[Discuss-sudbury-model]Re: Discuss-sudbury-model digest, Vol 1 #16 - 2 msgs-Labels

From: cheryl poe <busychildlv_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Mon Sep 2 14:55:01 2002

Hi all,
I truely feel for parents who want the best for their children but feel they are unable to find it. Sometimes I think parents are looking in the wrong places for that help. No one knows their child better then the parent, but sometimes ( and I will try to be as gentle as I can) parents with children who have a major disability carry baggage which CAN cause them to be unable to see the strenghs the child has. I truely believe that a children can learn to take responsibity at a very early age. Is a child not taking responsibilities for his/her needs of hunger when they cry as infants to prompt mom to feed them? I say yes but I guess depends on how board of a scope one uses to see things. To me it sounds if the schools scope needs to opened just a little. Sure the expense and the impact of some severe disabilities are valid but does not mean the school should just close the doors. Instead why help parents set a school with the same values but make the adjustment to serve the severe population also.
Excuse my spelling it has been a long weekend!
I hope this helps
Sincerely and lovingly,
Cheryl
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Today's Topics:

1. RE: Re: "ADD/ADHD" kids (Joe Jackson)
2. Re: Re: "ADD/ADHD" kids (Shelli Buhr)

--__--__--

Message: 1
From: "Joe Jackson"
To:
Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model]Re: "ADD/ADHD" kids
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2002 10:02:17 -0400
Reply-To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org

Shelli,

I am truly sorry for the pain which has come with the travails faced by
your daughter. It's really difficult to see someone we love go through
so much pain and make decisions we know they will likely regret and have
to live with for years.

Our daughter sounds very much like yours in several ways and has had
three children at a very young age. It was very difficult at first, and
I think the pain and misery of raising a child alone played a large part
in finding a good guy and eventually marrying him. Her romantic view of
a family caused her to want to have the other two children even though
the money wasn't quite right, and while the big family has caused it's
fair share of heartache, at least she has the support of a husband, and
we all know the rewards having kids brings that can offset the
challenges.

>>So I suppose, in a manner of speaking, that it is true to say that
Sudbury does not always accept
>>disabled children, just like they do not always admit white children
and female children and
>>stubborn children and redheaded children and so forth.

>No disrespect but you are comparing apples to oranges. Responsibility
or mental illness is not applicable
>to a skin color or religious belief. It is a real part of society and
the reality of that Joe, is these are the
>children that are going to grow up and vote on your laws, and your
social security that you will depend on.
>And our rigid thinking is not serving them. The Indigo children are
here in fact, to bust the system. And they are.

You missed my point. I am not comparing them - to the contrary:
disabled children are NOT categorically excluded from the school, just
like every other category of "special" children anyone can possibly
imagine.

> If a child already enrolled in traditional education did have a severe
case of ADD,
> could SVS change or rather, channel their energy into a new direction
that could
> serve them? At what age would programming be instilled in the children
that could
> not be responsible. Because I do believe that all children will be
responsible at
> some point; it may show up at age 5, 15, or 50.

What it is going to be difficult to explain here is precisely framed
within your criticism (and I used that term in the purest intellectual
form; I did not interpret any hostlity or dismay on your part, Shelli
:>) ). Everybody who's somebody understands nowadays that the dynamics
referred to as ADD, even in it's severest form, appear in only graphic
relief to the environment - the symptom class doesn't happen in a
vacuum.

And the Sudbury environment gives no graphic relief wherein ADD/ADHD
matters, or most often can even be detected.

That's why it is profoundly important to point out that ADD as a
category does not apply at Sudbury. What *does* apply is whether a
child is capable of not hurting other people, the building and it's
contents, or themselves (physically). These are the sole criteria upon
which parents, students and schools, in conference, determine that the
school is not the best place for a given child.

> so then I guess my question to you is who actually is responsible for
the ones who fall in
> between the cracks? Don't they have the right to an education?

