Left of Center

January 12, 2012

Am I the only parent in here who feels like they are going to cry….. is what I wondered as I sat in the auditorium yesterday. It was the feeling of holy shit it fits. Like the square peg I have been jamming into the round hole, knowing it won’t work but trying my damnest anyways…….. slid in. The hole wasn’t square, it was still round, but widened just enough to fit the edges in. As if to say….. who cares that you are a square, I can adjust to fit you.

Four children took the stage. They hopped right up there and sat on the edge. four kids from four different districts, four different grades and four different stories. THEY WERE JUST LIKE LUC. No obvious disabilities but something about them that made them a bit different. They got up there and told their stories and smiled at each other and told what it was like to be in their home district both academically and socially and what the Norman Howard School had done for them.

They were just like Luc. It was like I was looking at four of his twins.

Oh my god this just might be the place.

I didn’t want to leave.

When I got in my car I bawled. Luc has never fit in. Never. He’s always been the odd man out. He’s just different enough to be considered normal and these words I am using are not appropriate to describe any child…… but if you live in our world they are all that we have.

We are in this very strange place on this whole special education spectrum. Luc doesn’t have “behaviors” or meltdowns as we sometimes call them. He used to. Oh trust me he did. But as soon as we put him into an environment where he was able to feel successful instead of like the school freak….. he succeeded. There are kids in his class who have “behaviors” (please forgive me but I hate even writing that), and I actually welcome that. If his friend has a meltdown…. he knows to be there for his friend not call the f*cking crisis team (that’s what they do in mainstream school. They call the damn crisis team and evacuate the classroom if a kid speaks too loudly. And that is not an exaggeration).

I look at it this way; Luc got a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign in a hallway in his old school. The classroom was evacuated if he spoke without raising his hand (again, not an exaggeration). In his current school if a classmate has a behavior the class deals with it together or learns to work around it.

Put these kids on a New York City Subway. What are you going to see? People stopping at corners of hallways to get on the subway, or people of all walks of life and someone….. might even be having a meltdown. Luc… he will know how to handle it. It’s called life. Sh*t happens in life. We don’t stop at corners, we have rough times, people of all kinds are anywhere and everywhere. We can evacuate classrooms or we can help each other.

At BOCES he’s learned how to help his friends.

There are qualifications to get in to this school, and then if he meets those qualifications and interviews and 3 days shadowing a student and gets accepted……. then we need the school district to agree to it. School districts are under huge economical pressure these days to keep their own special education kids. I understand that. New York State also set the tuition for the Norman Howard School. I understand that as well. But these kids seem to be the few who are just like Luc is.

The application is filled out and already sent back. The materials needed from schools and doctors is requested. In 2 weeks we will know if we qualify for an interview and after that we find out of we qualify for a shadow experience. To make a long process short we could know if he is accepted by the end of March. Give or take.

Then begins the negotiations with our home school district. He currently has been sent out of the district so that could work in our favor.

But I am not about to go in there fighting, threatening and gunslinging. I don’t operate that way. We happen to have a wonderful chairperson on our CSE team, who knows we are in this process. To be fair to all options I will be visiting and observing  the classroom that is a potential in our home district. Maybe it will be a good fit. I have to keep that option open.

I have always found that when you work together, the right path is chosen. I never find the right path is chosen out of a fight.

So if we are to get accepted…. it will be a diplomatic, quiet civil negotiation.

I feel like if I need to literally move heaven and earth and make the world spin in the opposite direction I will put my hands on this ground and start pushing to make it happen.  And I can do this without it getting ugly.

Like most kids in this trap of special needs….. Luc has not had it easy. Never. Nothing in this world has ever been handed to him and believe me….. I never want anything to be handed to him. He will be part of this push, he will be part of this reach. But if there is an oppertunity for him to get the education he deserves, it’s right here and right now.



  1. Mary: All I can say is wow. You hit so many nails on the head. I feel backed into a corner right now w/my daughter. I hate the class she is in right now. The teacher sucks in this class. He has taughter much higher function kids at the high school level and he has seemed to hone in on my daughter and punish her for her behaviors. I hate it. Working on changing her class as we speak. Looked a class yesterday in our home district but it def was not appropriate. So now have to look some more.

  2. Mary,
    We have never met. I have followed your blog.
    My son who is a lot like Luc will be starting college next Fall. Yes. College. Away from home, and he is ready.
    It has not been easy, ever, as you point out.
    Your approach of advocating for Luc by changing the way the world spins without a fight is possible, and IT IS WHAT LUC WILL LEARN TO DO FOR HIMSELF. I have seen it with my own.
    And that is the ultimate goal isn’t it?
    Keep it up 🙂

  3. I understand the concept of “getting accepted”, but I don’t understand why you need permission from your school district. Do you live in the United States? and yes, I’m being sarcastic.

  4. I loved your story Mary.
    He is a sweetheart.

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