View Full Version : Questions, frustrations, etc.

Jen in AL
02-09-2011, 02:53 PM
Hello, all. It's been a while since I posted, so here's a quick reintro: we adopted a then 21 month old daughter--now almost 3 year old--from China in Dec. 2009. She is completely blind in one eye but does have some vision in the other. On the plus side, the vision she does have is improving & she's made great strides in development over the past 14 months.:) She is still developmentally delayed, though, & is more like a 12-18 month old than a 3 year old, which is completely understandable given her lack of nurturing prior to adoption. This is something that my husband, other kids, & I accept & are okay with it-meaning that, of course we want her to catch up & achieve all that she can...but we understand that it will take time & that she may not ever be just like other kids her age. She is a unique & she is a blessing & a wonderful addition to our family.:) She received Early Intervention services, but will "age out" next month; however, she is now also receiving private therapy, which we'll continue as long as it's necessary. We also do a great deal of "therapy" with her ourselves, so we're definitely doing all that we can to help her. OK... Sorry for the long post, but here are my frustrations: people, including therapists, who constantly ask me if I've thought about preschool for her, even though they know I'm going to homeschool her; also people who ask me when I'm going to potty train her (she's NOT ready--as I said, her level in this area is like that of a typical 12 month old); or people who make uninformed comments about her developmental level. My questions are: How do you respond to comments/questions like this? Do you just ever get worn out by people like this? Thanks for letting me share.

Hayley M
02-09-2011, 03:43 PM
I think the best replies for those who are ignorant is to just say something like, "yes, she has her challenges, and we are so proud of the amazing progress she has made!"

Not that this is a great comparison, but I remember when I first started homeschooling the annoying and ignorant comments that people would make to me. I realized then that since I was the one who was different that it was my responsibility to inform people without defensiveness or live my life always irritated. So, I would try to recall times in MY life when I was ignorant of something and someone kindly educated me. I would also try to recall those times that I was ignorant and someone NOT SO kindly educated me. Those were the times that I felt humiliated and maybe a little resentful. I never wanted people to feel stupid for asking me questions about homeschooling, lest it color their opinion of homeschoolers.

So, I think if you came up with a really good blanket answer that could address the ignorance of others without being defensive, it would benefit everyone. My oldest has some developmental issues and middle one is dyslexic. I try to be as honest as I can with people about their problems, so that they are kinder to my kids. Sometimes I don't feel quite right revealing their challenges, but more often than not it's the best thing to do for them.

Two years ago a mother at a co-op we belonged to became very annoyed with my son because he pushed a boy away who was bothering him. The boy had obvious developmental problems (speech issues, and sensory problems). My son's issues are not as obvious. The mother did not seem to care that the boy was physically BOTHERING my son--the boy had developmental problems and he was automatically excused for his behavior (it actually wasn't even her child). I hated doing it, but I ended up informing her of my child's problems. I said, "some kids' issues are just more obvious than others." I went so far as to tell her that when she got angry with my son, that he probably didn't even realize she was upset. At that time he had enormous trouble interpreting facial expressions, and unless you said, "I'm very upset with you" he just wouldn't get it. Anyway, although she never exactly apologized to me or him, I could tell she felt awful, and she was much nicer to my son.

Naturally we no longer attend that co-op ;), but it was important that we all understood each other until the end of the year.


Kellie in NE
02-11-2011, 08:48 AM
Jen-:group:It is so hard. I am in a similar situation as you-my daughter is 4, has epilepsy, nonverbal, developmentally a two year old and not potty trained. We do private therapy to help her-and work with her at home. I have also dealt with people (and family) who feel her best place would be in preschool-they think that is the only way she will learn to talk. The comments from others are difficult and make me doubt if homeschooling is really the right thing. The truth though is that she is such a blessing to us-I learn something everyday from her-and I know that the one on one attention will help her achieve her goals.

