January 19, 2008
So we had an IEP Meeting for Handsome! It was called because I am trying to extend the hours of his current SEIT (Special Education) instructor. Her name is Caroline and I adore her. We have worked with tons of awesome people. There was Kristie, Michelle, Tara, Brandi, Beth, Caroline, Andrea and God damn it what was her name? I loved her too. I can see her face and hear her voice but her name is lost to me at the moment. Anyway…I love these women. They are a wonderful bunch of people and some of them have truly cared for my son above and beyond a therapist. I have found friends in most of them along the way and stay in touch with all most of them.
Caroline, came on board in September. She attends 2 of his 3 class with him (getting there 15 minutes after he arrives and leaves 15 minutes before he leaves). When she started I mentioned that mostly his academic abilities were very advanced however his social abilities needed some work. She was going to work on helping him assert himself into social situations which is something Tara had been helping us with all along.
OK, back to the reason for the meeting.
The whole things started on November 9th (it was a Friday), when my son told me that he didn’t want to go to school. He always wants to go to school so I figured he must not be feeling well so I kept him home.
The following Monday he still didn’t want to go. I told him that school was his job and that he had to go. I didn’t think much of it but when we got to the school he said, “No, I don’t want to go” but he got out of the car and went anyway.
The next 4 drops offs were the same.
After about 2 weeks he started crying that he “couldn’t” go to school and I had to drive away a few times because I couldn’t get him to go into the school. On those days I held Mommy school a and kept talking about how important it was for him to go to school. I told him that he wants to go to Kindergarten and this was the first step.
Thanksgiving came and went and I thought we would get through this phase.
December, I started walking him into class and staying because he would shake and cry saying “you can’t leave.”
Right before Christmas I was walking him in and headed to the office to sign in. The desk is fairly high and he put his arms as close to the top as he could and as I was signing in he said, “Hi, I am Kevin McCalister and I am here for my room.” If someone is actually reading this, Kevin McCalister is the kids name in the movie Home Alone. In Home Alone 2, Kevin does that line when he checks into a hotel after losing his family in an airport.
As we were walking to his class, