When You Think Something Is Wrong With Your Child

Do you wonder if something is wrong with your child?

It’s not just about making school lunches and helping with homework.

It’s about knowing when it’s time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and really go to bat for your kids.

Be sure to hear from other special needs parents, too!

When You Know Something Is Wrong With Your Child | Mommy Evolution

When You Think Something Is Wrong With Your Child

My eight year old has been struggling in school and at home.

For a while, I decided to follow the school’s advice in trying to get him caught up.

But there comes a point in time when we have to stop taking other people’s advice, look deep down and embrace the fact that there is more going on here.

While the school system in theory may have our children’s best interest at heart, that doesn’t always happen on a local level for many reasons — from resources to incompetency to an incomplete understanding about what the child is truly struggling with.

Just because a kid is having trouble reading doesn’t mean you hit them over the head with more academic practice.

Sometimes you have to figure out WHY the child is having problems reading in order to solve what is happening.

Through this process, I’m amazed and slightly horrified at just how many parents know their kids are struggling and look to the school system to decide what their child needs — from helping their children catch up in school to behavioral problems to relying solely on a school OT.

The fact remains that schools are run by administrators.

They have budgets to balance and a school full of children to serve.

Even my pediatrician highly recommended we get our child tested outside of the school system because school employees don’t necessarily have the training to catch the underlying condition, are tied to budget and administrative expectations, and already have a full plate themselves.

I’m not saying school employees are bad or aren’t concerned about your kid.

But their loyalties or focus may lie elsewhere.

Look. We all live in the real world.

Not everyone has a full array of resources at their fingertips.

I think the most brave and admirable people are the parents who take advantage of every resource that they have.

I’m talking about the parents who are just making ends meet but still proactively reach out to find free OT videos, supplementary academic strategies, sensory ideas or DIY products they can make at home to help their kiddo.

They are not going to take a diagnosis lying down.

They are not going to silently accept their child’s struggles.

They are going to do what they can to make sure their child has the ability to thrive — however that child chooses to define their own success in life.

You know who you are…. and I do, too.

We are the silent army for our children.

We are the unsung heroes who may never get public recognition but continue to fight the good fight for our kids.

My heart goes out to the kids whose parents just say they’ll follow the school recommendations and don’t truly fight for them.

My heart goes out to the kids who are so obviously struggling but whose parents can’t bring themselves to really see what’s going on.

My heart goes out to the kids who are practically crying for help but aren’t getting the full support they need at home.

OUR KIDS ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR!

If someone puts up a road block, find a different road.

If someone says no, find a way to turn it into a yes.

If someone says your child is fine but you know he’s not, speak up.

Because the worst thing we can do as parents is not fight for our kids.

If you suspect something is going on with your child, don’t accept the first answer you’re given.

Be willing to dig and find the underlying issue. It could end up making all the difference for your kid.

Mom Smarter!
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    When You Know Something Is Wrong With Your Child | Mommy Evolution

    36 Comments

    1. Oh honey – you are DOING A GREAT JOB. In ALL areas. Thanks for this beautiful, honest and inspiring post.
      it’s so bloody hard sometimes, that’s for sure.
      Love,
      FSM

      1. Didn’t this JUST publish. Leave it to you to be the first to comment 🙂 and thanks for the encouraging words. There are certainly days where I feel like I’m failing. I think that’s all part of being a mom. What makes me feel like a success is that I’m willing to get up the next day, brush myself off and start again.

        1. There you go! You are up TODAY, aren’t you? 😉
          (I get an email somehow when you publish & happened to be online…)
          Jenny / FSM

    2. You are a great mom! I am always baffled when parents rely on the school’s advice even when it goes against what they know in their hearts. Parents need to be reassured that they know their child better than anyone. One of our reasons for sharing our work is so those parents that are motivated can help their child themselves.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. Parents absolutely know their children better than anyone. And I find it amazing how often “experts” pretend to know so much more than we do… even after we prove them wrong.

    3. Going to say this from an educator, administrators are the worst people to deal with. If it is going to cost them money, forget it. Not going to happen.

      Also, sometimes they fit in a primary diagnosis to fit their program needs. An example, a child is visually impaired so they make that his primary diagnosis for IEP purposes (because the district has a program for it) but the student has other things going on and the visual impairment might not be his main problem and the only alternative is another placement (that might benefit the kid) somewhere else that might cost the district more money. They will make sure that the diagnosis they want (for program purposes) fits. This is something I fought a lot in almost 20 years of doing this.

      I have seen this from a parent view also. My daughter was on a IEP in pre-school. Yes, you can request services from the school district if you suspect something wrong when they are three years old or at least have an assessment done. I did and had documented what I suspected and was proven right. Also, they can stay in the district provided they have not received their high-school diploma until 22.

