Here’s the deal, no sugar coating, no BS. When you are the parent of a special needs child you better own it. You need to know what your kids strengths and weaknesses are and you need to be real with yourself and those that interact with your kid. What does that mean? It means when the school calls or your kid’s teacher calls you need to listen and breathe. Don’t pretend like little Johnny is always perfect. Bryan has some tremendous strengths but he also has weaknesses, just like all of us. Earl and I went to a meeting last week at Bryan’s new school. The purpose of the meeting was to grant permission to the school psychologist to do a state required re-assessment of Bryan from a psychological perspective. Let me translate this for those of you who are novices. This is an exercise in futility. We can seriously tell you exactly where he is in most things and kids on the spectrum typically test horribly. Perhaps we do not know the grade level for things, but for a lot of stuff, we know enough to provide direction on treatments needed. So we went, because we are always hopeful. Not to be too negative but if you think your typical child has trouble with standardized tests, just imagine how your kid who has limited vocabulary and limited language will do. Couple that with a lack of focus and you have a disaster in the making. I sincerely suggest when you get the results of any of these tests you open them up at a bar with a tequila shot at the ready. The last time we got the results back, after a private psych eval, I cried a whole day away. Good thing we paid $3000 for that. The good news is after the crying ends, the parenting kicks in. These results, while heart wrenching at the time, always forces us to rethink what we are doing with him and for him and although a change is not a direct result of the report; the impact that it leaves on us usually fosters some change. In any event, at the meeting we had the school psychologist, his teacher, speech teacher, OT and the school coordinator for special needs students. We all talked about how Bryan was doing so far, week 3, etc. Everyone was saying what a happy boy he is and how he is adjusting well. Don’t mess with me, this is middle school. We have been doing these meetings for 8 years. I know in my gut if he is so happy with this transition it’s one of a few things:
1. He is not being challenged and therefore likes going because it’s easy
2. They haven’t given him enough rules to make him feel too anxious yet.
3. The bad stuff is coming.
4. He has pretty much recovered from autism and the meeting is a waste of time anyway. Ok so that’s not funny.
So…. we went to open school night. Teacher did her thing, other parents did not interact!!? WTF? Usually parents of special needs kids bond and cling to each other like they they are on the Titanic watching the last life boat leave. Very curious. We left feeling weird and unsettled. I know for me, when my mommy radar goes off, the missiles will not be far behind. Yep, we got a hit, got the call yesterday. Apparently the boy who is adjusting perfectly is not. He is calling out in class all day long and one of the other kids cannot tolerate it. The kid has pinched Bryan and possibly hit him too. Not tough to imagine because he does this all the time. However, Bryan is an extremely reasonable and motivated boy. This can be managed with a behavior chart, a little incentive from both the teachers and mom and dad. We are now on lockdown and will get this puppy cleared up soon. We expressed that we need more info from the teacher. Turns out we were supposed to be getting home notes. Gee, just what we had asked for initially. come on… throw me a bone here people.
Good news is he gets what he is doing is wrong. We have both spoken to him and the light in his eyes let’s us know he understands this. He needs motivation to control this behavior and we know just the buttons to push.