It is that time of year where all the Facebook posts are of how amazing all my friends children did at school, how proud they are of the amazing school reports and their achievements during the year.
I have a child like that too, Abbey came home with an amazing school report, one that any parent would be proud of and amazing grades and many achievements.
But I don't share.
Why don't I share?
I have two children. One that gets amazing grades and one that doesn't. One that does great at school and one that doesn't. One that has lots of friends and gets invited over to peoples houses and one that doesn't.
I don't tend to want to rave about one of my children and not the other.
I have had a "feeling" about my son ever since he was quite little. I'm an Early Childcare Teacher, I know kids, I know what they are supposed to do developmental wise. So maybe I should have acted upon this "feeling" long before now, but the thing is no one ever wants to admit that there is something "wrong" with their child.
At the beginning of this term I had to make a very difficult decision, one that I haven't widely talked about but I thought it was time to talk about it, time to open up as I have about so many difficult times in my life. I need to write about it because writing helps me process things in my mind.
This term I made the decision to keep Riley back a year at school. He was supposed to be going to Intermediate School next year and the thought terrified me. How can I send my son to Intermediate? He will be eaten alive. He will drown. Let me explain my son to you all.
I have a sneaky suspicion that Riley has a form of Autism. I have wondered this for a really long time. So far it hasn't been a massive thing. He hates loud noises, he hasn't really got any close friends, he obsesses over schedules, hates surprises or sudden changes. His behavior is up and down. He sulks, won't talk to you and throws tantrums even though he is now 10! We went through mental health and they put his behavior down to post traumatic stress from the death of his Dad. He had counselling and things seemed to start getting better but once the counselling ended so did the progress. His grades have fallen, his behavior isn't the greatest again, things seem to be taking a nose dive for him. So back to mental health again, more assessments and at a terrible time of the year to try and get anything done.
I am scared for my son. No one wants their kid to be "that" kid, but my kid is. My kid is the one who is going to get picked on and bullied because he is different. My kid is going to get teased because he can't control his emotions.My kid is going to be ridiculed because of his irrational fears and insecurities. My kid is going to get eaten alive by the "normal" kids because kids are incredibly cruel. And it breaks my heart.
I love my son with my everything, I feel like I have failed him as a parent. I feel like I should have done more, been more involved in his schooling, talked to his teacher more often, taking more notice and done more for him. I feel like I have let him down.
I don't know if Riley is autistic. He might just be a weird kid. He might just be a little terd who doesn't want to do what he is told. My mothers instinct is telling me otherwise. His grades for his effort were all A and B which tells me he is trying but not understanding. And over the last year I have seen some massive positive changes in him. But he still isn't ready to be put in an Intermediate school environment. The thing that scares me most is what if even after this extra year, where I am planning to be on his toes the whole year, what if he still isn't ready? What do I do then?
It's so difficult having one kid who has problems and one who is the complete opposite. I want to shout out and praise my daughter and share all her achievements but I don't want to look like I have favorites. I love my kids the same, they are my whole world. It's just that one is a breeze to parent and the other is a nightmare.
So now I fill in lots of forms and then wait until the new year for another appointment with mental health to assess my son. I cry a lot about it and I pray that this coming year will be the year that he might shine and achieve what he needs and wants. I hope that I can make the changes to help him be successful.
Watch this space for more information and wish me luck!