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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

Well he’s getting bigger…or, well at least older. He looked TINY next to the other kids!

I’ve been working my backside off for the last few months on making sure he started high school with the best possible start: a kid with ‘special needs’ (autistic spectrum disorder plus attention deficit disorder – they often go hand in hand), it was a total shitfight getting his primary school to accomodate him in any way. They seemed to view him as the naughty upstart child of a hippy mother. While I’d discussed MiniFP’s special needs, providing copious pages of notes on his specific fears, obsessions, behavioural issues and triggers, all this was disregarded. When he was routinely bullied by older children keen to produce a ‘reaction’ by calling him a ‘spaz’Ā  and a ‘freak’, he was just as routinely hauled to the office for waving a stick to keep them away. You’d think they’d tell me this but instead they let it continue for most of a year with of course the entire situation escalating, MiniFPs frustration and humiliation compounded by getting into trouble for trying to keep the little arseholes at bay. You know how I found out? Well they suspended him. He was in year two. He was eight years old. Good job of educating!

So I, furious and wanting to haul my child from the school, in the end dragged them through a formal complaints procedure. They lied their arses off but betcha by golly wow there was a behaviour management strategy in place, visual cues, structured warning systems, time outs, safe spaces and a focus on how ‘not leaving someone alone when they want to be left alone’ was indeed bullying.

Wow. Still floored at their ignorance, mismanagement and bullshit lies! But hey, they didn’t ever fuck with my son’s right to an education free from bullying again.

Anyway, I’m digressing…so you know…special needs and a bullshit struggle to have them taken seriously and have him not taunted in the playground and then punished for it.

Then he got into the selective stream at the High School he wanted to attend.

I realised that while he’d come a long way there were still some big obstacles in his path, namely organisation skills, motivation and frustration management.

I went to a psychologist and named those hurdles. We discussed what we might be able to do to work on those things. I’ve been working with her for a while to develop a plan for helping miniFP with organisational stuff so that he can walk in prepared and ready every day rather than be baffled, overwhelmed and sink within the first term. These are significant challenges for a kid like miniFP (well for any kid – primary to high school is a big shift) and it took a lot of work for me to think it all through – I’m more what you’d call a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl y’know? I forget a lot of shit…I get things across the line, but organisation? Not my forte. So it was gonna be a big upheaval…and still is.

But I’ve been working for months, but particularly in the last three weeks on reorganising the entire house so that everything has a home and can be found, so that clutter is minimised, so that miniFP will have everything to hand that he needs to complete homework and assignments and to pack his bag the afternoon before for the coming day. I’ve made a master schedule, I’ve shopped for each subject’s needs, I’ve colour coordinated subjects and he’ll have a timetable to match, I’ve had big talks about bullying, about strategies for remembering, I’ve done practise runs…and mostly I’ve worried and fretted and thought and planned.

And today when I was getting him ready I wasn’t stressed or anxious anymore, I was excited and proud – proud of him for being such a cool kid, for making such an achievement given all the difficulties with the school and the extra hurdles of Asperger’s and ADD…and just happy for him. For all the opportunities to come, for all the dumb jokes he’ll laugh at, for all the ways he’ll grow and change, for the things he’ll learn, for the challenges academically where he’s been bored, for the adult he’s going to grow into being. And happy that he was ready.

I’ve been so emotional for the last couple of days and I wasn’t quite sure why. I thought it was just the anxiety, that I wouldn’t get it all done in time, or I’d ‘forget’ something major, or I’d go broke, or I’d let him down somehow…but I think actually it’s more that I’m always a bit of a sucker for milestones. I get teary every time a new Harry Potter flick comes out and I see how much they’ve grown. I LOVE a graduation ceremony. So you know…DUH! Of course I’d get a little lumpy throated for my child as he steps into a new future of challenges and possibilities, of chances for great joys and successes, and chances of pitfalls. And maybe a little for myself in that I’ve done what I can to prepare him and now I need to step back and give him that next level of independence (and we’ve always been very independant). I don’t ‘want my baby back’, I’m just amazed at who and what that baby grew into and curious about who he’ll become. And yes, I’m crying now. Shit, I really need a tear-jerking film to sob over to get it out of my system. I cried in the trailer for Whip It last night which was what prompted me to have a think about my high emotions. šŸ™‚

So here he is, waiting for the bus on his way to High School for the first time:

Oh! I love him!

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