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Thread: School - WWYD?

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    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default School - WWYD?

    As I mentioned in my other thread, DS has now been formally diagnosed with aspergers. Things at school have gone from bad to worse over the past month. As the dev ped put it - We are at rock bottom now and need to act fast. She is very optimistic that we can teach DS various tools and techniques to eventually go to university, have a career, develop relationships, etc... But, it will be a super slow process and we don't have the luxury of time right now. He comes home miserable from school. Thinks the teachers hate him, are mean, etc... I really think they just don't know what to do with him.

    He has basically checked-out of learning at school, unless it is something that interests him like math or science. He will hide under his desk, roam around the classroom, read a book, etc... Teachers knew we were doing testing and have just been letting him be rather than force the rules on him which tends to make him explode. Despite all that he is listening and retaining information as he was able to give us some pretty detailed information on Hanukkah that I know he didn't learn last year.

    I spoke with the school and we are hoping to get him a shadow to help with the bigger issues in school. Plus we need some additional recommendations from the psychologist who did the psycho-ed eval as he likely also has some learning disabilities. I don't know how quickly these things can be put into place but my experience has been that things just move slowly. There are just under 2 weeks to go until winter break.

    This week is Hanukkah and things are much lighter in school. Yesterday they watched a play done by another class, tomorrow they have some other special event, etc... Plus no homework this week because of Hanukkah. He came out of school happy yesterday.

    I am wondering if it is worth sending him to school next week. It is the last week before the break so might be a lighter workload and could work out fine. Or, teachers might try to have a regular type week and he can be miserable. I am very tempted to just keep him home and give him some projects to work on during school hours. Then, hopefully we can get everything set for when he goes back to school after the break.

    WWYD - Keep him home or send him and hope for the best?
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

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    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I don't think there is any harm in keeping him home next week. I know a lot of parents of kids who keep them out of school during the week before break. For many kids, they don't do well with the lack of structure in those weeks (my older DD is like this) but that may not be a concern for you?

    However, longer term I would worry about whether or not this school is the best fit for him. I seem to recall he is in a small, private Jewish day school? While private schools can be excellent, they often don't have the resources available to help children with disabilities or other learning differences.

    Also, once a child has been identified as "different" within the classroom, it can be hard for them to change that label and move beyond it. I would consider how teachers and the other children will perceive him and treat him over time. That can be devastating to a kid's self esteem.

    I would also be concerned with how the teacher is addressing these behaviors. What is causing him to hide under the desk (if you recall, my older DD used to do this too)? What does the teacher say or do when this happens? What do the other kids say or do? As part of his evaluation, was there a classroom observation?
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

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    hillview's Avatar
    hillview is online now Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    I would keep him home if you think that would be easiest for him. The only hesitation I'd have is if he has trouble when he goes back. DS1 for example has HORRIBLE transitions BACK to school if his break is longer than a week. So in our case it'd be a trade off come January. If that is not your situation, I'd keep him home.
    DS #1 Summer 05
    DS #2 Summer 07

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    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by egoldber View Post
    I don't think there is any harm in keeping him home next week. I know a lot of parents of kids who keep them out of school during the week before break. For many kids, they don't do well with the lack of structure in those weeks (my older DD is like this) but that may not be a concern for you?

    However, longer term I would worry about whether or not this school is the best fit for him. I seem to recall he is in a small, private Jewish day school? While private schools can be excellent, they often don't have the resources available to help children with disabilities or other learning differences.

    Also, once a child has been identified as "different" within the classroom, it can be hard for them to change that label and move beyond it. I would consider how teachers and the other children will perceive him and treat him over time. That can be devastating to a kid's self esteem.

    I would also be concerned with how the teacher is addressing these behaviors. What is causing him to hide under the desk (if you recall, my older DD used to do this too)? What does the teacher say or do when this happens? What do the other kids say or do? As part of his evaluation, was there a classroom observation?
    Agreeing that these are all concerns of ours as well. Yes, he's in a small, private Jewish Day School and they have told us that they will work with us and put into place whatever they can but they don't have the resources internally to help him. Basically, any additional support we want/need we need to provide ourselves.

    The dev ped told us that had he been in the public school system they would have never let it get this bad. I'm a bit peeved with the school right now about this. Also, the school did not follow-up with some of the issues highlighted in the psycho-ed eval. Once we started pursuing the ASD diagnosis, I had put the learning issues on the back burner in my mind but dev ped said it is critical to understand them. As a non-healthcare or education expert, I didn't realize this or I would have been bugging them about it. Turns out, the school never got a full report from the psychologist, just the summary he had given us. Evaluation was done through the school - they get funding from JVS for them. Again I'm quite irritated that this has been so delayed. Yes, the psychologist observed him in the classroom last year, I think twice.

