Challenges with our special needs deaf son
Here is the story of how one day I sent our son to preschool naked.
When our special needs son was young it was very hard to get him to do certain things. My overall goal was to get him to cooperate with daily activities. He was very talented at going into his own world, zoning out, and ignoring everything around him. When I would try to pull him out of it, he would often protest and pull away.
Exhausted from the seemingly constant conflict, I soon learned — the best thing to do was to choose my battles. Is he having a meltdown? Priority is on holding him so he doesn’t bang his head repeatedly on the floor. Is he getting ready to run out the door? Priority is on making sure I’ve locked the door, and watching him to be sure he doesn’t figure out to pull a chair over and stand on it to reach the lock. Is he climbing up on top of the refrigerator? Priority is to get him down safely.
One daily struggle with our son was getting him to dress for preschool. He would take off his pajamas but then refuse to put on his clothes. It was a battle every day. It was like he didn’t want to take the time to get dressed — he was too busy playing. If I tried to dress him he continually pulled away from me towards his toys, and did not cooperate at all.
On this day he was particularly obstinate, absolutely refusing to get into his clothes. Finally, in total exasperation, I just wrapped him naked in a towel and put his clothes in a paper bag. I then drove him to preschool and handed him over to his teacher. He was in a class with 11 other deaf children.
I was expecting his teacher to say he couldn’t come in the classroom like that. I was expecting I would have to turn around and bring him back home. But his wonderful teacher very kindly accepted him. She simply said “It’s okay, hand me his bag of clothes.”
I was expecting a phone call from the school that day to come pick him up. But the phone never rang.
When I picked him up after school he was dressed! His teacher was a genius. She said when they had recess she left him in the room with his clothes. She told him he had to be dressed to go to recess. He then decided to dress himself!
After that day, there was no problem getting him to get dressed for school!
Would I ever have predicted I would have done something like sending my child to school naked? No. Do I feel ashamed of sending him to school naked? Yes. But mostly I just feel great thankfulness to his wonderful teacher, who gave me support when I most needed it.
ENDING NOTE: A year later, his kindergarten teacher (a different teacher) sent him home with a note instructing me to stop letting him wear dirty clothes. I had to laugh, because at least he was wearing clothes! He always had clean clothes available to wear, but maybe he had pulled a favorite shirt or pants out of the laundry, or maybe he had gotten dirty after he left home. I didn’t stress about it because I was happy he was wearing ANY clothes. I had a talk with him about the importance to wear clean clothes, but I didn’t stress about it.
LESSON LEARNED: Teachers can be Treasures!
LESSON LEARNED: All I can do is the best I can do.
LESSON LEARNED: There are times when you feel alone in your failure, then find there are others who understand.
LESSON LEARNED: I need to choose my battles, especially on those days I feel I’m losing the war.
Four Years Old
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