Cian falling apart, school blaming me:(

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2007
Cian falling apart, school blaming me:(
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 3:46pm

Ugh, I thought I'd posted last night but it's not here now. If this is repetitive to my FB friends sorry, but I needed some feedback. Long story short we are having to battle for a more appropriate placement for Cian.

From as early as Pre-K (sped) he has had a struggle with what all his teachers call "motivation", although as my Mum pointed out that's an inappropriate term for a small child as spontaneity is the cornerstone of childhood;)

Anyhoo, we have had this back and forth with his mediocre at best and downright lazy at worst mainstream teacher. Initially it was a team taught classroom for Reading, Math and Lang Arts, but so many of the kids were so low many ended up in resource and Cian's math ability was too high and would go next door for math class. Now there is no sped teacher, it's just Mrs.Useless. Biggest issue (but not the only) with her is NO COMMUNICATION.

Emails never responded to, while all the other 1st grade teachers are sending home the weekly newsletter or at least linking it in an email, she assumes we all remember to drop everything each Friday and go to her newsletter via the county website. Hello, 3 sped kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, a husband and a life means I WILL totally flake out about it. (Even the few time on it it's all stolen from the other 1st grade teachers newsletters, lol).

She has on at least two occasions sent whiny notes as to Cian's "lack of motivation", his "disinterest" "how can I (the parent) help with this???" Blah blah blah.

By March she was moaning on again about motivating him to read the stories, answer the questions on comprehension questions. That he was disinterestd in all his classes even specials, (head down on desk etc).

We tried attaching his allowance to participation (eg: 70% participation=$1 of allowance). I have no clue if it worked or how long it did IF they even implemented it; nobody bothered to catch me up.

I email the school psychologist asking how we need to proceed giving Cian is now withdrawn and gone all turtle in a half shell on them. He gets back to me a couple of days later with "oh spoke to his teachers, he WAS having motivation issues, but he's improving again with logical consequences"....erm logical consequences ...okaaaay!

Then around the same time his teacher who NEVER communicates unless she is forced to hand scrawled a whingy whiney note on the cover of his state standardized Pre test (which he failed miserably)about how Cian's lost motivation, his attitude toward school effectively has shifted to uncaring. How he needs to give his best effort,yadee yadee yada!

So if I am with the psychologist saying he's talked to the teachers and although it was a bit bumpy things are improving, why is his teacher sending me a note home from the same time frame where she (a) has decided Cian's given up and (b) the note definitely smacked of "so what are you as his parents going to do about it!!?"


Lately my quiet, happy loner(but happy within himself) has become encreasingly stimmy, mean, angry, argumentative, oppositional (although after Liam it's a drop in the bucket). Still, I can't help but think it's all connected.

We have a "meeting" scheduled for next Tuesday. I'm not even sure if it's an IEP or something else and who exactly will be there. I have requested that info though. I just hate how vague they choose to be...ugh!! And now Cian and Roan are throttling eachother, sigh!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 4:06pm


Wow. I homeschool (this year, at least), and when my DS displays a lack of motivation or disinterest, I generally chalk it up to either being a boring lesson, or the boring delivery of a lesson.

I think that it is really up to the teacher to motivate him. Either she makes the lessons more engaging, or gives him more immediate rewards for focusing on his work (that would be up to her to decide what was appropriate for her classroom...I'm thinking maybe stickers, or extra time do do a fun activity, that sort of idea).

Even at 12 yo (and mind you my DS is dx with ADHD) my DS needs immediate rewards to motivate him when he's being asked to do something boring or difficult. Telling him that he'd have more time to play WoW in the evening wouldn't work because the evening is too far away for him. What I do is break his work up in small chunks and in between the short blocks of work, I give him 5-10 minute breaks, at which time he can surf the net, play a video game, or watch tv.

It's the carrot and stick routine, but a carrot is given every mile rather than a bucketful at the end of the journey, kwim.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-2006
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 6:29pm

Debbie has a great point! I homeschool Nicholas and I have to use rewards all the time. I also use his obsessions as rewards, which works even better for him. Like Debbie I have to break up his work in chunks. The only problems I have is the transitioning and getting him to switch gears. A timer helps alot, but Nic is the kid of kid that if I let him start a game, he has to finish the game and be successful at it at the same time, so it gets hard. Some days are bad, but thats okay because we can make it up on a better day.

See how I read that dumb teachers email is she is telling you, asking for your help because I think she feels that if you are "stern" with Cian, or if you punish him, he will start doing what he's supposed to do. What a crock and it tells me she really has no clue on Autism. You can't discipline the disability! Even if you did, it wouldn't work and both of you and Cian would be even more miserable.

I know your trying to switch his placement, and that probably is the way to go since then you know someone trained in understanding Autism would know exactly what to do. In the mean time why don't you suggest to her to try the rewards thing (I print up fake money on the internet and paste a real pic of Nic in the middle of it) and hand them out when he makes the right choice or cooperates with working. then allow him to spend these on anything he wants like computer and video game, whatever his obsession is...which of course you supply.

Anyway good luck sweetie. It's hard enough being a parent to our kids, but it's even harder when he have serious issue's and have to fight the damn school at the same time.