I have made it no secret that Ryder has some learning difficulties. After years of this continued battle, and some long conversation with doctors and professional, I had submitted a request for a para in public school, because I truly believe that this constant supervision would help. Friday morning, I raced out the door to meet with Ryder’s principal and teachers, to discuss our options, and naturally I was a nervous wreck about the entire situation. According to the Board of Education, there are several factors which qualify for a child for para services, and apparently, Ryder doesn’t meet the criteria, so it appears as if the battle will continue.
While Ryder is making huge strides, he is well below the second grade standards. He is working extremely hard, and yet it’s just not enough. His grades show it, but I have been reluctant to share them with him, for fear of burying his self esteem, even further. The only grades he is aware of are his weekly spelling tests, which he continues to ace, along with his monthly book report. I know he is reading at a lower level than the other kids, but he’s just not there yet. His dyslexia plays a major part of his struggles, even in other subjects like math, where he swaps numbers. All this coupled with attention deficit make all homework assignments, even short ones, a monumental task.
With a huge class size, 32 students to be exact, two teachers just aren’t enough for him. I explained everything to the principal, including his anxiety when it comes to reading and writing out loud, and still, she denied my request. She suggested usage of an iPad, that way it’ll help when he wants to get out an idea or sentence he won’t be fixated on trying to stay within the lines or writing out a word correctly. His two teachers are so amazing and supportive, but my 25 minute increment meetings just really aren’t helping. I proposed the possibility of leaving him behind this year to start second grade over again, and received mixed messages about that too. Will he ever catch up? Feeling completely defeated, I kept questioning my child’s future at the school, and honestly didn’t really feel there was one. While I don’t want to pull him and switch schools, I really thought the para would help the issue.
I’ve seen shifts in his friends too. In the past, he was friendly with certain kids and now he doesnt play with them much. For some reason, I can’t help but think it has something to do with the parents. I know this blog is public and occasionally, I feel some of the moms keep their kids away from Ryder because of his learning disabilities; as if they are afraid their child might catch it too. Yes, it’s sad and gross, but I’m completely aware of it and I think it’s really shitty.
Now, I am left feeling like an utter failure, because I just don’t know how else to help my child. The meeting felt like complete waste, and the only thing they can offer is an iPad, really. Oh wait, and they also suggested we try medication, which I truly feel he is just too young for. So, we’ve been putting this off because Ryder will possibly think he did something wrong and be upset, but it’s time to start looking for another school. One that specializes in dyslexia, which is better suited for him. The road will be long with lengthy applications, and lawyers to retrieve money from the city to pay for the school. And, naturally, these schools are no where near us, so while Siella and Gemma are in two separate schools next year down the street, Ryder will need to trek probably uptown to get the education that he deserves. I wish and pray there was another way, but continuing like this is just not enough and my hands are tied.