someone has to do it

and here’s why mainstreaming is ruining your kid’s education

… that’s great that your mentally retarded (yes I used that phrase, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute, so rehinge your jaw) kid is in a regular classroom. Now get my kid out.

That’s right, I used the phrase mentally retarded and not “learning disabled”, and I stand by it. Fiercely. But it’s so offensive! So not PC! So cruel! Doesn’t she realize how demeaning that label is? Listen up people, because I’m only going to go over this like maybe 6 or 7 times. In REALITY, and I’m talking about real reality, not this idiotic world we’re stuck in at the moment where money has no real value, the idea of work ethic is a completely foreign concept to most of America, ethics and morality are also pretty much non-existent because parents don’t really parent, and no one takes personal responsibility for, well, anything anymore. In REALITY, the term mentally retarded is actually much less demeaning than “learning disabled”. And here’s why:

Mentally, a form of the word mental, of course, would indicate brain processes.

Retarded,  by definition, and not the inane slang definition it’s been given over the years, I’m talking Miriam Webster here, means slowed.

THEREFORE mentally retardedwould refer to slowed processes of the brain.

Now, “learning disabled” on the other hand, is pretty specific. Let’s quickly define learning as the ability to obtain, assimilate, and utilize information. Does that work for everyone? And feel free to slam me on that one, I can take it, I’m a big girl. The word we’re really concerned with here is “disabled”.

First, the prefix dis- : According to Webster’s New World Disctionary (World Publishing Company, 1964), when used with an adjective, the prefix renders the original word as it’s opposite. It even uses the word “disable” as the example. As for defining the full word “disabled”? Are you ready for this?

“… unable or unfit…” (p. 415).

Do I really need to put that all together for you? If it were my kid? I’d choose mentally retarded over learning disabled every fucking time. Please refer to my child as one who is slower to process things rather that one who is unable or unfit to learn. Mentally slower, not broken in the head. Now do you get it?

But back to the issue at hand… all day mainstreaming of the “learning disabled” child into the regular classroom and why you should be outraged even if your child is the one who is the being mainstreamed.

Plain and simple? IT’S FUCKING UP EVERYONE’S EDUCATION. Not one single child in a fully mainstreamed classroom is getting the education they deserve. (If you want me to throw in some numbers here from some research studies, forget it. I spent enough time staring down EBSCO Host in Psych searches for graduate research papers. I’m not going back to that soul sucking vortex for my freaking blog. You can do one of three things here… you can: 1. Take my word for it (this is the easiest, and most painless option); 2. go to your local library, put on some waders, and jump into the gooey love that is EBSCO in hopes of finding research to either prove me right or wrong (depending on your druthers); 3. use your goddamn powers of logic. If they have been exhausted from the earlier exercise, please see option (1.).)

I remember when I was in kindergarten and a rather patronizing bitch woman came into my classroom and informed us that there would be some new students coming to our school, and that these students were not like us-they were special. Now, of course she was referring to a group of mentally retarded students (yes, I AM going to keep using that phrase. Deal with it. Refer back to my statements regarding WHY, and DEAL with it). My response as a 5 year old? Why am I NOT special? I mean, I totally got that they were different and all that, but the way that that woman explained it to us (as though WE were the retarded ones), it made it sound as though we were now second class citizens and these new special kids were so much more important than we were, that they were to be given every consideration possible, including the pencils from our hands and the blocks from our building stash. Now, this was not mainstreaming into classrooms yet, just the introduction into the regular school. This was way back in the 1980’s before everything went to hell. We were getting ready to step into the handbasket, but it hadn’t been completely woven yet.

But these days, there are a lot of fully mainstreamed classrooms. Like (you guessed it!) The Girl’s. Two kids in her class are functioning at a 3 1/2-year-old level. So guess what? That’s the level THE ENTIRE CLASS is geared toward. No, I am not making this up, this is not hyperbole, this is information straight out of the teacher’s mouth. And it’s not her fault, she’s frustrated and screwed by the whole deal worse than anyone. Poor woman’s teaching preschool. It’s absurd. The mainstreamed kids aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve, and the other kids aren’t getting an education. And yes, I know my kid is ridiculously advanced. But you tell me what 5 year old can’t count past 10? Doesn’t know the alphabet? Can’t tell the difference between a square and a triangle or groups of crackers versus groups of pennies. Because these are the thing The Girl’s class has been working on. In fact, they’re only working on counting to 5 at the moment. And did you know that the letter “C” only makes the hard sound as in “cut”? Apparently letters in todays alphabet are no longer multi-tasking. At least, that’s what The Girl learned in the Alphabet Sounds Song the other day.

So… what have we learned today class? I hope we’ve learned that reality is out there somewhere, just waiting for us to acknowledge it again and get back to work, that it’s better to be retarded than disabled, that no kid is any more special than any other no matter how different they may be (although Mozart, Beethoven, Einstein, Monet, Picasso, people like that do stand apart… but the word “rare” would substitute nicely for special-don’t you think?), and that perhaps completely  mainstreaming our kids is NOT the best idea… for anyone… no matter how much you want your kid to be just like everyone else, he’s different… just like everyone else. Love him for it. Celebrate it. Be an advocate for what he NEEDS, not for what you WANT him to have.

