Special Childcare Needs.
The back-to-school craziness has started to die down. Routines are established. Kids are used to their schedules. Parents finally have the drop-off and pick-up responsibilities straightened out. Everything seems to have fallen in place. But then the phone rings. It is your child’s school. Most likely, that call will be about lice, or the flu. But what if the call was to pick up your child and never return?
Mommy Tracked columnist Vicki Larson explained how glad she is that she no longer has to worry when her kids come home sick since they are now old enough to be alone. For parents of kids who require supervision, that call from the school office brings an otherwise productive day to a screeching halt. Imagine if that call from school effectively ended your career.
I've received such a call twice.
The first came when my son was two and a half. Less than an hour before preschool was to begin for the day, the Director called to inform me my son was no longer welcome at her school. We had already been kicked out of our local moms' club playgroup. I didn't want the gap in my developmentally-delayed son’s social skills to widen. It was nearly a year later that I finally found a school willing to take him. In the meantime, I participated in a babysitting co-op, but ended up watching many kids whereas the other parents weren't willing to watch my son.
As for work? Well, you can’t work outside the home if there isn’t a place for your child to stay during the day.
Three years prior, I did the typical Type-A Newly Pregnant Mom research into daycare, nannies, and preschools. The expectation was that I would have a choice as to where my son would attend. I was going to make the decision by evaluating them. Instead, it was the other way around.
During that year after my son’s preschool expulsion, we were essentially home-bound. The community doesn't want to hear a screaming child in the post office, or see a child face-down in the cereal aisle rolling back and forth. We were lucky that my son's eventual preschool worked well, save for some comments like "Why haven't you gotten him help?" (We had been trying for years; there is no "magic cure") or "You know he'll really have trouble in Kindergarten" (Yes, we're panicking; don't rub it in.)
The second call-of-doom arrived a mere two weeks after my son began Kindergarten at a private school that boasts that its particular curriculum and philosophy is excellent for kids on the autistic spectrum. They misrepresented themselves to say the least. The call ordered me to come to the headmaster's office immediately. A curt "Your son has been expelled" later and I collected my confused son outside his former classroom.
A smirking parent held his hand.
That very parent had complained about his behavior.