Guest Post, I figured you're all tired of listening to my rants...
Introducing Wendy, a facebook friend of mine, who's 5 year old boy has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified) and global delays, just like my little guy. Wendy has endured incredible dissapointments with her school division and is being forced to move to the city in order to get services for her little guy.
I’m sure I don’t know all there is to know, but someday I will. One thing is for sure what I do currently know is disturbing. The system sickens me and this may offend 1 or 2 or more of you, I apologize in advance for that. These are simply my opinions and if you don’t think, your not forced to read them. I do ask that you stop and think outside the box that you have surrounded yourself with. Maybe the thing you thought was right, has another side?
So I am the mother to two beautiful children. Some would say I have the perfect family. The handsome son, and beautiful little girl. However behind the perfection there is sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger. There is struggle, and frustration with understanding how this world works. I am proudly Canadian, and although some would argue I am proudly a Manitoban. So here is a taste of my issue I am having with being a proud Manitoban.
I am a mother of a little boy with more than enough problems on his plate. Now although he has problems and is “special needs” he’s still my amazing child. The past 4 years have been hell. There is no simple way of putting that. There have been highs n lows, and many cry fests in my bathroom, or the public washroom at the clinic, ect. My sadness has turned to anger, and my anger is driving my determination. In Manitoba some would be proud to say we have a “inclusion policy”. here’s the catch, it DOESN’T include everyone. It only includes the families on the higher end of the spectrum, and only if your school/division feels like enforcing it. It also doesn’t “include” trained professionals. Yes we have teachers, and resource and principals, but in this “amazing” policy, you will not find a “trained” teacher for every disability and “it’s too costly, and time consuming” . Here’s the other catch, it’s the ONLY policy. So even if your don’t agree or feel that the policy is working your only option is to quit your job and home school your child and cover the costs yourself because if you don’t like the policy your shit outta luck. In several other places in Canada and the US you as the parent have the option. You have the option of private school, public schools, funded private, special need schools, ect. Here you don’t. Your either in or not. Not to mention during election years(like this year), the government has reduced the number application approvals to UNDER 40%.Don't worry though, if you re-elect them, they will increase it back up. Here’s the other catch, they say early intervention is key. However most families will tell you they spent more time on bottomless wait lists, waiting to the point that by the time they got into it was too late for any help and were told to go to the school division as that’s your only option. Here’s a thought, instead of telling me what I have to do and painting it like I have a choice, why not give me an actual choice?
Now I know some parents feel the inclusion policy is working for them, that’s great. The point however, an inclusion policy is suppose to include ALL, not some, not 34%, but ALL kids. Here’s my other issue. Now maybe there are people out there that need to know “why”. Why is their child Autistic, what happened, what caused it, ect. Here’s the truth. You’ll never know. Every day, and every month we are wasting money trying to figure out WHY it happened, instead of looking for ways to treat it. Instead of spending money looking at vaccines(personally I don’t care), put the money towards more trained professionals. Short wait times, more staff, more resources.
Now here in this province, approx. your child will be diagnosed between the age of 3 and 6. Some later, some earlier. If your lucky to get in prior to 5, you have more options. Post preschool there’s not much out there other than the school. Now if your child is “mild” most schools will NOT help. There are even some sadder situations where “higher functioning” kids aren’t getting help(that’s a different rant). So your child is too old for the programs and services, and the school says they can’t help, what do you do? Well depending who you talk to in the am from the pm, they will tell you “nothing, it’s politics, pay for private, home school, it’s your parenting, try different diets, blankets, this that and this next thing”. So let’s say your child makes it through school, good grades or not, finishes school. Now I’m not an expert but from what I’ve heard, and read, as well as compared to other cities in North America, what choices do you have? Some may be able to get into one of the few programs offered by the province, city. Others? Well they will be cut a monthly cheque.
Why not follow other cities and start young. Start guiding and informing and “training” these people(yes i said, they are people!) to be independent and live full healthy lives as adults? They like to say, “invest in our children now, and great things will come in the future” So I ask, why are only some kids being invested in? Who has the right to say one kid deserves a chance over another? For a society that has come along way since the 40’s and 50’s, we are still very far from where we need to be.
My child is a person. He has thoughts and ideas, and strengths and weaknesses. Why is he looked at like a weakness instead of being proud of his strengths? He’s not alone. Over 40,000 Manitobans alone are disabled in one form or another. Not to mention the families that are effected. I don’t expect to move mountains, or try to upset people. I just think there isn’t always one answer to every problem. These are our children, why is the government telling us what they need? Why not ask us? Has the minister of education ever called you up and said, “hey, how’s the policy working for you?” No. It’s next to impossible to even get a email from her. This isn’t just Autism families either. A lot of families are hitting brick walls, fighting with schools, ministers, ect. This is not working. I think it’s time to re-think things and maybe be accepting that there might be another option. If we can figure out how to squeeze 4000 new people into this province every month, then I’m sure we can find a solutions that works for ALL children.
Yes there are MANY more problems and this is just a tip of my rant. The last year has been one of the hardest years of my life. The saddest part is, it had nothing to do my kids. All my stress and sadness came from dealing with these so called "experts", ministers, resource ect. I don't care if you've gone to school for something "kinda like this". I wake up everyday and deal with it. I wake up and have to explain to my son why he's different, why kids laugh at him. Also on a closing note. If my "special" son wants to piss in the stall who cares? At least he's doing it by himself and taking some control of his day. Like really, PICK your battles cause I promise a urinal or a stall is not a battle worth fighting for.
Till the next rant,