Tonight I had to write the letter below to Stink’s teacher. Apparently, this is the week of honest correspondence. Spineless salespeople…. ignorant gradeschoolers… at least I knew Stink’s teacher would be receptive.
From our first conversation last year in the halls – before she was even Stink’s teacher – she demonstrated not only humor and smarts but an emotional intelligence that I’d been dreaming of in an educator.
Still, those fears I had when he was diagnosed five years ago – worries that included being teased and harrassed for noises and twitches he couldn’t control – were finally being realized. It was a somber moment.
At the same time, it was liberating. Because although I wished I didn’t have to deal with this, I wasn’t scared. And my son wasn’t too upset either. Sad an annoyed? Yes. But broken? Hardly. The past five years had been spent concentating on Stink’s strength, not his weaknesses. No fourth-grader was going to take him down.
So with strength (I fake it sometimes) and lack of fear (anxiety will hit later when I’m PMSing or out of Zoloft or Day 6 of my no nightly glass of vino quest) I give you the letter which all mothers of tickers worry about writing:
So I hate to be THAT mom, but I was saying prayers with Stink tonight and he mentioned feeling sad about some kid named who always asks about his tics. Stink doesn’t care if people ask, and he gives the standard, “Oh, I have Tourette and make tics. I can’t help it!” and that usually suffices.
But apparently this kid keeps saying, “You CAN help it. You CAN help your TS.” He will move out of line if he’s next to Stink and say he does not want to stand next to him because of the sounds.
There’s 3 things going on in my opinion:
- Of COURSE people are going to be annoyed sometimes. As a mom, I get annoyed myself but…
- It’s an opportunity for kids to be more accepting of others.
- Stink needs to educate the class on his condition. It might make his tics calm down.
Is there any way, sooner than later, my son can have the floor and just give an update to the class on what it is to have TS? I can get a video about it if that will help.
Or maybe Stink can talk about it in a PLC? (TRANSLATION for my blog readers: PLC stands for “Peaceful Learning Circle.” My kids go to an amazing public charter school. They call teachers by first names. They used to have an assistant T.A. who wore mismatched socks named who sported a fro and went by “ChaChi.” I can’t make this stuff up. Now back to the letter to Stink’s teacher.)
I feel bad hitting you with all this on the 3rd week of school. I just want to nip the “social” stuff in the bud now so I can really focus on, well, getting Stink to FOCUS and be the best he can be.
Thank you –
Andrea (and Rex!)
My question for you readers: So what would you do? No, kicking some kid to Mars is not an option. Stink doesn’t want meds for his tics. He says he feels sad, but not enough for more medicine. He thinks this kid just needs to deal with it. Do you? I see both sides, honestly, but most of all, I’m happy my kid is confident in himself. Still… where do I make choices for him where his social life is at stake? You know, like being invited to a party by an ignorant dumb ass who only hangs out with ignorant dumbasses? Oh, wait…