IT HAPPENED AGAIN😡. Today in my classroom there was another incident of a student calling another student autistic, in a negative way. I had to stop the class and educate them on autism, my son, and the fact that behavior like that is derogatory and will not be tolerated. To some of my students, autistic means dumb! I had to let them know how wrong they were in their thinking. It’s so unfortunate that this is happening more and more. We cannot stop the advocacy. Just think of how many other kids and adults that probably think this same way.
We are 5 weeks into the school year and so far MJ is doing great! He has been handling his homework well and still enjoys going to school. This school year he has art as an elective and so far he really seems to be enjoying that class. Soon he will begin his social skills class again as well as Swim Buddies! I will update again soon.
Well, our summer has officially come to an end. The kids started school today. MJ is now in the 10th grade and Morgan is now a seventh grader! Today’s morning drop off was great. Both kids were super excited and I know for a fact that my daughter didn’t sleep too well! When I got to the front of the school to drop off Mj, I was relieved to see his friends, all of the aides, and the ESE specialist waiting to greet all of the students! Though I’m not totally happy with Mjs current teacher, I am being optimistic about this school year. Here we go!
MJ just had his first airplane ride since he was a baby! Needless to say, I had been a little worried about how it would go for a few weeks now. To prepare him, I used a calendar to let him see exactly when we would be leaving and returning. I also used several social stories about flying on an airplane. I then found a great YouTube video that showed a step-by-step process of what happens while you are at the airport. He was very reluctant to watch the video, but I made sure he watched it anyhow. I downloaded a few of his favorite shows onto his tablet, made sure he had his headphones, and had a few of his favorite snacks as well. The TSA check in was a little frustrating but that was pretty normal. He waited patiently to board, and once on the flight, he was excited to see that Delta had plenty of entertainment options for him. He looked at what his sister was doing and plugged in his headphones and decided to browse through all of the movies that he could watch. He was so excited when he saw the Charlie Brown movie, the Teen Titans movie, and Finding Nemo. He happily chose Finding Nemo and started watching the movie even before the flight took off! This helped to distract him from the noise of the plane after it took off. While in the air he complained a few times, but I am happy to report that he was calm and fell asleep during the flight!
This was the first time that my family was on an airplane together. As I sat on the plane and looked at them, I had to hold back tears. This is something that so many families take for granted and it is something that I have wanted to do for years, but I knew that MJ just was not ready. This experience will now open up other opportunities for us to travel together as a family by plane. I’m. So Grateful.
On the left my son is almost 15 years old. However, I still see him as the little boy on the right🤷🏽♀️. Yes, it’s unrealistic, but there’s something about my Scoompy that makes me want and need to protect him forever. I’m so grateful to God for every milestone he has reached and every obstacle he has overcome. We were once told that he would never speak clearly and didn’t know if his writing would ever be legible. MJ continues to learn and grow. And through the process, I continue to do the same.
Well we had MJ’s IEP meeting recently and it went “as expected.” They went over how he was doing on his current goals and added in some new ones for next school year. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to fight with them on his speech therapy. He will continue to have 90 minutes of speech therapy per week. However, I did agree that the occupational therapy was no longer needed. MJ has come such a long way with his hand writing and it is completely legible. What I found, was that the OT given at his high school was mainly to improve a child’s handwriting and nothing more. It was funny to see their facial expressions when I immediately agreed that OT was not needed. They assumed that I was going to put up a fight about it. I did have to mention a situation to the ESE specialist in regards to another child taking MJ’s lunch. It was an issue that I was able to figure out after a few weeks of questioning MJ. To make a long story short, one of his classmates was asking him for his food every day and MJ was actually giving the child his food! The teacher and the aides had no idea that this was happening because they were off to the side assisting the kids that needed the most help. Once I made them aware that something was going on, they spoke to the child as well as everyone in the classroom to make sure that it wouldn’t happen again. Initially I was furious about the situation but right now I’m just thankful that I was able to figure it out. Lately, I’m being really selective with the battles I choose to fight. I know God’s got my back and MJ’s back, no matter what.
