I found this gem on Pinterest. With the end of the school year approaching I’m looking forward to spending more valuable time with the kids. I’m already planning different outings and experiences for us. It will be time well spent 😊.
Over the years I have been guilty of not having patience with MJ. Most of the time this was due to being stressed out, tired and not having any “me time!” In the early years I didn’t sleep as much and I know this only added to the problem. Looking back, I wish I had taken more time out for myself. It would’ve diminished the impatience I had with him and relieved some of the frustrations of life. Don’t make the same mistake that I did.
As this school year has progressed, I’ve kept watch over MJ’s classwork and homework. I’ve kept notes of the homework he is given as well as notes regarding the classwork they say he does in class. One component has been missing…The students have no online curriculum! Yes, they have access to textbooks online but there is nothing in place to help engage the students and sharpen their skills in the areas of reading and math. During one parent teacher conference this year, my husband and I made it clear that we wanted MJ to work on an online program during class. MJ constantly tells me that he is on Starfall.com! While I love Starfall, because it did help MJ to read, I don’t feel this is something that he should still be using in school. For goodness sakes, he has been using it since he was 3 years old! I wouldn’t mind if MJ used is for free time or before dismissal, but it appeared to me that he used it daily while at school. After our meeting, I followed up with an email about our request for an online program. Our request was basically ignored by all individuals. Since I work in the school system, I see what is made available to the general education students. This year, for example, 2 online programs were purchased by the district, for use in the general education classes. Now we all know that these online program costs thousandssssss of dollarssssss. We were told to incorporate these programs into our curriculum. They ended up being great programs that helped to engage students and reinforce reading skills at each child’s reading level. As the days went on I got angry. I thought, Why doesn’t MJ and all of the other special needs students have access to a program like this? Why isn’t a program available for them? Aren’t they just as important as the general education students?” At that moment I was compelled to resolve this issue. I sent an email to all of the district personnel in charge of the special needs program, including the autism curriculum person. I quickly received a, “thank you for your email, we’ll get back with you” response. After 2 days I did receive an email stating that they would look into the information. Five days after that, I received an email and telephone call from a woman in charge of curriculum for MJs school. She informed me that she visited his classroom, unannounced, and observed MJ, the teachers, and the instruction for the day. She then said, “His teacher is very old fashioned.” I actually laughed when I heard this because this is not news to me. She then went on to explain that she gave his teacher a list of online resources that he can use in the classroom and requested that I give her a week to find out more information. Well, guess what was in MJs bookbag that day…He came home with the same list of resources. After that week, I emailed the woman and the autism curriculum person AGAIN to clarify my request…I DON’T WANT A LIST OF RESOURCES THAT HE CAN USE AT HOME! I DON’T GIVE A RAT’S BUTT ABOUT HOW OLD FASHIONED HIS TEACHER IS! WHAT I WANT AND WHAT HE NEEDS IS TO USE AN ONLINE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM IN THE CLASSROOM, JUST AS THE GENERAL EDUCATION STUDENTS DO (sigh)! I wrote that to them as professionally as I possibly could. The next day I received an email stating the online program that he would use as well as the fact that it would be used with fidelity and that training would be given to all necessary personnel. You better believe that I will be ensuring that this takes place next school year and thereafter.
It is sickening to me that something was not already in place. It’s sickening to me that they don’t value MJ and other special needs children the way that they value the general education students. It’s sickening to me that better instructional strategies aren’t being used in his classroom. They will not deprive my son of having FREE and APPROPRIATE EDUCATION. That will never happen under my watch.
Well, we attended the birthday party and had a blast! I honestly believe that the autism moms had as much fun as the kids did lol! We all commented on how wonderful it was to have our boys be invited to a party and for them to all be together! While the kids bowled, we were able to talk about the kids, school, and other every day life situations. The best part was seeing how happy MJ was in anticipation of the party. I am so grateful for the day that we all had.
Over the years MJ hasn’t been invited to many parties. I know that some people didn’t want him there, for fear of the unknown. There were actually a few that he was invited to but they just weren’t appropriate for him. Recently he was invited to a classmates birthday party. I was thrilled to see that it was at a bowling alley! Hallelujah it’s something that he has done before and really enjoys! I must admit that it will be a nice change of pace to feel comfortable and relaxed at this party. I won’t have to worry about other kids making fun of him or asking questions like, “why does he talk like that” or “what’s wrong with him (these things have been said more than once)?” The adults hosting this party fully understand autism and everything that comes along with it. I’m sure we’ll have a blast 😁🎉.
I recently met a new friend through social media. Her name is Ann and she has an awesome blog/website,
BeautifulSpeechLife.com. What I love about her is that not only does she love children, but through her videos and products it is evident that she truly enjoys what she does as a speech and language pathologist. She interviewed me recently for her blog and once again it was wonderful to talk about my experiences with MJ during the early years.