Chris was sick and stayed home from school all but one day last week. Today he felt well enough to build in the dirt around the swing set but still told me he was too sick to attend school. I was a bit puzzled but decided that being the mom meant I could make the choice for him, "You look healthy enough for school. Get dressed!" He kept hemming and hawing until I finally asked him if wanted be un-enrolled for the rest of the year. Upon receiving an affirmative answer I queried whether he'd miss music? Yes, he certainly would. Library? Yes, that too would be missed. Ahhh.... I understand now..... "P.E.?"
Nope, he'd rather quit going to school altogether than go to P.E. Apparently he and "Coach" are not fans of each other. What's more, Chris once had to go to the bathroom, "really, really bad," last year and when Coach wouldn't excuse him to use the restroom Chris almost had an accident.
After being out all week with the flu Chris was not willing to risk having an accident during the one whole hour a day he attends school. We compromised. I sent a note asking that Chris be allowed to leave class and visit the restroom without explaining himself. I mentioned that he's feeling a bit anxious about the situation. When we arrived at school I spoke with his speech therapist (who facilitates everything for him) and told her about his dilemna. She found out for us that Chris had music today and so Chris went happily to class.
The therapist kept my note and said she'll talk to Coach today and get him "educated" by tomorrow. Tomorrow Chris is to report to her room where they'll role play the conversation where Chris is going to tell Coach that sometimes he needs to leave class and go to the restroom. Then Chris is going to give Coach the note and explain that sometimes he needs to leave.
It seems like a whole lot of trouble for something as simple as being excused from class to perform a biological function. I have two strong thoughts about the situation. First, why is it such a big deal to let a kid use the bathroom in the first place? Second, why is it so hard for Chris to speak up about his needs? Both individuals involved in this situation could handle things differently and have a positive outcome. Yet- here we are.
Mrs. J (SLP) thinks seeing the whole little drama out will be a good opportunity for Chris to really think about how communicating his needs helps him get those needs met. First, we have the written communication in the note. Second, we have verbal communication between Chris and his teacher. Third, we have resolution of the problem. It's all very logical. I'm sure it's a good idea. Yet- it feels like we're negotiating a hostage stand-off instead of simply teaching a seven year old how to ask to use the restroom when it's inconvenient for the teacher to comply with said request. Am I the only one who sees a molehill growing taller here?