For those who know me I teach children with special needs that have been placed in the regular classroom. Well, until next week when I resign. Honestly I think it has been a toxic place for me. I have too much empathy, and bring their pain into me, and home with me.
Today I had a meeting scheduled for a little 3rd grader that had been diagnosed Bipolar and ADHD. I know what you are thinking…..a little young for that label. I had a moment today to pull her aside and talk to her. She has been in constant trouble all year to the point they had to change her teacher. Discipline referrals were sky high. Anyway I am getting off track.
I asked her if she went to the doctor and what did he say….I wasn’t putting words in her mouth or making her feel like someone “told” on her. She replied that she had “mental disorders”. I said, “You know it is okay, I am Bipolar, have Panic and Anxiety Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder.” She then confessed that she had Bipolar also and ADHD and something else. It was three things she said.
So I began talking to her. I told her it wasn’t going to be easy, it would be hard. However, those words are not her, that she is still “Insert Girl Name”. Do not let the diagnoses define her. I had them and look I made it through school, college, and became a teacher. She looked up at me for a moment and said “so we are the same?” I told her yes. I didn’t have the heart, and wouldn’t anyway, tell her that some days will be so hard you would wish you were dead. That I am not going back to teaching next year because I can’t handle it mentally. She didn’t need to hear any of that nonsense today.
All I wanted her to understand at such a young age that the diagnosis of a mental didprder does not define “her”. She is still “her”, she just has to work a little harder than the normal population to be “her”.
Thanks for reading.