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  1. #1
    VClute is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default Ever felt like just giving up?

    DS has autism, and while K and 1st grade went well (typical classroom with modifications and accommodations) 2nd grade was disastrous. The school suggested that I send him to a self-contained classroom, but I refused after I observed the classroom and found it to be more of a daycare than a learning environment. (The teacher did a lot of things for the students, from zipping up their coats to packing their backpacks at the end of the day, and the only "instruction" I saw was in indoctrination like standing in line, waiting to be called on to go to the bathroom, etc I was there for a total of four hours. The kids in this classroom eat lunch separately from typical kids and have recess separately as well.) So, DS is doing 2nd grade again, and although we came up with even more accommodations and modifications at a marathon IEP meeting prior to the start of school, I just feel like DS isn't progressing. He *hates* to read, he accels at math but still sometimes won't do his work, and the teacher tells me he is still having a tough time attending at school. I've worked *so hard* to see to his education, but I'm about exhausted. Homework time is a battle, especially because he spends a lot of time completing work he didn't finish at school. I have interests *I* would like to pursue but can't, because I spend so much time shuttling DS to various therapies and attending meetings and appointments, etc. DS, too, is so frustrated and he's very self-aware ("why did I have to be born with autism? Why don't the other kids need extra help", etc) There are no other schooling options here. I sometimes feel like we would both be happier if I did just take him to the Free and Appropriate Public Babysitter and just relax for once. Am I awful?
    Amy in NC
    mom to Dixon, 2/14/2005
    and Abigail, 4/7/2007

  2. #2
    abh5e8 is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    oh mama, what a hard place to be in. i have no BTDT experience, but could not read without posting. by "giving up" do you mean allowing him to be moved to the self contained classroom? it sounds like it might a be a good idea. maybe your ds would have more success in that environment, which would then be encouraging to both of you. but i'm not sure how it would reduce your schedule fo therapies and meetings?

  3. #3
    VClute is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Well, it depends on one's definition of "success." They don't make a lot of demands on the kids in the self-contained classroom (at least not in the two times I visited.) And without a demand can there be a success? He certainly wouldn't *fail* as much. But his self-awareness would, I think, make him very aware that his new classroom is very different (10-12 k-2nd graders as opposed to 20-something strictly 2nd graders) so he might view being there as a failure. I don't know. I've asked him, when he complains about the work being too hard, if he'd like to go to a school where the work is easier (this classroom is at another school) and he is adamant that he wants to stay at HIS school, where his neighbors and friends are. Gah. This is so hard.
    Amy in NC
    mom to Dixon, 2/14/2005
    and Abigail, 4/7/2007

  4. #4
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    I am so sorry. I wonder about the possibility of more accommodations as to curriculum/homework. It is possible to keep him in the regular classroom with a modified curriculum and/or modified homework. Maybe they could just send home unfinished work from the day and no other homework? That might lessen the burden on you while keeping him in a setting you feel is more likely to result in progress?

    Catherine

  5. #5
    inmypjs is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by crl View Post
    I am so sorry. I wonder about the possibility of more accommodations as to curriculum/homework. It is possible to keep him in the regular classroom with a modified curriculum and/or modified homework. Maybe they could just send home unfinished work from the day and no other homework? That might lessen the burden on you while keeping him in a setting you feel is more likely to result in progress?

    Catherine
    I agree with this, especially since it sounds like you really don't feel comfortable with the other classroom. I would ask for time-limited homework - like 20 minutes per night and then you stop, plus other reductions that could reduce frustration (fewer spelling words, lesser amount of writing problems, fewer math problems, whatever you think makes sense). I also wanted to say I'm sorry you are feeling this way. It's hard to have a child who has different needs. Honestly what you describe is why we homeschool. And in case you are wondering lots of homeschoolers take some time off from school when it has been really stressful for their child - so what you are talking about does not sound crazy!

  6. #6
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    I'm very sorry too. I feel like our school systems are really broken when it comes to supporting kids with disabilities. Piling homework on a disabled 2nd grader who wasn't able to complete the schoolwork during the day? That's crazy and you're right to recognize something has to give. But the choice should not be putting him in a room with no academics vs requiring him to work at grade level with his 2nd grade peers. Some school districts (not mine, unfortunately) figure this stuff out and keep our kids included in general education in a way that allows them to work at their level and be successful/happy students.

