Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Torn

Oh my-I have no idea what to do...

I've not slept very well in days, I've almost run out of tears, I am exhausted.

I have a miserable child when it comes to school.

Part of me thinks like this: we are down to our last few days of school, we'll have summer break, and she'll start the new year off on a different note.

The other part says, let her go to the Deaf School. I've always said that Alabama was one of the best places to be if your child has a hearing loss. But when it comes to school, that's not the case. My children academically do fantastic in public school. Gage does great socially. Brook doesn't. She's to the point now where she's miserable. It breaks my heart when she tells me she has only one friend. It breaks my heart to see the other kids scoot away from her at the lunch table. It breaks my heart for her to say, "When I ask the kids to repeat themselves, they throw their hands up and say 'NEVERMIND!!'" She never really started off on the right foot. She's always defensive, even unnecessarily at times and the kids think she's mean. She can be such a sweet little girl. She's very loving, and plays and has fun at home. She does great in her own classroom for the most part. Lunchtime and PE seem to give her misery which is the social part of the day.

She has begged me to send her to a different school, the Deaf school. I am so torn. Gage doesn't want to change. I hate to split the kids up. She would be an hour and a half away while he'd be 10 minutes down the road.

I am so thankful that Alabama now has Alabama School for the Hearing which is taught by AVTs (Auditory Verbal Therapists) I think all she needs is to be around the other kids w/hearing loss. However, it's just growing out of infancy stage and trying to anchor down into becoming a permanent solution for kids with hearing loss. However, that's still an hour and a half away, with no buses running up here and they are more of a preschool, not elementary. If this school were already established, already equipped for elementary, we'd be there in a heartbeat, even if I had to make that drive everyday. Unfortunately, our only option is going to be AIDB (Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind) which focuses on both oral and ASL. Brook likes the idea of sign so I have no problem exposing her to that. This is the main stopping point for Gage, he has absolutely no interest.

He is however attending a camp there this summer so we'll see if he changes his mind. I kinda feel like we are heading in that direction...but maybe not just yet. If I could get both kids leaning in the same direction, I'd be a happy camper. So unfortunately, I may need to split them, if we absolutely can't agree. Gage would be fine where he is at, but he can't hear worth a flip these days. He's by no means where he was a few years ago before all of his revisions. I honestly don't think it's a bad idea for him to try the school out just to see, we are never sure if he'll even get to keep his implants. He's only had a few headaches in the last few days so we'll continue to monitor that.

I just need to find a place for my sweet girl.....a place where she'll feel happy and accepted. She would love the class sizes which are about 5 to 1...we'd have to get up very early, ride for 40 minutes to catch a bus which will travel another 40 minutes to the school...which would turn a 7 1/2 hr day into a 10 hr day...that's a lot. And then again, she will do a good deal of maturing over the summer and return to school a second grader. Gage had a really tough time in K and 1st grade too. He blossomed in second and has been happy ever since...I kinda would like for her to attend the camp next year (if she can stand to be away from me for a whole week) and see how she feels then...at the ripe old age of 8.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Change public school. That works for me. The first few years, I had no friends. But when I switched, I found more understanding hearing friends. There are magnet or charter school for the deaf, you'll have to look for it. They would even let your kid go mainstream half day.

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Oh Val, there never is an easy choice is there, especially when it comes to siblings. I know how you feel about not wanting to separate them....please know I'm thinking of you.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Are there no regional programs in your area? Like a self contained class inside a mainstream school? That kind of program would probably serve her better than the state school for the deaf (which are generally voice off, ASL).

MKChaikof said...

I would encourage you to rethink the deaf school idea and, instead, to look for a program that can help her socially. If you put her in a deaf school now, it may or may not help ease her interactions with other kids because the problem may not be her deafness. Some children just have a harder time knowing how to interact with their peers, and it's not limited to those who have hearing issues. Also, it will be postponing finding a real solution as she eventually will have to interact in the real world. There are programs out there that aren't simply group therapy but, rather, are interactive, fun programs that help kids work on social skills. There is one in our area that takes kids on hikes and other adventures while simultaneously working on social skills. Finding a group like this would not only help her but would also give her a chance to interact with other kids who would understand what she is going through. If your school has a counselor, he/she may know of programs like this in your area.

Nikki said...

(Long time lurker here!) What a decision to have to make, my heart goes out to you :(

Anonymous said...

Btw, those kids who I went to school during those first few years, and never try to be friends with me, I saw them again throughout my middle and high school. They're still the same. They only talk to each other but won't talk to me. I became friends with them on facebook, they accepted it but still don't respond to me. I think they are uncomfortable around deaf or people with disability because they don't have any family with disabilities. Not even learning disability. Thats why I say switch school and she'll probably have more friends who are patient and understanding and would not feel uncomfortable because they probably have relatives with disabilities and are able to see them as a person.

rouchi said...

This is really such a difficult issue.Little girls are very social and love to hang out with friends.And with our kids, most kids would not have the patience to repeat or speak a bit more loud.Can imagine her pain.prisha too had issues like this when she could not understand the accents or the kids were too quick or soft or out in the playground, but i have been talking to her and she is hanging on and handling it very well.just give her the confidence, really helps.Maybe have a word with the kids , am sure some would understand.Life is not easy for them and they know it and learn to adapt quickly.
really hope gage is fine with his implant, would hate to have him operated and to be without hearing.crossing my fingers on that.

Anonymous said...

I was reading some of the comments and noticed one think she might have social issues. Its possible, but I learned over the years that the "smiling and nodding" ,or just plain old social bluffing, help me have more friends than speaking up so I could be included too. I THINK people got annoyed because I wanted to be included so bad by asking them to repeat (maybe too many times). And saw me as a mean person for advocating myself like asking them do NOT tell me "nevermind" or controlling the conversation (making sure go in my direction instead going with flow because if I go with the flow, I would not know whats going on and would get lost in conversations ) or tell people I don't want to be in such and such location because it is too noisy and my hearing aids/ CI can't filter it out like natural ears can. People just don't like demanding people and deaf people are sometime viewed as that way and all they are trying to do is be included.

So to the mother of this blog, investigate why your daughter is not making friends. Is it because she trying to advocate herself too much? Deaf children should not spend more time advocating themself ..or social bluffing to fit in?.. because that tells me the system or school is not working for them. It become a burdensome for the child, (they may end up feeling severely depressed)

Also investigate other child's personalities (remember I wrote about kids not making friends with me) ..in a way personalities of a community can conflict with someone who is different. The school i went to was in the suburbs, it felt like being in a private school and kids around you have nothing in common with you no matter how hard you try. I just gave up on them because I have better friends now since I switched to a more diverse school.

So if it is none of those I stated above , and she have trouble making friends in general, then I'll say it could be her social skills and she need to work at it some more.