That's a really big question, and I can only answer it from the
standpoint of a school that is predicated on giving children the right
to govern their own lives: that people who cannot exist in an open
environment should not be there. I believe that aside from disabilities
which call for assistance demanding personnel and equipment we cannot
afford, every child can exist in this environment. It is simply a
matter of whether it is important enough to them to be there.

> We cant all be Albert
> Einstein, some of us are healers, some of us are artists, some of us
scientists.

I don't really understand. You may not be aware that Sudbury schools
produce an inordinate number of healers, artists and musicians. In fact
we get criticized for that sometimes.

One last thing. I know the idea that there are children who are "turned
away from" Sudbury and thereby "fall through the cracks" provides a real
tug at the heartstrings (and I'm as big a sop as you will find!), but
the Reality is that the vast, vast majority of the decisions not to
enroll are made, in concert, by the family and the school. So we should
not waste our grieving for a situation which is largely nonexistent.

What IS sad, however, is the number of students we have seen that would
absolutely LOVE to come to the school, but the parents will not enroll
them, for reasons such as "my child wouldn't be able to handle the
responsibility" or "they won't learn anything".

-Joe

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org
[mailto:discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org] On Behalf Of Shelli Buhr
Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 3:26 AM
To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model]Re: "ADD/ADHD" kids

