Very Upset

30 August 2007

You know when you get into a confrontational situation and afterwards, you're just shaking like a leaf?
When you're angry and upset and trying to keep your cool when really you could just throw something hard?

Last year around this time, I was enrolling Jairus in a special speech school in Burlington. After meeting with the director, who used to run a speech camp that my brother Ben went to years ago, I was really pleased and felt, after much searching for the right place for Jairus, that this was it. It was very expensive, but thanks to Mvelopes, I had been able to isolate the money we recieve for Jairus' special needs and put it completely towards this endeavour. It would be just enough.
A few days after the meeting and the directors verbal assent to Jairus enrolling, I happen to remember that the topic of his lack of toilet training hadn't come up. I thought I'd better cover my bases. I emailed and mentioned that Jairus was still in diapers.

To my dismay, I got a response shortly after that they have a policy of only working with toilet trained children.
At this point, Jairus was five. He had about 5 words that he could say and be recognized. He was psych-ed assessed shortly after and appeared to be functioning at a 2.5-3 year old level. Toilet training wasn't even on the horizon. The director told me that once he was trained, we could resume the process.
I began immediately, but saw no progress. I have to admit, I could have been more diligent, but inside, I felt he was not capable at that point. It seemed a pointless battle. I hoped he would have it together by the new year....but he didn't.
I recieved one more email from the director throughout the year asking how it was going. I appreciated that she remembered but I was a little frustrated by the school's stance. Children with the kind of speech difficulties that they apparently specialized in, often have more delays then just speech. I wasn't the only one who noticed this incongruity. Other therapists and health professionals throughout the year voiced the exact same sentiment when the topic was broached. But I didn't question the school.
As summer approached, I was inspired to try again. Summer is always said to be the best time to toilet train and an entire two months would surely do the trick. I dove in with gusto. I bought more training pants. I bought a kitchen timer. I bought M&M's.

And I've been pleased to see slow but steady progress. Here we are at the end of the summer, and yesterday Jairus was dry all day long. He's even started to tell me when he needs to go, using a verbal approximation that sounds like 'Gooo'. (Lovely...)

After a few weeks of training, when I had seen enough progress to realistically hope that he'd be ready for September, I sent off an email to the school. Reminded them who I was. Talked about Jairus' progress with toilet training. Asked what program he could enroll in and what the cost was.
I heard nothing back.
After a few weeks, maybe two, I called to find out why I hadn't heard. Their voicemail message said they were away until August 27th. I was extremely disappointed, but figured that I could wait. I couldn't understand how they could run a school and not be back until so late in August. It never dawned on me that this could pose a problem.

August 27th came and went and no phone call. August 28th. On the afternoon of August 29th, I decided to call again. This time, the director hurriedly answered and insisted on calling me back as she was in meetings all day. Before she got off though, she told me that they were not offering the kindergarten program from last year and the grade 1 program was already full. She would phone me back the next day, regardless.

I got off the phone and slowly walked up to my room, kicking a blow up water ring as I went and crying from my bellybutton. My last hope for Jairus withered and died, as the air leaked out of that water ring.

By the time James got home, I was angry. How early should I have been calling to be sure he'd have a position for the fall? Was he now going to be denied for a second year?

Today, the director called me back and stated exactly the same thing she had on the phone yesterday. I had harboured a small hope that because she thought we should talk more about the issue, that perhaps they had some other kind of program he could be in. She did not. I expressed, in fairly calm tones, my frustration with the entire situation: the toilet trained policy, the long wait for a response. I asked when the class had filled up (read: if you had answered my email in July, would there have been room then?) She couldn't tell me when. She had perfectly reasonable excuses--that they had been on holiday all summer and didn't check emails (always a good practice when you're running a business), they don't have someone in the office to take care of calls and emails (and who's choice is that? Are you saying your exorbitant prices aren't enough to hire a secretary?), their daughter had a baby so they didn't come in until the 28th (ok, fine) and it had only been one day after that when I called (a day and a half).
She offered to call if anything changed and Jairus could have a spot.

I told her not to bother.


J9 said...

How utterly frustrating and disheartening!! It's so hard to feel you have found the answer, only to discover it's not going to work out after all. Keep hoping, though, the door might be closed, but there's always an open window. You'll find it at just the right time.

Anonymous said...

How dissappointing. I think I know the school that you mean (my niece went there). The people seem very nice and dedicated. I know that all the kids in her class were toilet trained. I can't image how a teacher would cope otherwise. Keep hoping and praying and working on the toilet training.

Connie said...

So...I may be accused of being nosey, but I saw the link to your blog..and being a "blogger" myself, I thought I'd take a peek. I too, have a son with speech delay. Caleb is almost 3 and has about 10 words. We had tubes put in his ears and are hoping to see some improvement. He goes in for a hearing test on Monday. We are hoping he doesn't have any permanent hearing loss. I've got him in a pre-school program at our church. They moved him down to the "ones" class (though he is almost 3), because he was more on thier level developmentally. I will be praying for your little guy. It's so hard to not be able to know what's going on in thier little heads!


Becky said...

With being in the educational assistant program I totally know what you are going through. I know it's hard and frustrating, I've been there with my brother Franky. Just keep on going you'll eventually get what you need for Jarius. It takes a long time but I have faith that you can do it. There are so many other people who are going through what you are so you're not alone. You're a strong person and I believe in you.