Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seriously thrilled the school year has almost concluded.

OK I made a mistake this year, I left my son in a class, with a woman I should not have. She was clearly not trained to deal with him, having one child in 27 years with Asperger's in your class, does not make you an expert. There is a saying in the Autistic community, "you know one person with Autism, you only know that autism." Hence the reason they call it a spectrum disorder. When I take SR to therapy, there is the nonverbal, severely affected child that lies on the floor screaming, he twists, and turns, and it appears that his input is not managed by his brain. That child breaks my heart when I see him, and his family. There is the 19 year old, that is Aspergian, that is angry and violent, lives with his parents, and will never be employable, there is the child that has his DS, and that is all I know about him. He has black hair, never makes eye contact, and loves his DS. There is the child that is similar to SR, but needs to be out of classroom because he is hyperarrousable, and melts down 3 times per week, even with medication.

So, I am unsure what this teacher thought she knew, but I can guess. I should have removed him. I did not because I thought eventually she would get him. She did not want to or try, despite the dx, the hours of building an IEP, the hours spent at school meetings with a team of at least a dozen people, heck I had even brought our Dr. I also thought, if she did not understand him, she would at least be charmed by him, frankly he is very popular with most other teachers and office staff, and when I see people outside of school, I hear how much progress he has made, and how they adore him. There was no charming this teacher. I did not get one positive report from her. Not one. The dx of dysgraphia was ignored this year, and this child WROTE WROTE, and WROTE, despite qualifying for speech to text software. He worked hard. She also did not differentiate his material, as they are legally obligated to do. He did the work, all of it. By himself, I had to cheer lead through hours and hours of homework, because frankly it takes him that long to process, narrow, etc especially the writing assignments. Some of his topics were turned down. ( I spoke with the vice principal about this, and she was unsure why). The stress of EXTRA homework was ridiculous. Most teachers I know call for 10 minutes of homework multiplied by the grade, which would equal 30 minutes of homework. There were nights we had 2-3 hours. When we left for Hawaii, the teacher handed us a damn packet the last day before we left, although they all knew we were going, and why. Guess what, the night before we leave I am handed a packet with worksheets (ridiculous busy work and not educational, 2 full book reports one on Sounder, and the other about a blind dog, a narrative about our vacation, and 7 sheets of repetitive cursive words. This took us 2 weeks to complete, after having him in school all day, working 2-3 hours a night.

He did finish it, and when it was complete, I went and spoke to the VP about never wanting to deal with this particular teacher again, I have wasted my entire year negotiating with a woman who did not bend, or try. The VP was quick to show me her disappointment in this teacher, and said teacher was thrown under the bus. (as she should have been).

However I have learned a lesson, because ya know I am a slow learner I guess. Never waste a year with one of these types of teachers. She had cornered him at the beginning of the year, and did not follow our behavior plans, she was simply mean on several occasions. You want to know something, I never ever said a mean word about any of this woman's shenanigans, and sent SR to her room encouraging him to respect her and listen to her. She did not do the same.

In interesting news, she is the gifted classroom teacher, which means since PN has been IQ tested and performing well at school, this teacher would be PN's in 2 years. No thanks. I let the VP know, on no certain terms should this teacher be allowed to teach either of my children again. ( Mind you the gifted classroom did not exist until this year, when DH and I joined PTO, and are now chair and co-chair of the gifted and high ability learners. They had to create a room for them, because the school was not following what they were legally obligated to do with these kids. They were pulling them out of language arts in order to hold a gifted and talented Spanish class. None of those children got enough hours of language arts in naseum. )

So the slow learning Mom learned an important lesson this year, it was a waste of our time. I did learn how to copy EVERYONE of any importance on all correspondence with the school, I also learned to not act so reactionary, and be on the front side of things. I had less "oh my God my head will explode" meetings, and learned to be calmer, and not so sassy grizzly bear. (Which is sooo hard). I also learned that if you do not trust a teacher with your child, or she has shown any signs of emotionally abusing a child by not adhering to a plan presented by a physician who is an expert....remove the child yesterday. Do not worry about what the school staff will think, because frankly it does not matter.

