A few months ago we were told that this year would most likely be Dominic's last year in a general education classroom. This was something I knew was coming but was not ready to hear yet. His processing abilities really slow him down and that mixed with the pace of a general education class are starting to leave him far behind his peers. Unfortunately we are looking at not only moving to a full time special education classroom but we will most likely have to be changing schools. He has been in this school since kindergarten with the same kids. Socially the general ed class has done wonders for him and even academically he has made strides. He read me a whole book the other night and math is starting to click with him as well. The kid who I was told would never talk or even write without an electronic device has come so far already and I know he is going to go farther. I was told he is going to be administered an IQ test and be observed to help decide what type of class setting would be most beneficial for him and his needs. So last month he was put through testing, I was told I will not be given the results of his testing and what type of placement he needs until our next IEP meeting in January. I hate their waiting game and I hate that they know where he is at academically but I am not allowed to have this information until the beginning of next year. I hate that they are making me wait, this is one of my biggest stresses right now, this change will be huge and take him away from everyone he knows. He is also aware that there will be changes because he is more observant than they give him credit for. I am not sure how he feels about it yet but I also don't think he realizes how big of a change this will be yet. The school system in general drives me insane but the fact that they know where his future is headed and I have to wait to find out just isn't right.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Yesterday I decided to talk to Dominic about his autism. He has started to notice he is different and make comments about his brain frustrating him so I thought it was a good time to have our first talk. I did not want to over complicate or overwhelm him so I kept it short and simple. I told him that he is very special and that his brain works differently because he is autistic. I explained that is why he is really good at some things and also why he struggles with others. I could tell it was a lot to process so I did not go much more into it than that and I am sure we will have more conversations in the future but it was definitely a relief to have our first talk.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Dominic is 8 and a half years old, more and more he is realizing he's different from those around him. He is becoming frustrated with himself when he tries to explain or understand things. He tells me he's never going to learn or that he is stupid. Although I have not quite figured out the best way to explain it to him I think we are getting close to the time where we need to talk about his autism. I want him to know that it makes his brain work differently but that it's not a bad thing. All of the things he builds, the lines he makes, his amazing memory, these are all the great things that have come from his autism. He may learn differently than others and at his own pace but I want him to know that's okay. I want him to know there's a reason for his struggles but that they don't define him and that he can overcome them. I want him to know that his autism is a blessing and it is an amazing part of his life and nothing to be ashamed of. I am not sure when exactly we will have this conversation but I know it will be soon and I think it's going to be a good thing for all of us.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Over the past year he has really started to realize he is not like everyone else. He doesn't understand things the way we do, he doesn't react or show emotion the same, and his level of communication is not the same as kids his age. He can talk and they said he never would so that is amazing in itself but he has a hard time with some words and still doesn't know a lot of them either. He is getting better at holding a conversation but his limited know leg of words makes understanding and speaking difficult. All of these things make him noticeably different and being 8 years old he is starting to see it too. There are days when he cries and tells me he doesn't understand things or he doesn't know how to talk, there are days that he hates himself for his differences and it breaks my heart. Most days are good but his hard ones are really hard. I hope that he one day see how amazing he truly is.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Am I the only one ready for summer vacation to be over? Don't get me wrong I love getting to spend more time with my kid but after a little over a month he gets pretty restless. A little more whiney, all the things that have been fun up to this point are no longer fun and of course it is up to me to find something he wants to do. There's always the iPad which I'm sure he could play now until the first day of school but we really try and limit the amount of time he immerses himself into the wonderful world of games and electronics. He loves the ninja turtles and he has quite the collection but now those aren't even appealing. Of course there are plenty of things to do when you have money to spare but for a one income household that's just not going to happen. We still have over a month until school starts and even though that will be a battle in itself I can't wait for that bell to ring!
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Yesterday I took the boy to McDonalds. This doesn't happen often and Dominic was very excited because they currently have the Minion toys. He kept asking me the whole way there if he could get Kevin, this kid knows his Minions. I told him I was not sure which ones they had and we would have to see. We get there and he is looking at them all in the case and he can barely contain himself because he is so excited. Right as I was about to order the food he walks up to the counter leans in towards the lady and says 'so, do you guys have Kevin?" He didn't whisper, he did not ask me to ask her he asked her himself! Not surprisingly she did not know which one Kevin is so I had to explain what he looked like and they did have him so it made his day. I was so proud that he took it upon himself to talk to the worker and was confident in doing so.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Watching Dominic with his brother is an amazing thing. He is his big brother so of course he loves him that's kind of a given, but watching him overcome and deal with things that bother him because it is his brother is heartwarming to see. Ukiah is 18 months old and like most toddlers he gets pretty loud sometimes he hits those certain pitches that really bother Dominic but he tries really hard to not be upset by it. He knocks down blocks when he is stacking them which Dominic has turned into a game to avoid getting upset. Story time can be hectic because he gets stressed out having his things touched but I can see him trying to not be upset or choosing a toy to distract him so he doesn't try and touch them all. He even accepts his slobbery kisses even though it grosses him out. He has come so far and is such an amazing brother 😊
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Today I got his report card in the mail. He spends part of his time in a general ed classroom and part time in special ed. I've been told eventually he will have to be solely in a special education classroom but I refuse to make that determination right now. Anyway a little background on this year, his kindergarten teacher who he loved had moved to teach second grade. We were so happy to hear that and requested that she be his teacher. Instead he was placed in another teacher’s class. The entire first week was a substitute. After that we learned his teacher would not be coming back and he would have a series of substitutes until they could find someone to fill the position permanently. I immediately requested that he be moved to his old teacher’s classroom for fear of regression and because I knew having different teachers would cause him to shut down completely. I was told no multiple times by the principal, she said that she could not make exceptions for any students because it would make it look like it was okay for anyone to request to change classrooms. I went as far as emailing the superintendent to which I never received a response. They ended up hiring the substitute from the beginning of the year and I was completely uncomfortable with her as a teacher but still my complaints went ignored. She started missing days at a time and he was becoming more and more frustrated every time a new substitute was there. She never left any notes informing the substitutes of his autism. We went in with him every morning to help with his work because if we didn’t he would just sit there or she would have him coloring instead of doing real work. The last week of school she asked us to stop coming in because he would need to learn to come in on his own once he started third grade. There is so much more that I could complain about but this has already turned out to be pretty long so back to the report card, the last quarter of the year he made no progress on his IEP. He has NEVER not made any progress until this year. I believe she absolutely failed him and I am so angry that my concerns went ignored and that he paid for it.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
It always amazes me how far he has come. He seemed to be a typical child until around 18 months when it all suddenly seemed to go away. He lost the few words he knew, didn't make eye contact or even respond to his name. Fast forward to today and he can hold simple conversations and even look you in the eyes although I think it gets uncomfortable for him after a while. I love to watch him study people's faces. He is very facial expression oriented and relies a lot on them to understand how someone is feeling. If he can't tell how I am feeling he will make a point to make eye contact with me and smile until I smile make. He really is such a sweet amazing boy. I would not give up this journey with him for anything in the world.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Today is definitely one of those that I want to rip my hair out. It's been full of arguments and back talk, I remember when they said he would never talk boy were they so very wrong. I try my best to keep my cool when he's in these moods because I can't teach him it's bad to lose your shit if I'm losing it but man I think I'm failing a little at that one for today. Thankfully not everyday is like this and tomorrow is a new day to try again. He did have a good time cooling off at least.