A few weeks ago on a rainy afternoon while Sophie was taking her horseback riding lesson, Peter and I had a few quiet moments in the car. When he started asking why 3rd grade was so hard, and why he didn’t understand anything, I decided to tape his words on my IPhone. I recorded this conversation several weeks before the “teacher turned laundry mat” controversy and had intended to keep it private, because its just so sad. I know his school, at least certain persons in it, have decided that I am the anti-Christ and should be burned at the stake. I get it. I really do. I have ruffled their feathers. But here’s the part I truly don’t understand: they’re constantly saying how fond they are of Peter. Can they really think trying to force our hand, so that they can send a little boy who is operating 3 years younger than his age, at best, and is still not toilet trained, to a fourth grade classroom, is in his best interest? Even giving them every benefit of the doubt – let’s even assume they are 100% correct and Pat and I are 100% wrong, they must know we have no intention of dropping this. To us, they are killing him, slowly but surely. We are asking them to send him to a neurocognitive rehabilitation program, not a leper colony or a plague-infested outpost. If they truly care about Peter, knowing we won’t drop this, why won’t they give our concerns a try? Listen to our son’s words for yourself and decide whether you think the school is acting in Peter’s best interest.
I could only copy and paste a segment of the recording into this post. The rest revolved around what was then our upcoming trip to see Dr. Federici. I told Peter that we would have fun while in the Washington, D.C. area because we would get to see Jay, his older and much-worshipped cousin who goes to Georgetown. Peter had seen Jay 6 weeks earlier in Atlanta and spends holidays and vacations with him and the rest of his family. But his one and only response to hearing this news was, “who’s Jay?” He didn’t remember. I played the whole recording for the head of special education. I guess it wasn’t enough to sway what has become an institutional, dehumanized staunchness.
Thank you for listening. And keep your fingers crossed that somewhere in this arduous process Peter’s best interests will be considered.
PS: Lindy is Peter’s home teacher. She is a certified special education teacher who developed and implements a home-based ABA/VB program on a private-pay basis. She is an extraordinary young woman with an extraordinary gift for understanding and connecting with developmentally disabled children.