08 January 2008

Back to School

I rarely blog about what is going on in public school with Patrick and G, so I thought I'd write a little something. They went back to school Monday.

As far as I know, things are pretty much as usual for Patrick. I occasionally get grades sent home by e-mail, and thankfully I almost never get discipline calls on the child. I think the last big problem that we have had was that Patrick wanted to know the entire layout of the school, so he kept nosing in places like janitor's closets and making the staff nervous. The kid just wants to see if there really are any secret passages and what-not. I think the whole school is laid out so weeeeird that it's not implausible. It was actually the scene of an entire Stephen King movie in real life, it's so eerie. Really.

But I guess since Columbine, God forbid children snoop in broom closets. They must be hiding bombs!! I sided with the principal on this, though, because Patrick really does need to be minding his own business and just going to class. They also keep power tools and chemicals in closets that we don't want him touching. The poor principal was about ready to keep Patrick after school if it happened again and show him EVERY ROOM personally so he could get it out of his head, but thankfully Patrick stopped being nosy. But anyway...

G has an EXCELLENT case manager for his IEP this year in seventh grade. Did I tell you he had an excellent one last year, too? I thought life would be awful after elementary school but I've found just the opposite for G. The staff is MORE friendly and MORE concerned for G than they ever were in elementary school. They understand more about his autism and how that affects his studies, or at least they seem ready to learn. There are a few exceptions where teachers and staff get upset about this or that and decide to call me. I have to refer them back to the case manager. Ordinarily it is the parent's place to discipline and set order when a student has a problem in a class. However, if an autistic child is having trouble in school, the person that can help give good pointers or make resources available to the teacher and child is the IEP CASE MANAGER.

No amount of getting upset at the mom is going to solve the child's behaviour in class if it is *primarily* the result of autism. Mom has no clue what the triggers are or how to "amend" or "modify" things at school so that it works for everyone. GO TALK TO THE CASE MANAGER BEFORE YOU CALL THE MOM. Please. It's not me shirking responsibility for my child; it's my trying valiantly to avoid the he-said-she-said thing between teachers, staff, administration and parents. Anything you have to say, talk to the case worker. She is there to coordinate everything and make things run as smoothly as possible. She knows her stuff. Please use her! And, teachers, please take no offense when I call HER instead of YOU when my son has a problem in your class. It's not about you. It's about me advocating for my son with her and SHE will do something that will make YOUR job easier. Really. That's all it is; I'm not trying to get you in trouble or gossip.

I received a call from the case manager yesterday about some modifications we'll put into G's day. I was so excited that these were things I kept yapping about when the child was in fifth grade, but nobody listened to me. Did she look through a file and see me quoted somewhere?? Apparently she got this idea on her own *and,* when she spoke with me, used the same wording I did when I was trying to advocate for my son way-back-when.

I did, however, contact HSLDA about possibly homeschooling G at a later date. Right now, things are working out well (not perfectly, but well). The case manager is on top of things and really trying to get G to do his work in class. However, I'm sure that things might change next year when he moves on to Junior High. I hope not, though, because I would like him to get speech therapy, OT, social skills and all the "good stuff" that would help him if it's possible. I can't imagine running around to all those appointments AND paying for them, but I do need to keep my options open depending on how things go next year.

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