Skip a dee doo dah

May 11, 2010 at 5:08 am 10 comments

     Kids pick on such weird things. My attempts to help C blend in are an effort to keep that teasing on a lesser scale. I say “blend in” almost rhetorically because C doesn’t blend in and frankly, I don’t really want him to. His uniqueness is what makes him so very delightful.

     So my first response this morning, when the school’s physical therapist called to tell me C no longer qualifies for services in this area, was to be frustrated. Has she ever actually seen him run? Has she seen, as I have, the countless episodes of tittering that goes on behind his back as he runs by the other kids on the playground? (I used to say he ran like Forrest Gump; now he runs like Phoebe on the episode of “Friends” where Rachel was embarrassed to run with her because she looked so goofy when she ran.) Watching C run makes adults smile, but the kids just see a dorky little kid blowing by with body parts flying everywhere.

     Oh, I know, running doesn’t really have anything to do with C’s education. At least that’s what the physical therapist will say at his IEP meeting on Wednesday. And I know Arizona, like no other state I know, is very generous in giving kids PT in school – even kids in wheelchairs didn’t qualify in the other states where C has attended school.

     Still, I know better. The thing that the physical therapist doesn’t seem to understand is that for C, his educational health has everything to do with his emotional health. At the moment, he doesn’t see those other kids teasing him behind his back. But the second he realizes what is going on, the school will have a changed child on their hands. C will become, like every other time he’s realized the kids are teasing him, sad, scared, frustrated, and confused. C will suffer, and his education will then suffer. Oh, how I wish this woman understood that. I will do my best to make her understand, but if she doesn’t get it already I’m not hopeful I’ll win this particular battle.

     As I watched C skip across a parking lot today looking very much like a four-year old just learning how to do that very difficult task, I couldn’t help but smile despite my frustration in losing the very person who could help him master the art of skipping. Yet the fact that he was singing “Zip-a-dee-do-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my oh my, what a wonderful day,” AS he was skipping across the parking lot merely added to my joy in the fact that C will never, ever simply “blend in.”

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This job of mine Honored am I

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. goodfountain  |  May 11, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Charlotte has a rather unique way of running. It has gotten better over the last couple of years, but still she definitely does not run like most kids. When she was about 3, my husband and I started “running therapy” with her. We thought if we just got her running a lot it would help. And it did. I dread next year when she starts getting PE – I worry that other kids are going to make fun of her. Sigh. Worrying never ends.

  • 2. pixiemama  |  May 11, 2010 at 8:12 am

    When Reilly’s OT called and tried to drop him, I told her that I would take it up with the director of special ed if she ever tried to drop him before he learned to put spaces between words, make letters all the same size and, yes, learned to type, as it is written in his IEP. Never mind his sensory issues, etc, etc.

    Sometimes I think they are just trying to wear us down, my friend, because OF COURSE there is a social issue that affects the educational issues of a child who has an odd running form. And what, pray tell, of physical education? How can that child participate with peers?

    Can you tell you pushed a button?

  • 3. Cheryl D.  |  May 11, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Man, C and my daughter would SO hit it off! I swear she was skipping around singing Zip-a-dee-do-dah just the other day!

    Here in California, it’s really hard to get PT at the schools. Pretty much, if the kid can somewhat navigate the playground equipment, they won’t provide services. It’s disgusting! When my daughter was in her special ed preschool class, there was an ambulatory boy with spina bifida who they declined PT services! That seemed like a lawsuit waiting to happen!

    Your choices will probably be to bring an advocate with you to the IEP or pursue PT privately (does your insurance cover it?). Hoping to change minds at an IEP will probably not bring you success, unfortunately. I don’t know how it works in Arizona, but in California, the district pretty much tells the school what can be offered at the IEP. It’s impossible to get more unless you pursue mediation or due process. We’re having my daughter’s IEP on Monday, and it looks like everyone is in the same boat (surprising!). I think the only battle will be over where my daughter gets her pragmatic speech. We want it privately provided, but the school now has a ST, so they’ll want to provide it on-site. That will be our biggest battle, so I’m pretty happy!

  • 4. robinaltman  |  May 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I vote you just print out this post and thrust it at her. No thinking person could not understand your point, so articulately put.

  • 5. ghkcole  |  May 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    My son runs in such a way that few people – grownups included – can resist the temptation to iimitate him right after they see him do it.
    we need to get our kids together for tag and hide and seek free of judgment… and while they play, let’s have cocktails. now that sounds like some therapy I could use.

    I love your joy. and your boy…we can not blend in together.

  • 6. Kim  |  May 12, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Skipping is a hard skill, the Roc hasn’t mastered that at all and he has a funny way of moving his arms when he runs but it’s getting a bit better. I hate that we have to push so hard for services for our kids and that the schools don’t look at the emotional impacts and how it will effect their education. I do love that while you try to help him blend to minimize teasing, you celebrate that he doesn’t at the same time.

  • 7. Caitlin  |  May 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Say to her what you said here – that’s all you can do. I tend to agree that if she hasn’t already realized this rather obvious connection between emotional and educational health, she may be a lost cause – but all you can do is try.

    There is such a fine line between whimsy and weird where kids are concerned. I see kids like ours and I see magic, but there are still so many who see otherness, and so many who are uncomfortable with such visible differences. We need to keep spreading the web of understanding out in this blogosphere, in the media, in our schools and communities and families. As one of my favourite bloggers, squidalicious, says “Autism: we’re here, we’re quirky, get used to it”!


  • 8. asdmommy  |  May 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    UPDATE: The physical therapist agreed to “take a second look” after speaking with C’s PE teacher, and by the time she came to our IEP meeting on Wednesday, had reconsidered her decision to discharge C. I’m happy to report that he will still be receiving physical therapy services. Yay!

  • 9. Cheryl D.  |  May 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    That is FANTASTIC news! Congrats!

  • 10. hfamom  |  May 23, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Keep fighting the good fight, Darcy! Congratulations on your win!!


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