Imagine this, parents. Imagine you are envisioning your child’s future, and the different pieces of his/her future are trading cards. And you say, “Ok, I will give you this card for safety, and in exchange, I get to keep all the cards for food.” And imagine you had to play this game with your school: “I want to have all our cards for reading so that he can read, but in order to make that happen, the school can have all my history cards. We just won’t focus on history. Reading is more important than history, I suppose.”
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well, that is what special needs moms do every day. Our society and our schools have the resources to provide things our kids need (and are entitled too, per federal law) yet we are denied access each and every day.
Welcome to the world of IEPs.
I run a Facebook group that goes with this blog, where parents can ask questions and offer support to each other. The group is made up mostly of moms, I haven’t counted but we have very few males in the group. I’m not judging…parenting still falls on mostly moms, so why should this segment of parenting be any different, right? We may drag the dads to IEP meetings, but by and large this is ours. And it’s taking it’s toll.
Moms with special needs kids have been found to suffer the same stress levels as combat soldiers, and it takes a toll on us with memory decline and other health issues. Dads do not experience these same detriments. (side note: I am NOT saying that dads do not ever participate in the process or experience sadness and stress–of course they do. But NOT at the same levels as moms. The aforementioned studies I just linked to state this.)
I have a friend and she is currently in litigation with her school district. The sticking point is transportation. See, since our kids have special needs, you can’t cram them in lots of 50 on a bus. They usually require a van with many fewer students and often an aide and a nurse. So now you are talking the bus, the driver, the aide….transportation is expensive. And her district doesn’t want to provide transportation to a different school. First of all, imagine having to hire an attorney to get your child the education he needs.
Why is this even ok?