Archive for April, 2010


John 6:35

 I would like to have a category that is filled with things that I love. They might be words, experiences, movies, songs, books; whatever moves me.

When I created this blog, I had read other people’s blogs, but mostly those of authors I love to read and family. After I posted In Which I Beat up a Teacher, a few other posts were recommended to me that were possibly related and of intrest. I found this post, This is My Body,  quite by accident and it brought me to tears. It does so every time I read it. I love it so much I wanted to share it. I’ve read it several times and I love it still.

Strangely enough, the day following my posting, I received a comment from the author of that post I love so much! How crazy is that! Thank you, philangelus, for such wonderful insight.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  John 6:35

I am now the bus driver. Just for Chi. The kids at the bus stop have been really mean to Chi this year. I’ve taken several measures to help him out, but he doesn’t really seem to register just how mean they are. Occasionally, they aren’t mean and that’s all he seems to consciously remember. I really feel like at least some of his anxiety about going to school is rooted in the way these kids treat him.

The bus stop is on the corner which is basically in my front yard. Chi has enjoyed going outside and playing with the other kids that wait on the corner since Kindergarten. There have ALWAYS been issues, but this year seems exceptionally bad. I’ve tried waiting outside with him, but I can’t be out there for half and hour when I have little ones inside the house (and I don’t want my littlest around some of these kids!). I have tried just watching from the window, but can not hear what words are being said even with the window open. Chi’s day starts off bad if I try to make him sit on the porch with me and watch for the bus. So, I’ve taken to driving him to school.

This may actually help him. We chat the whole way there (about 7 minutes if we have to sit at the light). I’ve started talking about what I think of Chi and what I expect of him.

backstory: I started giving Chi a speech every morning before he walked out the door to motivate him and help focus him in Kindergarten. It was a rough year. We hadn’t taken him to be tested and his teacher seemed to think he was “just a boy,” but he hated all the coloring that his teacher insisted he practice; he lived inside his head most of the time with only his hands for company; he would shut down or melt down at any given moment; had severe headaches at the end of each day; paid absolutely no attention to his teachers; and was constantly in trouble, just to name a few issues. I had determined that he had some sort of sensory disorder when he was a baby, but had no idea that any such thing actually existed. I suspected that he had Asperger’s to some degree if not fully fledged since he was around 10 months old which is when he started talking (he would use words for a while then stop using them altogether and by 18 months had ceased using any English words at all. He spoke in Chi-nese). But my pediatrician didn’t seem concerned and I wasn’t in any hurry to label my son and potentially stagnate any chance of success he may have in school. So I started giving him pep talks in the mornings.  Something like this (it has grown and morphed over the last couple of years, but has stayed essentially the same):

Have fun at school, Chi. Work hard and do your best. Follow the rules and listen to your teacher. Do what you are told and pay attention. Have a great day! I’ll see you this afternoon. I love you!

So now the little speech has grown into a talk we have on the way to school. I tell him that I know  how very smart he is and that there isn’t any reason that he should be unable to do the work at school. I started out explaining to him what working hard and doing your best means. Working hard can mean trying and working slowly. It can mean taking your time and being neat. Doing his best doesn’t mean being the best in the class. It means that if the best he can do is come up with an idea and write that down, then he can bring it home and we can finish. Doing his best is not a competition with anyone else in the class. He may finish first on the math work but barely get started on the writing and that’s OK so long as he is trying. Just sitting and chirruping and grunting isn’t trying. On the first day I told him to try on the math work and listen during the writing part of class. Take deep breaths and request a water break if he needed it to refocus. We were building on that before the Ms. J/TA/Ms. W curfuffle that threw him into a tailspin. So I built on the “do your morning work for computer time” bit that the TA inadvertantly threw my way. I told Chi that Ms. F said if he did his morning work he would get computer time in the afternoon. He seemed hyped about computer time and I told him that all he had to do was work on that morning work when he gets to school. Yesterday afternoon he came home excited saying he did his morning work and got to work on the computer.  He seemed jazzed to duplicate that today. I told him today that I would write to his teacher and give her a small list of accomplishments he needs to be rewarded for in the classroom that would earn him rewards at home, as well (we were doing this before, but had progressed to working on different organizational skills before his backslide began and the daily report card book was lost in the transition).  He likes earning video game time and talking to him about how smart he is and how he doesn’t need to hang out with the kids who are mean to him and about how loved he is and how well he is doing and adding goals every so many days seems to be working for now.

Well, I won’t be holding my breath, but I will be continuing to find things to help him out.