Hi all.
I didn't expect my post to bring on so much activity. I am also going to
share this with the indigo children list. The beauty of these children
is that they are so much smarter than we think. They are really teaching
us.
So, in the sake of seeking the truth for myself and posting an apology
if necessary, how do I access the archives so I can pull quotations from
the posts? This way, if there is a misunderstanding, it can be cleared
up.
If I am misunderstanding something, perhaps it is because of my own
emotional attachment to experiences with my ADD/Bi-polar child. Not that
I am labeling her, but she has been treated as such by many various
mental health facilities. I am offering this as a means of
understanding.
I would like to reply to just a couple of other things by offering my
experience, so maybe we can build a bridge here.
This is not about judgment of any sort and the value I do place in
Sudbury; in an earlier post, I requested to pay for a booth for someone
to share the Sudbury Philosophy at a conference. I don't see things in
black or white, rather varying shades of gray. And in my heart, it is
good!
<< Sometimes the school and/or the family do not enroll in cases where
it seems that the child cannot take responsibility for themselves. In
some cases, this may be a child that would be determined to have
learning disabilities.>>
with my daughter, especially due to her age, I would not enroll her in a
SVS school. By high school age, her interest in education was so
squelched by traditional systems that if she goes back to school, it
will be a long while before this occurs.
No, she is not capable of handling the responsibility of Sudbury. Now
perhaps, had she started at an early age, all of this would be a mute
point. I did not discover SVS until last year. I truly believe that an
SVS would have altered her experience, bringing out her natural
abilities, her nurturing compassion, especially with animals, and her
incredible strength. But to change her at age 17, I do not feel it is
possible, so I do take her age into consideration here. She at age 5,
wanted to be a teacher, and at 8 wanted to be a vet. Now, she will not
consider any of these careers because she hates to go to school.
If a child already enrolled in traditional education did have a severe
case of ADD, could SVS change or rather, channel their energy into a new
direction that could serve them? At what age would programming be
instilled in the children that could not be responsible. Because I do
believe that all children will be responsible at some point; it may show
up at age 5, 15, or 50.
Back to the responsibility and learning disabilities. With Des, it will
take her many years until she is responsible, or at least by my
judgment. I do not believe in medicating children, unless it is
necessary. I love her so much more than being right, so if the
medication did help her, then I was going to offer it to her; it did
help some in smaller learning environments, and her IEP; traditional
education for her was not enough nurturing of her spirit, IMO. Sudbury I
believe can be nurturing to a child's spirit. It is my intention to
offer her what can help her, not what "I think" she needs.
Due to the extremity of her disability, she is entirely in the present
moment, which is by the way, an Indigo trait. She does not understand
anything other than where she is now, nor does she understand her
consequences. She would run into the street without looking both ways,
regardless of how many times she was taught, scolded, held, persuaded,
that it was in her best interest because she could hurt herself; even
seeing a cat get ran over was not enough, but in a sense, Des is very
instinctual, and smart, bright, but not logical. She forgets rules, and
gets so caught in the experience of that moment, which continually
changes for her as moments do. So the concept of responsibility is not
something she has yet learned by experience at age 17, no matter how
many people have worked with her.
It may in fact be a reality in her life for a very long time, often
creating many painful experiences for her because she cannot fit into
the box, any box. She is now 17 and pregnant, having no idea of how to
give birth, let alone raise a child; there is a huge chance this child
will be taken from her and it will probably kill her soul, which as her
mother, kills mine. And people stand back and tell me, well she isn't
responsible and she has no business having a child; my hearts because my
judgment is they are right. When I asked her if she knows that birthing
requires a hospital and about $5k, her response is, do I need a
hospital. She is not retarded, in fact, very bright, highly intuitive
and reads people and can blow them away, and has actually learned to use
this as a way to manipulate her environment.
Because her experience has gone so far, it will take a long time for her
to heal from a lot of the emotional and social experiences that have
come from her "irresponsibility." This isn't about fault or blame. It is
simply her reality. and just like as you were a teen, or a child, no one
really could tell you how to be, or think, you just hid it and sometimes
got caught. .
The toughest part for her to deal with is that she feels she is normal.
She is very bright, incredibly loving and creative. But all of her life,
teachers and other professional have said, she is not good enough. Here
is where I say, I don't believe any child is not good enough because
they cannot be responsible because it may be a physiological problem,
and in fact, many children are having this same problem. Perhaps my
question is not to address Sudbury but to humanity in general but what
about those kids?
I am a parent seeking answers, if not for her, for other children. My
role is to find a place for them. SVS/Summerhill is the closest model I
have found to date.
So I suppose, in a manner of speaking, that it is true to say that
Sudbury does not always accept disabled children, just like they do not
always admit white children and female children and stubborn children
and redheaded children and so forth.
No disrespect but you are comparing apples to oranges. Responsibility or
mental illness is not applicable to a skin color or religious belief. It
is a real part of society and the reality of that Joe, is these are the
children that are going to grow up and vote on your laws, and your
social security that you will depend on.
And our rigid thinking is not serving them. The Indigo children are here
in fact, to bust the system. And they are.
is it really your intent to criticize the school for not admitting
*all* children, *only* if they are "special"?
I wasn't criticizing, I made a statement and it didn't even come in any
form of hostility or dismay, it was my opinion to something that was
posted from something that I read six months ago. If I was criticizing,
I would have done so 6 months ago.
and the word "only" is again another logical fallacy in my opinion. It
not because of this one thing that the whole cookie crumbles. And all
children are special Joe. And we are all children in God's eyes. AND..
if I believe its perfectly ok for me to find a fault in this, but even
though I may have found one fault, IMO, I am still standing behind SVS
to the point of wanting to building as many school as possible. Even the
best of life, will there be a sprinkle of the worst part of life. Its
what I call the opportunity for growth. In a perfect world...
Because in my mind, it is obvious that if a student cannot be
responsible for themselves, for whatever reason, they need to be in an
environment where someone can take responsibility for them.

so then I guess my question to you is who actually is responsible for
the ones who fall in between the cracks? Don't they have the right to an
education? We cant all be Albert Einstein, some of us are healers, some
of us are artists, some of us scientists. My goal is to give them the
foundation so they can simply be nurtured; if it means an alternative
school with more structure and SVS philosophies, then perhaps that will
come into being as well
Special.. sure, that is a great word. I have enclosed a story at the end
of my post that I received in my email. Its called Something for Stevie.

