Thanks To The Ontario Government, My Son With ADHD Can’t Get The Support He Needs At School
By Leslie Kennedy
PHOTO © matsunok/Twenty20
Mar 13, 2020
I have been fighting for years to get my son assessed for ADHD. I fought against stigma. I fought against misunderstanding. I fought against fear of a label and the concern of overdiagnosis.
"I need changes and fixes yesterday. And, thanks to the ongoing job action, [my son] may not get any of this."
I fought to get him before professionals who could ask him questions, give him tests, watch him in action and give us the power of an assessment. I wanted insight into his brain. I wanted support and advice for myself, his father and the educators who are working together to form his future.
I finally got that assessment. I got the diagnosis I knew was coming for the better part of his almost nine years of life.
Now thanks to Doug Ford, I am preparing for the next battle: getting him the much-needed support his diagnosis requires for his education.
When it comes to battles, I’m confident I ain't seen nothing yet.
CBC Kids News talked to kids in Ontario about the teacher strikes. Find out what they had to say here.
You see, we’re in the midst of job action by teachers in schools across Ontario. It’s job action I wholly support. But here’s what it means for families like mine — families with children with exceptionalities, who are newly diagnosed and, as of now, have zero support.
It means I’m waiting with bated breath with each new announcement of job action days. Should my SRT (student resource teacher) meeting — that will discuss my son’s diagnosis and educational needs — fall on a day that there is job action, it will be cancelled. And with each new week bringing added job action days, the chances of that happening are increasing.
"Our teachers need support in their over-populated and over-burdened classrooms. Our children need help."
I realize it will be rescheduled, but that’s not the point. The precariousness with which we parents have to manage our children’s capability to learn in the classroom is front and centre in light of this job action.
The action is causing unpredictability, but its goal is to reverse the cuts that will affect my child, and the thousands of kids like him, who need support in the classroom that they aren’t otherwise getting.
Because that’s just the thing. My son may get his SRT meeting. He may get his individual education plan (IEP). He will then become one among many in his class who require adapted learning so that he can succeed.
The irony is not lost on me. His much-needed IEP might be put off because the school system isn’t able to accommodate his needs anyway, because they're too busy striking to get the support he will need when he gets it.
Does your child struggle with daily transitions? Find tips on how to help here.
Our teachers need support in their over-populated and over-burdened classrooms. Our children need help. My child is not unique in his needs, nor in the battles he faces currently and will face as he makes his way through the public school system in Ontario.
I fear my child’s SRT meeting will be cancelled because of the strikes. I fear the impact of having him in a classroom with a teacher who doesn’t get him and a program that doesn’t support him. I need changes and fixes yesterday. And, thanks to the ongoing job action, he may not get any of this.
But I have the backs of the teachers on the picket line. They are fighting for him to get support, not hindering his ability to get it at all. What good is my SRT meeting if the recommendations can’t be implemented because of cuts? He’ll get his IEP, but it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on with the cuts continuing as they are.
So, fight on teachers. Fight for my kid and for all of the kids in your classroom who have fought a battle to be understood.
They shouldn’t have to fight a battle to be educated, too.
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