Today was my meeting with CS, the superintendent and principal, trying to find a middle ground on the situation that occurred, trying to make my peace with it. I went into it feeling negative, I admit. But I left feeling a lot lighter than when I went in.
I will also admit freely that I did go in there with a plan. I took a complete timeline of the incidents revolving around Jacob and the school, typed out and printed- one copy for CS, one for the superintendent. I'm a very hands on mom, and I wanted to get that point across- when it comes to any of these kids, I'm not in the dark. I know, because I know them. Especially where Jake is concerned, I feel that i need to document, keep little notes with dates and issues, so that when something does arise, I'm ready. Besides that, I went in there with one intention- to humanize him. To make sure that my son had a personality, a face, etc., and was more than just a number on a file. For everyone. I explained his quirks, his behaviors, his reactions- I made sure they knew Jake as a person before that meeting was over.
And that was apparently the best move. Had i gone in there combative, it would have blown up in my face, I think. The way things were handled in there are really not anything I can complain about. No, nothing done or said can erase the error, but it can ease it some. Being on the same page, working toward the same goals, all with his best interest in mind, is all I truly want. And I feel I got that.
There was admission of confusion, of not following all procedure, and there were sincere apologies, with tears, that came with it. No one wanted anything more than to clear the air, and begin to help Jake to accomplish all he is possibly able to. And that satisfies me.
I was commended for my hands on parenting, my observations and awareness, as well as complimented on my note taking (I am apparently intelligent with a firm grasp of language, and am I a writer? ) Their surprise made my heart ache, but I understand it. Coming from the preschool we did, the special needs group Jake was in, you see all sorts of things when dropping off, picking up, etc. and there really are a lot of parents who aren't involved, probably because they are so emotionally exhausted and heartsick that they feel unable to handle anymore. But, if you aren't going to battle for your child, to push for every opportunity for them... who will? I don't think about it as doing something extra- he's my child, I'm going to push and poke for every single bit of anything I can get to help him, to get him into a situation where he can succeed. That's my job. It has nothing to do with being "strong", it is just simply what is and what has to be.
That made me think a lot though, being in there, telling our story from beginning to end. About before diagnosis, fighting for someone to pay attention. During diagnosis, after.. and all the ups and downs that come with it. We really, really need more resources and tools available to schools, communities, etc. I'm tentatively (thanks to J's mom) thinking of attempting some sort of organization for awareness of Autism as well as Early On-Set BiPolar disorder. I'm thinking fundraisers, non profit... and the more I think on it, the more it sounds like something we need in our community. Autism, especially, is a baffling disability. We need more research, we need more education for teachers, schools, churches, social services... why can't we have that? And why can't I get that ball rolling?
It's just something I'm toying with, thinking about. But, if we could find a way to have a fundraiser around April (National Autism Awareness Month), those proceeds could go toward the beginning of a non profit. A support group...something to raise awareness and inspire people to help out, to get to know more, to find ways to be involved.
What do you think?