Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Public Letter to the Oklahoma Department of Education

I wrote this last month concerning the new standards in Oklahoma and State Testing. I felt that it's important enough issue to share with the world. Please feel free to forward this post on to anyone that feels their kids are being treated with the upmost disrespect that Oklahoma has to offer.

To the Oklahoma Department of Education and our State Legislators...
You suck. How dare you put so much pressure on 9 year old kids. It is unfair and just inhumane to torture these kids with "pass or be held back" for one single test. One test??? No one should be held back for one test result. That's for all 3rd Graders, now about MY child. How dare you raise the anxiety level of my child so high that he can't eat or sleep. If a parent were to put this much pressure on a 9 year old, you would call it abuse, so here I am, a mom and I am accusing you, the State of Oklahoma, of ABUSE ON MY CHILD. That's right, you, Mrs, Bitch Superintendent Barresi you are abusing my child. My child is one of a kind. He is smarter then you ever will be or even hope to be. He is a rare gem, and you have made his sparkle fade this year, and I despise you for that. Before you started all the pressure of "pass or else", he breezed through school, always scoring above grade level. Now, he is so stressed out about your one damn test that his grades are slipping. I blame you. He has been anxiety ridden since passing 2nd grade last year. He has begged me not to make him do 3rd grade because of your "test". How dare you do this to my child. He is so anxiety ridden his immune system is weak, he's losing weight he didn't have to loose, and he is not sleeping. Seriously, how do YOU sleep at night knowing what you are doing to these kids. You fail to think about this when it comes to your need to prove to the world that Oklahoma has "the highest standards of learning". I call Bullshit. All you have done is proven that Oklahoma is as backwoods, ignorant, and shortsighted as the country already sees us to be. Congratulations Mrs, Barresi, you are the most hated person in Oklahoma, and considering who we have as a governor, that's quite an achievement.

A seriously pissed off mom

Start of a Journey

Every year, I think to myself, I need a blog. I start writing one, get it all designed, then I quit about a month into it and boom, I forget my blog title and where it is and I give up. I'm lazy like that. Or, maybe it's just because life in my house is chaotic and unpredictable and, sometimes, life just gets in the way. In case you are finding yourself here and you don't know who I am, my name is Regan, and I am a mom, a warrior, and CEO..  of my household that is. I have a wonderful husband that works hard to support us, and allows me to be home for our two children, one is Autistic (Hence the chaotic and unpredictable household.). Bryce and Dylan are my world.  Bryce is 9 and Dylan is 6. Along with Autism (or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)), Bryce also has ODD (Opposition Defiance Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), Anxiety, and Depression.  Yes, that's a lot of initials. They list them all out on every single form, though most of these disorders are actually not separate from the Autism. If you have found your way here through researching Autism, then you have probably heard the saying "If you have met one child with Autism, then you have met ONE child with Autism", because not every child with ASD will exhibit the same symptoms or behaviors, though most will fit a common pattern.  Our journey with Autism did not officially begin until Bryce was 4 years old, and in Pre-K, though he has been Autistic all his life, we explained away his behavior with excuses ranging from "Well he's an only child" to "He's just sensitive". We were living in blissful ignorance. Bryce became a big brother about a year prior to his diagnosis, so he spent 3 1/2 years as an only child, and we always assumed, since he didn't attend daycare or any other child care programs, that his social awkwardness was due to that.  When he started Pre-K, I still used the "he's only had a brother for a year, and he's still a baby, so that's why he is not being social with his peers" excuse. However, his most awesome Pre-K teacher recognized what we had been turning a blind eye towards. Now my life is filled with therapy visits twice a week and constant trips to the school for meltdowns. He is a lucky kid, his peers seem to love him in spite of his "quirks". He may not know all their names, but I see them. I see them helping him, guiding him, as best they can, and it warms my heart.

This blog, it is going to be my journal of  our journey. I will journal about Bryce's behavior, and I might even track his behavior in coordination with things he's eaten, the lunar cycle, and, even, the weather patterns. I am a believer that weather and lunar cycles can have just as much effect on our bodies and moods as the food we eat. Some posts maybe funny, other's maybe stress filled ramblings of a mom that is doing her best, but sometimes, it is just too much. Like I said, my life is chaotic and unpredictable, but I will let you in on a little secret... Through the tears, the struggles, the laughter, and, yes, the occasional meltdown (mine, not Bryce's), I wouldn't change a thing about my life, or my son. One common phrase you will read from me throughout our journey will be "We will not let Autism define us, instead, we will define Autism".  This is why I named the blog A "Peace" of Autism. Because while a "piece" of my son is Autism, we are at "peace" with it, as it makes him who he is, and who he is is pretty dang awesome.