We are now in the second half of the school year. Though I’m still not completely happy with MJ’s teacher, he seems to like going to school and she actually has great teacher’s assistants in the room. There’s not as much homework anymore so it’s a little easier going at home. I recently received a letter regarding his upcoming IEP meeting. Now that he’s older, he’s invited to attend the meeting. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. Needless to say, I already have a list of items that I will be discussing at his meeting. Until then, I am going to continue taking it one day at a time.
It has been a busy month in our household! Between MJ’s life Skills class, Social Skills Group, and my daughter’s activities, we all have pretty much been stretched thin. MJ has now completed the life skills class and for us the biggest accomplishment was that he now independently and consistently ties his shoelaces! That made it totally worth being as tired as we all were. I was so pleased with the class that I will probably sign him up again sometime next year and develop different goals for them to work on with him.
Today marks our official first day of Winter Break! I am so thankful that we will all have time to relax a bit and enjoy the holidays 😁.
Mj has been taking a life skills class twice a week for the last 3 weeks or so. We were called and offered the opportunity to have him in the program and we decided to take them up on the offer. The coordinator for the class wanted my input on what skills I wanted MJ to work on. I told them he needed extra help with brushing his teeth, washing his face, doing chores, and tying his shoelaces.
Every day that he goes to class, I get a report of the goals that MJ worked on for the day. He is getting better and better with all of his goals. Last week they told me that he tied his shoelaces by himself. I looked at them in disbelief (he has tied them before years ago, but could never do it again) and asked that they record him tying his laces or I would not believe them! Well, this past week I was pleasantly surprised when I picked him up and they showed me a 39 second video of MJ independently tying his shoelaces! It almost brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe that he did it in less than a minute.
This week, I am planning on untying every shoe he has, just to be sure that he continues to tie them at home as well! I am so grateful to the Children’s Ability Center and all that they are doing for MJ. He is getting older and I know that some resources may not be available to him in the future. We don’t have any time to waste. He is currently in 3 different activities and this will continue through the end of December. Yes, we are tired, but we will be happily tired if it means MJ being the best that he can be.
We had MJ’s conference a few weeks ago. At the onset, there was a lot of tension in the air. I immediately asked how MJ was doing in class. I wanted to be sure that he was doing everything he was supposed to be doing while at school. She said that Mj was doing well in academics and behavior. I then began discussing the various issues that we were having…completed work not being graded, no communication from her, homework not labeled/no instructions given, etc. The most important issue we addressed was her lack of curriculum. She told me of various websites that she utilizes for resources in her classroom as well as a textbook that she uses for math. All the while I was thinking, “why didn’t she tell me this at Open House (sigh).” I then turned my attention to the ESE specialist and again voiced my frustration about the lack of resources that are offered to our special needs kiddos ( I can talk about this issues for hours because it disgusts me so much). She agreed with my concerns and said that she would “look into it.” I haven’t heard from her since our conference but I will be following up with her in a few weeks. Since the conference, I will admit that things have gotten better. A routine is now established and the homework is no longer overwhelming. Here’s to hoping and praying that the rest of the school year continues to get better!
It all started with MJ’s first high school Open House. I was eager to hear all of the information that the teacher would give us about educating our special needs kiddos. Well, I was extremely disappointed! She greeted us as we entered the classroom and sat down. She then played a video of the administrative team introducing themselves to the parents. After the video, she gave us a sheet that detailed what subject was taught on a specific day (the school operates on a block schedule). She then said, “do you have any questions for me?” I could not believe that she did not tell us anything about what the kids would learn in her class, nothing about projects, nothing about the process at lunchtime, nothing about reading, nothing about math, nothing about social studies, nothing about science, nothing about their electives. SHE TOLD US NOTHING! Well, when she asked the question, I looked around at the other parents to see if anyone was going to begin asking questions…No one did, so I took out my journal and began asking what I believe to be basic questions, that I assumed would have been automatically answered during her open house presentation. What stands out the most is when I asked about what reading and math curriculum she used. Her response was, “I don’t have a curriculum.” I immediately repeated what she said with a scowl on my face. How can she not have a curriculum?! Where is she getting the information to teach my kid?! From that moment I knew that I would have to set up a parent/teacher conference with her to really find out what “curriculum” she uses. I don’t want MJ to be “work-sheeted” to death! I don’t have time for him to be completing meaningless worksheets day after day and not truly learning anything. The conference will be in the next week and I am praying that there is a good outcome to it.