Pieces of the Child

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Chapter 102: The Decision
(by NativeRose, added on 21 November 2007 10:09 PM)

Chandra and Candice decided to call for a meeting with Robyn's interdisciplinary team the following day to figure out what was to be done.
"She may need to be placed in another self-contained classroom, one with fewer students. There is one I have in mind; the teacher has a psychology background, and there are four students in her class. Let me look at her schedule to see when you and I can talk to her." Candice exited the office, leaving Robyn with Miss Chandra.

Back in Miss Anela's classroom, she got the students started on another activity. It was time for art, and Anela had originally planned for her students to sculpt with clay, but they were tense from the events with Robyn that had taken place that morning. Thus, she decided to allow her students just to play with the clay. Anela, Heidi, Jane and Anna passed out pieces of clay, and to the students' delight, it was scented!
"It smells like Kool-Aid!" Isaac loudly announced.
"It sure does, but don't eat it!" Anna teased.
"How come you gave Nequenta and Zack smaller pieces?" the observant and inquisitive Raymond asked.
"It's because their hands aren't strong enough for the bigger pieces yet. Miss Janell uses a special kind of putty for students who are trying to make their hands stronger for grasping things; it's called Thera-putty. It comes in four colors that go with each level. There is extra soft, medium soft, medium and firm. She tells me when she thinks the students who are trying to develop stronger hands are ready for bigger or more firm things."
"Oh! Hey, this is fun!" And Raymond became engrossed in molding his clay.

As Anna and Jane circulated around the classroom, Heidi and Anela decided to look for Kennan's file.
"I'll go find Candice. She'll have the whole thing, specifically mental health related material." Anela told Heidi. She did not find Candice in her office, but she knew where the psychologist kept her students' files. The drawers in her filing cabinet were arranged neatly, and each teacher's students were grouped together. Therefore, she easily found Kennan's file and left a note on Candice's desk explaining that she took it to her classroom.
anela and Heidi poured over the reports in Kennan's file. They were grateful that Anna and Jane were there to help with the students so they could try to put the pieces of Kennan's broken life together. That would enable them to know just how to help him. They were shocked fi see what some of the previous teachers' notes said.
"Kennan is a solitary person who seems uninterested in making friends. Therefore, he is self-posessed. His progress has halted, and the care team has no idea how to proceed. His foster parents initiate little contact; however, when we communicate with them, they confirm our observances. He exhibits the same behaviors at home. They state that they have attempted to encourage further development, but his progress at home has spiraled, according to the caregivers." The various foster parents had similar negative things to say. One family wrote, "Kennan came to us at the developmental level of a two-year-old without the ability to talk, feed himself, and he was not potty-trained. Our efforts to help him reach said milestones have failed, and school staff confirm our findings." Another family wrote, "At six months of age, Kennan is behind in all areas of development. He has not learned to roll over, though he can lift his head when he is placed on his tummy. This skill is usually acquired by the time an infant is two months old. He has not developed any language or social skills, and he lacks interest in toys. He does not respond to usual stimuli, such as voices, facial expressions, brightly-colored objects or play activities." Oddly, there was no mention of Kennan's first foster family, and Anela and Heidi began to wonder if they were the ones who contributed to his developmental delays. The last foster family he had lived with said, "At four years of age, Kennan lacks most elementary language, motor and social developments, and basic functions such as potty training, feeding, bathing and dressing/grooming. We can not handle the physical and emotional burdens of this child, so we are seeking placement with another family."
"He lived with that family for three years!" Heidi said quietly so only Anela could hear. Next, they came upon Kennan's medical records, which gave them the diagnosis--shaken baby syndrome. This occurred with the first foster family. Although other health concerns were present before this time, namely a mild form of cerebral palsy, Kennan's rough handling halted further development caused by the brain injury. "So," Anela said, "Kennan would have been able to progress to something a little below an average developmental level if the CP was all he had to deal with..."
"Why didn't they use other coping skills?" Heidi asked, her voice full of anguish. "This is all my fault...but I couldn't handle a child at that time. I was much too young!" she exclaimed, beginning to cry. anela found Jane and said she and Heidi would be gone for a few minutes.
"No," Anela said firmly, "this is not your fault in any way. You did the responsible thing. The foster family is to blame." Anela put her arm around the young woman as they walked the empty halls of the school.
"You know God is in control. He has a plan for Kennan, and His plans are for His child's good. God, in His grace, has allowed you to be a part of Kennan's life, and although he is not aware that you are his biological mother, he has responded to you in a remarkable way. Thank the Lord that Jamison and Corrine are willing to look beyond your mistakes and allow you to interact with Kennan and Bethany. You'll find that many of the people in this community, especially those who work with our school children, are open to you. You need to work on forgiving yourself. Ask God to help you do that and to show you His grace in an entirely new way." By this time, they had circled the school and were headed back to the classroom. Heidi wiped her eyes and smiled when she heard the joyous laughter eminating from Anela's classroom. The students were so full of life, and they all supported, encouraged and loved each other. They used their unique abilities to help those who had different strengths, and they certainly didn't look down on others. Now if only they could find a way to help Robyn...

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