Welcome to One Small Step for Parents! Our goal is to help you find the right resources, support and information that is needed to make informed choices. Without the proper tools we, as parents and adults, don't know what will help our situation or what works and doesn't work. Here at One Small Step, we have done our best to take the guesswork and confusion out of the equation by supplying tools, resources and online support.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Back to School - Are You Prepared?

Well here we are again...back to school. For many parents, going back to school feels like a double edged sword. We are thrilled that summer is over and we can "catch a break" from 24/7 parenting, yet we dread the meetings, comments and in most cases, negative communications that we know are coming.

I always viewed the first few days of school as a holiday for me, because I knew that as soon as the classroom settled down and the rest of the children started working on their assignments, my son's lack of interest and compliance would stick out like a sore thumb and the meetings would begin.

During the first years of elementary school, (actually beginning in Kindergarten,) it became a common occurrence to be notified that my son had been suspended from class. The first suspension was a horrifying experience, as was the second. However, by the third and fourth, the horror subsided only to be replaced by other, sometimes debilitating emotions.

Unfortunately, the schools are not equipped to properly teach, guide and care for children with AD/HD - ODD. Most, (if not all now,) teacher's aides or TA's have training with developmental disabilities; Autism, Tourette Syndrome, and Asperger's to list a few. However, very little is known about AD/HD or ODD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder) so TA's receive little to no training with regard to these disabilities, making it almost impossible to handle these children.

This, in turn, only adds to the stress and frustration these children, and subsequently, their parents face on a daily basis. Continuing this cycle, these emotions make it difficult to communicate effectively, thereby adding more stress and frustration, making the once joyous feelings of optimism associated with a new school year wither on the vine.

There is little that can be done from a parental stand point except to make sure that your child's educators understand exactly what to expect regarding your child's behavior and trigger points. However, this isn't a fail safe approach. Many educators don't realize that the information is not simply a "concern" and hope that "in time" your child will come around to their way of teaching.

To be fair, most schools simply do not have the proper resources, and the teachers are left to wade through the turbulent waters and flash floods that behavioral disabilities can create. This will definitely separate the "wheat from the chaff" and you will very quickly see whether you have won the lottery and have a concerned, conscientious teacher who is willing to work with you.

Should you find that unfortunately you have lost the lottery, possibly for the second, third, or heaven forbid, the fourth time or more, it would be a good idea to search out a different school, as obviously your concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Finding the right school, and by "right" I mean one that will listen to what you have to say and work with you to provide the education that your child deserves, is one of the most important tasks that a parent faces - especially for those of us with special needs children, and it can't be taken lightly.

There is a saying; "Forewarned is forearmed". Make sure you have all the information you need to present to your child's educators, and in the event that your diligence is tossed aside, be prepared to search for an alternative solution, and don't stop until you find one. Once you find the answer, you will experience the peace and security that going back to school can bring.

I wish all of you "Peace and Security"...Lord knows, we all deserve it.