November 4, 2013 by Angel Pricer
On November 1st my husband and I drove 487 miles north with our nine year old son to get him settled into his new school. The Hunter School is the only one of its kind and, though it was an incredibly difficult decision to have him so far from home, it’s the only school we could find that we feel will meet his needs.
November 1st also marked day one of the Write Nonfiction in November challenge, which I decided to participate in prior to having had the official start date at his new school. My last post on this blog was on July 12, 2013, though it feels as though lifetimes have played out over the summer months and stretching into fall. While at times my posts touched upon family life, I barely scratched the surface of what was really going on below. Now I know that’s precisely what wants to be written.
Writing Real Life has always been the focus of this blog and, for the month of November, the thread will be my experience of adjusting to life with my middle child being cared for and educated several states away. After many years of following all the professional recommendations it became clear that not only were these methods not working, they were actually making life for our son (and family) worse. So much so that there was an increase in physical force being used to control him in the school setting. That was just not OK.
I am only now beginning to realize the extent to which our family has been enmeshed in the dysfunctional view of how to educate children that are bright, creative, innovative and difficult to deal with in the ways that society currently accepts as normal.
Through the years our family has muddled through the myriad of evaluations, treatment plans and medication trials, doing our best to adapt even as we knew there had to be a better way. Despite great leaps in love and consciousness in our home life, we continued to send our son into places where love and awareness were lacking, and everyone paid the price, though none more so than our son.
This past summer the pain of continuing to follow the recommended programming reached an all-time unbearable high and, trusting the higher guidance that had been working its way through me since I first heard of The Hunter School on November 11, 2011, I completed the contact form on their website. I knew that if my son did not receive the same loving acceptance at school as he received at home, he would soon be so imbedded in the realm of disordered diagnoses that we would lose him forever.
Now that he’s beginning to adjust to his new tribe (and they all just LOVE him!), I will use this blog to explore the feelings, triumphs and challenges our family experiences as we acclimate to an alternative way to meet the needs of one very creative, inventive and spirited boy.
I share our story because sometimes drastic measures are called for to meet the needs of the bright innovators of the future and hope that those measures might be lessened to the extent that one day, all children will be seen and loved and appreciated for who they are.
Today, my youngest son stayed home from school because his tummy was upset. We took a hike and I followed his lead up the steepest part of the trail. He hugged the trees that leaned along the creek, kissed them and wished them a good day and long life. On the way home, we stopped at the park and he helped a little boy in the sandbox, much to his mother’s delight. She was struck at the kindness my seven year old son showed her two year old. We never really got to have moments like this when his older brother was home because the youngest only ever wanted to be with the oldest and do what he wanted (or not do what he didn’t want) to do.
While we were at the park, I got a call from the teacher at The Hunter School. She said my son is “blending beautifully” on his first full day of academics. As of 11:45 they had hit all major subject areas and he was fully cooperative and engaged. He and his classmates are learning about bears and hibernation and working as a team to fill holes in a cave on the grounds of the school and make a soft place to (pretend) sleep! His teacher says he is integrating very well with his classmates and enjoys the small, quiet classroom. She has introduced him to noise reduction headphones which he really likes to use!
Sometimes I still swirl in righteous indignation that the only way to meet the needs of my son and, in turn, our family is for him to be so far away. While I do not miss the frequent shrill shrieks of resistance, I long for our deep pressure massage bedtime routine and the exchange of knowing glances as I read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, both of us recognizing the similarities between Percy’s story and his own.
He’s so far away, physically, for now. But not forever, and not for naught.
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net