Lately A and I have been discussing how to give C more freedom and responsibility while keeping him safe and not setting him up for failure. He basically has supervision the entire time he is awake. We live 100 metres from the school yet I walk him to and from everyday and when at school he is with an adult at all times. The first few years of school C went into the yard before school with all the other kids and came out with them at the end of the day. To my knowledge he ate his lunch with his class in Grade 1 and had recess. Not sure exactly how it came about but now in Grade 4 we are fighting to have him out at recess and to eat lunch with his class. He goes straight with an EA in the morning to the “games room” before school. This situation has bothered me for quite some time as I believe in TRUE inclusion and this just flies in the face of it. We’ve been working on it, trying to get things changed and slowly they are. We have a big meeting about it in 2 weeks.
A few days ago J was refusing to get his coat and shoes on for school so I sent C on ahead, watching him from the sidewalk and he did fine. He was so nervous and kept looking back over his shoulders but I could tell he was proud at the same time. When I told dh that night he thought that was great and added that when he drops C off at school after therapeutic riding he just lets him out of the car – I’ve always gone in with him.
Fast forward to today – J is sick again which sends everything topsy turvy. This afternoon I decided rather than bundling J up and exposing everyone to his germs, that I would call the school and ask that C be sent home with me watching from the sidewalk. Our school secretary was not there today and when I explained to the replacement there was a long pause and she says “well, would he be in a class right now or with an EA”? I was taken aback by the question, it’s 2:00 in the afternoon for pete’s sake so I answered “well – he better be in class!”. In my head I’m thinking “oh yeah, we believe in integration, so much so that it’s not unusual for kids with EA’s to be out of class for no reason”. So she says “Let me go ask, can you hold?” . I’m standing there thinking – what do you mean you are going to go ask????? What, just because there is an EA he suddenly wouldn’t be capable of doing this? I mean – I AM the mom, right? I found myself wondering what I would say if she came back and said “no”. She came back and said “She said that’s fine” and as I hung up I found that my heart was really hurting – since when do other people get to dictate what’s ok for my child and to not even think twice about it? How is this respectful of who HE is??? What child at the age of 9 wants to be constantly guarded and never let out of an adults sight? One of the things everyone keeps talking to me about is getting C to take more responsibility for day to day things. Don’t we then need to respect him and give him just a little bit of freedom then???