    Does your district have a SEAC or PAC committee for special education students' parents? Usually they are legally mandated, and there may be someone who knows of resources your IEP team isn't recommending (a different special ed room that was better but "full" so they didn't let you observe it, tips for what to say to get a 1-1 aide, more heavily modified curriculum, more resource room teacher time, etc. )

    Also, fwiw, I don't even sign up my n/t kiddo for any outside activities in the fall because I know how hard the first few weeks/months of school are for her each year. I would take a hard look at which ones you could drop and make everyone in your family less stressed. I don't think it's "giving up". It's pulling back and reassessing your family's needs. Right now I can't find weekend options for my 5 yo ASD son's ABA therapies, but there is no way I'm signing him up for after school or evening ones given how wiped out he is at the end of the school day. So we put it on the back burner, and we just come home and chill out. I ignore his homework too if I think he's not up to it. Does it irritate his teacher? Probably, but oh well.

  7. #7
    sariana is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I agree with PPs--your DS needs more accommodations, starting with shorter assignments. Call for an IEP meeting immediately. I firmly believe that schoolwork is not the be-all and end-all of a child's life (or a parent's). There has to be balance.

    I know you're overwhelmed, but if you can, read up on the IDEA so that you know your and your son's rights. The school MUST follow the law, so it is important for you to know it, or get an advocate. (Some states have agencies that advocate for free.)

    I have BTDT with the school. But once I fought the battle when DS was in 1st, I didn't have to fight it (much) again. They knew I meant business.

    Would your son benefit from a one-on-one aide? Do you have an RSP program? Being able to go to RSP when he needs a break has been a huge help for my son.

    Hugs to you. It is hard; there's no getting around that.
    DS '04 "Boogaboo"
    DD '08 "Lilybear"

  8. #8
    VClute is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Are you talking about a special ed PTA? I just joined the countywide board. I've only been to one meeting, though, and when I mentioned I had not had a good experience thus far, everyone else kind of gave me a blank look. Later, the head of the board "reminded" everyone that the SEPTA was not for pitting parents against the school system, and it wasn't really a forum for complaining or seeking guidance (not the board meetings, anyway.) I did have an advocate from the autism society attend our most recent iep meeting and, though I *did* specifically request an aide for my son, I was told it wasn't likely to be approved. Especially since he spends so much time in "pull-out" with the spec. Ed teacher. We do Aba twice weekly, for an hour each session, then speech once a week for a half hour and ds takes piano lessons once a week for a half hour. I also have a typical daughter, and I allow her only one activity. Right now she goes to tennis lessons once a week. But we may be adding ot for ds, so that may have to go. I'm just SO TIRED of doing all this work, which may be for naught. On the other hand, if I *don't* do all this for ds now, years from now will I be feeling guilty and kicking myself wondering if he might have gotten farther with most intervention?
    Amy in NC
    mom to Dixon, 2/14/2005
    and Abigail, 4/7/2007

  9. #9
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    My thoughts, in no particular order....No, you're not awful! But it does sound like you need a break. And try to cut yourself and DS some slack. You are both working really hard, for a very long time, on something that is really pretty vague and doesn't have a clearly defined solution.

    Can you pick just one thing that is for you, and then find a way to make it happen? I have a wonderful friend who takes my DS1 to swim class. She enjoys it as bonding time for the two of them, and i love it because i dont have to make that commitment every week (I'm lucky, I know).

    My 2nd-grader hates to read too, even though he's really pretty good at it. We sat down tonight and looked at books on Amazon, hoping to find *something* that would interest him since he's supposed to read for 20 minutes everyday. I did have him choose what time of day to do his homework, and that's helped a bit though it's hard for me to hold off and not bug him about doing it (because I just want him to get the dang homework over with...). I grew up in a family where there was a lot of pressure to succeed academically and it's REALLY hard for me to just let DS1 go at his own pace. I keep telling myself that he will be OK even if he doesn't complete his project, turn in his homework, etc, and that my real goal is for him to function in a general ed classroom (he's in a separate room for kids with behavioral challenges).

    So maybe don't give up - but do give yourself a break for a few weeks or months. Due to my DH's illness I've had to make a lot of choices about what to let go, cause I just can't do it all - and I was surprised at how much *could * be let go. So take a minute to breathe, think about what works for your family, and go with that. Hugs!!

  10. #10
    JustMe is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    To answer your question in a word, yes.

    I am not going to give much advice, but will commiserate. I have totally had your sentiment about a free and appropriate babysitter possibly being better. The education dd has received, at least before this year, has been so not helpful to her in some ways (not all) that I feel like I would do better to have her in childcare while I work, as some of the stressors that make it difficult for her to focus on school work at home would be gone.

    That said this year, after 2+ years of fighting, I believe she may get some appropriate help at school. I also see skills that I have worked with my dd on come out suddenly when I thought there was no progress.

    Hang in there, and as others have said pace yourself.
    lucky single mommy to almost 16 yr old dd and almost 13 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

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