I am a bit overwhelmed these days. The beginning of the year tends to do this to me and I kinda bring it on myself.
Here is my list:
All of this is for my boys. My two wonderful, fun, emotional, don’t-rock-the-boat boys.
First and foremost is making sure the beginning of the year is great. So, we make a video of my youngest to introduce him to his new teachers & admin. The video shows his quirks, his thought processes, & what he likes & does not like. It takes a bit of time, but we think it helps the teacher understand him better. Before school started, I made an appointment with his new teacher, new principal, assistant principal and special ed teacher. We met and I am so tickled – we have a great team AGAIN this year. I love our school. So anyway, in the meeting we watched the video, talked about it, and I brought in his daily sheet. Everyone seemed to understand the sheet and said it wouldn’t be a problem.
We have been doing this sheet for many years. It works. First he works, then he is rewarded. All I ask is that you let me know what he is working for – at least the first couple of months of school. We did not have this sheet originally. Originally a Special Ed Coordinator from Virginia Beach Schools came to my house and went over “First, then” with us and asked that we do it in the home as that is what they do at school. Ok, great. Got it. Will do. And, we have been doing it ever since. For four years. Every summer. If we lapse, we see it. The kid needs consistency.
If they want to change the sheet, that’s cool. Just talk to me. I am all about communication, but in the same breath I know we will have hiccups. It is day 3 and not one Daily Sheet has come home. Not ONE. So, does that mean that our system “First, Then” is not being done in school? I sent in his rewards: nuts, mints, smelly pencils, stickers,etc. AND, they can use their money system. I don’t care. Just let me know what he is working for – and that he is actually working.
So, I emailed his special ed teacher making sure they got the forms. Within a few hours I got a call from the regular ed teacher! I love this school. Yes, they have the forms. She was very nice and said my son is doing well and loves the money system. Cool. But, she doesn’t think we need to do the form. I tell her, “Um, no, we need to do the form.” She replies, “Logistically, it is tough to do, so can we chunk it into larger time blocks?” I am game, so I say, “Sure.” I know it is hard logistically, but he has a special ed teacher, a one-on-one most of the day, and you. But, I am good :). Chunking is fine.
Then I let her know that I am scared and I need to know things are going well. Again, that communication thing. She said that mom’s being scared is sometimes worse for the kids. (Hiccup number #2?)
Um…I had to process that one.
Yes, I am scared. We have worked too hard for too long to not use the systems in place that works. From the naked eye, he looks GREAT. You would not know that he has Autism. I get that all the time. But, he does. His brain works differently. PERIOD.
So, how do I fix this? New PROJECT. If teachers and admin could get a glimpse into our world and everything we go through to make our kids lives as neuro-typical as possible, that would have never been said to me. Could it be as simple as a group of local parents talking to schools through the PTA (?) about all the hiccups so we prep our teachers better? Or does it need to be system wide for teachers new to special ed? I don’t know, but I am on it!