Sunday, August 26, 2007

The First day of school

Tomorrow is the 1st day of school. I have been stressed for awhile now. this is not a good time of year for many of the Mom's in my tribe. For Leelo it is a new teacher and class that are farther away then he has ever been. Double trouble is happy where her boys are-but wrote that the beginning of the school year is another reminder of how atypical their lives are. Bea's son is going to new, academically advanced, school-which should ideally be good if doesn't experience too much anxiety from it.

My son ended up in a class with the teacher Ms Pine. When ever I tell people who know AJ and know or know of this teacher the exclamation "Oh no!" escapes from their mouth. I am catching on that myself, the prior teacher or the inclusion specialist having putting in preferences (i.e., not this teacher or this one other)- does not matter. He was still randomly assigned just like any other kid. I think the same is true for Signora's son. And complaining on my part just ends up in comments b=about understanding my concerns and setting up meetings, but no changing teachers even though the year has not started. One of the 1st grade teachers this year was AJ's 2nd grade teacher last year. It would've been perfect to have her take little boy M. Ms Pine gives detention if you don't COMPLETELY finish all your homework. And that she gives lots of homework. I emailed har and other members of the team my 4 page "Getting to know AJ" dissertation. In it I put it is not appropriate for him to get detention for not finishing homework. I also wrote that in the past I have at times modified the homework in volume and skipped certain parts or done them orally. One of the reasons being that it takes 2 to 3 times as long.
On Saturday the phone rang and it was MS Pine. She was calling to say hi to AJ!! They had a nice chat-she asked him about his summer and what he did. She said she does this every year with all the kids. I was impressed! She said she had gotten my email about AJ and read it and would reread it again. Also, she said there would be a raffle in her class for those who turned in summer homework. She said she didn't want to mention it over the phone and upset him. Also nice to hear. She sounded kind and friendly about Aj on the phone. We later ran into her at school and I introduced she and AJ. She walked up to him and said, "Hi, do you shake hands?". Of course AJ, who will be a professional greeter as an adult, loves shaking hands. So they shook hands and he introduced himself and they chatted a bit. I said that we had been over to read about the supplies list and that AJ read it to me while I wrote it down. "Oh you read it!", she said.
So at the end of Sat, I felt better. But I also realized that she doesn't know what he is capable of. These full inclusion kids are a mystery for these regular ed teachers. I think even a bit scary-the teachers just don't know what to expect. Even with my 4 page dissertation. But, to be honest, as a therapist and parent, I am good at identifying and listing differences-or weaknesses- so he comes of sounding VERY involved, when meeting him he doesn't seem that way.
I want to believe that it can be beneficial in a way for a kid to come into a class with a label. I think it may have been harder for a few of my friends kids in the past who were quirky or different, but not labeled/diagnosed or in the SPED system at all. I don't think they were cut any slack by teachers who were black and white thinkers (like the above). With AJ and little boy M., I am hoping that since the teachers know there is something going on-they will be more patient, lenient and loving. I was just thinking that I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the teachers have never minded how and that I have modified Aj's homework at times. I am reasonable and clearly get his strengths and weaknesses AND it means they don't have to do it!

I am also stressed about upcoming tri-annual IEP. I refused to sign the consent to test until the team told me what test each of them were giving and it's purpose, and that the other team members knew also. I sited our prior experience (not with any of these individuals) where the OT and psych gave the same test without knowing it!!! I don't think they ever talked to one another prior to the IEP.
It just doesn't seem like the proposed testing will be thorough. Inclusion spec does not respond to my queries about how they will be testing social skills. In fact, I just looked at the form and that area is not checked to be tested. But AJ has been receiving social skills group (not really, he just checks on him on the playground, but it is on his IEP). Nice avoidance technique on his part. he seems good at that. He ignores my queries that he doesn't want to deal with.
I need to go read Harry Potter. I'll never sleep with all this racing around in my head.


  1. I am happy to hear that AJ and his new teacher may be a good match after all! Hang in there

  2. You are such a great advocate for your son! Sounds like the new teacher has a reputation for being really hard line, but it also sounds like she might provide structure and clear rules that would benefit AJ. Hope it all works out for the best.

  3. will you be Jake's mom this year... I am too tired to deal with IEP, and obviously you rock.

  4. p.s. thanks for the barbecue