This rant may be a little angry and rambling, so please bear with me.
My youngest son has not only ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. It includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. - from mayoclinic.org) but also DCD (Children with developmental coordination disorder often have difficulty performing tasks that involve both large and small muscles, including forming letters when they write, throwing or catching balls, and buttoning buttons. Children who have DCD have often developed normally in all other ways. The disorder can, however, lead to social or academic problems for children. Because of their underdeveloped coordination, they may choose not to participate in activities on the playground. - from minddisorders.com). I'm willing to bet you've never even heard of the second one - I didn't either until he was diagnosed. After I scoured the internet for information, it suddenly became clear - he wasn't lazy or slow, he was having genuine difficulty performing the tasks we take for granted, like tying our shoes. He is an intelligent, loving, sensitive child, and maybe he has all of those wonderful qualities because he has these other major hurdles to deal with. One (ADHD) he may yet grow out of, the other (DCD) is his for life. Imagine being 34 years old and not being able to button up a shirt properly? I know, it seems strange to us, but this is something he'll have to deal with for the rest of his life.
Why the anger? My little guy came home for lunch today a little down. He's easy to read, so I asked what was up and he said "the usual". The boy next door was making fun of him in gym class because he couldn't tie his shoes quickly enough. There have been problems with this boy for years, and in the interest of neighbor relations (we get along just fine with the adults and the other two boys in the house), we try to ignore him and my son no longer plays outside with his brothers if he is there. It's sad, I know, but this is how it works. I asked him if this was outside or during class. Suffice it to say, I was a little surprised when he said during class. I asked where his teacher was. He told me that he was right there, calling out the length of time it was taking him to tie his laces, and saying that he is in grade four and should know how to tie his own shoes by now. What the hell is wrong with this man? Why are PE teachers always the first to get onto or start up the bully wagon for those children who may not be as athletically inclined as others? I could not believe that this teacher is belittling a 9 year old in the middle of class in front of the other students and allowing him to be bullied. In fact, getting in on the action himself.
When we enrolled our son in this school (boundaries changed and this is his first year at this school), we made sure that his records reflect his disorders, which include notations from his specialist stating the special needs he requires. Everything I had previously heard about this school was positive, however, I have to say this school and it's staff don't seem to give a rat's ass about my kid. (I can also say that at least one of my neighbors agree, her son hates the school also, and he doesn't have any disabilities, and is a star athlete.) He's been there for 8 months now, almost a full school year, and I can tell you he has received absolutely NONE of the special needs suggested by his doctor. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In fact, at his last school, he was not yet diagnosed, and they still went out of their way to scribe for him and encourage him to do his best. This particular gym teacher called our home in October or November to tell us how badly our son is doing in his class. My husband asked him if he took a moment at any time to look into our son's record, or if anyone had bothered to tell him that our son had some health issues. He said no, and that he is the only teacher for the whole school - implying that he just doesn't have the time. I am not quite sure what has happened to the school system, but if a teacher doesn't have time for their students, perhaps they should find another occupation - maybe gravedigger. You need to be strong and athletic and no one will hold you back. In fact, they're all waiting for you.
So this jerk has been told by us that our son has some learning disabilities. I sincerely doubt he actually went to read my son's record, but my husband did tell him specifically that he has ADHD and DCD. And instead of taking that into account, he mocks him in class. I am not saying he needs to give my son a free pass. He doesn't need it. He may not be good at sports, but he really tries, because he's interested in it, and he likes being part of a team. He tries out for all kinds of sports, unfortunately he doesn't make the cut. My point is that he really does try, and if he has a problem, maybe the effort should count for more than the result. Would this teacher fail him if he broke his leg and was in a cast? No? Maybe he would, he just seems like that kind of smarmy bastard.
So, I will print out some info on DCD and the Ontario Anti-Bullying Act and go in to see the principal tomorrow. I sincerely doubt that it will make any difference. Once I leave the office I'm sure they'll have a sitdown about what a bitch I am and how slow my son is. Maybe they'll laugh and have some coffee and talk about the weather. However, they do not know me very well. I will take a lot and I will take it for quite a while. However, when I'm done, I'm done. This will be their only warning to correct their behavior. Adults should know better. And adults working with children should definitely know better. If it happens again I just have to say that hell hath no fury. I will contact everyone I know and someone will pay.
My son has the right to have a good day, every day at school. We parents send our children out into the world and when we place them in the care of other adults we expect them to conduct themselves in a manner that is positive and nurturing toward our kids. This school does not do that. I hesitate to mention the name of the school or the teacher involved. However, should it happen again, I will definitely call them out.
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