Sunday, November 17, 2013

PTA Dropout

At least I'm consistent, right?

Ok, so, this is what happened, I started out wanting to go to all of these things and wanting to be part of all of this stuff and to do anything I could to help our schools and help our kids... I really wanted to get out of the house for a few hours/month.

By the time October rolls around, when it came time to go to the PTA meeting, I was sighing. I just didn't want to go. I thought maybe it was just part of the depression, I just needed to do it and it would be FINE. So, I grabbed my purse, threatened my devil's offspring and dragged my feet all the way there. I have no idea what happened in this meeting. There were kids and chatty women and people trying to be all nice and strike up conversation with me and I know I came off as a bitch and I am sorry for that, but I didn't come to socialize. I came to be aware of what's going on in my kids' schools. To help where I can. If someone is trying to talk to me about other things, I miss every single thing that just happened across the room. I missed every conversation that was related to the reason I was there, and I still have no purpose. I'm not participating in anything, there is nothing for me to do. By the time I left, I was dreading the next meeting even more, so, no, not the depression.

November was the first meeting of the middle school PTA. I walked in and was welcomed with a smile, offered a seat... which sounds like a small thing but it's not. There was a whole lot of chatting here, too, but the chatting was related to what was being discussed and not distracting at all. There weren't small groups talking about their own things while only a certain few discussed business. Everyone had a part. Everyone had a voice. Everyone was heard.

I've gotten a little hyper-vigilant when it comes to disability and inclusion. a little too watchful, a little too ready to be angered. Not that it isn't worthy of being fought for, but sometimes it's not needed. Like, sometimes people of different abilities are very much considered in every decision. Like in the middle school. I'm not sure how much I can say and how much I can't so I'll just say that just when I think I have a grip on people, they surprise me all over again, and Walter's principal is a good man.

I learned a few things at this meeting. One of them being that the school is not responsible for the self contained classrooms. The self contained classrooms and anything that's needed for the Special Ed kids has to be taken care of through the Special School District. Kinda like the girl. She's here and I take care of her but her parents are responsible for making sure she has what she needs. I found out that this is what happened with Alex's touch screen computer in first grade. They promised me touch screen because he could use it at the time. then they didn't follow through- they had the equipment but it wasn't hooked up. One of my lists of complaints included the touch screen, they said I was bringing that problem up to the right guy because one of the SSD big-guys was there. I didn't get it at the time but now I do- the PTA provided the touch screen computer, the SSD didn't hook it up.

I learned that the regular school district's money cannot be used in the self contained classrooms. That the PTA can raise money for the SSD kids because those kids belong to the PTA, too. and they are eager to do so. The PTA can do their part, but then it's the SSD's responsibility to do their part.

This meeting was wonderful, relaxing, a joy to attend. and it made my reluctance to attend the elementary PTA meetings even heavier. more obvious. I could have just soldiered through it. Until I got a text message almost at the end of the middle school meeting, "Are you on your way home?" My husband doesn't text me while I'm out. ever. This is scary. I text back, I tried calling- nothing. I raced home and found my husband in the bathroom with Alex.

Alex strongly objected to my being gone. Objection painted all over the place. Shit, alright, I have to figure this out. I must pick and choose and cut my commitments somewhere.

I quit the elementary PTA. When the time came, I just didn't go. I'm thinking of what else I can do. The support group offers child care... he can go with me. ...and be watched by complete strangers who may work in the school but still don't know my baby. But this could help ease him into being more comfortable with more staff members 1 1/2 hours per month... but they're strangers!!! How can I just leave him with someone? what if he needs me? What if they don't know what they're doing? I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone, I know you want the line cut out, but there is a difference between high functioning and low functioning. sometimes a big one.

I told him where we were going all day long. We packed up and left, I told him where we were going. I left him in the room with a person he was happy to see and eager to hug. I looked back at his sad little face sitting in the chair, his anxious eyes on me, while he fiddled with his teething ring before I turned from the door and I tried not to cry.

That was the longest hour and a half of my life. I loved the conversation and sitting with the ladies, but I watched the clock, waiting for the second I could run for my baby. Listening for evidence that something might be wrong, trying to hear anything that could indicate Alex needed me.

The special school is thinking about changing the PTA meeting time from afternoon to evening to try to get more parents involved. I'm excited about that, good thing I already dropped the elementary. Now I need to figure out a new plan for Alex... maybe if he continues to come with me to the support group, he'll be ok with me leaving him home for an hour or two one night every month and one night every other month. Right? That sounds good...

Until the clock dings, the meeting is over, and I walk in to see my baby terrorizing the place. Rubbing his face on the trampoline and then jumping up and running and vocal stimming and wanting to grab books (most likely to throw them), the aide looking shell shocked and staying no more than a step behind him (she learn that the hard way, I wonder?), I try to walk him out and he's dropping and pushing and vocal stimming and Good LORD!

On the way home, God smile down on us and had the perfect song playing... I blasted Avril Lavigne, "Chill out, what'cha yelling for? Lay back, it's all been done before..."

By the time we got home he was manageable.
The next morning, he still refused to look at me or talk to me.
That evening, He was using one of his rare words about support group, "again." With his half-fisted hands in the air, flying around his head, barely able to contain his excitement, huge smile on his face, eager look in his eye, he wants "again."

This might work :)

1 comment:

  1. Think of it as spreading awareness about the spectrum.