Sunday, January 6, 2013

What The Boy Went Through In School

The Boy graduated from high school in May of 2011 so I really don't know why this has been on my mind so much.  I guess it all started with the survey the high school sent him last month.  They were asking for feedback from the graduates on what they thought about the school and the programs, etc so they could improve on them I guess.  They had won some awards and maybe wanted to do even better so they could win even more awards.  Yahooo on the freakin awards!

As I said in another post, the Boy was very negative about the school and his answers to almost all the questions reflected this "hatred" of the school.  I actually defended the school and got him to rate some of his negative answers a little less negatively, which he did.  I felt that if the school didn't do somewhat of a good job then he wouldn't have gotten into college and he wouldn't be doing as well as he is, right?  I mean he went from making D's and F's in high school to all A's and B's last semester in college and made the dean's list.  His overall GPA in high school was a 1.97 and his GPA now in college is a 3.05.  

Didn't high school prepare him for that?

The more I think about it though, the angrier I get.  I think about our life before the Boy started kindergarten and even though he wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's yet and even though we knew something wasn't right about the child, our lives were okay for the most part.   No anxiety, no depression. ( Well, okay there is still some of that, but without the unnecessary stress the school caused for many years.)

It wasn't until the Boy started school that the nightmare began.  Within a year I saw his self esteem drop.  By the end of first grade and rounds of parent teacher conferences, IEP's, testing for this and that and a letter to us from his teacher begging us to let him repeat 1st grade to "catch up", we were emotionally exhausted.  The Boy's self esteem dropped drastically.  And the years went on with each one causing more anxiety and depression for me and more hopelessness and anxiety for the Boy.

Parent Teacher conferences and IEP meetings became "let's point fingers at who's to blame for all of this".  Guess who got "blamed" the most?   Me.  I was outnumbered.  The Boy became a "behavioral issue" instead of someone who really needed help.  I became the person who couldn't control and discipline my child.  I had never even heard of Asperger's back then so I didn't even know how to defend myself or get the Boy the help he needed.  On one hand I knew I was doing everything I could to help him, above and beyond what I saw other mom's having to do, but on the other hand I thought they might be right.  I was a failure as a parent. 

It was a nightmare.

Yes, every year there was always one particular person, teacher or professional who really seemed to care and hold my hand to try to guide me in the right direction to help my son, but ultimately it was up to me.

The Boy was diagnosed with ADD in fourth grade after his teacher pointed out what I already knew and had seen. (what EVERYONE had seen)  I guess a new school, new teacher, new diagnosis.   ADD meds were added along with pretty much the same IEP.  ADD didn't get him that much more help back then.  I don't know if it's different now.  I hope so.

Then in eighth grade he was diagnosed with Asperger's from a psychiatrist he had been seeing for over a year to help coordinate his ADD medications.  The same one he still goes too and has treated him for depression and anxiety.

The Asperger's diagnosis seemed to get a little more help for him at the school, including qualifying him for help through Alabama Rehab, which is helping him get through college and eventually into the workforce.  Even then, things never worked the way they were suppose too but by high school I was too worn down to fight much anymore.  Luckily, the Boy just wanted to get out of that place and with the extra "help" he was receiving, he made it out.

Did it really have to be that bad?  It took him 14 years to graduate if you count kindergarten and repeating 1st grade, not to mention the 3 summers he went to summer school.  I look back now and I am furious!   Since he graduated a year and a half ago, our lives are so much different.  His self esteem is getting better,  I'm not depressed and worn down anymore.  I think I'm getting strong enough again to really be angry.  

Even tonight the Boy stated how he hated that school.  I almost wish I didn't make him change some of his negative answers on the survey they sent us.  They could use some change.   I can only hope they have changed now that there is so much information out there on Asperger's and Autism that may not have been available 15 years ago.

 I am still very mad at what they put the Boy and me through all those years!  

Yes, I don't blame the Boy for the way he feels about that school.  Just wish I could have changed things a long time ago so he wouldn't have had to go through all the crap.


  1. Kristy, I know this won't help but it's water under the bridge, so to speak. Yes, it's too bad that the school, the system, wasn't better equipped for recognizing the real problem. I wonder how much the state is behind on such things. Had you lived elsewhere, where schools have more money/resources, maybe...maybe it would have been different. But it wasn't. It's a shame all you had to go through but amazingly, you did and look where The Boy is now! 3.05 GPA, wow..
    You are an amazing mother. Everything you do, you give it your all. Remember that.

    1. Thanks Steph! I really do need to get over it and move on. I'm not even bashing his particular school because I think it would have been like that in any school he was in here in Alabama. Actually, he was in one of the better schools. They should've known better! That's what makes me mad.