      I agree with Jenny and please remember that just because people in the school district have advanced degrees they are not as smart as the parent because a B.S. is what it stands for, M.S. is more of the same and PHD is piled, higher and deeper.

      1. Couldn’t agree more, Patrick. Administrators have conflicting goals — to help the children in their district while towing the line. I know from SO many stories from other parents that the budget and fitting into current programs often wins.

    4. tonia walsh says:

      This was great to read thanks so much for your great advice. I knew in 1st grade my son was having trouble. Than in 2nd grade I brought it up with the counselor that he needed help and she said no, he was doing o.k. So then in 3rd grade his teacher stated she thought he was having trouble and needed tested. So by the end of 3rd grade they had him tested and told me all the same things I had told them. In 4th grade he finally got on an IEP and goes to resource room. He is now in 5th grade and still doing that. He is still behind and we have a fight every night about homework because he doesnt know how to do it. I am trying to figure out what to do for next year (6th). If I should just have him do regular school and out of school tutoring. Then also he wont get teased from other kids that he is stupid. Thanks! for listening.

      1. I am definitely a proponent of getting additional outside help if that resource is available to you. Not everyone can afford it — but if you can, it may help bring the stress level down in the house by removing you from the homework process and helping him feel more confident in his work.

    5. Mary Poopins says:

      Your honesty is refreshing, and it will serve your children well. Some parents are in denial about the needs of their kids, and the sooner any underlying problems can be dealt with, the better. Thank you for sharing this personal journey. It will inspire and encourage many parents to go to bat for their children.

      1. Thanks for the encouraging words. It’s sometimes tough to write but then I think of the parents who may benefit from my personal experience.

    6. Cindy Jones says:

      Tonia, I could have written your post. Right down to the grade levels. We are thinking of home schooling for 6th grade.

      1. I’m not surprised you’re thinking of homeschooling. I’ve often thought about doing homeschooling myself… but also recognize that my child really depends on the schedule that is set within a class setting. It’s a tough decision but I know many folks who are extremely happy having made the change from a school setting to home.

    7. YES! We as parents know so much more about our kids. While the schools can be great for them, I completely believe that it’s up to us to help our kids’ teachers know what to do to help them. My son is being mainstreamed for the first time this year in kindergarten and I noticed when I was in his classroom that one of the aides let him make another kid move to get “his spot” on the carpet. She let it happen, I’m sure to just go with the path of least resistance but I made it a point to tell them that they can’t let him get away with that. They were very open to it – they’re just trying to do the best and don’t have the same insight that we do.

      1. If you have teachers that are interested in really learning how to best help your kid, that is the best! It doesn’t matter if they know everything but are willing to soak up your knowledge and actively use it in the classroom. We had a preschool teacher who would even come back to ME with ideas. It was fabulous and she made such a difference!

    8. Cindy Jones says:

      Here is a great new documentary about homeschooling:

      http://classdismissedmovie.com/

      For kids who are smart but dyslexic (and many other kids with other learning differences) homeschooling a great option. There are lots of homeschooling groups out there to provide support, socialization and shared classes. While my son loves the social aspects and the regular schedule of school, I can see that every year in the regular system is stomping on his soul just a little bit more because he doesn’t quite fit the cookie cutter mold of the typical student.

      Thanks for writing this article. I think it speaks to a lot of moms. I forwarded it to a relative of mine who has a son 3 years behind mine but who is starting to experience that very same thing — the school says he is “fine” but she knows that he is not.

      1. Cindy — I will definitely go check out that movie. I agree that homeschooling can really work for some kids but it’s definitely an individual decision. I do wonder sometimes if my son wouldn’t be better off doing homeschool but his social network is such an important part of his day I don’t think I could change that on him.

    9. You are exactly right! My son was receiving private therapies at 2 and then we found out about the town’s preschool for kids with developmental delays. The therapy he received there (and in elementary school) was frankly a joke, compared to what he received during private therapy. And when he tested out of his IEP after first grade, the next few years were a nightmare, trying to get him back on one. Had we known about a subtest to the IQ test that the school administers (the subtest accounts for Adhd so the actual IQ is adjusted up), he would have qualified 2 years earlier than he did.

      We only found out about it because my research outside of school lead me to a talk about dyslexia; and the woman who gave the talk lead me to seek out a neuropsychologist to evaluate my son; and a blogger I read just happened to have given me the name of a local neuropsychologist about 2 weeks prior. (Synchronicity!)

      So, yes, if you think there is something going on, ask questions, research online, pray to have the right guidance dropped in your lap. But don’t expect your child’s school to initiate anything. You are your child’s best advocate.

      1. Thanks for sharing your story. Hopefully the more other parents hear that they need to go outside of the system, the more likely they will take the steps to help out their kiddos.

    10. Excellent article and I shared it everywhere I could. It causes me true distress when I see parents literally hand over their children to a “system,” whatever that system may be.

