Ever have the feeling you are probably about to annoy somebody? That's me today. It's the first day back at school, and I am sure the recipients of my email are going to be wishing it was still vacation time.
A little back story. Back in August, the powers that be in charge of Mini Man's education decided that it would be a great idea to take him out of the 100% special education center he was attending, and plonk him in a special education classroom within a normal school. A huge school, by comparison, and - the biggest issue - with no warning to him.
As special education providers, surely they know that you don't make any huge changes to an autistic child's program without preparing the child. So why didn't they? The first he knew of it was the "meet and greet" visit the day before the program began. A whole new building, when in the past he has exhibited anxiety about entering new places.
So, they are attempting to integrate him with other second graders. Well, it's not going too swimmingly. Their level of work is light years away from his. The teachers and professionals try to get him to take part in a classroom where the children are performing math problems, and writing exercises - yet the same professionals are having him do writing practise of the alphabet and counting to twenty. The two don't exactly match, and it's pissing me off, frankly. He's been doing this type of shit for four years. Three years ago he could type the alphabet backwards and forwards, and could write words like elephant. Now I get home a work sheet of the letter G? How is that progress?
Two years ago, before we moved to America, he suffered a tremendous regression after the school he attended at the time saw fit to change his support worker with no real reason. He hated the new one, and the behaviors he began exhibiting were heartbreaking, he wouldn't settle to task, had no regard for his own safety, and would not listen to a damn thing anybody said to him. So, I pulled him out of school, and he had a break until he started school here.
Last year, school was fantastic. They made the most amazing progress with him. He was starting to produce words beginning with B and M, and for the first time ever, I heard my seven-year-old call me Mummy. Now, all of that is slipping away from me again. He does nothing but look for ways to get negative attention, and doesn't recognise if we praise positive behavior. He wants to hear us say no. He wants me to yell. He wants to laugh at me as I break down in tears because I am at my wits end and have no idea what to do with him.
He climbs on window frames, with no concern that he could fall through the window. He is obsessed with light bulbs and removes them from their fittings. How do we stop that? Just this morning he was lucky he didn't cut himself when he accidentally dropped a halogen bulb in the basement. The first we knew of it was waking up to him brnging part of the broken bulb to us.
We don't hear him wake, and sometimes if he has had enough time, it is sout destroying to come down and see the havoc he has wreaked over the house.
It wasn't always like this. This started literally within two weeks of starting in his new school environment. But they make me feel I don't know what I am talking about. They are the professionals. They say, ignore the negative behavior. But they don't give us any resources or guidance on how exactly we do that. They think they know what is best for my child. They don't. I am 100 percent positive that changing his school, and trying to force him to integrate with his second grade peers is completely the wrong thing for him. Yet when I raised this concern a couple of months ago, it feels like I was brushed aside. They don't want to help me. They want to do what they want, even if it has a negative impact on my child and morale in our family in general.
Well, I have had enough. Today I have emailed school and told them exactly what I think of their ideas of what is good for him. No more letting them control me. I owe them nothing, but they - as education providers, owe me - and my child - everything, and it's time we got it.
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