Today he will start 4th grade and it's safe to say that my heart aches for him.
If you have been reading my blog, you'll know that Bradley has gone through some pretty
sad things. To recap you can read this post.
Most mothers long for summer to be over and I long for summer to stay. I know by now children have driven their mamas to the breaking point of parenting. Those quite mornings are a dream come true after warm sunny days of them being home, but for me they never get old. I love the late morning snuggles and the late nights of game and giggles.
I'm sure I'm just over thinking things and this is why my bum is the size it is, but I can't help but feel nervous. At the end of the school year (last June) my sweet son had a broken soul. The emotional damage his 3rd grade teacher caused, showed signs all over Bradley's little boy frame. Our long road trip to MO allowed him to feel safe and he finally started to tell us how he felt inside.
When we came home, I pumped him with love and sweet compliments, letting him know that he was amazing and so precious to Mr. Sonboul and me. We decided with all he went through, he should repeat the 3rd grade and this would allow him and us as parents to "slow down" everything spinning around him. It would allow him to build his confidence and give him the time he needed to catch up on all the work he got behind on. The plan was presented to Bradley and his handsome face showed comfort in our choice.
By July Bradley seemed to be getting better, after being yelled at for months and not feeling like he was smart enough. Then one beautiful day Mr. Sonboul said to me " have you noticed Bradley's face?". For those next two hours I watched him carefully and there it was. What we thought was getting better, really wasn't. Yes, Bradley was sharing his thoughts again, but the
anxiety was still there and now causing facial twitches. We looked it up online and learned this is common in child with bad cases of anxiety. We went further, talked to his doctor (whom I love) and got approval for testing.
Last week Bradley went to a specialist for children with audio and visual delays. Now remember I have this same learning disability and after the testing, I/we learned so much. The tester asked me questions and as I kept saying "yes", I learned that Bradley and I are light sensitive. AMAZING! I never understood why I would fall asleep while reading and now I knew. I also learned that Bradley is left ear sensitive, which allows him to pick up on tones in voices. Making him aware when someone is upset within the first few seconds. I discovered that I must also have this. It is really rare, but real. NO WONDER WHY HE STARTED TO FALL APART, after being with a teacher who yelled all the time. It makes me sick to my stomach!
Finally I got a hold of the principal to see what we needed to do for the school year repeat. I was shocked! She told me "we needed to start the paper work back in last October". WHAT?! It turns out that in order to have a child repeat, you have to do "check in's" all throughout the school year. We didn't even get his IEP until February. I called my BFF (who is an amazing special needs teacher) and asked her
"What should I do? Should I go to the district and fight this? Rattled the cage??". She said
"Oh Heidi, I tried to tell you about this. There is so much paper work and they make it so hard to help children that should be able to repeat".
Heart broken I called back his principal and worked out a plan for our little peanut butter. It seems like it might work, but I'm really nervous about this whole thing. He is just starting to heal and now we are throwing him into a much harder grade, where they are expected to pilot themselves???
So while most of you celebrate this new school year, I'm walking into it with regrets of not doing my research back in October, but how was I to know?! I'm sure Bradley will be happy to see everyone at school today and being back on the playground. I'm sure he will love the field trips and eating pizza on Fridays. Having me teach art classes and having his little brother on the playground with him (Calvin's in 1st grade this year). My hopes are that the plan works. Yes he has a disability, but every single person that tests him says
"Your son is very bright. VERY BRIGHT!" and "He speaks with perfection for his age and most adults don't explain details the way he does". Or " I've never had to test a kid that long. He just keeps getting the answers right!".
My hopes are that with this plan in hand, Bradley catches up and the repeat isn't necessary. That maybe this was the LORD's doing and we need to trust it and work hard. I have no idea, but it's all I have. So today, I ask you all around the world that might be reading this... Please pray that Bradley will have a good school year and that this plan will work out. Sorry this post was so long. I'm trying to get these feeling out instead of wanting to eat. In short... I love my son and I only want the best for him
a concerned mother.