A Shock to the System

I love Facebook. Out of all the social media platforms out, it is by far my favourite. I love being able to stay in touch with old friends and with family members who live far away. I love seeing their photos and status updates and I love reading the comments on the things I post. Okay, yes, I could do without the barrage of Candy Crush invites, but other than that, I thoroughly enjoy my time spent on Facebook. Once in awhile, though, Facebook can be the bearer of bad news.

I belong to a few groups that are neighbourhood- and parent-specific. Last night, in one of these groups, a mom posted a question, asking if anyone else in the group had experience dealing with special ed at the TDSB. Apparently, when she called her home school to inquire about their special ed program for her developmentally delayed child, she was told that they did not have a special ed program, and that her child would have to go to an out-of-district school, which meant that her two children would have to attend different schools. I was shocked to read this. I could not believe that it was true. Almost immediately, I asked Mark about it, thinking he would reassure me and tell me that is something that wouldn’t happen, but he confirmed it. Not all schools have special education programs in place, and in all likelihood, Penelope will have to go to a different school than Charlotte.

To say that I am saddened by this news would be an understatement. I am devastated and heartbroken. I am fully prepared for the fact that Penelope will certainly need to attend a special ed program, but I just assumed that our home school would make the necessary accommodations for her. I never, even for a moment, had considered the possibility that she would not be able to go to the same school as her sister. I had this vision in my head of Charlotte being able to look out for Penelope at school, the way she does at home. Penelope adores her big sister, and it makes me so sad to think that they will be at separate schools. It astounds me that the TDSB doesn’t have “equality of access” or some other such phrase as part of their charter.

I mean, sure, I could throw a fit and probably cause enough of a fuss over the next 2 or 3 years to force our home school to accommodate her, but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to force the school to accept her. I want Penelope to go to a school that will welcome her and include her and provide her with the best care and most suitable education. I just can’t believe that in Canada, in Toronto, that’s not available at every school.

I suppose that I am just going to have to make my peace with this information, though at this point, I am a long way from accepting it. I shed a lot of tears last night after finding this out, and I’d hoped that upon waking up this morning, I would feel better about it. I don’t. Right now, I feel sad and defeated. And I don’t know how to feel better about this yet.

Thinking of these sisters having to go to separate schools breaks my heart

Thinking of these sisters having to go to separate schools breaks my heart

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8 thoughts on “A Shock to the System

  1. I’m so sorry – this must be absolutely crushing for you. Is there any chance of moving to a neighborhood near the Sp.Ed. accomodation school before your oldest begins?

    • Unfortunately, moving won’t solve the problem. Charlotte has already started school- she’s in junior kindergarten, so she would have to leave her friends behind, which isn’t something I want. Plus, my husband teaches at a school in the neighbourhood, so this means he can walk to work and we don’t need another car. As well, apparently the special ed programs are pretty patchwork- kids start at one school, and then end up needing to transfer to a different school as they get older and their needs change. “Crushing” is an apt description of how this feels- I am just so upset.

  2. Well it doesn’t get easier and let me tell you that you are going to be advocating for Penelope’s educational needs the entire time she is even in school. I have run into an issue with william getting tests done to determine what learning disability he had and it is none stop being on top of the school for the test to happen to get on a wait list and then to obtain the results of the test! It is hard to be a working mom when you add this into it. Get yourself ready learn what IEP are and the benefit to having this learning plan in place right off the bat so that you are not starting over year after year with a new teacher and explaining your child’s needs. Sorry this is not upbeat, just another road block to being a parent! Chin up if you want to talk you can call anytime.

    • Thanks, Sarah, I really appreciate that. The one good thing about having this realization now is that I can prepare myself for these coming obstacles and I have a lot of time to figure out the best solution for her. And same goes here- if you ever want to talk, I am here for you. I hope things get sorted out for you and William.

  3. I certainly can understand your frustrations and the difficulties you are experiencing. You are the best mother, advocate, voice your daughter has. It took me almost three years for his diagnosis to even be considered, but never stop. A mother bear mentality! Keep up the great work…and I am here should you ever need an ear.

    • Thank you so much. I am used to be an advocate for Penelope with regards to health care, but this whole special ed thing has really caught me off guard. Even though she’s only 18 months old, I now feel like I have to start planning for school so that she can receive the most appropriate education. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words- I really need them today!

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