Is that thing you don’t have really better?
I’m sure you all know the proverbial saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” It means, something else always looks more promising from a distance. It’s a warning that things can be deceptively alluring from a distance. It’s a warning I have finally learned to heed. Finally! When it comes to special needs, the grass isn’t greener over there, and accepting that in the beginning will save you a lot of heartache.
Poor Ricochet has been bounced around from school to school in his momma’s desperate attempt to find a learning environment that actually works for him.
K: Started in the charter school his sister had been successfully attended for 3 years. It was a nightmare!
1st: Moved to public school. Got diagnosis of ADHD. Awesome teacher. We stayed.
4th: After a couple more years of not awesome teachers, we moved Ricochet to a small private school with a focus on hands-on learning and science. Was perfect for him on paper. We were asked to remove him after 8 weeks when his teacher said she didn’t have the skills to teach him.
4th: Moved back to the public school he had attended 1st-3rd. Had the worst teacher and experience ever. Decided for him to repeat 4th grade to catch up in maturity and skills, moved to a different school district for that year.
5th: In new school district, moved up to the intermediate school. Did better than ever academically, but severe school refusal was gut-wrenching.
6th: New middle and high charter school opened up in our area. They offered small school setting and expeditionary learning model. Again, seemed perfect on paper. They even had a special needs department. I thought this school was finally “the one.” I was confident their grass would be greener… Turned out to be as bad as his first 4th grade year. Refused to implement his IEP appropriately, and I ended up filing a complaint with the state department of exceptional children.
That brings us up to this summer. Ricochet is headed to 7th grade. He is most definitely NOT going back to that charter school where they made him feel stupid, lazy, and worthless and ratcheted up his anxiety ten-fold. He will be attending our district’s middle school (7th and 8th grades), supposedly the best district in the county for special needs (our middle and high schools have the only Progressive Education Programs in the county, serving kids with intellectual and severe disabilities). We met with the special ed teacher Ricochet will have and feel good about what they offer. Even better, Ricochet is really excited about the change.
He will stay at this middle school for 7th and 8th and move up to our district high school. I will not be looking at any other schools, ever again. The grass is never greener when it comes to the complexity and struggles of special needs kids and their education.
Author: Penny Williams
Penny Williams guides and mentors parents raising kids with ADHD and/or autism. She’s the parent of a son with ADHD and autism, and the author of three award-winning books on parenting kids with ADHD: Boy Without Instructions, What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD, and The Insider’s Guide to ADHD Penny is the current editor of ParentingADHDandAutism.com, Founder and Instructor for The Parenting ADHD & Autism Academy, and a frequent contributor on parenting and children with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications.