But we must get them there before that can happen. The only problem is getting others on board with that philosophy too. Society has an ingrained need and desire to make everyone conform to their own standards, especially true of public schools. Often the desire to drill down and over focus on the negatives drives many kids to act out more not less.
Even if your child has no diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome, I found this very concise rundown of behaviors than can pertain to so many different issues we see with our kids, both diagnosed and un-diagnosed. Understanding Behavioral Symptoms in Tourette Syndrome. “… Children with TS may be punished for symptoms and behaviors that educators decide are disruptive andpurposeful. Even an empathetic teacher who recognizes the student as a child who has abilities, may be frustrated because of the difficulties in understanding the cause of the behavior. Dr. Ross Greene, noted psychiatrist and author of The Explosive Child, and Lost at School, writes that, “It is your explanation of the behavior that leads directly to how you respond to it.” If, for example, your explanation for a child rolling his eyes while you are speaking to him is that he is being rude and disrespectful, your response might be to reprimand and discipline him. Alternatively, if you’re thinking that the eye-rolling is a symptom of the child’s neurological disorder, then you’ll be more likely to be compassionate and provide support.
Consider a student who is refusing to do work. One educator sees this youngster as being capable but is refusing to complete the task because he doesn’t want to comply. This educator assumes that the studentchooses not to do the assignment, and therefore uses a punitive approach. Another teacher sees the student as having the ability, but realizes that the student has learned that it is safer to not even try than to make an attempt and fail. It’s important to recognize that the student’s refusal to do a task is not necessarily because he’s oppositional or lazy. Perhaps knowing the real reason for the behavior – that the student doesn’t like failing – can make the teacher’s response positive and proactive rather than reactive and negative.
Educators are more likely to punish a student whom they see as BEING the problem. If the educational team recognizes that the student HAS a problem and is not deliberately causing the problem, they’ll be more likely to provide unique and creative strategies for that student. When educators consider what they can do FOR the child and not what they can do TO the child, strategies are more positive, proactive and effective.”
Regardless of diagnosis, IEPs, 504s, resilient kids or willing schools, children with neurological, mood or other types of disorders suffer tragically in the wrong schools (and there are many, many, many wrong schools and very few “right” schools). Their disorders are hidden inside and make their struggle impossible to see or feel empathy for. The other children can notice the difference with our kids immediately and more often than not, your child becomes a target.
It makes me so sad to read the stories on Facebook in my various groups. On the one side are the parents of typical kids posting photos of happy children, smiling big, happily holding their neat sign with clean teeth and matching socks, and then on the other side there are those parents who post of the knots in their stomachs, the nausea and dry mouth, those parents who don’t let their cell phone out of their sight all day in case they get “the” phone call. Those parents who have attended meeting after meeting, demoralized and begging for accommodations for their kids, not because they want to make it easy but just so their child will actually make it through one more week of school. These are also the parents who have had to threaten to drop their kid at school in pajamas, the parents who remove the electronic devices and hold them hostage, the parents who have packed their kid’s backpacks, laid out their clothes, helped them into their socks, turned their t-shirt the right way around, straightened their pants, checked that the homework – that possibly the parent finished last night – is in the backpack. This, this all happens after too little sleep, because they were holding their child’s hand until way past midnight while intermittently being insulted and/or listening to their child beg them to help them put an end to their angst, trauma and restlessness exasperated by attending school.
What a miserable existence our children suffer. Internal angst from knowing, feeling and often thinking differently and all the time those negatives are solidified by the attitudes and quotes of the adults and children surrounding them. “This is life, life is hard, they need to understand how the real world works, they will have to adjust, this will build character..” say the typicals, while all the way your child is contemplating the easiest and least painful way to exit this life and all the pain it holds. They may not really wish to die, all they wish is that the pain will stop.
So if you are a parent of this child, my child, reading this, I commiserate. We walk alongside you daily and feel your struggle, your uncertainty, we know your cries for help and salvation fall on deaf ears and hardened hearts. For those professionals reading this I say, look inside, find your pain and feel empathy for that child any way you possibly can. Take the hurting kids, the downtrodden kids, the depressed kids and give them a hero to love and admire! We parents struggle to do this every day, please consider opening your heart and mind to do the same. One day these kids can SOAR but not until they find more than just their parents believing this of them!