Aside from the fact that the entire model is predicated on catering to
students who are *able* to take responsibility for themselves, in our
experience, it is clear to the family when they come through the school
that a Sudbury school is definitely not a place with the resources and
training and equipment (and money!!) to give constant supervision and
assistance to individuals who cannot survive without it.
Are there folks at the acute end of this "scale" that would tend to find
a Sudbury School not being the best fit? I'm certain of it.

ok I can live with this. So maybe it is my job to take both the
structure and the wonderful philosophies behind SVS. Or maybe we can
make SVS the norm, so that those who require special attention can still
have the benefits of both worlds.
don't remember that part of the book off the top of my head - I'm not
saying he did not state that
he heads up a chapter with this aspect, in fact, that was one of the
things that drew me to SVS. It was along the lines of how there are no
speech disabilities because children have the desire to be heard,
therefore are inbred with the desire to speak and therefore learn.. and
the thought of speech disabilities, although may exist, is few and far
between.
that we all understand that "learning disability" is a coverall that is
used to describe anyone from slow readers/ADDers/dyslexics,
in Psychological terms through a mental health diagnosis that covers the
treatment for ADD/ADHD and administering the use of medication, ADD/ADHD
which was what this topic is headed as.
all the way to people with strong obsessive-compulsive symptoms,
schizophrenic symptoms, Downs Syndrome, etc.
In the case of my daughter, she is ADD with bi-polar tendencies and lets
not forget autism. Obsessive compulsive is a whole other ball game. We
have overeaters, drug addicts, workaholics, control freaks, etc.. all of
which every single person alive will more than likely fall into one of
these categories. So again, I mean no disrespect but some of your
examples can be defending a position that doesn't need to be defended,
but the means of how you are defending it makes me feel that there is
still justification. Its all good. We are reading the same book, just a
couple of pages off from being in Synch.
And being an adult Indigo, I am here to see through the bullshit and
bust the paradigm in the name of children everywhere. When God looks
down at us, he sees us all with the same joy and love. No one is any
more special, no one is undeserving. We are all precious.
But is "learning disabled" a label with which it can be categorically
stated that Sudbury schools tend not to admit? Absolutely not, in fact
I would argue the opposite.
Again, I will go back to the archives. But I do feel I have also made my
points clear on my beliefs. This doesn't mean you have to accept my
beliefs any more than I have to accept yours. It stands to reason that I
have this disagreement and that again, is ok.
we find that kids who have been (or, in all likelihood, would be)
categorized elsewhere as learning disabled FLOCK to our schools. Ask
anyone who works in one. We've had Tourrette's, mild OCD, people who
hear voices, folks coming to our school. And that's just the staff!
(just kidding)
Which is exactly why I have also flocked to you.
And people that would likely be labelled as such in an environment where
ADD/ADHD/ODD is apparent? You must be kidding. I think I just posted
about that, and I honestly cannot say that I don't believe that two
thirds of the boys in our school would be labelled ADD. Seriously.
I saw your post and enjoyed it, pondered at the richness of it even.
Thank you for sharing that.
Believe me, if the family and the student wants to try, our enrollment
people are really hard-pressed to turn away people that look like they
have the potential to live on their own terms
I hope that maybe in bringing more SVS's in, that no child would have to
be turned away. That is why I feel that even though I am not a teacher,
I do have the capacity as an entrepreneur to build schools by putting
together a prototype and act as a consultant. I would in fact, consider
it an honor and my way of not just talking the talk, but walking the
talk, which is the Indigo way.
So maybe I should end this by asking you Joe, what if this was you and
someone gave up on you? And as parents, what if this is your child
falling through the cracks? Seeing this has humbled me greatly, and also
brought out my warrior side. I feel we all have the right to an
education. So again, it isn't either/or but AND for me. I will continue
to watch this board, and hopefully learn even more, as I already have,
and am grateful for.
Thank you for listening. And thank you for sharing. You touch these
children in a way that is such a blessing. I honor everyone who has felt
inspired by the SVS commitment to children everywhere.
Many Blessings,
Shelli Buhr
Something for Stevie
=====================
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His
placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy.
But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I
wanted one. I wasn't sure how my Customers would react to Stevie.
He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and
thick-tongued speech of Downs syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of
my trucker customers, because truckers don't generally
care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the
pies are homemade.
The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy
college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish
their silverware with their napkins for fear of
catching some dreaded "truck stop germ"; the pairs of white shirted
business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress
wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable
around Stevie, so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

=== message truncated ===

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Received on Mon Sep 02 2002 - 14:54:14 EDT

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