Thursday, September 23, 2010

Aftershocks: Follow-up

The boys are very excited that they are not going to school tomorrow. It is a half-day, so I am going to pull them both and go adventuring at the St. Mary's County Fair instead. Happy happy boys.

In talking to Andy, we do have a teasing issue at school, a child who was in his class last year. Fortunately, the child is not in his class, but apparently he sees him enough for it to be a problem. But I armed him. The child is calling Andy a silly name Andy doesn't like, so I told him to say he wasn't that name, and to say he was one he likes, even if it is silly. And if he kid insists on teasing him, informing the child he doesn't like that name and is going to go play with someone else, and turn his back firmly on the child. Andy's got enough to worry about, he should be spending his time with nice kids, not mean ones. I think Andy caught on.

No tears getting on the school bus today.

Joey is a little more complicated. He is saying he is all alone at school, that he has no friends. He relented and said there was a little girl who was friends with D, and that she was nice. But then it was right back to "its just me and Ms. A and Ms. C and Ms. W." The isolation is something I see a lot more with Joey, and it is all the more poignant because he loves people so- he wants to socialize. Also, I remember that feeling. It haunted me through most of my school years, and is likely to become a self-fullfilling idea. You can't force kids to socialize, and Joey is really running into roadblocks in initiating social contact. The anxiety about school isn't helping that.

Want to know why appropriate placement and service, including ESY, is so vital? Come look at my Joey.


SRR said...

My asperger daughter (undiagnosed at the time) managed to stick it out through grade school, but fell apart in middle school.

We ended up pulling her out and putting her in a therapeutic private school. She immediately felt safe and at home there, and made some good friends for the FIRST time in her life. She was able to relax at school, which I don't think she'd been able to do before. The academics weren't great, but we decided that prioritizing her need to feel safe and good about herself was most important. Academic learning could always follow.

Through the work she and her teachers did in the therapeutic school, and following up with a special needs program at the public high school, she was finally able to transfer to mainstream school her senior year, where she thrived.

She is now finishing up her last year of college. Due to her disability it has taken a bit longer, but she is doing REALLY great. Her tough times taught her how to perservere. And she has a very positive sense of self. Plus, she is still friends with those kids she met back in middle school.

Just thought I'd share our experiences. I know my daughter and Joey are very different people, with different challenges. I am completely amazed and impressed with how well you understand his needs, and how much you fight for him. You are such a great mom!


Stimey said...

So stressful. I hope the fair was good.

I spent A LOT of time when I was a kid being cripplingly shy and saying, "No one understands me." My mom got me a little plaque for my birthday once that said that because it was my mantra. I felt alone most of the time. When I was in 2nd and 3rd grade, my mom made my older sister check on me at recess because I couldn't play with anyone else. I have probably, just in the past year, stopped being surprised when I find out that people like me and want to hang out with me.

I'm not saying I'm like Joey, but I am saying that sometimes it can work out, even later in life. Plus, there can be joy for non-socially able kids, even with just a friend or two, which I was able to find more or less sporadically until high school, when I found my gang.