Hi ladies!! Fist of all let me introduce myself... My name is Maria and I have a son who just turned 6 and has been diagnosed with PPD-NOS. His name is Aarik and he is the sweetest most loving boy to us and others. He started kindergarten in August and he has been in the school system since he was 4. The school he attended before was a Pre-K and he was there for two years with the same teachers. He had two classes, one just had children with Autism and the other was some sort of mixture. There were 2 teachers and 2 assistants. One teacher was special needs and the other was regular ed. In that class there were also a mixture of children and I believe only two had Autism. Aarik has Sensory Integration Disorder and also Hyperlexia (this I have been told by teachers and In Home Trainers). My son can read in English and Spanish, he can spell , add, subtract. Academically he is in excellent shape but his problems seem to be behavioral. At home he is like any other kid. He plays with his brother and he acts "normal" (sometimes I wonder what Normal really is). He doesn't seemed to be bothered by being around strangers and is pretty friendly to people he just meets. One thing we have always been told is that he works well with small groups but it is big groups he just doesn't want to be around. He would rather go to his desk and work alone. I do see him acting up at times when he is not being challenged enough. He is being taught many things he's known since he was about 2 or 3. These are some of the confusing events that have let to my overwhelmed mood.
Back in Pre-K the first school year he always came home with Happy faces. We were never told anything negative about him and he just loved school. He mastered all of the tasks that were given to him. This year he had the Combined class all day and was a happy bee.
Second year at Pre-K.. it started off really well but almost half of school year he was placed on the Autistic class in the morning. So he was with two different teachers all day. We then started to read and hear that he was acting up and he started to bring home sad faces. Several times he would come home in tears but I really could not get anything out of him. I would say that this is what frustrates me the most... not knowing what is bothering him.. I did contact the teacher and she would say that he was not listening and that he did not want to be in big groups and he was having meltdowns. So they switch his classes up since he was acting up in the afternoon, they wanted to have a relaxed Aarik in the Combined class and then in the Afternoon the teacher in the Autistic class could work with him to try to relax him again. I thought well if it is going to benefit him then okay.. Then I was told that since he was the most advanced in the Autistic class, he would start imitating other children and well he was falling behind. They did say though that he had helped other children and some kids were improving. They then wanted to see if he could be moved to a regular ed so he can imitate behavior from regular ed children but that that school year all of the teachers were having issues with some children who were misbehaving and that they were scared that Aarik would imitate bad behavior. Long story short, he was never moved and well apparently there was a boy in his combined class that he was imitating. But this was never known until almost the end of the school year. A big issue that I found out about three days before the school year ended was that my son was not allowed to eat with the combine class. Before the AM (combined class) was dismissed the would go to the cafeteria for lunch and since Aarik was part of the AM and PM school schedule, the teachers would sit him in the middle of the table surrounded by other kids eating and he was not given his lunch.. It wasn't until the AM kids were done and until the PM kids arrived to school that he was able to eat. The teacher said he was being disruptive and he would constantly bang his hands on the table saying Eat Eat Eat.. so he was given a sad face. Apparently this had been going on for a while but I was never told of it. Us as parents are not allowed to go to the teachers classrooms to do a surprise visit but I went ahead and visited the school the day before school was over to see what it was that my son was being put through. Sure enough he was surrounded by children eating and he did not have a plate. He was being disruptive and saying Eat ( I took him lunch) and we asked the teacher what was going on. The In Home Trainer was with us and was very upset at the situation. I gave my son his lunch and took him home with me. The In home trainer was going to address the situation since the Autism teacher was the one who requested that to be done with my son. I was so depressed and did not even send him to school on the last day. I always tried to have an open communication with them. I understand it is hard but I feel that they let me down so much.
This school year he is in a different school with the teachers who founded the Combined Class. That made me feel a little bit more relaxed but deep down inside I was still worried. We had an ARD not too long ago where we talked about how Aarik has problems in big groups and well that we saw him acting up when he was bored. The In Home Trainer and School Psychologists were also present and they pretty much said that Aarik is High Functioning and that they were going to be given tools to work with him. We told them that if there is anything going on to let us know to see what we could do.. They pretty much thanked us for being so involved and for teaching Aarik so many things. Well now he has been getting Sad faces again for not working in big groups. I am keeping in touch with the same In Home Trainer and she pretty much told us that they are "freaking out" since this is the first Autistic child they have and they don't know how to address certain situations. She assured me that my son is not the problem but that the teachers are not using the tools provided and are doing a lot of things wrong. Last Wednesday I wrote to the teachers asking them what issues Aarik was having in P.E. Class and that we had addressed the situation of the big group problem at the ARD. I also wanted to know if he was eating his lunch or school lunch ( I am being charged by school cafeteria... which I don't mind where he eats as long as he eats). Thursday her response was that I needed to speak to the coach about his behavior, so pretty much she could not talk to me about it and that for his lunch I needed to provide him with "nutritious lunch since he was only eating the sweets" ( all fruit gummies or a cookie).. I make him PBJ sandwiches or cheese sandwiches (he is very picky and I know he does eat this).. I feel that this is becoming more of a personal situation since I am always letting the In home trainer know about the problems and she is going to the classroom on a daily basis since I called her last week. She told me that she could tell that the teachers were mad at her but she assured me again that Aarik is not the problem. I told her about the food problem and she was so upset that they were making it seem that I am not feeding my son well. I told her he eats good at home and that he is the one who tells me what lunch he wants. I am very sadden by all of this. I am willing to work with the teachers to better my sons outcome. My question is sine he has a very difficult time in big groups and I know they want him to be as "normal" as possible, will he ever be comfortable enough to deal with big groups or is this something that will never happen? I just put myself in his shoes, there are many things that bother me and well every time I am being forced to deal with it, I never respond to it well. We might be able to learn to deal with it but a child who has Autism, I really don't know if it will ever be okay. Should they be so insisting with this? I feel like taking him out of that school since they are not really trained for this, but I feel we don't have any other resources here. I am just overwhelmed and sadden. Any input will be greatly appreciated since I don't know what else to do. Thank you.