Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Something Special

Special needs, special needs, special needs...

Apparently I am an idiot.

I can't believe that when I filled out the special needs portion of the teacher request form for Kiddos kinder class, I totally forgot about his hyperacusis. What is wrong with me??? Perhaps I am the one with special needs.

I am so mad at myself.

Did I ever mention here that in Sunday school, they now give Kiddo a set of headphones during the music/worship time? I guess he was still freaking out a lot when it got really loud, and so now they let him wear headphones and he stays calmer.

My poor boy.

I don't know if I should call the school or just wait until I have to go back up there in August to turn in the medical forms or what. This is just so overwhelming. Hopefully I can get him evaluated by the school and they can do something to help him. Eventually he is going to realize that his "different" is not something the other kids will admire. Eventually he is going to be made fun of. Eventually someone is going to break his heart. I know it would happen anyway, problems or not, I just wish it was for the normal things, not these uncontrollable things he has to deal with. He can't help that his ears are different. He can't help that he is allergic to peanuts.

If we ever have to get him braces - Lord have mercy.

I am still having ups and downs with this whole school thing. I can't even picture it without getting teary, and the whole thing just scares me to death. I've come to realize that what I am the most scared of is the peanut allergy.

I am not afraid of him gaining independence, I am not afraid of him being away from me in the normal sense; he does all that at Sunday school and I love that he loves it so much. But that is a pretty controlled environment where I am only 30 seconds away if something happens.

I am afraid he will come into contact with peanuts and have a reaction and no one will know how to help him. I am afraid he will be scared and hurting and needing me and I will be unaware that anything is happening. I am afraid that some kid won't understand the consequences of what could happen and shove a peanut butter sandwich in his face just to be funny or mean. I am afraid a child will have some on their hands or clothes and he will come in contact with it. I am afraid a child will lie to him about it and he will believe them and eat some and not realize what it is until it's too late.

I am afraid.

I know that he can overcome the limitations of the hyperacusis. He can cope. But the peanut allergy - the stuff is everywhere and he is so trusting that others won't give him something with peanuts. I tell him all the time to never ever take food from another kid without asking me first if he can have it, and yet he still does it. He will just ask the kid if it has peanuts, and if they say no he will eat it. What happens if someone tries to give him a butterfinger? reeces pieces? a nutter butter? There are so many things that a child wouldn't think has peanuts (or peanut butter) in them. What if they have a cookie that was made in the same place as a peanut butter cookie? It could be contaminated.

I may just make myself crazy thinking about all of this. How do other parents cope? I don't want to hide him in the house forever. I just don't fully trust the outside world to look out for him; or for him to look out for himself. And if you get on any forum or place where people are talking about peanut bans in schools and readers can leave comments - just spending about 5 minutes reading the "opinions" is enough to make me want to withdraw his registration right now. I never thought so many people could be so cold and uncaring about a helpless child.

I may need therapy before long.



Stephanie said...

Dawn - I have the same fears that you do about the peanut allergy. I don't have to worry about it for another year but all those thoughts that you wrote, I have thought. I'm not so trusting of strangers to be that responsible for my child's life. Some people just brush it off like it's no big deal. It IS a big deal. Cole doesn't have to eat peanuts to react. It just needs to touch his skin.

I think about craft supplies, playground equipment, dirty cafeteria tables, ugh. I think I'll need therapy too.

Maybe we can get a discount, 2 for 1 special, eh? ;)

I guess this wasn't so helpful, but just know you are not alone. I feel you.

TitanKT said...

Isn't a severe peanut allergy a special need?

My kid isn't allergic to anything but I will say that I can totally understand you being afraid for your kid based on that. It's a huge deal and you're right, he's too young to understand the full scope of how to protect himself.

And the thing is, he's not the only kid in the world with severe peanut allergy, you'd think there'd be more safeguards in place to protect kids with severe allergies.

Dawn said...

Stephanie - thank you. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but it is comforting to know someone else feels the same way. Kiddo only needs to have skin contact too. He instantly swells up and breaks into hives.

Katy - yes, the peanut allergy does qualify. The form I was talking about though was a teacher request form. It asks if the child has any special needs that would require him to have a specific teacher - any teacher, I would think, should be able to handle the allergy, but not all teachers maintain a quiet(er) classroom. ;)

And yes, there are so many with peanut allergies these days. It is amazing how much the numbers have jumped, just in the last 10 years. The sad thing is, there are so many people/parents out there that think it is not necessary to take precautions in schools by restricting or banning peanut products. They are more upset by the inconvenience than the thought of a child potentially dying just by coming in contact with it. Some of the comments on the forums are downright disgusting. I've seen suggestions of making peanut allergy kids be homeschooled all the way to putting them all in the same room and feeding them peanuts. I saw one comment today from a woman that suggested we shouldn't educate these kids because they should not be allowed in society to "pass along their defective gene pool". She said we should hope they come in contact with the allergen so that they would be wiped off the planet. Seriously.

It is amazing how people can get so upset over peanut butter! Really?!? It's a food for crying out loud! One of a bazillion other things we can eat. Why is it such a big deal to keep it out of schools?

I know those examples are extreme, but I have seen them on every single forum I have read at one point or another. There is someone in every community, I suspect. I just pray my child doesn't come across such hideous beings. :(

Julia said...

Oh my gosh! It's a good thing that I don't read those forums because ugly, hateful comments turn me into a downright nasty person to say something back. I mean, really? Wipe the kids out of the gene pool? That's disgusting.

I am so sorry that you have to deal with fools like this, and it is too bad that peanuts are such a cheap form of protein to make it so pervasive. Do you know what the school's policy is on peanuts/nuts in general? Is there even a policy? I know most preschools that I toured are peanut free, but I have not yet heard of this going up to the elementary schools.

As for the hearing, I completely understand that. To this day, C can't even look at a video of fireworks without breaking out into a cold sweat, and she covers her ears for even something like the toilet flushing at home. I wrote in as many places as I could to request a teacher who keeps a calm, quiet classroom because though I've never had C diagnosed with any kind of hypersensitivity, I just know my kid has lower tolerance for environmental noise than the average. Too bad S can't be in class with C. They can wear headphones together.

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Shannon said...

Dawn, believe me, I have been through so many ups and downs with zach this year that it is amazing I am not already in therapy. Zach has trouble with reading and writing, he doesn't learn the way the other children do, he is very tactile and visual, you show him a pentagon he won't know what it is but he touches one he can tell you immediately. His teacher finally admitted to me that she has had trouble figuring how to teach him all year long and that it would be best for him to stay in 1st but definitely with another teacher that could better teach him. We have been back and forth with this all year. YOu put your trust in these people that care for your children everyday and they not only let you down but your child too.

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