting to talk of the need for getting these families to network together. The kids could be put into social situations, learning social skills, and the moms and pops can network, too. At least I have the promise of the case manager to look into it and getting back to me.
The past three years we had our boy attend the local YMCA, but the one boy that Gabe spoke about, and I did attempt to get in touch with after getting an invitation to a party, and oh geez, didn’t see the invite until it was too late on Sunday night. We still went out and got a gift and I called the mom to suggest a play date. You have no idea what a big step this was for me, to reach out to another mom, out of the blue like that. As it turned out, that this family was moving by the end of the summer, in a scant couple of weeks. Can’t cut a break.
Yes, life and get crazy and I’m still getting used to mine; but I still find myself grateful. Grateful that God has finally given me the words to be assertive because you can be dead sure that I will need this skill and I’ll need to be vigilant and persistent if I feel that I need to be. This is my baby I’m talking about. This is the pure joy in my life. If he’s not happy, and obviously he’s not, I can’t sit on the sidelines and watch my precious boy be so sad and lonely, a feeling that I won’t wish on anyone. He’s freaking lonely and that is eating me up inside. I know what it’s like not to have a friend in the whole damn world. I grew up without any friends. My parents didn’t know what to do about it, not even sure if they “had” to do something about it, themselves. While I know that I can’t pick kids off the street to be friends, I just HAVE to do something.
So, I have high hopes for this social skills group. At least, my boy will have a chance and will learn how to make friends and how to keep friends. What kinds of things are socially acceptable and what is not. Yes, I have hope and I’m grateful for just that. It’s a brave, new world out there and we’re all learning.