Teacher doesn't get it

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Teacher doesn't get it
6
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 9:03am
I suppose I should give the guy a chance. He's only had Chris for one week. But he wrote in Christopher's home-school notebook, "Chris needs to learn respect in his relationships with peers and me."

Well, DUH! Did this man learn NOTHING from the articles, the book, and the videotape I gave him? Relationships are enormously difficult for Chris. I'm sure he has no idea that anything he does is disrespectful. The teacher also said that Christopher's meltdowns "distracted" the class. YEah, I'll bet they do. He's with a whole new group of kids who've never experienced life with Chris. (New school this year with kids feeding in from four elementary schools. For the past four years, Chris has been with the same group of kids, who knew about his quirks and challenges and for the most part, supported him and helped him through them. This year, there's only three or four kids in his class who were in his previous classes.)

The teacher wants to have a meeting to discuss "possibilities." I'd love to meet with him, but in the meantime, I wrote back a LONG note explaining that Chris is not a brat or willfully disrupting the class, but he has neurological differences that make it difficult for him to see how his actions affect others. With AS, it's "all about me." Even though Chris can recite the class rules, and intellectually tell you what they mean, he may or may not be capable of actually following them. (that's always a hard concept for teachers to get--sigh).

Maybe I need for Christopher's new teacher to go out for coffee with his last year's teacher--who really had a good handle on what Chris was all about. (this teacher would go out of his way to explain to other staff members who he heard talking among themselves about Christopher's "bratty" behavior, that Chris had a neurological condition and was most definitely NOT a brat, and that they should try to understand and work with him instead of judging him. I loved that teacher.)

I had high hopes for this new guy, and I suppose I should keep an open mind. AFter all, I've been steeped in AS for 5 years, and he's only been exposed for a week. There's bound to be a learning curve.

Okay, that's enough venting. Thanks for reading.

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 9:46am
I think it would be a good idea for the last years teacher to visit

this one. Could that be arranged. I guess I always thought

when they are doing student placements during the summer that

they compared note. (smaller towns maybe) When we moved to this other

town, we brought a folder full of teacher notes to give the new school.

I got calls for a little while until we had his first ARD meeting

in the new town. I know now, when they call, it's usually close to

time for his noon dose of meds. Somedays when he comes home I wonder

if he took his med at school because he is wound up and destructive.

I bet he holds alot of behaviors in at school and takes it out on me

when he gets home.

Hopefully the new teacher will "Get it" and start figuring

out ways to help your child.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 11:50am
I had an experience with a teacher like that when Cait was in 1st grade. Actually, hindsight being 20/20 I would request to set up one meeting with him yourself. If that doesn't work out or you still get the same vibe from him I would talk to the principal or you casemanager about switching classrooms while it is still early in the year.

I unfortunately learned that some folks including some teachers are just set in their mindset and no matter how much literature and information you provide, they don't get it. I was told that Cait was a lying, manipulative, decietful little girl who needed discipline at home. The teacher did not understand Cait's difficulties at all. Within 2 months Cait regressed 4 years and became clinically socially withdrawn. We ended up having to pull her out of school and put her on a home contract. I had for over 3 months tried to work with that teacher and explain how Cait thought and she just either couldn't or refused to understand.

We had a similar but not nearly as severe an experience last year with an unsupportive teacher and again by the end of the year Cait was very stressed and again we had to pull her out. Making the teacher meet with another teacher may not make him see the light. It may take him a while to understand fully, but it just isn't worth putting your kiddo through the torture if the teacher doesn't want to learn and understand about asperger's. Your son really needs a supportive environment now more than ever and it doesn't sound like this teacher is it.

JMHO

Renee

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 12:22pm
Ya know, the funny thing is, I had really good vibes about this teacher when Chris and I met with him before school started. He seemed pleased to receive the information I gave him ("I'm a scientist, and I love having as much information as possible," he said). He talked about teaching kids to think "outside of the box," and was impressed when I told him that Chris was excellent at that. He had some good questions for Chris, such as whether it would bother him if he played soft music while the class was working on activities, and if it would bother him if he thought that another student might be touching the stuff in his desk (the kids switch classes back and forth between two teachers).

He's a younger guy (which has usually worked well for us--younger teachers seem more open to trying alternative methods, whereas older teachers seem to have the perspective that since they never heard of AS, it doesn't exist) and Chris also usually does better with male teachers.

I'll be really bummed if this placement doesn't work out. I may contact his resource teacher to see if she has any perspectives on how things are going, since she comes into class to work with Chris and probably has a better idea of the classroom dynamic than I do.

I appreciate everyone's support here. I'll let you know how things progress.

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 6:40pm
If I remember correctly, didn't you give his teacher all that information on Asperger's Syndrome a couple weeks before school started? I remember reading that, so I threw together a CAPD packet for all of Liam's teachers, and a book for the main teacher and aide to go with a book that complimented the reading program he'd been tutored in all summer. I thought it was a wonderful idea. Lord knows we have benefited from it!

It occurs to me that this teacher has probably not read very much of the stuff you gave him. If you don't think he did, but still want to salvage the class placement, I think you need to just make an appointment with him, and tell him everything he needs to know in person. Don't be punitive, just informative. Although I will say, him not reading it may be a sign of things to come. (Here comes the speculation!) He may have thought he had a good enough grasp on the situation, when in fact he didn't. Or, with school getting ready to sart, it may have been to busy for him to absorb that info packet.

I'm just saying this because I can tell the reading teacher hasn't looked at the book I gave her. She said she finished reading it, but when I ask her about specific things, I get the deer in the headlight look. In this case, I'm letting it go because what she is doing with him, he likes and it seems to be working OK.

Sio

(who could be way off the mark)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 11:20pm
Elizabeth,

I understand your frustrations. Last year my son Jordan had a dreadful for him 3rd grade teacher. She was a positive don't look at the negative side of things teachers but had absolutely no clue about AS. She is probably in her early 50's and seems very sweet when you talk to her.

We gave her information about AS at the beginning (we just classified him this year because of his 3rd grade experience)of last year. After she read thru the information she sent a note home saying there was nothing wrong with him because he doesn't completely show his AS side at school. Jordan had misinterpretation issues through out the year, I asked her to explain to him what she meant. Her reply to me "It's over, drop it, no wonder he obsesses over things." Urghhh! But the straw that broke the camel's back was we had him privately Child Study Team tested. We told him not to tell his teacher where he went. He did and she said "There's nothing wrong with you, why are your parents looking for something that isn't there?" I exploded.

Jordan also has the same habit of saying exactly what's on his mind. One time you snapped at his dr. because she kept him waiting 1 and half hours. He gave her a lecture on the meaning of time. I prefer to this "problem" bluntness, not rudeness, even though it appears to be very rude. When he does something like that I say to him "rewind, how should we say that". I wouldn't be hard for a willing teacher to say the same thing.

If I was in your shoes, I would pull him fast. If this teacher is showing his true colors so early in the year, then it's not a healthy environment for your son to be in. He's in over his head and it seems to me that he wants a classroom that runs very smoothly. Having an AS kid in your classroom can be a bit of a challenge and maybe he's not up to the challenge. This could set your son back and even cause other problems. It's not worth the risk to his well being.

Good Luck,

Leenie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 11:44am
LOL! Leenie, I also use the phrase, "REWIND!" often. I think it is a matter of figuring out how to best teach proper behavior and then using it. Funny, how sometime these kids seem to relate better to mechanical devices than people.

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