This week, The PediaBlog has focused on easing anxieties grade school and middle school students might be feeling as the new school year approaches. For the 20% of American children with ADHD, learning disabilities, or other issues that pose obstacles to learning efficiently, first-day jitters can be especially acute. The same is often true for parents of children in need of learning support. Amanda Morin’s son is smart and sweet, but he is not like most of the other kids he goes to school with. She knows the other kids — and their mothers — are talking about him and are worried he may be in their class:

I have no doubt, however, that you’ve heard about the supports and services and extra help my son receives. I’m pretty sure you know that he sometimes gets loud and has to leave class when he’s overexcited. I’m sure other kids have told their parents about his behavior plan and that information has made the rounds, too.

So maybe you’re asking about his teacher because you’re actually afraid they will be in the same class. I know some parents are concerned about the impact of inclusive classrooms. They worry that their child will lose out because the teacher is spending too much time with kids like mine. They also worry that classroom expectations will be lowered or that their child will pick up “behaviors.”

I understand why people have those worries. We’re scared of what we don’t know or understand. But you’re not going to understand it if you don’t ask the right person. And that person is me.


Unless you have a child who learns differently, can’t sit still, acts out, or who has other educational, social, or behavioral needs that single them out, it’s really hard to understand how isolated and lonely kids can feel. It’s just as bad for their parents, who may feel their child has no other advocate:

If you want to know if my son is in the same class as yours because you don’t want him there, well, I’m not going to lie—that hurts. It hurts because he’s a little boy and he’s doing the best he can. It hurts because he has so much to offer the world and so much friendship he’s eager to share with your child.

But it also upsets me because I worry about whether your child hears you asking about my son. Believe me, I’m not perfect, and I’ve said my share of things in front of my kids that I shouldn’t have. That’s why I worry. I know how hard it is to walk it back once you’ve said something you wish you hadn’t.


Amanda is advocating for herself, too:

What if our kids have the same interests and are destined to be best friends? What if you and I have loads in common and could be close friends? What if your child is struggling, too, and I know how to help you get him the help he needs?…

I hope we get to talk for real soon because I’d love to tell you more about my son. I hope our kids are in the same class because then your child can see what a great kid my child is. And I’d like to get to know you better, too.


Read the rest of Amanda Morin’s “An Open Letter to the Parents Worried My Son Is in Their Child’s Class” here.


(Google Images)