things forgotten

After a year in the dorm, ReadingNoah went to church with the Grands. They sent him home to choose a “more appropriate outfit” than his jeans and flannel shirt, but he made it there eventually. When he came home after church, he and the two youngest had raided the church’s Mother’s Day decor to give me flowers and balloons. Except for the imaginary dress code, my parents have chosen a much more pleasant church than the one they attended when I was a teen.

I’m sure it was a deliberate choice on my part to forget until today that we used to attend a church that would end Sunday morning service with a dozen repeats of one of the “Just as I am” verses. They made us sing that song over and over and over. Then, we had to stand “with heads bowed and eyes closed as the organist plays another verse” while the preacher had a three minute ‘I know what you did last week’ chat with God on our behalf. This was followed by singing the song again. Youth group members would walk to the front of the church and kneel for a minute in the hope that we would get out of church before evening service.

Now that I’ve remembered that, I hope I can forget it for a few decades again.

Thoughts while watching tv

How does Alfred have time to play detective with “Master Bruce” when Alfred is the only person maintaining that giant estate?

When stomping about a sewer with Grodd graffiti on the walls, doesn’t it occur to any of the team that they are walking in Grodd’s toilet?

Blech

Starving Artist graduates college in less than three weeks. Graduation is at the Lincoln Center. My entire summer wardrobe is jeans, loose shirts and flip flops. After an hour and a half in the consignment store, I’ve decided I’m too fat and old to go to NYC or to be seen in public anywhere.

parenting and the radio

When you’re chatting in the car and the child says, “turn up the radio” mid-conversation, it means they want you to stop talking and leave them alone.

When your child says they like a song that was released before they were born, it was either:
A. a song on Glee, “Yes, but Glee did it better.”
or
B. on a cartoon soundtrack. “This was in Turbo!”

Autism Awareness Month – Day 30

No work today. He slept until 4. Then, he cleaned the litterboxes to make Dad happy. Now, he games. I tried to talk him into going to see Ultron tomorrow, but he works tomorrow night and he isn’t willing to get up early for a movie.

Thus ends Autism Awareness Month. My job as supervisor of his time management skills continues. Walking the thin line between keeping him happy and keeping his area clean is necessary for his physical health. Fighting to keep him a participant in life outside of his computer is vital for his mental health.

SpEd Vouchers

TN just passed a voucher bill for about 18,000 TN students with IEPs for “Autism, Down’s Syndrome and other severe mental disabilities, deaf and blind children, and those with severe physical disabilities.” It looks like the current plan is to take about $550 per month, per child from the public schools and allow families to use that payment for private, charter or homeschooling their special needs child.

You won’t hear the families of special needs students chirping out cute slogans about Special Ed not being broken, just underfunded. That is a vacuous comment from people who have not experienced what it is like to have a child with a severe disability. People who haven’t been told repeatedly by school system employees that all schools can do is babysit special ed students. Special Ed families have had the phrase ‘third rail’ spat at them so many times that money comments burn and sting. We have seen how every new penny brought in the schools for Special Ed gets put toward outside advisory groups and more administrators.

For many Special Ed families, school is where their child is not wanted. That is a fact, not a fiction. So, the promise of an option is not ‘reformer speak’ but is something that Special Ed families have been seeking for decades. Special Ed has been around far longer that the current reform/deform movement.

After dedicating an entire month to journaling the day to day life of a Special Ed student after school has ended, I am disappointed to say that there is no point in attempting to explain any of this to people opining about education politics. They do not care. They do not want to hear from Special Ed families. The NTs want to make all the big decisions for your family without having any knowledge of you or your child. The I in an IEP is just a letter to them. They are only concerned about money. They have no idea that Special Ed students will be physically and psychologically abused by parochial schools who think our children need more discipline and less evil spirits. They don’t care that not only will some students thrive in a home school environment, but there are schools who encourage parents to keep their child at home. Have I mentioned that many schools won’t miss us? They won’t. I have had it said to me and I have listened to it said to other parents during and after their IEP meetings. This is not a psychic vision. It is life experience.

The voucher advocates have tossed a pawn in the trash to suggest that there is a school that can do something different. A magic school with a secret spell that will make severely disabled children better is the dream that families never stop seeking. Every Special Ed parent has thought about it. Now, parents will look for that school, not find it and loudly ask for more schools. As long as we don’t hold incoming Charter Schools’ feet to the fire and demand Special Ed Charters, the demand for new Charters will not stop. For that to happen, people would have to actually listen to Special Ed families. That’s not going to happen. Instead, people will rage at this legislation and the end result will be Special Ed students continue to be pariahs. We’re why they can’t have nice things.