Things have been rolling along here, and by things, I mean time.  I’ve sat down and started a couple of blogs but never have enough time or motivation to finish. I’m still struggling with the evil that is depression and a horribly crippling lack of motivation to do anything. I can’t even read a book. LAME. I’ve made a few meals (nothing spectacular or even yummy), folded a couple of items of clothing, “participated” in a failed yard sale (fail for me anyhow), helped Chi with school work, watched maybe two hours of TV, read like two pages in one book, half a page in another, and like half a chapter of yet another book, edited some posts for my dad, painted my finger nails between pulls on Lich King attempts with a great raiding team and one fail tank (which was highlighted by him being replaced by a different bear tank who had never seen the Lich King with progress ensuing) and dealing with Chi’s school or should I say teacher situation.

Chi went back to school on Monday for the first time since the happenings last Tuesday.  We were given various workbooks without any real guidance as to where he is and what they would be doing in those workbooks last week. **sigh** The TA didn’t seem to think that was important when I asked her for more details. Turns out, the workbooks were THE WRONG ONES. She gave me volume 1 and he is at the end of volume 2. yay. We did the work anyway just to say we did, but wow.

I introduced myself to his new teacher and the one bright spot is that she is a substitute Chi’s class has had several times in the past and she knew him and he knew her. Other than that, I don’t know how we are gonna make it through the end of the year in one piece. The TA just doesn’t get it and Ms. W seems nice but happily oblivious. I get the feeling that if Chi is gonna learn anything at all for the rest of the year it will be taught at home. I’m so glad I wanted to be a teacher. (/sarcasm off)

I had an impromptu meeting with the new teacher to help give her a feel for what to expect from Chi. Since Chi isn’t an easy child to describe that proved a little difficult. She latched onto the Asperger’s and didn’t hear anything else I had to say. She will basically not pressure him to do anything. fan-freakin-tastic. Maybe he won’t shut down on her, then, but what will he learn? While I was talking with her I over heard this:

TA — “Chi, you need to be doing your morning work.”

Chi- “makes a chirp like grunting noise”

TA– “If you don’t do your morning work you won’t get any computer time this afternoon. And you know it.”

Chi– “huddles down into himself”

then a few minutes later she tells the class that there weren’t any snacks to have that day and that they were gonna do work during snack time instead because “none of you brought any snacks when you knew we were out.” Chi starts having a very moderate meltdown. Two things are wrong here. He has a snack at the same time everyday including the weekends, and this teacher is telling him that the schedule is changing unexpectedly when so much is already so different. Secondly, Chi needs those snacks. He gets grumpy and unable to focus when he’s hungry…LIKE ANYONE except that he already struggles with the focusing part in certain situations like the classroom.

My thoughts: The TA is clueless. She should have said, “If you do your morning work, you will get computer time this afternoon!” Chi would have, more likely, responded to this by doing some of that morning work, and she should have the rewarded him for the work he did with computer time. It’s why Chi is only required to do 75% of the amount of writing the other kids do because it is so difficult for him and 75% is a really great accomplishment. He can then get the same rewards for doing 100% of the work he is expected to do.  BUT I can’t change the way she deals with kids. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year.

on the snacks:  I asked the TA how many snacks I needed to get to give one to the whole class. She said it would be fair to just bring one for Chi. That sounded exceptionally RUDE to me especially since I have the means to get one for every kid. So I said, “Well, I’m not gonna do that to the rest of the class, how many?” She tells me 22. So I went to the store and bought enough snacks for 22 kids for 6 days. This way they have time to bring in the snacks that they forgot to get over the weekend. I know what it’s like to be so busy you forget the reason you went to the store in the first place once you get there.

So, the rest of the school year looks to be a real tiring one. I’m just praying that we can find a solution that works for Chi for this summer and next school year. The Principal is pretty awesome and she’ll get Chi another teacher who will work with us. I’m gonna try this new therapy place that specializes in Sensory Processing/Integration Disorders that will hopefully calm his anxieties. I may look into a writing tutor. I may stop seeing the behavioural psychologist. We can afford snacks for 22 kids on occasion, but not for indefinite therapies that don’t seem to be doing much.

 

Poker in the eye.

I was never all that great at poker. I’m good at strategy and I excell at card games in general, but I have never been able to master the “poker face.” I can’t help it. My emotions are written in bold print all over my face. If I don’t like something, I can not keep it to myself. I may not say anything, but you know anyway. Just look at my face.

I think I may be experiencing the blog-world version of this. I have all these ideas of things to write! I wanna post them all and then write some more! (and to think I used to think bloggers were INSANE for sharing all the personal stuff with the whole interwebs!) I’m worried that I may blow my load and have nothing to say anymore at all. Breaking the ice, indeed.

God, please don’t let me end up with a severe case of TMI.

