Friday, November 19, 2010

Treat them different

You hear people with multiple children say it all the time "I treat them all the same." But it's not true.
How can you possibly treat every child the same, when they are all so totally different?
Since my kids have been in school, I've learned that even if your kids share the same DNA, you can't just put them all in the same box (school) and tell them to GO! LEARN!
What works for one kid might actually be harmful for another.
Like my kids:

My oldest is in regular public High School and although he could stand to do a little more homework, he does just fine, is popular, and is exactly where he wants to be.

My 8yr old, on the other hand, is in a highly sought-after public Preparatory Elementary School. This school takes more dedication than the average public school and requires mountains of more work from both the child & parents, but he absolutely THRIVES in this environment. He loves every second of his day, and we're hoping to continue with Prep. schools for Middle & High School as well.

Then, there is my 5 yr old. He's my special kid who has been through evaluations with multiple neurologists, ABA's & child psychologists and had a total of 3 separate diagnoses, to finally have his specialists settle on SPD.
My guy is what is called "Twice Exceptional" or "2E".
So, although he has some roadblocks, his learning potential is HUGE.
The kid was reading at 3 1/2. He writes little stories about being in the FBI.
He knows the science behind digestion and he can tell you detailed information about the solar system.
But in Kindergarten he was either so bored that he'd find something else to do or so overstimulated by his surroundings that he'd completely shut down, becoming uncommunicative.
A few times, he even hid in a quiet corner of the classroom or underneath the slide on the playground, just trying to get away.
When his teachers started telling me about this behavior, it really wasn't news to me.
I see this when I take him with me to a crowded store or busy playground, I see it when his half-siblings come for a visit & throw off his routine.
But this is his education, not a trip to the store or a visit with family, and knowing what he's capable of and how much he wants to learn, I just could not let another day like that go by.
So, we pulled him out of public school in favor on homeschooling.

As a mother, I want to do everything in my power to give all of my kids the tools & nurturing that they need to be successful in life, and I don't measure that success solely by how much money they will make or how well they perform when asked.
I measure it by things like the smile I get when they've done something they've never tried before, or how proud and supportive they are of each other and how much they want to learn.

A desire for education of any kind, not just the kind you get in the public school system, is so important.
If you have that when you're young, it will carry you through life. It leads to open minds & open hearts and a willingness to understand not just things but more importantly, other people, and we need so much more of that in this world.

Is homeschooling one child and having 2 others in 2 different schools on opposite sides of the city easy and convenient? No. But I refuse to shove them all in the same box just because it benefits me.


  1. oh so kids all have different things that they excel at or they have different issues. I try to make sure that they are excelling at what they do best.

    It tough when schools want to put kids in a box because not all kids learn the same. Dealing with some issues with kids/school in my school district.

  2. Children are fascinating.
    Gosh I love this post.
    You're amazing:)

  3. Good for you! I just found out after months of being told that Jonah is exceptional and doing so well in second grade that his report card is almost all D's. Last year he was in speech and language therapy and seeing a social counselor once a week and he had very high marks and was thriving academically. Since he was doing so well combined with the fact that he doesn't have an "official diagnosis" the school didn't enroll him back into the programs. To me this is proof that the programs were working. At least now I can make them get him evaluated by a proper doctor who specializes in the autism spectrum. Before they were skirting around the issue by saying that, "yes he is impaired but he is also gifted so he doesn't need it," well now that his academics have been affected I bet they'll change their mind. Oh how I hate paperwork and the word "official!"

  4. We were dealing with the same issues, Jessica. Luke was functioning so well at his previous school that all services were stopped, but this new school is a bad fit and have dragged their feet with this year's IEP. So frustrating, I am just done.

  5. Hi Ladies,

    Mrs. C I really enjoy reading your blog! Just curious about the identification issue. In Canada, a doctor has to provide the dx. Our schools can't identify/write an IEP, etc until we get a dx for ASD. When it is a learning disability, the school does the "identifying" but not with Autism because it is a medical diagnosis not an educational identitification.

  6. Hi Country Girl! Thank you for reading =)
    In the states (well, California at least) a child cannot receive a diagnosis through the school system, but they can receive services w/o a diagnosis if they qualify through testing.
    They are usually tested by a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a child psychologist and the child's current teacher will provide classroom observations.
    So, a child may receive services through the school even though they have no official Dx, and vice/versa: even though a child does have a Dx, the school system may conclude that they do not meet the requirements to receive accommodations and/or services by their standards.
    It's really kind of ridiculous and confusing :(

  7. Hi,

    That is very simliar to here. Generally, having a dx here leds to it being easier to get services. Generally students with ASD here always get services (not saying every parent is happy but they do get services) because ASD has the strongest educational legislation.


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