Monday, March 27, 2023

Regarding the letter by “Name Withheld” called “It’s Time to Sound the Alarm,” (October 6, 2016): I can feel how hurt and angry you feel through your words and I am so sorry. While I do not know you or what you have been through, it is clear that there is much pain and upset inside you. I do not know your child or what circumstances he or she is under but I can feel how frustrated you feel and again I really am so sorry.

I work in a school. I work with children. I work with teachers. I work with parents. I have seen and been with many parents who share your hurt and pain. Parents who look me in the eyes and the sadness and upset are undeniable. They too wish that their child could just be a child. That they did not have to be called in for meetings at school. That their child could learn, play and function like all the others. And boy do we try our best to put every possible intervention in place to try and help their child do just that. Academic interventions, social interventions, behavior interventions. There are books written just on interventions! We exhaust every possible way to accommodate, modify and differentiate what we do to help their child find success. We come back to the same table time and time again to tweak the plan, to figure out better reinforcements, to try harder. It is only as a last resort that we need to look elsewhere to help the child meet their potential and feel successful.

It is not an easy recommendation to make but I can assure you that if and when we get to the point that a medical intervention is necessary it is because we have tried everything and exhausted everything else. I have sat with parents and listened to their concerns. We have weighed pros and cons. We have deliberated about which kind of medical professional would be most helpful—neurologist, developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist etc. I have held their hands as they cry and attempted to comfort them with my words. It is a last resort, but it is a necessary one.

Kids will be kids. That is true. But kids need to be able to grow, develop and flourish. It is the job of the school and its educators to ensure that every child reaches their potential. Every child is unique and their abilities must be nourished and tended to in their own way. Some kids are able to handle frustration well, others need help. Some kids are great in math, others require more specialized instruction. Some kids can get up in the morning ready to start their day, others are immobilized with fear or anxiety. Kids will be kids, but as professionals it is our responsibility to ensure that every kid is given a chance to shine and so that they can well…be a kid.

I am sorry you have been hurt. I am sorry you feel so much pain. I hope that you and your family find some way to cope with whatever has happened to you. There are many people out there who can help you if you choose. I hope you feel better.

Pamela Rothman, PsyD


Sign up now!