I wish I had other words of wisdom for you-but I really do not. I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone and that I really understand how you feel. I pray that you have a good support system.:group:

Alice R
02-11-2011, 12:01 PM
Therapists who work for Early Intervention work for the state and think like state employees. Period. That's all they know so you have to take what they say with a grain of salt.

They mean well. They really do. They are trying to encourage you to do what they feel is best for the child. I think trying to look at it as "wanting to help you" rather than feeling they are attacking your lifestyle will help.

You know I'm a therapist and obviously travel in that circle. Most of them truly believe that Pre-k is a great thing for a child. It's a lot of academic stuff, social stuff and they get their therapy at the school. And, for some families, it is a good idea. It's even a great idea for some families. So, they figure, they are helping you and helping your daughter. Most of them mean no harm or criticism whatsoever. Yep, there are some difficult people but most of them went into this field to help children.

I myself am a staunch homeschooler and I have recommended Pre-K on a few occasions myself because I was trying to make a recommendation that was best for the child and family. Again, as a homeschooler, I have to admit, there are many times that I have seen a child go to a special needs pre-k and make HUGE HUGE astounding progess. I don't know that if it were my child, if I could duplicate that progess at home, ya know? Maybe, maybe not? I'd have to weigh it out carefully, like you are doing. Whatever you think is best for your child. It might be one thing one year and one thing another year.

Homeschooling is swimming upstream. Homeschooling a special needs child is really swimming upstream because you are responsible for so much more. Chances are your therapists see that and just want to offer all that is available to help your daughter.

As for the potty training, who the heck comments on this stuff? I have my own life and my own kids and don't have time to bother any other mother about where their child does their business. :eyes: That is just plain stupid, if you ask me. I wouldn't waste energy on that one.

People commenting on her developmental level? Just tell them "yep, she is a complicated and there are so many things going on and I just love her so much" and drop it. Don't enage people because you feel you have to be nice. It's not their business and just close the conversation with how much you love her...I think you can't say much after a mommy says that!

Your daughter is very blessed to have you as a mom!

Jen in AL
02-11-2011, 03:02 PM
Thank you all for the words of encouragement. I do feel that the best place for her is at home, although I know there may be situations in which a child would do better in preschool. And, Alice, you're right about where the therapists are coming from. They are definitely looking out for her best interest & we're the first real life homeschooling family most of them have met.:)

I am learning how to ignore ignorant people--sometimes.:unsure: Those with NO experience with adopted or special needs children sometimes seem to have the most unsolicited "advice." It's nice to come here and share with people who understand. I'm also trying to learn to be more graceful & forgiving of people who speak before they think or who speak in ignorance--pray for me on that one! Thank you all again.:group:

Alice R
02-12-2011, 02:12 PM
I have never had a homeschooling family in all the years I've worked. I rarely even get a parochial school child. It's government schools all the way.

Yep, people are really clueless sometimes. Sometimes I think it is better in NYC where people don't "chat" so much with eachother. :lol: We ignore eachother. Silence is golden. ;) Just smile and wave.

Natalie (SD)
02-12-2011, 02:26 PM
I think Alice said it really well. I am only chiming in for moral support!

We saw both the ped this week for a 2 year well baby and the early intervention folks for an assessment and both we horrified that my very very small (10% in height and weight)milk/soy protien intollerant/peanut allergic two year old boy who has had HuGE HuGE attachment problems (he is adopted), and only now is making eye contact and occassionally relaxing in my arms, is still drinking a formula bottle in my arms twice a day. I mean, they went nuts . . . sigh. I am so grateful the little guy will do it, and they were full of "Well, that needs to stop right now." Whatever, move along people.

And they all asked about preschool - he turned two last month . . . we won't be sending him out of the house and no daycare, yes, that's right, I'm with them all the time. "When do they play with other children?" Shaking head . . . but when I mentioned he had a lot of attachment issues/concerns still they were silent and offered no support or suggestions.

