Thursday, September 10, 2009

New week - new challenges!

Monday morning brought with it more challenges. The one that sticks in my mind the most is when Bradley's teacher phoned to inform me that Monday was the deadline for all Bradley's term marks which includes work he is supposed to be catching up after having been off sick. She said that the way his marks were looking he would have to repeat Grade 7. The wheels totally came off for me although I was kind of expecting this phone call and I ended up getting a bit hysterical with her and accusing the teachers and the Department of Education of letting my son down. In truth they have done as with his ADD he battles to concentrate and the constant producing of work does not suit a child with ADD. Continuous assessment (producing work and handing it in) is part of the OBE (Outcomes Based Education) system. He also does not qualify to be placed in the Special Ed Class (they call it something else) as there are various prerequisites to being placed in that class, all of which seem to need medical aid funding i.e. psychologists reports, etc. The only recourse I have at this stage to ensure that my son can keep up with the classwork is to put him back on Ritalin. I don't have the finances to visit psychologists and paediatricians so I decided to pay a visit to our good old local government clinic to see if can set it up for him to receive the Ritalin he requires.
I requested and received from the teacher a letter from the school to present to whichever doctor I have to see, to prove what problems Bradley is experiencing at school.
I got off work early yesterday, picked up Bradley and decided to tackle the clinic. We arrived there at about 2.30pm only to find the place full of moms and babies. The receptionist who stuttered badly when speaking English but spoke perfectly when conversing in his home language of Zulu explained to us that we should come back tomorrow as Wednesday was a special day for babies. We agreed!
This morning we tried again. I had gathered together a few more documents, namely Bradley's birth certificate, his clinic card from when he was a baby and a report from an educational psychologist that I had had done when Bradley was still in pre-school (and when I still had medical aid). We arrived at the same local clinic early this morning only to find a praise and worship service in full swing. We stood at the back of the fully-packed and stuffy clinic until the end of the song and just before the service began, we decided to move along to the other local clinic as I did have to get to work today!
We had to park and walk to our destination as being in the middle of town, there was no safe parking to be found. Once there we found ourselves at the back of a long queue but undeterred, I went inside and asked around until I found one lady who was able to help me with the process. You have to be a bit thick-skinned to go to a clinic as the usual attendees stare and the clinic employees generally ignore you. The helpful lady directed me to the correct counter and the counter attendant actually accompanied us back to the assistant in the psyche department who asked if we had been before and when hearing that: no - we were private patients previously - said "Oops!" I replied "Oops! I don't like Oops!". He and the first counter attendant who was still standing there laughed politely but that broke the ice a little. The assistant explained that we would now need to see the doctor who only comes on Tuesday, who will then issue a prescription and then the medication will need to be ordered from King George hospital in Durban and will only arrive back at the clinic by Friday. And it was done. On the way out the helpful lady suggested we fetch a number from the security at the gate at 4am next Tuesday morning to ensure that we get seen early as many people just turn up without an appointment. Oh well!
Dropped Bradley at home with instructions to carry on with his catch-up work (which he won't do) and I left for work getting here at about 10am. Shortly after I arrived, I received a visit from our Financial Manager to say that we were moving offices again which would make it my 9th move since I joined the company. My boss and I have only been in our shared office for about 2 months! That was enough to throw me into a foul mood and when my boss arrived back in the office he heard all about it. He originally didn't want to rock the boat and alter any decision arrived at but I wasn't letting him off lightly. From sharing an office with him, I would have been left sitting in a central open plan area between the offices and these ladies are not quiet! I often have to close my door so that I can concentrate anyway and now I wouldn't even have a door to close. Anyway, I said to my boss that this was definitely going to affect my actions from now on but that I wouldn't mention it again. Much later and after me having calmed down somewhat, he has come to me and told me that after all my ranting and raving, he has arranged for me to have the small office across the hallway with my own door to close. The lady who would have got an office is now in the open plan area. I have some years of seniority and tenure over her and I need peace and quiet to concentrate. I appreciate him having sorted out this problem for me but I wish I didn't always have to fight to just be treated fairly and not like a second-class citizen!
Cheers friends!


  1. Sounds like a full plate.

    Hopefully you will be able to work out a plan that works for your son. Education systems are seldom designed to work well with the outliers unless they are a part of a special interest group - like the special education and physically handicapped groups here.

  2. The good news about children with ADD is that they manage to concentrate when and if they want something badly. That's my suggestion here: find his passion and let him get lost in it; he will learn more under those conditions than in regular school lessons.

    BTW, let doctors help you here.

  3. Shjoe that is a hectic schedule I am sorry that you are going through all this. My parents also don't have medical aid and I know how many long waits they endure! I am very glad you got your own office and door, from a fellow "I cant work in a noisey situation" person I know how important that is. Hope you have a fabulous weekend & some time to chill!!