Because we are! But seriously, we start off as very concerned when we get the reports from the school. Jon isn’t listening. Jon isn’t behaving. Jon can’t keep his hands to himself. But Mom and Dad aren’t seeing this at home, so they think it’s a school thing. Then the teacher starts telling the parents “You might want to get Jon tested for ADHD and get him on some medicine.” Mom and Dad go to the doctor, and he says “Jon is only 6. He’s way too young to go on psychotropic drugs.” Mom and Dad tell the teacher, and the teacher thinks it’s a big mistake.
The next year, Jon’s behavior gets worse, and Mom and Dad are starting to see it at home. But the school won’t give Jon the special education he needs when Mom and Dad get a diagnosis for him. Another year goes by, and Jon’s behavior gets worse. Mom and Dad do put him on medicine because without it he would be in pain. The school still won’t give him special education that he needs.
It gets to a point where it reaches a moment of crisis, and Mom and Dad pull Jon out of the school for homebound instruction, and a few months later, Jon is going to a new school. He gets the special education, eventually, at the new school. But his Mom and Dad had to fight for certain things Jon needs.
This happens all the time. Nobody knows our kids better than we do. We know more about what makes them who they are then the schools. But they frequently don’t want to see that. So instead of the naïve, easily manipulated parents we once were, we become educated on all things special education. We not only become advocates for our kids, we become warriors. Special needs parents are very dedicated to making their child’s life the very best it can be.
We have our rough moments. Many of them in fact. We see the behaviors manifest at home, and sometimes we don’t know what to do. A child can be fine one moment, but something changes, and it becomes a nightmare. Sometimes a child with special needs is incapable of listening to reason. The parent has to choose between a battle of wills, leaving the child alone, or giving in. Sometimes none of these are good options. Eventually the child comes out of their funk, and is very apologetic and remorseful. They aren’t psychotic. They aren’t insane. Sometimes their disability gets the best of them.
We do our best, and sometimes we feel like a failure, especially when things happen that are beyond our control. But we are parents, and we will be until the day we die. We have been created by the schools to fight, and to push, and to be fierce warriors for our children. The schools are often taken aback when Mom and Dad come in with more knowledge than they may have. They shouldn’t be, they created us.