my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

March 6, 2013


in my past, i have been labeled many things. and because of those labels, it changed people's notions of who i was. and, even worse, i let myself be changed by them. i would try to grow into a label that didn't quite fit, instead of fighting against it or ignoring it completely, which, in hindsight, is obviously what i should have been doing all along.

so i've rallied against them. i do my best to not label people, to let them show me who they are and what they can do, instead of grouping them in with all the other people that they seem like, stamping them all with the same label, and dismissing anything extra they might possess or be. in short, i think labels are bad and i try not to use them.

and yet, i know find myself in the strange position of working hard to label my dear bumble. i want him to be rubber stamped and categorized, because that seems to be the only way he'll get the help he desperately needs.

i love him dearly, and he has many talents and strengths, but school is not one of them. not all of school, and certainly not the experience as a whole. he makes friends, delights his teachers, and sets a good example by working hard and doing his best. and honestly, he's good at math, numbers are his strong suit. it's all those pesky letters that trip him up.

last year he was in a different school. and there he learned to spell by memorizing lists of words. and it was easy to get him to practice by writing and rewriting that list, then quizzing him on it and making him write the ones he missed again. this year, at this new school, they don't use rote memorization to teach spelling, they use a phonics system. it's a system all the kids were introduced to in first grade, and bumble, who is in third, had to learn not only the new lessons but how the whole system worked.

and he just doesn't get it. and i've tried to help him, but it's one of those things in my head where things just are the way they are. like, if there is a silent e at the end of a word it makes the other vowel long, just because that's how it works. so it's hard for him to wrap his head around because i can't really explain it to him.

but it's extra hard because, for his tests, he's supposed to spell the words by saying them out loud and figure our the letter combinations by how the word sounds, all according to the phonic rule he studied that week. but how is he supposed to sound out words if he can't say them correctly? i mean, he sees a speech therapist for an hour a week because he can't sound out word like everyone else. so even though he tries his best, he's barely passing spelling.

and because he can't speak properly and sound words out, and because there also seems to be some break down in his comprehension, he is failing reading. there are levels set by the school, and there are guidelines set by the state, and he sees a reading specialist to try and help him catch up. because he isn't just a little behind, according to all the guidelines he's only reading at a second grade level. like the latest tests he took, he scored at level 20 (whatever that number really means). by the end of second grade/beginning of third, he was supposed to be a level 28. by the end of third, he supposed to be a 42 or something ridiculous. sadly, he's so far behind, i haven't even bothered to see where he's supposed to be grade level wise at this point. his brother, lumpy, who is in second grade, recently tested at level 24. bumble has started bringing home the same books his brother brought home months ago. so you can imagine how fun this is to deal with when faced with competitive brothers.

i am at a loss with all of it. i try to help him. we practice practice practice at home. he does his regular homework, his speech homework, and extra worksheets we've found to try and help him catch up. because i keep desperately hoping that something finally clicks and he just gets it. because he loves school and loves to learn and tries so hard, he definitely deserves to get it.

unfortunately, i've finally accepted that he's probably not just going to get it. that, as much as i love him, there is something not quite right going on in his brain. and so now his teachers, his specialists, and i are working toward getting him a label. because he's getting all the help they can give at school, unless he's labeled with a learning disability. because until they can say exactly what programs he needs, according to his label, then he can't have access to any of them.

this broken system breaks my heart. and as much as i don't like it, i know it's best and the right thing for him. looking toward the future, it's what needs to be done.

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