I recently found this in my journal. It was written 2 years ago.
Sigh… Today I left my comfortable bubble and stepped right into a big pile of disappointment.
I went to visit a school that boldly advertised itself as a “state-of-the-art school” with promises to “give your child the highest quality education available!” They were offering all these great services under one roof. Hooray!
I had already been through the public school system and experienced the ups and downs that came with it, but I was not mentally prepared for what I was about to visit this warm spring day.
In my delusional little mind, I assumed this school would be different from what I had already encountered on the journey. This school could be the answer to what I was looking for, better than all the rest. WRONG!
Molly set up a meeting to tour the school. Sandra, Annie and Brody’s ABA therapist, decided to come along for the ride and check the place out herself. We were hoping to find a school where all our children’s needs would be met. Wouldn’t it be great to have them in a safe place where they would have access to a great education, ABA, a sensory room, OT, PT, speech and be treated with respect? Was this too much to ask?
We pulled up and immediately I had the “I don’t know about this,” feeling. The outside was not inviting and walking in, the dirt on the floor and walls were less than appetizing. I had to remind myself to take a deep breath and keep in mind to not judge a book by its cover.
Fingers crossed, we walked in and stood in the front office for a couple of minutes looking at each other wondering what now? Hello… anyone there? The Director of the school finally materialized, introduced herself and off we went on our tour.
Is it a bad sign when the Director appears extremely anxious and is constantly apologizing for the filth, water damage and clutter? Should a parent be concerned when she peers into a classroom and catches a teacher playing a game on the computer instead of interacting with the students? If the majority of the students look miserable is that a cause for alarm? Were Molly and Sandra thinking the same thing as I was?
My inner GPS was telling me I was on the wrong road. All I could hear was “Take the next exit, dummy!”
I continued the tour nodding my head, making light remarks when needed and asking questions if there was uncomfortable silence. I just wanted to scream. No way in hell was Brody coming here.
Did the students’ parents not see what I was seeing? Or worse, had the parents run out of hope and this place had become the last resort; a dumping ground for the children no one knew what to do with. Or perhaps it boiled down to a lack of choice. You take what you can get. Or what you can afford. If this school was their only choice or even a last resort what does that say about the availability of quality services for individuals with autism or special needs?
It made me sad and angry. Our children are not to be written off. With proper supports, positive changes can be made for successful outcomes.
Autism is a huge financial expense. Not just for the immediate families affected, but for society in general. Inferior services now equals a huge societal burden later on.
News Alert! Autism numbers are increasing, not decreasing.
The numbers are rising at an alarming rate. We must offer the best possible services for ASD children from the beginning. It will be extremely costly for our country if we continue to assume sub par schools will take care of our children and provide them with what they need.
Dumping ground schools are not and should not be acceptable!
- Poorly run
- Lack of training and teaching experience
- Lack of funds
- Lack of direction
- Another example of good intentions gone wrong
- I would rather poke my eye out with a sharp stick than send my child there.