I just finished reading "Admission," a YA title by Julie Buxbaum.
The book was a Kindle recommendation after I completed "Yoga Pant Nation" by Laurie Gelman (the third in the Class Mom Series).
Normally I steer clear of Young Adult fiction--not because it is not written well--but just because I don't feel like reliving anything "young adult." But the subject of the work--a fictional story based on the very real admission bribery scandals of 2019--had some personal meaning to me. One of the scams was having paying for your child to be classified with some learning disability in order for them to access accommodations on the college board exams.
About a week ago I was accused of making an unethical request by asking that my daughter's IEP be revised to include an accommodation she needs for all testing--which is extra time. Somehow, in the pandemic transition from middle to high school, this specific accommodation was edited out, even though extended time on assignments was spelled out. In my mind, this was simply an oversight or an error.
But, then I was called unethical--as if I was manufacturing a need in order to give my child a leg up on the competition and the PSAT.
But, then is it? Or this how the world perceives us? The parents of a child who's needs are not "special" enough. Or is there weird sick jealousy around my daughter's journey? I know I sound insane; but I cannot help thinking that there was truth behind the accusation--a firm belief that mothers like me are somehow unethical for fighting for accommodations for my child. That somehow, because I believe my daughter will have a bright, successful, extraordinary future and because I firmly believe she is capable of absolutely anything and everything with hard work, dedication and creativity; that any support we request is unethical?
We don't consider our daughter disabled--far from it. But is this consideration what makes us unethical?
I am still not over it. In fact, I am still feeling rather speechless over the accusation. I haven't even begun to address this untenable accusation with the accuser. I don't like that I haven't fully addressed it; it is unlike me to not take my problem to the problem's source. I like to clear the air and be direct. I am not saying I am a saint--I certainly also like to discuss everything with my trusted circle. But, then I like to nip it in the bud.
Especially when it comes to issues involving my children.
Despite the accusation and thanks to an amazing guidance counselor, everything my daughter needed for the college boards has been resolved, except for my personal feelings over how I am perceived as a mother to a child with special educational needs. My daughter needs extra time--her fine motor and processing skills can be a barrier in timed tests thanks to a brain tumor and treatment--but her "smarts" and her skills, those are strong and worthy of the college boards. The extra time simply removes a barrier that is relatively meaningless in the end and it creates equitable access to a standardized test.
My child receiving what she needs does not mean other children cannot receive what they need. Her needs are no threat to her classmates and my request is simply to reflect the educational plan we've created for her.
But, here I am, wondering--does the world think my kid gets free passes? Does the world believe that she gets some golden cancer ticket?
And honestly, I don't know that the answer isn't yes.
This situation in a work in progress for me mentally. It is certainly a very sensitive one. I am sure some people reading this, particularly in our small town, will have a negative impression of me. But, maybe they already did.