Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Saga that Never Ends

After three hours, which included a call to A's doctor because apparently 12-year-olds are now being encouraged to get a booster of one of their vaccinations that included a live virus, the end result of the IEP was a dramatic...


A's mom wants A to be there.  She has several good points, not the least of which is that most of A's friends from elementary school -- as well as his sister and sisters' friends -- are at VV now.  The teachers, on the other hand, are freaked because they have never had a sixth grader attend their SDC program -- which is where he would be placed initially because SBS believes (and I agree) that for the time being, he will need more support than an itinerant inclusion support teacher could provide.  The SDC program at VV is inclusion-oriented anyway (most of the kids are out more than 50% of their day, with some up to 80%).

The sticker is that the VV teachers, ultimately, don't want A there.  They are down 4 staff members and are convinced that the other staff members would be bitter that A would have his own private aide support (even though it's medically necessary for him at the moment to have contact with fewer people).

SBS is worried that when A's mom goes to visit next Friday -- to see, as the teacher put it, the program As It Really Is -- the teacher, N, will present her class in the worst possible light.  She's concerned that the kids will be held back from their inclusion classes and allowed to work up into meltdown mode so that A's mom will freak out at the confusion and drama and say "never mind."

Apparently, she did it before, when the district was searching for a placement for C, a kid from GG (the kid that resulted in the card we made for MN, Cat).  So SBS isn't entirely borrowing trouble that doesn't exist.

The other problem, of course, is that A is very, very attuned to when people don't want him around.  90% of his troubles in 2nd and 3rd grade were because he had teachers that didn't want him there.  I tried to warn N, and her new partner-teacher, about that, but I don't think they really took me seriously.

Of course, I also told them not to listen to anything ME said about A (the ME who used to work in my class and who could talk the bark off a tree) because she'd only ever seen him at his absolute, utter worst, and didn't understand the reasons behind his behavior, even then.  I also told them not to, under any circumstances ever, to have ME support A in class.


Ever, ever, ever.

You know the sad part of all this?  Despite the havoc he can wreak when upset, A is a very cool little boy of whom I am very fond.  He's survived intra-uterine chemotherapy, a disease that killed 2 of his siblings, every infection known to man, and three -- three -- bone marrow transplants...the last of which being from a non-ideal donor.

It's a shame that his mom's reputation in the school district so colors people's opinion of him that someone would deliberately present their very good program in a bad light just to delay his coming to the school by a measly year.

In other news, I have an 8-year-old teenage girl in my class.  Yay me.

Permit me to elaborate.

J is a young lady with Down syndrome.  J is generally easy-going and agreeable, but can be mischievous and sometimes gets it in her head to...not be either.

Yesterday, after we finished News-2-You, we were to have our duly appointed Friday Catch Up Day.  That is, you look through your journal, your agenda book, and any other work we've done during the week, and finish anything that's not done.

J decided it would be more fun to climb around on our beanbags.

I redirected her.  I told her the consequences of listening to me (good ones) and of not (bad ones).  She eventually lost her green card and had to go sit by my desk and calm down.  She stuck her tongue out at me and kicked the wall.

Bye-bye yellow card.

She continued to kick the wall.  I employed my 3-2-1 warnings visual aid and she eventually got to the card that meant losing recess.

At which point she plants her feet on the ground, folds her arms defiantly over her chest, narrows her eyes and announces, "I call my mom!  I get recess!"


The saga continued over recess, but after recess when I engaged my own stubbornness and required that she did, in fact, write a letter to her mom explaining her actions (rather, she copied from a model which I then translated) and complete the work she'd missed before, she was appropriately contrite.

In fact, after she apologized to Miss J., she ran back to me with a huge relieved smile on her face and tried to hug me.

In other classroom drama, A hit Boy J twice yesterday; after losing his green card for retaliating Thursday, J showed remarkable restraint and simply howled for help.  He was prodigiously praised for that, and even earned an extra ticket for our principal's recess chart.  Given Boy J's personality, that was a huge display of self-restraint and self-control.

E. is still babbling away, repeating most everything she hears.  She even named the crayons she was using to color -- color! without throwing across the room! -- without prompting.  During News-2-You, she kept saying lunch, so I said, "E., you want lunch?  You must be hungry."

"Hungry," she repeated.  (I am not going to try to replicate her non-perfect pronunciation here.)

Later, unprompted, she said, "Lunch.  Hungry."   Complete with signs.


Of course, she shut up like a clam when DFT came in...but I would expect nothing less.

All of this drama resulted in me sleeping like a rock for 12 hours, hence the lateness of the post.

Oh!  One other mind-blowing development.

During lunch, 2 of my aides thought it necessary to accompany the 2 remaining fourth graders to recess, leaving 4 fifth and sixth graders -- which included M and R! -- on their own for recess.  (Miss J had E with her while she supervised J.)

Not only did no one run up to me yelling "R licked me!  R licked me!" -- all four of them were quietly lined up on their appropriate spot when I went to pick the class up after recess.

All four of them.

I was so shocked that I completely forgot to mention to the aides involved that it probably hadn't been the wisest distribution of resources.

I was...flabbergasted (in a very good way) doesn't even cover it.

No comments: