I’m Tired

dogasleepI’m tired of responding to emails about The Boy refusing to do his work, or clearing up miscommunications about tests and modified due dates.  I’m tired of having meetings that go on and on about how he has basic characteristics of autism.  Yup… We knew that already.  I’m tired of people who apparently don’t have a dictionary or basic internet access, and still don’t understand what a modification is, or what autism even is in the first place.  I’m tired of teachers trying to penalize him for “refusing” to do his work.  I’m tired of receiving an email that sends me into a frustrated tailspin for the rest of the day.  I’m tired of teaching my son about Egypt and minerals because for some reason they just don’t know how to teach him this stuff at school.  I’m tired of politely telling them how poor their assessments are, for any child.

It’s overwhelming, and it has become my full-time job.  And it can’t be.  Pretty soon, I will not be available at their beck and call, and I will not have hours to prepare lessons for my own son.  Because I need to work for real, and earn real money ASAP.

I know he is one of the 70 kids you see in a day (and don’t try to tell me you have more, because you don’t.  There are only 70 sixth graders in the school).  I know you feel like you don’t have the time to spend on this one child.  But if there’s one thing you should have learned over the span of your careers is that the amount of time you spend on each child will never be equal.  Some kids need more of your attention, and the equitable thing to do is to provide it, instead of throwing your hands up in the air and saying, “I just don’t know what to do!”

The internet is an amazing thing.  You can find YouTube videos on just about anything.  Hell, I don’t even teach PE, but I was able to find a resource on how to provide accommodations to students with special needs on the President’s Physical Fitness Test by simply typing all of that into my google search bar.  It took me less than 10 seconds.

I just spent an hour searching “autism work refusal” and got some really helpful information from a bunch of sites.  It’s not all helpful, but the search provided ideas for how to engage students on the spectrum who will not do classwork (and who won’t even show up for school), rather than punish them, and “hold them accountable”.

My kid loves school.  My kid thrived in his old school.  My kid has adjusted so incredibly well to the structure of middle school.  They have so much in their favor, and they still can’t make it happen.

I can’t make his teachers want to help him, and I can’t help him all on my own.  This is my conundrum, and this is why I’m tired.

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4 thoughts on “I’m Tired

  1. I feel your frustration. I was there for so many years with my child. My heart rate would go up every time the phone rang. I dreaded seeing the 936-709-XXXX number on my caller ID. Unfortunately, you are and have to be the best advocate for your child. School personnel won’t. Have you given or e-mailed the school any of the things you have found on the internet that you think might help your child? Ask that they implement it in his IEP. Is there something written into his IEP to address his refusal to do work? If not then make the school address that in his IEP as a goal. It sounds like either he needs a behavior intervention plan or his current one needs to be updated. Write the school and ask for a functional behavioral assessment. You may not be able to make his teachers teach him, but they have to follow the IEP. I would write the principal listing all your concerns, what is not being followed in the IEP, and what you would like to see happen (i.e. some of the items you found on the internet). Attach a copy of all non-video documentation to the letter. Ask that they letter and attachments be placed in your son’s permanent education file. If the school does not address your concerns, I would consider finding an advocate or attorney who can help you get the help your child needs. If money is an issue there are Parent Training and Information Centers in every state that can assist you for free. You can find the ones in your state here: http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/ptis.htm I hope you don’t mind my commenting. I came across your blog and this is something that I am passionate about. Be sure that you are taking some time out during the day for yourself!

    • The Boy is at a brand new school, and we are in the midst of re-doing his IEP to conform with our new state’s guidelines. I am not new to the IEP scene, but we are new to the district and how they do things (or don’t in our case). We are trying to get him switched into a better school, but as I said, we are right in the middle of it.

      I know they have to follow the IEP, but I’m not sure they know it. I’ve written posts about his teachers and their issues here before. I have spoken with the principal, and I’m following all of my avenues of recourse.

      I’m glad you commented, as the advice you give here is valuable! You may want to check out some of my previous posts on our journey this year. Thanks for checking out the blog! 😉

  2. Oh, I know that feeling well. So frustrating and such a lonely place to be when you’re WAY out in front blazing trails. Sometimes we need that break that never comes. Know that you’re not alone. Hang in there.

  3. I am going to go out on a limb here because I don’t know your son or the school setting. I don’t get any of this from my daughter’s school, although I used to. We had to have a big battle with the district when my daughter was in Junior high. I stumbled across an amazing school that was actually private, but all expenses, transportation and tuition is paid for by our district. The thing about this school is the district doesn’t want the parents to know about it, you have to request it and even then, they want to exhaust all other options before they will fund it. The gotcha to all the uninformed parents is, how do you request something you don’t know exists?

    It took a big battle, we had to visit a handful of district-run schools and demonstrate why the district had nothing in-house to meet her needs. We hired an advocate. He cost us $750 and was worth every penny….and trust me when I say there is no a whole lot of dough around here. We struggle just to put food on the table.

    I want to provide a brief description of my kid’s school. Not because I think your kid needs it, but before I was exposed to it, I didn’t know anything like this was possible. Your son’s needs may be different than my daughters and this particular setting might not be perfect, but some elements might be.

    My daughter’s school has approx 30 kids consisting of 3 classes. It is about 15 miles from us, but they supply transportation. The school is K-12, the kids are placed in classes by ability, not by age. Kids have one class and one teacher all through high school and the aids are at about a 2/1 ratio. I like it because the class is forward moving and does not allow one child to hold up the progress of the content. The teacher teaches and engages and the aids support the individuals.

    Then kids are broken out for isolated time to work on IEP goals. It’s a good balance so that kids can pick up the experience of being in a standard classroom setting, yet they still get the personal attention to their unique needs.

    The school is about 60% autism and the remaining 40% have other developmental delay. As far as behavior is concerned, these guys have seen it all. They know how to coax my daughter when she needs coaxing and when its better to pull her out for a couple of laps around the playground for a break.

    On site, they get OT, PT, Speech from the district therapists. They get music once per week. Every Friday, they go on field trips (at no cost to us). The library, the store, take the bus somewhere, tide pools, swimming pool during summer….they get out in the world and use what they learn all week. (only if they earn it)

    I receive an e-mail every day telling me how my daughter did scaled with a 1-4 telling us how she behaved….and its not 4s every day so I know they are making her work. They ask us for tips and tell us the things they are having trouble with and the successes they are having.

    I have had to get involved (like, pick her up early) about 5 times in the last 3 years due to behavioral challenges….that isn’t bad. Especially when you factor in the menstrual part….she is a teenage girl. In her previous school I was there at least 2 or 3 times per week. At this school, they just handle it. I don’t find them with confused looks on their faces asking the parents what to do. If they have a problem they can’t handle, they would have a behavioralist on-site in a heartbeat.

    At IEPs they confer with me before to tell me what services they are negotiating with the district to get for my daughter. They preempt the meeting and help strategize.

    Anyway, we could not be happier with the school she is in now. It took a bit to find it and fight to get her in…but again, before I found them, I wouldn’t know what to ask for. I don’t know what your kids needs are, but at least from this maybe it can give you a glimpse of what is possible.

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