Today is a day I have many words for, but none of them could ever convey the magnitude of pain and anger I felt and am still feeling. My whole body was shaking. Tears were falling down my face as I furiously typed back a response to no one and everyone.
Something inside of me was shattered today. It was the Illusion that my son will fit in, the Illusion that he will be welcomed into a regular classroom, the Illusion that children will pick on him. Turns out its not the children I have to worry about. But when a child does pick on him, I now know where it was instilled in them that it is acceptable to treat him as someone who deserves less than them because he is different. It starts with their self-righteous parents.
Today I learned that a fellow parent feels her child should not have to be in a class with students who have IEPs. For those of you that dont have Special Needs children, a child with an IEP has some type of learning disability, it is their goals for the year. It was stated that its not right that their child, who is already of above average intelligence for the grade they will be entering, should have to be in a class with kids like that. Kids like Kai. Their son is there to learn and get and education and it isnt fair that he will be teaching my son instead of getting his own well deserved public education. This is about Inclusion...Ironically Inclusion seems to bring about feelings of Exclusion, which is more preferred. It was stated that instead of children like my son being put into her sons classroom, her son and all the other above average children should be put in an enrichment program. So they should get more, because they are smarter and have to deal with our S.L.O.W. kids. Perhaps she should get some of her own enrichment.
This above synopsis was from the fingertips of a friend. Someone who staunchly supports Kai and DS and proclaims that knowing him and me has changed their views on people with Down syndrome. Apparently I am doing something wrong, because that is NOT the view I was going for.
I responded to the statement, even though it wasnt written directly to me, it literally had Kai's name all over it. I will just C&P my response. It was written with passion, rage and hurt, a lot of hurt. It came from the shattered heart of a mother who really believed her son would really be accepted by his peers.
Us moms with kids who have Down syndrome are often accused of wearing Rose Colored Glasses...today mine fell off...
So they make the 11 smart kids teach the class? Wow, that is kind of unfair. If he reads at mid first grade level then maybe the school should move him to mid first grade because it seems that even if the other 70 weren't below average, he would still fall at the high end of the bell curve since he is beyond the curriculum for that grade level. I was always at the top of my class and I don't recall ever having to teach another student. But I went to school in a time when 'those' kind of kids were secluded from our classes so I guess I don't know the burden of having to have people who were slow or with disabilities sitting next to me, taking away from my education, especially since my education was far more important because I had potential to go to college and have a career and they will probably never be contributing members of society. Maybe you could ask the school to put those 70 students on the Short Bus and send them to a vocational school so they can learn to push grocery carts or bag groceries. And by imposing these different standards on them at an early age they can learn they are inferior and different from others, and they can learn to mask their shame early on, thicken their skin for the real world.
I'm terribly sorry that children like my son encroach on your child's free education because he finally gets a shot at having the same free education. Do the skinny kids get less food at lunch because the obese ones get larger servings?
I'm glad I can find out these kind of things from my 'friends' before we get into the real world. Because if this is how people feel who my son has supposedly made an impact on, then I know in advance to expect nothing from the sea of strangers who don't know him or care to know him. It's also good to know that he has changed how you think/feel about someone like him and opened your eyes to be more accepting as long as it's done from afar and not something you actually have to stand behind because god forbid your child has to sit next to mine and learn so easily and mine will come home and practice that assignment all night and the next and the next until he can finally understand it...
It's funny because since I've had Kai, it's always my 'friends' I catch these glimmers of what people really think. I always assumed it would be the cruelness of strangers I'd have to protect him from, but time and time again my friends and family are the ones. I guess strangers actually have the decency to keep their feelings to themselves. But I know if the people who 'care' about my son say those things, then the others feel the same way.
So thank you. You have saved me from an illusion I would have walked into his school with in November. Inclusion in school is a law, and at the end of the day, that's all it really is...there is no meaning behind it. It's just tolerated because it keeps us parents quiet.
I can also tell you I am shaking as I type all this. I cried through some of it. To you he is nothing more than a burden taking away from your normal child, but he is my child. He is a little boy who laughs and cries. It's too bad you will never see him as that. Maybe I shouldn't have put this all out here, but I'm not going to stand by and be quiet for the sake of not rocking the boat.
I'm done talking and sorely disappointed. I want to puke. I'm signing off for now. I've got to go teach my son how to eat fucking table food or they'll have your kid doing that too.
Today didnt feel Upside Down, it felt Inside Out...with my tattered Mommy flag barely clinging to its pole of raw emotions, left for all to see.
Today I cried. Today I was pissed. Today I saw the Ugly Truth. Today I became an Advocate.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will teach him.