    However, despite being upset with the school right now, we are willing to give it a try with the shadow and see if we can make things work. DH and I said we will give it a month post-winter break and if we don't see major changes we need to seriously consider changing schools.

    The school says they have other aspergers kids some with, some without shadows and they function in the system so this is not something completely new for them.

    Socially, he thankfully has a wonderful group of boys who accept him for who he is. He sees these boys in synagogue and youth groups. He actually does incredibly well at the synagogue youth groups on Saturdays. But, yes, many kids do perceive him to be different and I know some tell their parents that he gets kicked out of class all the time. In reality, they are letting him work at a small desk in the hall because it is sometimes less overstimulating than the classroom.

    The teachers say he typically crawls under his desk when it is time to do written work. He'll take a book under there. They go over and try to gently get him out but then end up leaving him there because it is just less disruptive than having him explode. Dev ped says this approach is not correct and must change asap.

    His self esteem is really low these days. He thinks he is dumb. He should only see the superior intelligence scores he got on the evaluation...

    Basically, I don't think the school is handling this properly and if we want to keep him there we need to become even more hands-on and make sure things are in place. Religiously and culturally, it's the right place for him so we will do our best to try and make it work but are very open to a switch at this point if we can't get things to change quickly because his emotional and educational needs are far more important.

    Thanks for your insights. Yes, I do remember many of your posts about your older DD and many of the issues are very similar to what I see in DS.
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

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    Gena's Avatar
    Gena is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I'm sorry your son is having such a hard time at school.

    This time of year is difficult for my son too, because he does not liek the change in routine that comes with holiday programs and parties. (The end of the school year is another hard time.)

    Personally, I would not take MY son out of school prior to winter break because the longer he is away from school the harder it is for him to go back once school starts up again. But only you know if that would be an issue for YOUR son. It's something to think about.
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

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    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Well, transitioning back to school on Mondays after the weekend is difficult for him these days. It typically takes him a week or so to transition back after the 2 week winter break, so I was thinking a 3rd week wouldn't make a huge difference especially because it will give us a chance to get the shadow in place and the detailed psycho-ed results on the learning disabilities into his IEP. But, that transition is something to consider. Lots to think about. Sigh...
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

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    inmypjs is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I am so sorry you are going through this. And sorry your son is having a hard time. I can relate to a child who thinks he is dumb when he is clearly just the opposite.

    I think what I would do depends on what your plans are for the near future. If you expect him to go back to school after the holiday break and are planning to try to make things better for him there, I would not allow him to stay home. I think the transition back will be much harder. If you are thinking in the back of your mind that you just need to get him out of there and try something else - either another school or homeschool - I would let him stay home. I really feel for you, because it is completely awful to have to send your child somewhere each day that they hate to go and makes them feel badly about themselves.

    To me it sounds like he needs an aid to help him through the activities and tasks at school. At one point one of my son's teachers told me my son needed one, though for different issues, and she followed it up with "Good luck getting one - you'll have to fight." It really stinks that you have to work so hard to get him what he needs.

    Not the issue you asked about, but have you considered talking to him about his intelligence test scores? The psychologist who did our eval did just that, in an age appropriate way. He showed DS a graph showing his IQ subtest scores, some of which were very high. He had a big smile when the psychologist gave him this feedback. I also reviewed them with him at home.
    Last edited by inmypjs; 12-12-2012 at 12:44 AM.

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    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by inmypjs View Post
    To me it sounds like he needs an aid to help him through the activities and tasks at school. At one point one of my son's teachers told me my son needed one, though for different issues, and she followed it up with "Good luck getting one - you'll have to fight." It really stinks that you have to work so hard to get him what he needs.

    Not the issue you asked about, but have you considered talking to him about his intelligence test scores? The psychologist who did our eval did just that, in an age appropriate way. He showed DS a graph showing his IQ subtest scores, some of which were very high. He had a big smile when the psychologist gave him this feedback. I also reviewed them with him at home.
    Yes, he 100% needs an aid/shadow. That is what we are trying to get in place asap. The special ed co-ordinator at the school is supposed to call me today with some names of people. We need to pay for the shadow ourselves. Still not sure how, but that's another story...Everyone agrees that it would be a short-term measure and that the goal would be to only use the shadow for a few months.

    Were he in public school, dev ped thinks there is a good chance he would have his own shadow through the school but she agrees there are no guarantees. Of course, if we pull him out of private school, paying for our own private shadow wouldn't be a problem in public school as we aren't paying tuition. Our local public school is known to be very good. One huge problem with switching to public right now is that our elementary teachers union is currently without contract and are in a legal strike position. There is a one-day strike planned for tomorrow. Soooo, now is not exactly the best time to be going to the school to see how much they can help our special needs child.

    Interesting idea to discuss his test scores with him. DH and I are in the midst of deciding what and how to tell him about the diagnosis and that would be an interesting aspect to include. Thanks!
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

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