Monday, October 13, 2008

Is There Something in the Water?

We’ve always had some students who were “different”. But there were just a few. The past couple of years it’s been an explosion. Where are they coming from? I don’t think it’s because of better diagnosis – the kids we’ve enrolled are not “slightly disturbed” – they are very, very disturbed.

We students who take serious anti psychotic drugs, students who have violent rages & students who are schizophrenic. We have more and more children who are autistic. Some are diagnosed and some aren’t , but after a number of years in the profession any seasoned teacher can spot the “look” across a crowded room.

Perhaps it’s because I’m at a low SES school but I still find it amazing that a child can reach age 5 or 6 without a parent realizing something isn’t “quite right”. Maybe they don’t note the milestones in the baby book as obsessively as a helicopter parent does or perhaps they are just in deep, deep denial .

Once the paperwork process starts some fight it tooth and nail and others ignore all communication from the school and don’t show up at the STAT and ARD meetings. Papers sent home get lost and are never signed – and without those signatures the schools hands are tied.

Then the parent and child up and moves and the process starts all over again. And again and again and again. It’s not uncommon for a child to reach the 5th grade without a diagnosis. And you can’t start treatment without a diagnosis. That results in 6th graders who can’t read above a first grade level and have no social skills what so ever.

Who gets blamed for that ? Why the schools of course.

No, it’s not the fault of the school. I really do think there is something in the water.


Katie said...

There is something, isn't there. People often ask me why the explosion in ASD numbers. It is certainly not (IMO) better diagnosis. Something is wrong. And, often, schools bear the brunt of it because no one (especially those in the medical profession) seems to know what to do. It's interesting to me that you are you are seeing more ASD in a low SES school, those are the voiceless kids and parents, those who you don't hear about in the media. Please keep posting about this, we need to let people know that something is WRONG!

MsAbcMom said...

I agree. Each year I have a needier group of kids. I have had two autistic kids for the past two years in a row. The parents have had no clue and I have pushed for them to go to the doctor and to the student study team to figure it all out. One kid this year, who has been in speech since K, has a major sinus drainage problem. I talked to his mom about it and she didn't really seem to notice it. I sent him to the school nurse who said that his tonsils are so enlarged that he can't drain the fluid and is probably having trouble breathing and sleeping. She also said that his speech and hearing are most likely being affected since he is so plugged up.

Back to your question though, what do you think is the cause for these needy kids? I wonder if it is due to parents having kids when they aren't able to even raise themselves. I do have a LOT of young parents. Last year, one second grader's mom turned 21 during the year. That means she was 14 when she had her!!!

Anonymous said...

No, it's not in the water. It is the poor quality of parenting. It's the alcohol and drugs. It's the generational poverty. It's the times. My parents both grew up in terrible poverty (the Depression) and somehow got themselves educated and raised and educated 5 children. All "normal". I know that education is the answer. Why don't our politicians tell it like it is: The key is EDUCATION, not free food, health care, rent or anything else. I'm convinced the schools are not's the parents. Yes, I'm an educator. The parenting that goes on out there is mind-boggling.