10/10/2011

On Labels

My son is what I consider a pretty typical boy. He is, perhaps, a bit more active than average, but still well within what I consider normal levels of activity for a 3.5 year old boy. He also has the attention span and willfulness that I consider pretty typical for this age.

Our church does Awana - which is a Bible memory program (essentially, there's more, but that's the heart of it), and the youngest kiddos that actually do memory verses are the Cubbies - and they start at 3 years old. So this year he's been able to participate. I signed him up over the summer when they started asking parents to do so. Nine other parents also signed up their Cubbies. Twenty-nine other parents just showed up with a Cubbies aged kid on the first night.

As you might imagine, the Cubbies room is understaffed.

This amped up my son quite a bit and, when I had to go pick him up last week before it was over, they indicated they weren't able to get him to settle down. Honestly? I was surprised they didn't have more of this sort of problem...38 3 and 4 year olds and 2 teachers? And hey, maybe they did. But I know he was the only one sent home.

Last night after Awana, they sent home paperwork to enroll him in "special needs" (even though there was only the one incident - he was perfect last night). I don't believe I can accurately describe how utterly livid I am. Turns out, they also had one of the parents who is a special education teacher come to observe him. Without my permission or even knowledge.

I sent off an email to the children's minister explaining that if this was their course of action I would either come and sit with him for the whole time or pull him from the program. It's their choice. But he's not got special needs - he's just an active little boy. Not hyperactive. Not ADHD. Not autistic. Not Asbergers. Not anything on any sort of spectrum. Is he too much for the parent/child ratio they have, maybe. But I don't think sticking a label on him is the right way to fix the problem. It boggles my mind how quickly people seem to want to slap a label on kids today - but it's not going to happen to my child.

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