Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If Preschool Is This Bad, I'm Screwed

I may have mentioned before that Bacon is in special education preschool through our school district because he has Asperger's, which is a form of Autism. This is a great thing, because not a lot of places offer this.

I am also pleased with the progress that he has made in the 4 months since he started school there.

I am not pleased with the teacher however. She is hard to read, and seriously more bumpy mood wise than the Hana highway on the island of Maui. I thought that maybe it was me, you know I tend to think that everyone hates me, and other psychotic type things. I also thought that she was overworked and that is why she was having a hard time managing Bacon.

Once we figured out that he needed melatonin to sleep however, his behavior improved, and things seemed to go more smoothly on that front. There were a few bumps as the class grew in size from 6 to 8 to 12 to 14....but he adjusted gradually. (There will be 4 more before the end of the year. 2 of these "friends" joined the class today.)

Then there was the whole peanut butter sandwich incident, and that started the slippery slope into red flag DANGER WILL ROBINSON territory.

I ran into a friend of mine who has kids that are older than Bacon. When I explained about the newsletters, and other stuff she said that I should call the principal. (She is on the PTA and knows everyone so she told me WHO to call.)

So I did, and the principal was great. She addressed the concerns that I had that we had been told that Bacon was able to write his name unassisted back at conferences in March, but now when I had him do it for some cards and artwork it came out resembling something out of an Egyptian tomb. She said that she would look into it and could I please pass on those newsletters.

Late today I got a call from her, explaining that she spoken with the teacher and that the name thing was a miscommunication. He had been assisted and is just now able to make the letter B all on his own.

Now I sat in that conference with my husband. We both listened intently to what she had to say, and would have been thrilled with, "he likes to use the glue stick." Seriously, we went in there with NO EXPECTATIONS. If she had said he had written that hand over hand, I would have remembered, and so would have Hubby.

So now we are stupid liars who make a big deal out of nothing. Also that newsletter with the horrible spelling and the whole "SOMETHING WILL DIE" thing on it, was "meant to be funny" um, not funny. Especially when DIE was the highlighted word on the page. Also there is a thing on EVERY COMPUTER called spell check, last time I used it it gives you about 10 options for the word you have spelled wrong. Unless you are a COMPLETE and UTTER MORON, you can figure out the right one.

Then came home a letter wanting us to allow the school district permission to see if Bacon is eligible for Medicaid. First of all, if he is I am the one who should be doing the checking not the school. Secondly, they are REQUIRED BY LAW to provide him with these services (speech, occupational, physical etc therapies) if needed for free. They cannot collect Medicaid money for doing so, because they are not medical providers. Plus if they do this it could for some families screw up their medical insurance. (Fortunately we are not one of them but still.)

Also the newest addition to the class who has been there about 3 weeks has been hitting biting kicking and scratching Bacon daily. Does she get time outs for this? Does she loose her snack? No, of course not. Because she cannot speak, she can only grunt. Talk about placing a kid in the wrong class...she certainly seems to be in the wrong one, and why is it okay for her to bully Bacon, but if he doesn't come in from recess exactly at the minute they say get inside, he looses his snack?

I am left today wondering if this is indeed the best environment for my son with Asperger's. He needs a teacher who is caring and understanding that kids "on the spectrum" take more time to understand things. That they need things worded differently, that they need more than 2 seconds to transition from one activity to the next and that a room full of 18 kids is just too many for them to handle. Also that screaming at them does not help, and time outs do not work.

Honestly though, the thought of moving him to the smaller class doesn't seem fair either, those kids need MUCH more one on one time, because they have greater needs. Is it just this teacher that it is going to be like this with? I mean we are done on the 13th of June, which isn't that much longer.

The thought of private school also scares the crap out of me, because that means kissing my retirement savings goodbye, and going back to work full time.

I feel helpless now. I especially feel like the principal now views me as "that mom" that is going to complain about everything. (She even had the nerve to blame the newsletter spelling errors on the teacher working extra hours. She is a half time employee, so working a little over time into a full 8 hour day makes someone incapable of spelling or using spell check?)

I just don't know what to think, are they just going to cover their asses and push him through, or are they really going to try to help him succeed like they promised when we all met at the beginning of this journey, and mapped out his individual education plan?

And why is it that the only advocate that I have for him is me?


witchypoo said...

Gird yourself, darlin. Dealing with the school system is a marathon, not a sprint. And? You are dealing with a bunch of woodpiles. I was so frustrated by the time mine graduated that it sapped my will to live.

*Becky* said...

Oh yeah, you've got questions! Of course I'm flying out this morning. We'll chat when I get back. J started out in special preschool. That teacher bacon has must start out each day with shitball cereal. Okay, deep breath Becky. I'm furious for you! I am 1 1/2 years away from getting my business degree in Health Services Management. I quickly realized if you can't beat them you join them. Fucking shitball people HAVE NO CLUE what our kids needs. What we need. Oy, this is no good kiddo.

Okay... if you are not driving any where today you need to get a glass of wine or whatever and put it in a plastic cup. Have some mommy juice!

Autism does suck. I have tears in my eyes for you actually because I've been there more times than I can count. I'm tired of being Joshs only advocate too. I'm just tired really. The scene is exhausting.

So anywho, hang tough! I'll be back late Monday night. Tuesday really.

Shitballs, shitballs, shitballs

Brittany said...

Maybe it's just because I am an ABA therapist, or the fact that I worked in special education classrooms, but get Bacon out of that class. Your fears are not unfounded and I would complain to the principal too. I can understand the principal wanting to stick up for his teacher, but I suggest that you should keep a log of everything she does to have documentation. I would also make sure that you write down the dates and reasons Bacon doesn't get a snack, because that is the main thing that bothers me. It's obvious that she does not understand autism. Also is there any other special education class he can be transfered to at another school, or possibly mainstreaming into a kindergarten or pre-K class (with time out for resource classes)?

I don't know if any of this is help for you, but it's my opinion. As I think more about it, I'm sure I'll think of more to write.

I'm a new reader of your blog and I will be back!

Anonymous said...

You and hubby are not stupid liars! I was there the day you came home from the conference ~ you know, when the @%^&*!@ teacher said that Bacon could write his name ALL BY HIMSELF!! That was like 2 months ago!