This past month Chase both increased the amount of time he spent at school, then the last week before the Winter Holiday it was suggested that he attend school full time to get back into the habit of being at school. What a huge step forward for Chase. In this past month he has done well, for the most part.
- He no longer is physically aggressive to those at school when he gets upset.
- His teachers mentioned that although he consistently is non-compliant they are often able to talk him into doing mostly what they want from him. He likes to say “I don’t want to, I can’t, etc.”
- Although he tells us daily that he doesn’t want to go to school he doesn’t sob each time we drop him off (this one is my favorite – oh, it hurt to drop him off.)
- There are other changes, but I don’t feel he would want to share them for the world to see.
The educator in me questioned so many of my decisions in regards to my son. The thing is, I should have trusted the mommy in me more. While it is true that he has fallen behind in reading (according to DRA testing following common core requirements) and he lost an hour of needed language and occupational therapy he wasn’t ready to go back to school.
He may have made strides with his emotional regulation at school, and lets face it, even at home – I’m loving not having to deal with daily meltdowns – but he just isn’t ready for the mainstream school system. Why? You may ask? Following the inclusion of lunch he began to increase his noncompliance and his voice has gotten louder (He talks with an outside voice when he becomes overexcited or agitated).
In the last couple of weeks he has increased some scary behaviors. In a bit of a panic on Friday I called both his physician and therapist. The therapist gave some great advice. Some of his behaviors are a cry out for sensory input. He wants to “hurt” things, and not only when he is angry. He has been trying to destroy our furniture by pushing it over, he likes pushing and pulling on his father and I. He is an incredibly strong boy, and what if he decides to hurt his sister? He could do some amazing damage. His therapist recommended that when he says he wants to hurt something to ask him if he really wants to hurt something, or if he wants to push or pull on something. If he wants to hurt something call 911. If he wants to push and pull, that is a simpler proposition. Today we had a tug of war with blankets. He won! SERIOUSLY!!!!
His doctor asked what changes he has had recently. I thought about it, and then it hit me. I said the only real change was going back to school full time. He said, “Well, that is probably what has him acting out. Kiddos like Chase have a hard time with the sensory issues of the regular classroom. They thrive more in a one-on-one environment. I know that is not what the school system wants to hear, but we have to be more concerned with what is in the best interest of your son.”
So, back to the drawing board. I will be requesting an emergency team meeting, with his new developmental health coordinator present, as well as his autism specialist. I know that inclusion is an important step for most parents, but for some children being in an environment where they are so sensory overloaded that they begin to break down emotionally is not in their best interest. According to IDEA
To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
Chase has an aide, and he receives services, but he isn’t ready. Interestingly enough at his Holiday party his teacher mentioned her concern about him being in her classroom. He loves his classmates, but can only handle them for short amounts of time. I want to have specific times when he is with his classmates – structured time where he can work on social skills. I want to be a part of creating his curriculum and have a more active roll in developing the objectives and goals in his IEP. I love that we meet as an entire team, but I think that meeting with the principal, occupational therapist, language pathologist, psych examiner, regular ed teacher, special education teacher, and the district special education director is a bit much. There is too much going on. I’m thinking that we need to meet in smaller groups, and work on goals one area at a time. If that means several meetings than so be it. If I need to have more medical notations, so be it. My husband and I will do whatever it takes to get what Chase needs, even if it isn’t convenient for the school district.