Chi comes home from school yesterday saying that he’s starving. He proceeds to “Chi cry” which isn’t like neuro-typical kid crying, but it’s his version of this emotional expression. He is falling apart and telling me that there was yet another substitute teacher, and further, that the TA told the class that Ms. J will be out for the rest of the year. Commence Melt-down!

a little background:  Ms. J is pregnant. According to Chi’s 504 he is to be well advised of any major changes as possible and told in exact detail the whens, hows, and whys of any given change. Change and Chi are not friends. The school was supposed to hire the substitute that would be completeing the year with the class several weeks in advance of Ms. J’s maternity leave and having him/her come into the classroom to meet the kids and maybe be apart of the learning the week prior.  All of that to help Chi deal with the change and make it a little more gradual.

THIS DID NOT HAPPEN.

Thursday of last week Ms. J was out for part of the day and on Friday she left early. On Monday there was a substitute and no explanations. On Tuesday there was a substitute and the TA announced that Ms. J was not coming back for the rest of the year. This was to be Ms. J’s last week. She didn’t say goodbye and the kids (read: Chi) weren’t prepared for this abrupt departure. Chi fell apart. He couldn’t do work. He couldn’t communicate. He completely stopped functioning.

According to Chi, the TA told him that if he didn’t calm down he wouldn’t be allowed to eat the mid-morning snack followed by telling him later that he wouldn’t be allowed to eat lunch which was then followed by telling him that if he didn’t calm down he wouldn’t be allowed to go on the field trip in two weeks. I, of course, got no phone call. So Chi couldn’t calm down and the threats just made him worse, and then there’s the whole hunger part that makes anyone on a good day cranky. Chi didn’t eat the snack or lunch. Chi was “starving” when he got home and promptly ate all the food I could shove at him. 

By the time we got the story out of him there wasn’t anyone at the school to call so I went in this morning to have a little chat with the Principal. I don’t think I could have restrained myself if I’d gone directly to the TA and the substitute was not the same one as yesterday.  The Principal was awesome. I cried gargantuan tears of stress and frustration and overflowing emotion…..and I had to talk to the TA. Her story is different. I felt like she was telling me mostly the truth, but I can’t help feeling like she is leaving something out.

Her story:  She makes the above mentioned announcement to the class. Chi falls apart. (additional info:  He has been falling apart a lot over the last month and a half, but that is a WHOLE other story that comprises other posts to come, I assure you. )  She tries to calm him down but he doesn’t respond. She tells him he can just sit and read instead of doing classwork. He doesn’t respond. He continues to cry and fall apart. She tells him that if he calms down and does some of his math work she will take him to lunch early. He calms down enough to get some work done, but he’s still just barely holding it together enough for this. She then tells him he isn’t allowed to go to lunch early because she has something else she needs to do. He falls apart. When they go to lunch, Chi stands against the wall and cries. The TA asks one of the boys Chi hangs out with most to invite Chi to sit at his table. Chi does this. The TA says he had food and that Chi ate. The little boy says the same thing.

I asked Chi when I got home if he ate lunch and he said no. I asked if he sat by Nolan and Chi said he did, but that Nolan had food not him. I told him what the TA said about him eating and he said he didn’t eat because he was told he wasn’t allowed to since he didn’t calm down.

What I think: I think he was told he could leave class and eat lunch early and then told he wasn’t allowed to eat lunch then. Chi heard he wasn’t allowed to eat lunch, and when they went to the lunchroom the TA took pains to have Chi sit at a table he doesn’t normally sit at to hel p him calm down, but then left to do her other duties and monitor other kids and really had no idea if Chi ate anything or not. For Chi the schedule and been altered twice.  The rules had been spoken. He takes these things very seriously and there is no messing with his schedule.

What I’m doing: Chi is staying home until the permanent Sub can be brought in (which is the rest of this week). He will then go to the school with me to meet his teacher and I will have a little impromptu parent/teacher conference with her to let her know about Chi and the things to expect and how to deal and to set up a time for a more in depth conference. Chi will do what school work he can at home along with this week’s homework. I may need to schedule another meeting with the Principal and perhaps the 504 coordinater to discuss ways to alleviate Chi’s anxiety over this major change here at the end of the school year.

I didn’t REALLY beat up a teacher. I just cried at her.

SO, I thought I create this blog to talk about my experiences with my son and his SPD, ADHD, Asperger’s; the trials and conquests; the heartbreak and soaring success. Then I realized that I may have more to talk about than just that. I then further realized that I’ve been stressed, severely depressed and unable to even respond to emails or voicemails and how the hell was I gonna find the motivation to write a frigging blog?  Well, I then figured I had to make an initial post and break the ice, so to speak. If the ice is broken, the river runs more freely, amIright? Let’s hope motivation and inspiration flow in the same manner.

I guess I’ll write whatever strikes as needing to be written; whatever I feel comfortable putting out there. I’m a mom with three kids, I’m sure it will mostly address that.  I have opinions on stuff. I’ll definitely address that. Hopefully I’ll write these things more often than not. Don’t hold your breath.

1st!

saved.