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.
I’m still gratefully in shock about what happened this morning. MJ had to get a dental filling for one of his teeth. Based on his previous appointments, the dentist suggested that we try to do the filling without sedation. Three years ago, Mj had to be sedated in order to receive almost any dental work. It’s so amazing to see how he has been able to tolerate everything that they need to do one appointment after the other. The dentist opened the office earlier than normal just to make sure that they would have uninterrupted time with Mj. This morning, they did give him “laughing gas” to help relax him a bit and they also had a TV in the ceiling that he was able to watch while they were working on his teeth. He yelled the entire time that they gave him the shot to numb his mouth but after that he was actually OK! There were a few times when it looked like he was going to gag but the dental team quickly adjusted and made him feel totally comfortable. There was even a person dedicated to just holding his hand and cheering him on as they completed the procedure! If you told me three years ago that this could have happened, I honestly would not have believed you. The change over these last few years has been amazing. This just further teaches me not to underestimate MJ or God!
We spent a wonderful weekend celebrating Mjs’s birthday as well as Mother’s Day! We started out by trying something different with him-We took him fishing! Most of the time, we don’t know how he is going to respond to certain activities so we were attentively watching him during the process. He ended up really enjoying it and I am so pleased that we now have another activity that he can be involved in. He also went to his favorite restaurant and we ended off his celebration at the beach, which is his favorite place to be 😁.
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 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.
The school year has begun and we are finally getting into a groove. MJ had his 9th grade orientation the day before school started. Instead of touring the school and taking his ID picture like I had hoped, we ended up spending the morning in the ESE Specialist’s office working out a transportation issue that should have never happened. After a few tears, several emails and phone calls, the issue was finally resolved and I was a little bit more relaxed about his first day of school. Needless to say, we all went to bed late due to the “summer schedule” that we were on. In the morning, MJ could barely get out of bed and get dressed. We managed to make it out of the house on time and got to his school early! As I pulled up to the front of the school and walked him to the teacher’s assistant, I couldn’t help but stare at him. My son is 14 years old, almost as tall as his dad and an official high schooler. I thought back to the early years of the screaming, kicking, crying, fighting, and hiding in the closets on the first day of school. Oh how my stomach would be in knots all day long! My, how he has come a long way. I wish those teachers could see him now-as cool and calm as a Spring day. I couldn’t wait to get off of work and pick him up. Thankfully, MJ is able to remain in the same after care that he was a part of in middle school. He will be able to utilize them throughout high school. I basically ran in the room to pick him up and asked him how his day was. “My day was good mommy!” That was the response I was hoping for. MJ was happy and all was right in the world. Now let’s just see what this school year has to offer.