My “Understanding”

Two days. He’s been going to his new school for two days and already it’s such a huge blessing! Yesterday, he panicked a little when I dropped him off, but they said it didn’t last long. At the beginning of the day, he hit and kicked his teacher, but then he didn’t hurt anyone again at all ALL DAY. Last week, at the small school that I teach at, he was probably averaging 20 hits a day. That may be an exaggeration since I never actually kept count, but it was a major, continuous problem every single day. Then today, he didn’t hurt anyone ALL DAY. And the crying this morning at drop-off time was a little less than yesterday.

He LOVES this school. He talks about his “friends!” This is a word he’s always been very hesitant about using and that has angered him at times. It is wonderful to hear him using it happily on his own. He loves his teachers. The ONLY complaint he’s had about the school is that he wouldn’t do computer because the headphones were too loud. We explained to him that he could ask the teacher to make them veeeerrrry quiet and it wouldn’t hurt his ears. He did much better today. Goofball. He even showed me tonight how he danced in music! With a girl! Whoa. I mean, he’s always loved music, but he’s always hated music class. He hated it at the preschool I used to work for and at the preschool he attended last year. Not only did he not hide crouching in the corner holding his ears and hoping for his head to implode soon, but he actually participated. These teachers are trained in dealing with special needs kids…I should have known they could do this. My thinking has changed from “He’ll never do these things or those things,” to “He CAN do those things when he’s not in pain. These teachers today probably had the music down low, lighting down low, the right warm up activities, etc. so it didn’t overstimulate him. It didn’t hurt him. My kid liked music class!

After seeing his psych report, which is required to apply at the school, the staff and especially his main teacher, were very concerned that he wouldn’t be able to stay there. In fact, they are still really hesitant about it. Only because, if they see that he is hitting or hurting others on a regular basis (i.e. once a day) they will not be able to keep him there. So, let’s pray together that he can keep doing as well as he is now.

Today, the PE teacher/assistant brought him out to the car after school. She told me that she saw a lot of anger in Javan, but they were able to redirect it or distract him before he reached the hitting phase. I can’t even do that all of the time. She also told me that she has been very gifted in working with kids with psychiatric problems. The school is mainly intended for kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia or ADHD. Maybe an occasional case of high functioning autism. Not so much for kids with mental/behavioral problems in addition to the autism and ADD. BUT, in two days this wonderful lady has seen through the anger, frustration, and behavior problems that so many others, including his teachers, can’t see. She has seen him in there. That’s her gift: to see past the illness and get to the person who lies beneath. Of her own accord, without me even knowing about it, she submitted a request to the school board to allow her to be his classroom aide. They can all see that he’s more. More stubborn, more difficult, more defiant, more angry. But she can see that he’s MORE. More intelligent, more creative, more loving, more Javan. And she wants to help with the behaviors and bring him out where others can see him too.

Do you know what you have to do to get an aide in a regular classroom in a public school? Me neither. But based on my experiences dealing with the public preschool last year, it probably involves months of failure and bad behavior patterns from the student, hair loss in the teacher, complaints from other parents over their kids’ missing teeth and black eyes, and clawing and gnashing of teeth from the mother. And probably moving up the ladder from the principal to the superintendent, maybe even to the schoolboard before they get sick of you and hire a $6 an hour aide who isn’t well trained and who doesn’t give a crap about your kid. (Note: I know that this is not a fair or accurate picture of all special needs public school aides. Some of them are naturally gifted, caring, well-educated providers who are willing to put forth the extreme effort it has to really help these kids grow. But we all know that is the exception to the rule of aides who just get the kids through the day without investing any time or energy toward skills needed for future success. *stepping off soapbox*)

My point is, I didn’t do anything. And I’m not promised an aide. That’s up to the school board. But the Lord God Almighty has put this woman in our path for a reason. A woman who’s real gift and passion is for the type of child who is rarely involved with this school. And who has a heart for my child specifically. She’s the one with the desire and motivation to ask  for a job that will give her more challenges, more stress, and more work than she is currently doing for (I’m assuming) no additional pay. My heart is gaping, drop-jawed with awe at the power of the Lord and the kindness of strangers.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Did my understanding think it was a brilliant idea to enroll my child in a school I can’t afford? Nah. My understanding did it anyway because I had nowhere else to run. My trust is in the Lord for finances.

Did my understanding think Javan could go two whole days with only hitting once? Nope. I was ready for the call that said, “Come pick him up. We can’t take him.” My trust is in the Lord that he will continue to shape Javan’s heart and actions.

Did my understanding think that Javan could go to a school that is perfect for him AND have a classroom aide that is perfect for him? No. Freaking. Way. I will trust in the Lord that he will lead the school board to allow this woman to follow her passion and use her gifts fully. And I am thankful for the blessing he placed in our path through her.

My own understanding is total BS. I give it all to you, Lord.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy Pruitt
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 12:20:43

    Well, I am sitting here with literal tears streaming down my face. When this journey ends with Javan’s dizzying success and the conquer of these challenges he faces (because I fully believe that this is where this story is headed), I will be first in line to buy the book. Praying for his continued success, your continued faith and hope, and a little financial magic to keep it all in motion 🙂

    Reply

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