And one more thing… before you get completely irate and fire off some comment slamming me for insensitivity and elitism, take a really deep breath, let it out, repeat twice more, and go back and re-read what I’ve written. Slowly. Thoughtfully. Apply logic. If you still think I’m hanging out on the crazy box drinking the kool-aid of superiority, then go ahead and write that email… I love a good competitive discussion…

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it’s a new and exciting kind of monotony

… THWACK-I’ve been slammed with adulthood. Crap.

NW013

I know it’s been a stupid long time since I’ve been here, and for that, dear BlogSurfer.us (you’ve even changed your name! you sneaky little scamp), and readers (those of you whom there may or may not be), I do sincerely apologize. But here’s the thing. Life has been kind of, erm, fucked lately. Like, laundry-list-o-stupid-shit fucked. Some big, some little, some shrug off “meh” stuff, some “holy god you’ve got to be kidding shut the fuck up or I’ll do it for you” kind of stuff. And all the while, I kept thinking, I really need to write this. I really really really need to sit and write. But did I? Nooooooo. Did I curl up in the corner and cry like a baby? Yeah, a couple of times (ok, more than a couple times. Quit rolling your eyes, you lunatic of a sister, you). Did I seek solace in a few other places that shall remain nameless? Oh my yes. (You can stop shaking your head Professor, most of it was gin and tequila.) But did I sit down and write? Nope. Not a single freakin’ word. And wasn’t that the whole point of this blog in the first place? Uh, yeah, it was.  Carving out this little word-cave was supposed to give me a place to spew whatever blech I needed to so I wouldn’t have to slide into it and swim around until I was covered in the muck and dreck and dripping with ick. ‘Cause that shit is harder to get off than the sticky  shit that comes with the Easter hams. thankyouveryfuckingmuch.

And so here I am, we are, after a summer full of family drama/trauma, one kidlette in kindergarten and another in preschool, and a husband attempting to heal from back surgery. What? you say. Do explain! Drama? Trauma? Surgery? And what about being slammed with adulthood? That sounded painful! Yeah, well… there’s no one to play nurse-maid for ME, so slap a fucking bandaid on it, rub some dirt in your eye and get back in the game. Right? Fuck that, it fucking HURTS!!! And I’m TIRED! And everyone in this god forsaken house (which, by the way, hates me on some base level, but we’ll get to that later) is either broken, sick, 4-years-old, or some evil combination of the afore mentioned maladies.

Someone made the comment to me recently that “sucking it up”, although it is not technically a psychiatric term, really ought to be simply for it’s descriptive perfection. And she has the qualifications to say this, by the way, the MD after her name and everything. And she’s not one of those half-assed psych docs who get paid insane amounts of money to throw drugs at people without ACTUALLY doing any REAL therapeutic work with them. She’s a give-it-all-you’ve-got kind of doc, and dare I say human being in general, and I get to say this because, well, I’ve known her for that many years and through that many evolutions. But back to the “sucking it up” thing… So she makes this comment to me, and it was (is) so fucking appropos of the last couple of weeks.

(And yes, I know that EVERYONE has to just suck it up and get on with things, so don’t start finger waggling and head shaking and thinking Oh lord, here she goes again, all this Poor Me song and dance again because A. I’m venting here, that’s what this is for; B. Really? You think this is self-indulgent? and 3. Even those of you reading this who might 1. know me, 2. be related to me, or 3. think you may have some sort of strange stalker-esque soul connection with me, you still don’t know the whole story, so judge not lest ye be fucking judged. M’Kay? Yes, I’m a little touchy ’bout that. It’s an issue. I’m working on it.)

Moving on…

I had a point, there was one when I started this, although I think it may have morphed in the two days since I started writing. I was going to give you a sort of “best of” (hah-best of-more like blooper reel) recap… the reunions with two friends I haven’t seen in almost 20 years that made me feel indescribably loved, the family reunion that was strange in a California-meets-North Dakota in Montana sort of way (just think about that one for a minute, you’ll figure it out… it IS that descriptive, and it IS what you’re picturing… probably… just add elderly farmers and ranchers), and the annual family vacation that quite literally crushed a large part of my heart, twisted a medium sized chunk of my brain, and sucked just the smallest bit of my soul right out (no, not exaggerating on that one, and it all happened in the span of roughly, 0h, 10 minutes? 15?Families can be just so super duper sometimes). And then of course there’s the beginning of kindergarten, which is, dear Professor, beginning to atrophy The Girl’s brain already…

And then of course there’s The Husband’s back surgery and consequent convalescence, which does pretty much throw off my whole fucking day. As a person who is NOT built for constant companionship,  this constant companionship is driving me batshit. I keep thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t so broken, or if he was handling it better, or more helpful while he’s here ALL FUCKING DAY, but mostly it’s just that I’m The Mom. And at this point, I’m The Mom to a kindergartener, a preschooler, and what amounts to a college kid living in the basement. At least he’s not as stoned as he was before the surgery, and yes, he does help with the kidlettes, but there’s too much yelling. Too much impatience. Not enough love. Doubles my work, makes everyone feel like shit. Kids, me, Husband, everyone.  It’s like walking a very tight, very thin wire in bare feet-it cuts, and you bleed, but you have to stay up there and balance because you finally made it up there, you managed to get all the shit balanced in your hands, on your shoulders, and you’re keeping your eyes closed because if you open them you might not see the end of the wire-there might not be anywhere to set anything down. So yeah. I’m tired of sucking it up. And I’m just tired. Really fucking tired… and thirsty. Where’s the goddamn gin?

NW018