Gray, a mixture of black and white.
There is nothing about me that is gray, but unfortunately E2 is what I call gray.
To all the kids that are gray and to the parents of the gray, I see you.
Gray has a speech delay. Severe enough to struggle with word retrieval and simple conversations, but not severe enough (yet) to qualify for public school intervention.
Gray has fine motor issues. Severe enough to cause anxiety of over learning to tie shoes and button pants and use a zipper, but not severe enough (yet) to cause handwriting concern.
Gray has motor delays. Severe enough to see a difference in PE at school, but not severe enough to prevent you from learning to ride a two wheel bike or learning to swim.
Gray has motor planning issues. Severe enough to not know what to do when you lose something, or when faced with a new environment, but not severe enough for intervention because you learn the motor plan after doing it once.
Gray has a learning disability. Severe enough to need tutors, at home intervention, and materials to be retaught frequently, but not severe enough (due to age) to qualify for special education or a 504.
Gray can have low self esteem and poor self confidence, but has a parent pulling the puppet strings to avoid situations that will truly bring these issues to light.
Gray cannot figure out the simple game of Tic-Tac-Toe until someone plays it with them multiple times a day for months. The same goes for Hide and Seek and other typical childhood games.
Gray sucks. Special Education is for children with a diagnosis. 504 is for children with a diagnosis. What happens when your child is just on the cusp of many diagnoses but due to intense private early intervention they don't qualify for a specific problem? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Gray costs money. Gray does not benefit from free services. Gray is not two years below as the state requires for intervention, but lagging behind peers. Gray requires outside help. Gray requires a fight you don't want to fight. A fight that says my child is not developing normally, but I refuse to let them fall further behind. Gray requires knowledge of health insurance and how to get them to see the issue. Gray causes arguments with family and friends that say they will catch up.
Gray has had private intervention since 20 months of age and is still delayed.
Gray is sweet and kind and gets enrolled in public school because schools for children with special needs say Gray is too high achieving.
Gray is exhausting.
Gray has an accident at school because they cannot tell the teacher it is an emergency. Gray only raises their hand because that is the motor plan that was taught and Gray has poor communication skills and problem solving skills.
Gray plays with the same children over and over again because it is easier than initiating play with someone new and trying to figure out the new game everyone is playing.
Gray plays alone when the usual friends are not available.
Gray gets frustrated.
Gray doesn't like lunch in the cafeteria because it is too loud.
Gray has issues that are not recognized by the public school district to receive accommodations, but Gray desperately needs them.
Gray has amazing compensation skills which mask the delays.
My Gray is lucky. I am a stay at home mom and former teacher. I work tirelessly each day to help her achieve goals, to help her achieve "normal." People say what is normal anyway, but there is a normal. Avoidance does not help. Pretending it's all okay because she is happy and smiles all the time does not help.
I do not wish for someone to say Autistic, ADHD, Dyslexic, or another well known learning difference. I just wish for someone to know something. The word "delay" doesn't help. Delays don't get public school services. What are parents to do that cannot afford private intervention?
Why does a child have to be so severely behind to get help?
Why do we have to let them fall to then try and catch them up?
My Gray is extra lucky. Our elementary school is fantastic. We have a campus compliance coordinator that works WITH families to get the children help. We were blessed with the most incredible kindergarten teacher that truly sees my child. She knows her so well and goes the extra miles, yes mileS, to help her.
Special schools are 25k - 40k dollars a year! We do not have the financial means for that tuition right now. I cannot even begin to think about what if we were at a public school without an amazing staff. I cannot imagine the stress it would cause if our public school was awful and we could not afford a private school. Where would we go?
What if we could not afford private speech, OT, and PT. What if we had to rely on the bureaucratic bullshit we call Early Childhood Intervention?
If you're a mom of a Gray, keep fighting. Processing issues, communication issues, motor issues, are all cause for concern and deserve help. We need to open our minds that children do not fit in a box. There is not always something you can check. Our society wants to label children to provide for them.
Gifted, ADD, Learning Disabled...whatever it is, it must be a box that can be checked in order to receive services.
No box to check? Your kid is GRAY. And Gray needs a fierce mama bear.