My daughter was in a similar position 2 years ago, aging out of IE, and I let them pressure me into putting her in preschool. I now know that I will not let that pressure get to me with my son . . . we may choose for him to go based on what is best for him, but I won't feel pressured.

So, like Alice said, I have to think they truely believe that is just the right path to take, and don't know . . . luckily us mommies know, and we can keep doing what is best for our babies. :)

Jen in AL
02-12-2011, 02:38 PM
Thank you, Natalie.:group: My little one was on her bottle until she was 2 1/2 years old. She is doing great with her sippy cup now, but it took a lot of work & patience. Prior to our adopting her, all she had ever had was a bottle with a large hole cut in the nipple so that the formula could just "pour" into her mouth. Of course her bottle was propped on her chest while she laid in her crib & drank it. That was the way things were done in her orphanage. We are still teaching her how to chew. She's finally starting to get the hang of it.:) It's all a work in progress.

She attached to us rather quickly, which is good. However, the hard part now is that she reverts back to self-stimulation when we're around large groups of people or in unfamiliar places. We are working on redirecting that behavior, and we have seen some improvements. She definitely does better in small groups.

Just want to say thanks again for all of the support. I love this place.:group:

ETA: Also, as far as extended bottle feeding, our adoption therapists actually TOLD us to continue bottle feeding in order to increase attachment/bonding. So that's another difficult aspect of having an adopted special needs child--conflicting advice from EI therapists & adoption therapists. It really all comes down to being the mom & knowing what's best for our little ones.

Alice R
02-12-2011, 08:16 PM
I did an evaluation a few weeks ago and the child was very severely affected with autism. He was also 2. The child was walking around with a pacifier. The mother immediately started apologizing for the pacifier and told me that her speech therapist is really on her about the pacifier. I could tell she was really embarassed that I saw the pacifier and was probably writing all this down in my report. :lol:

I looked at her and said "I think X has other more important issues here than a pacifier. He's only 2. My 5 year old is still sucking her thumb. He's a kid, ya know, kids do these things. When he's ready, you'll work on it"

She looked kinda stunned. :eek: My psychologist partner nodded his head in agreement.

I think mom had major relief of mommy guilt. :D

I think therapist/professionals loose their common sense sometimes. You get used to using a chart and standardized testing and forget that these really are children, some of them even babies. They are not some statistic.

Or, they have bought into this "school/day care" thing that they are drowning in it. :eyes:

Or both. :eyes:

Or maybe it's just me who is really laid back and is not so obsessive about things. :roflol:

02-13-2011, 12:36 AM
Alice has said it all!!! :)

I felt alot of pressure to put Gabe in early intervention... because he was aging out of Birth to 3 program, and the insurance is refusing to pay for private therapy since he hasnt' progressed enough. Because that is the route EVERYONE takes when their kid turns 3, they expected us to as well. As Alice said, they are state /govt. workers. Alternate education is not even in their realm of thought.

BUT the therapists also told me they "had to encourage early intervention". All three of them said they can see we are a really involved family and most families are not like that. They said they have moms that sit and text the whole time their child is getting therapy, where I would ask questions and participate in his therapy. They really said they were impressed with our family as a homeschooling family (not that we're all that great) it's just that they have so little (to none) experience homeschooling, it was all new to them.
I did end up sending Gabe to school because of the lack of therapy if he did not attend. (he is 3.5 and very, very delayed, very little speech,very little communication in general, still not chewing, etc. , poor attention span, etc.

I wont' say he hasn't made some gains, but I dont' know for sure if he would have made those gains by staying home all day, also. I'm not entirely convinced that sending him to early intervention is helping him progress much at all.
As far as the potty training- that is just absurd!! Why is potty training such a big deal when a child is still learning the basics of communicating, eating, etc. uggghhhh!! Yes, I sit G on the potty, but I really don't expect him to be trained for years.... it's just so low on my list of priorities for him right now.