Thursday, March 8, 2012


Tomorrow is my daughter's last day in the STEM Program.  She has the ability to do every piece of work.  At this moment in time, she doesn't have the ability to handle the workload without supports.  She has no supports.

Back when my son was in 2nd grade -- "the year we don't talk about" -- his doctor at Children's National Medical Center said, "Even if school were to change tomorrow and do everything they were supposed to do, he still wouldn't be successful because he's stuck.  We need to help him."  So we put him on a "big guns" medication with the potential for serious side effects.

It sort of feels the same to me right now.  It feels like even if every executive functioning and social skills support were to be put in place tomorrow, even if I could snap my fingers and enable her to regulate her emotions, my daughter couldn't pull herself out of the hole she's in academically (for not doing her work) and socially (for some poor choices and the lack of skills to work things out).  She's stuck.  So we're doing everything we can to help her.

I can't say that pulling her from STEM is the right choice, nor can I say that staying in STEM is the right choice.  They are choices with positives and negatives, neither tipping the scale one way or the other; for every argument I make for either choice, I can produce a "yes, but..." counterargument.  The situation is very unsettling -- we just don't know what's right.  And in lessening her workload by moving her to general education classes, we haven't guaranteed that she'll get unstuck; we haven't taught her any skills.

I told my son that his sister was transferring out of STEM, mostly because of the workload.  His response?  "The STEM6 workload was too  much for me, too.  I just kept my mouth shut."  Though it hurt our family life tremendously, STEM6 saved my son academically and socially.  It appears to be killing my daughter.

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