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.