Spoke too soon (call from school)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Spoke too soon (call from school)
5
Fri, 09-05-2003 - 12:27pm
Oh, well. I knew that the first week of school was going too smoothly. This morning, I got a call from the autism consultant. She had stopped by Christopher's classroom unannounced just to introduce herself to Christopher's teacher and to see how things were going. The teacher indicated that he'd had some trouble with Chris this morning and made the comment that maybe this wasn't the best placement for Chris. (Excuse me! It's only been four days!) I guess he gave the class a timed test this morning, which stressed Chris out. He gave Chris the option of taking the test on his own time out in the hall, but Chris turned him down, but was also not able to do the timed test. His teacher let him go to the quiet corner, where the autism consultant found him. (It's a reading nook, with carpet, a wingback chair, and a bookcase.)

She asked Chris if he wanted to talk about it, and he said no. She asked if it would help if he, she and the teacher sat down together to talk. He said "No, Mr. S. doesn't like me." She asked if he wanted her to call me. At first he said no, then said she could if she wanted to. Hence the call--just a heads-up. She wasn't able to talk with the teacher further, because he was teaching, but she's going to try and touch base with him this afternoon.

In the meantime, I called school and left a voice mail for him to call me after school. Then about 20 minutes later, the resource teacher calls to say that Chris isn't feeling well, and she wanted me to talk to him. I asked him if his not feeling well had to do with the timed test incident, and he said no, but agreed to try and stick out the day. "But if I throw up, you'll have to come and get me." When the resource teacher got back on the phone, I told her I thought his "illness" was probably stress from this morning, and she agreed, but seemed glad that I wasn't going to rush in and rescue him.

It will be interesting to see what the teacher has to say about all this.

Golly, I love being the mom of an aspie. I cringe every time my phone rings once the school year starts.

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 9:25pm
It sounds like that teacher wants a neat little cookie-cutter class. Too bad for for him, with that frame of mind he's going to miss out on all the wonderful stuff Christopher could teach him about 'thinking outside the box'.

It sounds like you have some good support from the Autism specialist and RT though. That's something to be happy about. And maybe that teacher is right, maybe his class isn't the right placement for Christopher. Maybe he sould be in a class with a more realistic and openminded mainstream teacher who is actually interested in ALL of the kids he's responsible for. Okay, maybe that was little over the top, sorry. But I know lots of teachers who would love to have a kid like Christopher in their classes just for the color and variety he would add to the expirience. Hearing about teachers who want everything to run smoothly at all times with all kids just kinda irks me. And I say that as a teacher, not just a parent of an Aspie. Our co-op's Group Study is a kind of mainstream w/ inclusions type of course. We designed it that way so that the NT kids could learn from the Aspies and vica versa. Both sides have something to teach each other.

I hope things get better for you and Christopher with this teacher. You're right, four days is not enough time to decide on propper placement. At least not over minor issues like trouble with tests. If Christopher had gone into complete meltdown repetedly I might understand. But that wasn't the case, so I agree that the teacher needs to give it more time. maybe you can point out that it takes about 2-3 weeks for an Aspie to become used to the way things are done in new enviroments and with new people?

Good luck, Sweety.

Peace,

Candes

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 8:44am
Thanks for the kind words, Candes. I'm a little miffed at the teacher because I left a message on his voice mail with my work number and he never called me (he also has my home phone number and email address and I've heard nothing). I wrote a long note in Christopher's home-school notebook and asked Chris to see that the teacher gets it this morning. I hope that he'll find time to respond to me in the notebook.

I really had high hopes for this teacher. In fact, in our meeting before school started, he talked about encouraging diversity in problem-solving and thinking outside the box, and seemed pleased when I told him that Chris was excellent at that because he sees things differently than other people.

I'm also wondering whether he's even read Christopher's IEP, which specifies no timed tests. If he had known that, he might have been able to head off the meltdown by doing something different with Chris before the test.

Oh well. I'm also curious to see the teacher's reaction to Christopher's homework. He dictated it to me and I wrote down what he said (and it's noted that way on the paper--"dictated to mom on Saturday). Chris has a lot of trouble with writing, and we talked before school about alternative ways to do homework. (dictation, speaking the answers into a tape recorder, etc.) I hope the reality of doing it this way is okay with the teacher.

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 9:06am
This is a little off topic, but I've been doing a lot of thinking about alternative ways to do homework. Liam was out of school for two days and we had to do 18 worksheets over the weekend. (Actually as he usually only brings 1-3 sheets home each night to finish at home, I am very impressed with the amount of work he actually does at school!) In order to get it finisned and not loose our minds, we did some dictation. Liam is in first grade and has decoding issues and problems writing. But I want to build on his strengths, like his comprehension, so I let him dictate.

I am thinking he might do great with a word processer or laptop as time goes by. Have any of you ladies done this with your kids? At this point, he is a little young, but,well, what do you think? Maybe this could work for Chris as well?

Sio

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 9:47am
Chris had an AlphaSmart keyboard in 3rd grade, but his keyboarding skills are also slow, so he gets frustrated. He'll be getting more keyboarding practice this year, so that might help.

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 5:04am
I suppose this is one of the luxuries of co-op schooling, but Jade and Eva usually type their homework out or give an oral presentation. Eva is too young (3.5) to really be very good at handwriting (plus her OT issues) and Jade has massive fine-motor problems. I refuse to let these things get in the way of them continuing on in the subjects they do well in. We keep handwriting as a separate course from everything else.

That's not to say that they don't have to work on it, they do. It has taken Jade until now (she's 9) to get to the point where she could write her letters small enough to fit onto 3rd grade lined paper. So this year we begin the 'speed writing'. We will start her out slowly, moving her away from repetitious writing and towards free-flow writing by incorporating certain OTs as lessons. She has input on how she gets taught (but doesn't have full say or the final word) and she has picked out some very good 'techniques'.

We have started a little course we call "Mom's Office" where she pretends she is my secretary and has to take dictation. We did this with her last year to help her gain speed in typing and it worked wonderfully! We've only been back in session for a week and she's only had 6 'sessions' but we are already starting to see a difference. She's getting faster at handwriting slowly but surely. Right now our sessions only last for 10 minutes so that she doesn't get fatigued and start to stim. But after the second week I'm going to up the time to 15 minutes.

But getting back to the original topic (sorry for the side track, lol). Oral presentations and drills work great for my kids, all of them. It is a sure-fire way to know if the student actually knows what they are talking about and if they learned the material vs. just copying the answer from another part of the book or taking a wild guess on the multiple choices. For us, 'oral presentation' doesn't mean getting up in front of the class and giving a prepared speech, it means asking the child prompt questions in a comfortable environment. I guess in mainstream classroom that would be their seat or the quiet corner. We also encourage our kids to use pictures to help them illustrate and explain more efficiently. It not only helps them get their point across more clearly, but more quickly as well. (a point you may wish to make to the teacher if he says he doesn't have time to do it that way).

Anyhoo, that's my two cents on the subject, lol, whatever they're worth.

Peace,

Candes

P.S. For kids who have problems with decoding the book "Teach Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons" is a lifesaver. It can be bought at most major chain bookstores, though the best price for it ($14.65) is at amazon.com.