In good news, both of the children will be taking private suzuki piano lessons this summer, along with swim lessons, SR will have his science mentor to continue his biology studies, and they will also be doing some serious bike riding, as SR will be preparing for a triathalon, at least that is in the plans. PN took her IQ test, and did marvelously, and is performing well at school, she is driven, well behaved, and well liked. She recently won an art contest, with over 140 entries, but had to be encouraged through her project, because she too is a perfectionist like SR, and she did not think it was good enough. I am hoping to find her some serious art projects.

The trip to Hawaii was awesome, another post entirely, the kids traveled well, did wonderful even with jet lag, learned to snorkle, and LOVED the Island. Will post photos soon.

With the deployment pending, you will probably see more of me on here. The experience of single parenting, working, and parenting is sure to be full of interesting stories.


LL said...

AWTM, I'm just really really proud of you for not killing her. xoxo

Whitley and Tequila said...

Having been a spec ed teacher for 28 yrs now that really cut to my core to read all the you and SR haved endured this year. I wish I could say that teacher is an isolated incidence, but unfortunately it is wide spread...infact I feel it's worse now than when I started teaching. I do not understand why it is sooo difficult for teachers to have compassion for students that think/learn outside the box. Differentiated Instruction has been "the" buzz word in education for the past 5 yrs and I see little if any done. What keeps me in the game is my belief that what I give my spec. ed kiddoes matters and makes a difference...yes I am a spec. ed teacher and I try to guide and make suggestions to the reg ed. teachers and am more often than not shot down and abused like the very kids I strive to protect! Be encouraged though cause there ARE teachers out there that do get it and are not just spec ed ones..they are just fewer and far between and like I said at the beginning of my comment..I cannot for the life of me figure out why!
Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way as the deployment looms near. :)

sa karin in tx

farmwifetwo said...

I learned when my youngest was 4 (on the severe end and doing amazing) all about emailing "God and everyone" as I called it... and btw... that included my Mother in the list... ABA was a nightmare.

Last year he had that teacher that you talk about except this one had only taught a couple of years and spent one of them on mat leave and was headed off at the end of the year back on mat leave. But having been there done that earlier than you I threw my fit at Xmas. It took until June but he's now in an amazing, multiple LD, low behavioural classroom where he's teaching them to read and write and they are teaching him to talk.

Seems Gr 3 is the cut off year. I had to do the same with my eldest as well but we kept one of the 2 teachers (the good one) and now in Gr 6 we had the option of the other and the VP got smart and put us in the other class. Oh... and FWIW.. that mild ASD turned Mild NLD child is getting 90's in math and 70's in English (which was taught as a second language at the age of 3 to 8).

You learn, you demand and you prove that it can be done. It's the proof that finally get's through to the "powers that be".

We have one more year's reprieve and then we do it again into Gr's 7 and 9.... so not looking forward to it.

Best of luck... it never really ends and you get really, really tired of it after a while.

farmwifetwo said...

I don't know how much you wish to wade into the online world of autism or if you have... but if you choose to... this is the best place to start.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe your son's teacher! How absurd!

It is great that both of your kids will be taking piano lessons this summer! I hope they LOVE it! For what it is worth if you find that your children wish to continue their piano studies try to integrate the suzuki method with regular sight reading and learning music notation.

Bou said...

Having read this right after you wrote this and now thinking on it again... we made the same mistake with Ringo this year. He had an abusive teacher in HS and we kept telling him to work with it, figure it out. When we'd go to do something, he'd tell us no, it was better... only for it to get worse. End of the year, we're kicking ourselves for not doing anything... and now we've filed a formal complaint. Needless to say, everyone is now kissing our asses and we'll handle things far differently next time... for all our kids. Sometimes it takes a bad teacher like this to make us seriously THINK about what we will do next time... because there WILL be a next time.

marinemom said...

Have any of you thought about Home Schooling? I am a single mom working and have 2 blessings that I homeschool. There are resources all over the home school community.
Depending on the state, it is relatively easy and is a great place to find out the regulations for each state. Give it a thought, it is sooooo worth it! Much less aggrevation that what you all have been through with the public governmental education system.

marinemom said...

Have any of you considered home schooling? I am a single mom to 3 with 2 in elementary/middle grades that I homeschool. My oldest is a Marine at Camp Pendleton. There are a ton of resources in the homeschool community that would be helpful and it would be a lot less difficult that following the governmental public education system. has information on all the different state regulations and resources. Blessings to all.