. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: When Good Intentions Go Wrong

Monday, December 1, 2008

When Good Intentions Go Wrong

Of course, I am sure we all would agree that offering vision screening at school is a good thing, right?

Evidently, it puts a bit more stress on families than we thought. It might even lead to deception.

You see, I have a very sweet young man in my class who struggles in all academic areas. I sent him to the vision screening just in case his eyes might be part of the problem.

As it turns out, he does have a bit of a vision problem…

he sees DOUBLE! (And he's struggling? Really?!?)

So we send home a note to his mother saying that he needs to be seen by an eye doctor.

No response.

We call home and leave message.

No response.

I talked to the student about how important it is for him to go to the doctor and asked him to push his mom to take him.

No response.

Weeks and weeks go by without a visit to the eye doctor.

And then one morning there was my students sitting at his desk with eyeglasses on his desk!

With a big smile on my face, I compliment him on his new spects and ask to see them on his face so I can "see how handsome" he looks in them.

He slips them on his big grinning face and

they're smudged

they're bent

they're crooked

they're too small for his head and

they're obviously not glasses made for him.

So I ask where he got them.

"From my mom."

So I ask where she got them.

"She just brought them home."

So I ask if he went to the eye doctor.

"uummmmm, yes?"

So I ask where.

"uuuummmm, Long Beach?" (Nowhere near where he lives.)

So I say, "Well, kiddo. I'm a bit worried. I don't think those glasses were made especially for your eyes like they should be."

And I had a nurse call his mom to check.

Sure enough, they were not his glasses. In an attempt to end our phone calls, notes, and messages, his mother gave him his little brother's glasses and told him wear them.

Initially I thought what a rotten thing that was for her to do. Her kid is seeing double and all she wants to do is get us off her back about it. Giving him someone else's prescription glasses could make things worse for him!

But then I put myself in her shoes. She has no insurance, no money, and no access (that she knew of) to any assistance. Maybe she just didn't know what to do.

Of course, our school has information on all sorts of programs to assist students in need of free medical care. We arranged for him to be seen by a doctor and get his glasses at no cost.

Am I being too easy on her? Is it just bad parenting to avoid addressing your child's medical needs or can it be justifiable under some circumstances?


The Bus Driver said...

thats frustrating to say the least.... i cant believe she just gave him his little brothers glasses... instead of asking if there was any assistance or help.

Anonymous said...

understandable, yes. justifiable, no.
i can't imagine what it must be like to not know there are resources out there for your kid and have someone seemingly harass you about it. i'm glad it all worked out in the end.

pinkyfatface said...

Your story breaks my heart. There was a young student in one of my classes that complimented me on my glasses a few weeks back. She then very proudly went on to tell me that she had just been advised that she needed glasses and had picked out these very cool frames. Mirroring her excitement, i asked when they would be ready. She proceeded to tell me a very long and detailed story which also broke my heart about how her parents were hoping to creatively finance the endeavor.

My heart goes out to your little guy as I also suffer from double vision. I was miserable before my problem was diagnosed and corrected. I cannot read more than about 3 paragraphs before the I begin seeing double images. This also causes an awful headache which is difficult to recover from.

I think it is important to remember that you don't know someone's walk. How helpless that parent must have felt to not be able to provide such a critical tool for her child in need. I'm sure it was embarrasing for her to continue to receive the calls and requests from her child and feel that she was powerless to respond. We should assume that parents are doing the best they know how. Good for you for connecting her with available resources. I'm sure she is very grateful. No one wants their child to suffer.

Melissa B. said...

No, you're a GREAT teacher with a warm & fuzzy heart...Good for you!! This is such a touching story!!! Listen, I have a challenge up at my place today, which you might get a kick out of. Enjoy!

Melissa B. said...

BTW, I'm a finalist for a Pretty Neat Blog Award. Sure would appreciate your vote! Please come by to see me to get the details. Thanks!!

Melissa B. said...

Thanks for voting! And BTW, don't forget Sx3. Please drop by today if you have time!

Sarah said...

Poor little guy! I had a girl come in wearing glasses yesterday so I complimented her on them and asked when she got them. She said yesterday because her grandma got new ones and gave her the old ones!

Cassy said...

I understand this situation all too well. We often don't realize the hesitation/fear/doubt that parents have... especially if they are poor, uninsured, newcomers, etc. Many are too proud to ask for help, or to even appear to need it. This is a sad story, but quite common where I teach.

I tell the people I work with - parents truly love their children, but may have different ways of showing it, often vastly diferent from our way. We shouldn't judge or assume such a parent doesn't care, or cares little. There's so much we don't see.

Angela Watson said...

Missing your witty observations and hoping for more new posts in 2009. :-)

Zoemonster said...

Happy New Year. Just wanted you to know that I have read yr blog for a year–or so– and really enjoy it. Hope the new year brings oodles of entries!

Best, Syb

Good luck on "seeing" things!!

Mister Teacher said...

Hey! Where ya been?
If you haven't posted for over a month just because you were waiting for the special opportunity to guest post at another really cool blog, well guess what -- your time is here!! :)

I'd love to have you guest post over at Learn Me Good!

Anonymous said...

Throughout your experiences, what is the best way you have learned to handle parents inability to give their child what they need to succeed? (eyeglasses)

Edna Lee said...

I suppose the best way is to be ready to help them find the resources necessary.The most frustrating situations are thoses where there are no resources.