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Anguish of a Mother

January 18, 2011

This article [posted last Monday – +possibilities+dale&cd=3&hl=tl&ct=clnk&gl=ph&client=firefox-a] was forwarded to me by Super Mom Rachelle [Reich] Delos Santos, mother of Dale [Arolf Delano Santos], now 12 years old, one of the preschool boys featured in my first docu on sped children, “ALYANA.”  Dale was then a student at Pasay City Sped Center under Ms. Mila Tolentino. To read more on her journey as a mother of a child with autism, visit her blogsite possibilities1217.blogspot.com

“Untitled (due to too much pain)

Sometimes, you realize that there really is no easy way for a child with autism.  There will always be someone, or some organization that will put him down.

I just came from the Principal’s office where my son, Dale (12), is now enrolled as Grade 5 (included).  When I received a call from his adviser that the Principal wanted to talk to me, and it was about Dale and the upcoming “accreditation” visit (24th and 25th), my mind went into overdrive and it started speculating on its own.

There was only one thought that came into my mind.  That they would want Dale to not come to school on the said dates.  I was constructing words and answers that I will say to the Principal if that was the case.

Whatever those words were, it all disappeared when I actually heard what they wanted to say.  I was right.

I was dumbfounded.  I was hurt.  I was moved to tears.

These people had the nerve to tell me that maybe Dale should stay at home.  I stopped to breathe, looked away to control my anger, and asked her why.  She said that it was the suggestion of the teachers, Dale is difficult to handle, that they will be observed in all aspects, etc.

There is a second option, that is, during the times that the teacher cannot handle Dale, he will be brought to the Guidance office.

So, having him stay at home was the first option?

I was shaking with rage, but I controlled myself.  As an educator myself, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of those teachers.  I tried my best to understand their situation.

I gave the Principal a third option.  I said maybe his guidance counselor can shadow. She said that it was one of the options.  My mind was, like, questioning their decisions.  One of the options?   Because from my point of view, and I think from every person involved with a special child will say, that was the BEST option.

I told her, if your teachers cannot control one child, I don’t think that you deserve the accreditation.  I also asked her, would Dale ruin their chances for accreditation?  She said no.  Then, I don’t see any reason for them to fret and decide like this.  It’s awful.

I hate to say this, but I think the Principal is not fit to be one.  This issue should be handled differently.  The message should have been worded carefully.  Every action should have been thought over and over.  Pros and cons should have been considered before they acted.

They did not even think of the repercussions of their decisions?  On this day and age of computers and online communities?  I am not trying to besmirch their “good” name, that is why I have not included it in this post.  However, things like this cannot be helped.  If you throw a pebble in the water, ripples will form.  I have also thought about the repercussions of this post, and it also cannot be helped.  I am a mother.  I was hurt and I have the right to voice my opinion just like they did.

Before I left, I told her that we stick to the decision that Dale will come to school on those dates.  I use the word we, I said, because this does not just concern me.  This concerns the whole family.  And not just my family, but the whole autism community.  But I also told her, that on my part, I will “condition” Dale so that during those dates, he will indeed behave.

When Dale arrived, I talked to him, he said “But I do behave when there are visitors!  Of course, I have to because they are important people!”

I talked to his guidance counselor on the phone, and expressed my concerns.  She was very apologetic, very helpful and open to suggestions and views.  She also said that Dale does behave during observations last year.  So, I left the issue with her.  I also apologized for the additional work, and I expressed that I do understand where they were coming from, but they should also understand us first and foremost.  This was not just any school after all.  We pay them 50K a year for every child, and we have three in their care.

As Dale’s younger brother said when asked if their decision was correct:  “No, because we all have the right to education.”

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