Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New School New Start...

As many of you are aware the turning three transition is difficult.  Leaving the comfort of early intervention and jumping into the public school systems where you learn all about inclusion and IEP's.  Then once you get the hang of that there could feel like "ok, I have a handle on this" and of course there are thos up and down days, possibly wondering if the child is in the right program or arguing with the schools for better services and staying on top of things to ensure that your little one one gets what s/he needs.

I'm here to talk about our experience. Once our son turned three it wasn't easy getting him the services he needed and after 3 years of arguing with the schools, having  advocates and attorneys involved we realized it was cheaper to move.  So...after much research we ended up getting him into a system that had what he needed.

He had a smooth transition and everything was great up 4th grade, that's typically when school just gets harder in general for any child, throw a disability into the mix its just not pretty.

Fourth grade is the year I refer to as "the year from hell" things just fell apart for him. Academically he did better his behavior and emotional state was all over the place...

Then throw in a bad match with the teacher?  Disaster...

Thinking back, all the signs were there, about a month after school started behaviors we had never seen before cropped up. The "team" put a behavior plan in place that we weren't comfortable with from the beginning but, we felt like we needed to try it (sometimes you just have to try, at your childs expense, we were out of options...) to see if we could extinguish the behavior.  He was missing crucial social opportunities (lunch in cafeteria, holiday parties, recess)...because he was getting "time outs".... What happened to my happy, sweet and easy going boy???

Shortly after, this plan was put into place, the "I hate school" comments came, the stomach aches (which at the time  I chalked up to his reflux acting up)... then two days prior to Christmas break he came home uncontrollably crying, but couldn't really tell me why (part of that developmental/autism thing, feelings are just hard)....so we decided to keep him home until after the holidays were over...he had a peaceful winter break and was happy!!

  Fast forward, January 3, first day back to school and he is dry heaving in the car. Ok.  I no longer need to be whacked over the head with signs.  Just like back in the NICU we are in crisis mode, several calls are made to appropriate personal who were amazing in helping putting out the fire and get outside specialists to come in and evaluate what was going on.

Was it smooth sailing after that?  HECK NO!! Rest of the year was hard because the student/teacher relationship was strained, and trust was broken ....(another post possibly for another time)....

5th grade was a little better. I call 5th grade it the "lost year" He had regressed due to his 4th grade experience, but his 5th grade teacher was good about backing off on demands and letting him regroup. We put him on Celexa for his anxiety and he was overall happier...calmer...still had episodes of behavior  but they were fewer and far between.

Now, fast forward once again.  Middle school, another transition year. New school, new start.  We have been blessed with a wonder staff, and  we seem to have our quirky yet happy boy back, of course its not without challenges but overall hes better..and we even get reports that he is "FUN"....something we haven't heard in a while.

Lesson learned and once again, don't ignore your mummy tummy....

5/13/17  Three years later, wow time went by so fast, My son grew up so much these past three years and I realized staff makes a huge difference in your child's success. We are now  working on transition to High School in September . You always hear horror stories about middle school but in our case we had an amazing 3 years.   The RIGHT program makes a world of difference. 


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