"I had a dream that they let me hand out the forks at school." That's what my 4-year-old son said yesterday.
"Do other kids hand out the forks at school?" I asked him.
"Do they take turns?"
"And you don't get a turn?"
OH, HELL NO.
His school, which started out great, has gone downhill lately, with teachers leaving all the time. It seems like every few weeks someone is gone and a new teacher is there. It's hard to keep up. Ever since this has been the case, he hasn't liked school as much. He is a very sociable kid, and what went from enthusiasm earlier in the year has turned into the opposite. Changing teachers so much is really affecting him, it seems.
He LOVES to help around the house. He loves doing the dishes with me, and I give him the heaviest pots to put away, the glass bowls, everything (except the sharp knives!!). He feeds the dogs and sweeps the floor. Of course, he cleans up his toys. So it's his DREAM to help out at school. Could my heart be breaking any more than this???????
My husband and I went in to talk to the teacher today. She said, "Okay, I'll do that" and went back to writing something. A weekend full of discussions about how to handle this, what to say, how to explain that we EXPECT INCLUSION, boils down to a dismissal by the teacher. "Are you satisfied with that?" I said loudly to my husband. "No," he said, and we continued to talk to her. He has a bag on his walker that helps him carry things. We expect him to be included just like anyone else. "Okay, I'll do that today," she said. TODAY? No, this should be an overall thing. I almost snatched up Jordan and took him out of there. He sat at a table nearby and was listening to what we said to her. He is still at the stage where he thinks his father and I can solve all the problems of the world. IF ONLY.
We talked to the co-director of the school, and she said she would observe the classroom today and then get back to us and then tell the teacher what changes she needs to make. This seems to be under control for the moment. We would switch him to another school, but if we do that every time he is discriminated against, would we be switching schools constantly? Can we do anything to get them to change? Do they need reminders from time to time? Or is it IMPOSSIBLE??????????????
He is 4 years old now. I do not look forward to all the fights we will have to keep having over his education for the next 14 years. But believe me, I am up for the fight. He is going to know that he will be included. He is going to DEMAND to be included. He is not going to be like me as a kid, shy and letting everyone walk all over him. He is going to continue to see us demand equal treatment, and if he doesn't get it, they are going to see us, hear us, over and over until they get it.
Postscript: Jordan gave out the forks today at school. It makes me cry to think about this simple thing being his dream. It also makes me cry that someday soon I won't be able to solve everything for him so easily. My boy is growing up--is the world ready for him???