Sunday, March 9, 2008

Is popping wheelies the same as skipping ahead....

...for daylight savings time? 

I think it's a fair equivalent.  

Speaking of fair equivalents, I'm still reading The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal by Jonathan Mooney. His book is making a remarkable difference in my perception of what's been going on with my youngest nephew, who is struggling in school with math due to his disabilities.  (I will be doing a full review, but I keep finding things in the book to blog about, and I urge parents and family members, educators and all those interested in learning about disability to get a copy of the book for many reasons. )

Perhaps what's most striking to me is how Jonathan writes about people who have the same diagnosis as my nephew and their journeys through their childhoods and the education system. Most had a difficult time, although Mr. Mooney and a friend of his went on to graduate from Brown.  He writes about the difficulties of fitting into the requirements set by the school system in grammar and high school, and the effect of that "square hole, round peg" mindset and the ensuing low self esteem.

Fair equivalents. What is that when a child can't do math or another subject? What is that when all doctors suggest is medicating the child, who is otherwise functioning okay? What is that when the child turns to you and says "I guess I'm dumb. I can't get it. I'm trying"?

I'm a huge advocate of getting a good education. But I don't see the point of much of what's going on with my nephew.  No one is offering him an education that's a fair equivalent. 

It's like saying to me this morning "Go skip" and I can't. I can pop a wheelie, but I can't skip.  So I fail. 

Daylight savings time happens either way, whether we skip or pop a wheelie. Kids grow up, they have to function as adults. Is knowing math more important than destroying their self esteem, especially for kids with multiple disabilities, kids who couldn't tie their shoes until they were in fifth grade?  Or ever? Does that matter either? 

I can't tie my shoes. Flunk me.

The system keeps breaking my heart. I've vowed not to stay quiet because I don't want it breaking the heart of the next generation. 

And I thank writers like Jonathan for not staying quiet either. 


Sister Sue said...

Hey sis, thanks so much for bringing this up. As a parent, its so frustrating to know how bright and talented my son is, yet have to fight to figure out how to tap into it. Educators should KNOW that children are going to have these issues, and should be trained to guide parents along. They are all looking at me, saying, What can we do for him? And I don't know where to turn, except to other parents! Thank God I have them. And the support of my family to advocate for my son.

Ruth said...

Hey sis - I know you network with other parents a lot for this reason - am sending you a link to a blog in my favorite post's box that you might like!