Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween and School Blues

Hmmm, where to start? With the good or the bad? Well, let's start with the good because the bad is much harder to post.

Emma had an awesome halloween. Once again our little princess chose to be a princess. I don't think she really gets the whole costume thing yet. She's just always looking for a reason to wear a pretty dress, and halloween just happens to be one of those days.

It was so much nicer this year having a child who can understand english. I'm sure I'll be mentioning that with every major event that I post about! To be able to tell her what's coming up and seeing her excitement is so much better than a dazed, confused, tantrum throwing child. I am starting to see more clearly that alot of the issues we dealt with last year were due to her frustrations of not knowing or understanding what was going on. This year, she's had the experience of doing things last year AND we can explain to her what's going to come. Makes life a little simpler! :)

Trick or treating went well. Emma wanted to keep going no matter how heavy her bag got or how cold it was. She's still afraid of the scary halloween stuff, though. Any houses decked out with scary decorations required a parental escort to the door. At one point, a lady opened her door to give Emma some candy who had a scary mask on. Emma must have had quite the terrified look on her face because the lady quickly ripped off her mask with a "Sorry sweetie, did I scare you?"

Other than that, it was a typical halloween. Tons of candy which is almost gone. I hate to admit that mom and dad have been into the candy. Sigh. Back on the diet next week!

Here are some pics:

Time for the bad stuff, I guess. I'm not too sure how much I will share at this point because, let's face it, not everyone out there on the web needs to know all of our personal problems.

We FINALLY had Emma tested by her school, after tons of nagging on my wonderful husband's part. Apparently this specialized testing (psychological, behavioural, IQ, etc.) is what's needed to qualify special needs kids for extra funding to get the one on one help that they need. We got the results back on Friday. I'm not going to get into detail about the results, but let's just say that as we were being told, I felt a little bit of excitement knowing that Emma would finally get the help she so deserves.

Well, my excitement was shattered at the end of the meeting when the examiner pretty much told us and the teachers to "keep doing what we're doing" and hope for the best. I was devestated. I came home and cried my eyes out. Yup. That's me. A big suck. I just feel that we are so alone in this. No one out there wants to take time to help Emma to develop to her full potential except for Terry and I. I just don't get why? Maybe people feel there is no hope for her? I don't know.

Here comes my selfish, whiny side. How I wish I could be like other parents who send their kids to school and have them come home and just be a kid. Oh, how I wish Emma could just come home from school, tell me what she learned and we could just play and enjoy the rest of our time together. Instead we spend hours working on concepts. Concepts that are repeated and repeated that she still can't grasp. And our poor kid has to deal with our growing frustrations and lack of patience with her, as we both try to maintain our jobs and household, trying to find every extra minute to squeeze in some teaching time.

This is where guilt comes in. Sometimes I feel like such a rotten mom. I'm guilty for not spending enough quality time with Emma. After having a full day of work, coming home, making supper, tending the house and spending time on homework, it's difficult to find the energy to play. I'm also guilty for being too hard on Emma. It is so frustrating to do something over and over again and have her not understand it. Terry and I both find ourselves losing it sometimes, which we KNOW is not going to help the situation at all. And I hate to say that all of this stems from fear. Fear of what Emma's future holds. I worry as she gets older, things will get harder.

Now I know guilt and fear are things that I need to just give over to God. It's just hard sometimes. Well, for me. Ask Terry about any of this and he'll be quick to say, "Don't worry about it. Everything will work itself out." I hate to admit that he's usually right in this area. I just wish I could change my outlook to be more like his. I love Emma so much and really want the best for her, as I'm sure every parent would want for their kids. I am just so thankful that she was not left in Ukraine. I shudder to even think what would have happened to her should she have aged out of the orphanage.

Well, I feel a little better now that I poured out my heart. Thank you to all of you who respond and show support and have offered suggestions. How we're going to proceed now, I'm just now sure. I hate to say I've pretty much accepted defeat where the school is concerned.

1 comment:

  1. OOOOhhhhhh! We've so been there and done that. It is incredibly frustrating. Unfortunately, if we as parents don't advocate for our kids, no one else will and they just get lost in the systme.

    So what DO you have to do to get her some extra help at school? If say, you were somehow able to get a "label" for her of something like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) or Alchol Related Neurodevelopmental Delays (ARND), or perhaps some other private sector obtained learning or developmental diagnosis, would she qualify for services then? Here in the USA, special needs kids can also qualify for tuition waivers or scholarships for private schools where they may better be able to meet her needs. Is there anything like that in Canada? What about private tutoring for her?

    One thing I would do is find out how long the school expects kids to work on homework each night and then spend ONLY that amount of time working on it. If you only get one problem done, send it back that way with a note attached that this one problem took her the specified amount of time to complete and what you had to do to help her with it. Do this every single day. If what she does get done still isn't correct, oh well. Send it back that way anyway. What they're seeing now is that she can do this stuff. What they aren't getting is how long it's taking her and you to do it. This is what we had to do in order to get the school to listen to us on the homework issues.

    Another great learning resource we've found is It's pretty much a home based curriculum done on the computer. The kids love the games, you can repeat them as many times as you need to, and you can start them at any level, too. I started my son at a pre-k level when we first started it. He struggled through those, and then through the K level, and is now working on 1st grade, even though he's in 3rd grade at school.

    Also, if you haven't already done so, I would definately have her screened for ADD. Unfortunatley, this is a pretty common component of unseen prenatal alchohol exposure. :-( Prior to treatment (yes, stimulant meds) Joseph COULD NOT complete even the simplest of tasks. He COULD NOT follow even simple two-step commands. Oh, my word...having him empty the dishwasher was like torture. He couldn't stay focused long enough to remember where anything goes in the kitchen...which meant everything was put in the wrong place. It was extremely frustrating. Getting treatment for ADD has made a world of difference for my Joseph. He can now stay focuesed on a task long enough to start to understand and grasp it. There are still some struggles and it still takes a few repeptitions, but at least we're moving forward and most of the concepts are sticking. We've seen huge improvements in both math and reading. Yeah!