Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Learning From The Kids

Imagine you are a little girl who has been living with a foster family for almost a year when suddenly you are being moved to another home. You are confused, scared, and you have been abandoned once again. The next thing you know you are being bussed every day to a school for children who are deaf. You have short and long term memory lose so while they are working really really hard to teach you to communicate by signing and learning to read you can not learn these things. You can not remember the things that you had known the day before, you just can not understand this place. They are all thinking that you are not trying hard enough, but besides the fact that you can not remember things you are not intelligent enough to figure out the complex concepts that they are trying to teach you.They are moving way to fast for you to learn. You get really frustrated and angry with yourself and everyone around you. You do not care any more and you just shut down. Imagine this happening to you even though you are not deaf nor do you have any hearing problems at all. It happened because you were unable to speak and far beyond the age when you should have begun speaking. By this time you should be able to converse fluently. This happened to our Little girl. She should never have had to experience all of the trauma brought about here and she would not have if only people would communicate.

The foster parents who first had her had been begging for an FAS assessment as well as intelligence testing. They did not feel this child was deaf, therefore they wanted nothing to do with this school placement for her. No one who could listen to them would. They asked that this child be placed else where.

The birth parents were so wrapped up in their addictions that they could not deal with what was happening to their child.

The "system" was is a state of chaos and they were changing workers for this child so often that no one ever got to know her well enough to figure out what was going on. She had workers who were making decisions for her who had never even met her. There were to many of them to keep track of.

The first foster parents here were correct, there was plenty of evidence that clearly showed that this child had FAS. She had the facial features. She had jaw and palette deformities which would make it difficult for her to learn to speak. (It still amazes me that she speaks as well as she does given these issues). There were police reports which clearly indicated that this mom had been arrested for DWI twice during the time she was pregnant with this child. You do not drink two times during a pregnancy and happen to get arrested both times as the mom reported to the "system". There was a lot more alcohol consumption then that going on here.The people who work in the "system" are supposed to be educated, intelligent people who are supposed to being seeking whatever it is that would be in the child's best interest. They need to be listening to the foster parents, after all the kid is living in their home 24-7, they probably know her pretty well. The "system" also needs to understand that these kids are in need of protective services because there parents are addicted and these addictions are in large portion what results in domestic violence,poverty, physical abuse and neglect that these kids face. The "system" also needs to understand that these people who are in such a state of crisis that they are being court ordered into treatment programs are not going to be fully honest with them about their addictions. This is going to occur if they are willingly seeking help and are ready to admit that they have an addiction problem.

Why did I choose to tell the world about what happened here, because it happens all to often and I believe that if every one would step back and look at what is happening to Americas most vulnerable kids then maybe, just maybe these kids can teach us all how to be better at helping some other kids in the future. The "system" here really needs to get its act together and they need to figure out a way to get people working for the kids, they need to be consistent,they need to get these kids diagnosed when a diagnosis is warranted (stop hiding under a rock and admit that these kids have FAS, RAD, ADHD,ODD, and all the rest) and they need to listen to what the foster parents are telling them. Foster parents are not asking to get these kids diagnosed with disorders just for the fun of it, they are doing it in order to help the kids to live better lives, they are trying to give them a fighting chance in this world.

If everyone involved here would just take the time to communicate there would be a little less hurt in this world. Is anyone out there hearing this or is everyone deaf?

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