What I Know.

I know that many kids’ reading, speaking or language difficulties are complex.

I know that these issues are not all due to parents.

But, I’ve recently felt the sinking despair of pretending. I’ve felt like I’m play-acting as an effective, professional pseudo-academic while inside I’m overwhelmed by the realization that many of the behaviors I witness will never be eliminated – they’re irreversible consequences of parental decisions.

Last week I participated in a therapy session for a girl with both cerebral palsy and down’s syndrome (+ a few other disabilities). Her parents never participate in the sessions; but they insist on passing down treatment demands like the all-knowing gods of ‘what is best.’ I’ve witnessed and understand the gaps in ‘best practice’ and ‘best service’ that result from these demands when all the service providers (Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Psychology…) think differently than the parent. Tension – and not optimal service.

Today I observed a preschooler with withdrawal-like symptoms. First, as per usual, he expended himself crying, kicking,  and throwing a tantrum that brought him to the principal’s office. Then, a few hours later, with his ‘medicine’ kicking in, he lethargically responded to class instructions, often standing in a near trance-like state. These withdrawal symptoms? A product of his mother’s drug use during pregnancy.

My Master’s program teaches us to “identify the problem, identify the solution, and SOLVE!”

But it’s, oh, SO difficult to apply this formula to such kids. I’m slowly realizing that allowing yourself to break in heartbreak will never lead to perfect solutions, but must lead instead to a motivation to work toward the best possible outcome – whatever that might mean.

Has anyone else dealt with this realization? How did you first witness it? Am I just naive for feeling so broken-hearted and frustrated?

What’s your solution?

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1 Comment

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One response to “What I Know.

  1. Alli

    We should have a talk on this topic…I feel a lot of frustration at school for students whose parents don’t support them in the ways that they need. I’m sure you are not alone in having these feelings – hang in there!

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