Dear Special Ed Class 1975

I think I might owe some people a huge apology…

Dear Special Kids from 1975 at Mark West Elementary School:

I am sorry for any teasing I may have done to you when I was little. If ever I referred to you as a “Tard”, it was completely a term of affection. If you ever met my stare of repulsion and/or confusion, it was purely insecurity on my part. I’m hoping you have learned to read by now and that you can accept my absolute apology for my unforgivable behavior and disrespect in the 2nd grade.

Angela, the mean kid


Never in my wildest dreams of motherhood did I think I was going to be looking at preschools for kids with special needs. Walking through the classroom today was heartbreaking. It wasn’t heartbreaking because my child would be one of the special kids, it was because I could not imagine the Doodle fitting into this special needs class.

These children were very high-functioning special kids, mostly four years old. If it was not for the little girl with Down Syndrome, I would have had a hard time determining that these were kids with Autism or on the Autism Spectrum. The heartbreaking part was that all of the children were so well-behaved, sitting quietly and most astonishing to me, TALKING. They were having a snack and drinking out of Big Kid cups. They were listening and understanding the teacher and making ample eye contact. And, I can tell you, none of these kids were sporting a helmet. Ahem.

While Dom has huge receptive understanding and language, he has no speech. Not one word. He is so OCD and ADD that he can’t sit still long enough for a snack or circle time. I am trying to picture him taking a breath and listening for more than one minute at a time in this “learning environment” without popping a Benadryl.

I know preschool for Doodle is still 4 months away, but watching these other special children today, depressed me even more. It was a kick to the stomach on how really far behind Dom is; and even worse, wondering if he’ll ever catch up.

As responsible parents, I know we are not supposed to compare our child to other children and that each child is individual; but, WOW and Ouch. We live our lives in our little bubble here at home, not many play dates or outings because of the over-stimulation and chaos it creates. Other people do not understand what it is like to take a child somewhere and have them go nuts. It makes me not want to leave the house. Throw full onset grand mal and head drop seizures into the mix and it’s enough to make me never want to get out of bed.

I’m watching the Doodle do hot laps around our kitchen island right now with his shopping cart, praying he does not fall to the ground and hurt himself. This was not part of the plan and I can’t help but feel this is Karma from 2nd grade.

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