Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tipping the Balance

We are entering into testing season in public school. G gets tested repeatedly throughout the school year. However, after Christmas vacation, the district kicks into high gear. Now not only are CMT groups meeting after school for those students who the district has deemed in need of extra help, they are now meeting during school for all students. I find it so frustrating that our district cannot find time to sing a 20 second patriotic song (a tradition that was cut from the day this year due to needing more “instructional time”) yet they can manage to reschedule teachers and students to create CMT Study Groups; groups of children in grades three through six who meet at least weekly focusing on one area of the CMT test. There is an increase in district mandated testing, and this is all piled on top of grade level work that is required. Add to this, no outdoor recess as long as there is snow on the ground and I have a recipe for one very stressed unhappy child.

The red flags of her sensory processing disorder are up. G’s ankle hurts. Pain is a sure signal of stress in her body. She had a nightmare about having her behavior clip moved from the green zone to the yellow zone. She does not want to shower, she does not want her hair brushed. She is extremely tired despite sleeping 11 hours. I try my best to balance her. I give her outlets for exercise through basketball. I try to schedule more playdates. Most importantly I talk to her. I get her to talk to me. As long as we are communicating I can help to manage her stress.

I know G is a tough kid. I know she got three staples in her head and the next day threw her helmet on and had a skating lesson with her coach. I know she can score almost perfectly on the CMT despite being on neurological medication for a pain disorder that I strongly feel was brought about by the damn test she was scoring so well on. So what is the price for having a tough kid. Is it stress? Is it unhappiness? Are the positives still outweighing the negatives? I don’t want to be anti-school. But I see what it is doing to my two children, one I have been fortunate enough to get out before the stress of testing truly impacted her emotionally. But what about G? She chose to remain in school. She is choosing to handle the stress of her school day. Even with trying to make our home as stress free as possible, life has stress. How much is a nine year old supposed to handle before my “tough” kid needs more help than I can give her?

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