      1. Thanks for sharing, Jayne! I’m not so worried if people particularly hear my voice but I do hope they’ll hear my message and listen. Kids need all the support and help they can get and the system isn’t always the answer.

    11. I was just thinking today, this parenting thing is sooo crazy hard. I always tell parents, if parenting is easy, you’re doing it wrong! Good for you.

      1. Thanks, Isra. Parenting absolutely is NEVER easy. And you’re right — if it is, you’re probably cutting corners and not putting the work and effort you should.

      1. Aww thanks so much Megan! We’re all fighting the good fight for our kids.

    12. BIG ((hug)) and you rock! I know when my son (now 8) started having issues at school, we walked a rocky road, fought a crappy fight, dealt with so much just trying to figure out what was “wrong” because it was not a “behavior issue” as the school deemed it. I got him tested. I got him counseling. I fought like crazy to wrap my brain around my child’s needs. And when the school flat our refused to accept his medical dx and told me he was just bad and there was nothing they could do….. I became his teach on top of being his mom. Homeschooling has been one of the hardest transitions we have made (and we are still so new to it) but I have seen my son blossom educationally, emotionally, etc. I too blog, and those first few weeks of school… forget about it! LOL The blogging so took a backseat…. like third row in a mini van seat. But we are working it all out. We are finding our new norm, that rhythm to life. I live with a child who has Asperger’s. I live with a child who walks to the beat of his own drum. And now that I know what song he is playing, I am learning maybe not to march with him (cause I don’t always understand the world from his point of view) but I am becoming better at watching the parade and not being so judgmental about the way he marches. And that, that make both him and I much happier. I am beginning to find time to not only fulfill his needs both family and educational, but a little time for me to write again. 🙂

      1. Your son is immensely lucky to have you as his mom, Mindie. Good for you for fighting the good fight but also recognizing what was going to be best for him. I know a number of people who homeschool their sensory and ASD kiddos and say it was such a smart decision for them. Keep with it — I’m sure he’ll continue to blossom.

    13. British American says:

      Yes!!!!! The school kept telling me my son was fine and I knew something was up. I was eventually able to get him evaluated outside of school and he does have dyslexia. We also pay for a private tutor. Had I not kept researching and pursuing this, he would have just fallen through the cracks. I also think he might have some sensory issues going on too, since he emotionally overreacts to some things too. He does have necklaces to chew on and he’s getting a sensory body sock for Christmas too.

      1. Kelly Jimenez says:

        I can’t even find anyone to evaluate my daughter because the state of Nebraska does not recognize dyslexia as a valid impairment. Can you believe that?

        1. I do believe it! Our school has basically dismissed the fact that my child has Dyslexia and doesn’t take that into account for any kind of accommodations he might need. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

    14. Kelly Jimenez says:

      The thing is…many, many parents don’t have a choice but to rely on the school. They are strapped with 8 to 5 jobs that take most of their time and energy only to be barely making ends meet. I have been lucky enough this year to stay home and be an advocate for my daughter. Before that I had to trust that the school was doing a good job. I am so grateful for the opportunity because I can see now that I am the only real advocate she has–most school staff is doing what is in their scope to do and often succumb to the regulations & volume of work. My heart aches for the kids that are just left to the system (even for my own daughter that is still not getting the support she needs with my presence). I feel something desperately needs to be done but I’m lost as to what exactly that is…

      -Actively searching

    15. I loved this. It is a bit frightening how many parents are willing to accept what the schools are willing to say their child needs. Sometimes we have to fight for more resources at the school and sometimes we have to just provide those resources outside of school. I wish there were more voices out there telling parents to trust their instincts.

    16. There are teachers who know and see the signs in children for various differences like SPD, dyslexia, ADHD/ADD… But they are legally bound in public school to not say anything. In fact, if a teacher becomes too helpful they often are not invited to hearings and can be put on professional probation. The flip side is that you have other teachers who lack training working and making suggestions for children with IEP’s. Although it is hard, and may take a few years of stumbling in the dark, it is the parents’ job to advocate and educate.

    17. Having been in the educational system as a teacher, special educator, and administrator for more than forty years, I cannot agree with you more. I often had to butt heads with the higher-ups, the city and state in order to satisfy a child’s needs. Parents must be the first line of defense in achieving necessary services for their child. Accepting a recommendation without questioning is a big mistake. Change won’t happen if you don’t make it happen.

    18. I totally agree. The teachers are not really prepared to assess kids, your child can have a bad start and it s important for the years to come to make him/her comfortable and confident in the school environment. I was not prepared myself for the random advice they gave me, I had to do my own investigation. It s very important to understand the class environment ( noise, chaos, etc) and to make your kid tell you what bothers him/her.

      1. So true on all parts! Your kid is lucky to have someone dedicated to making sure they get what they need 🙂

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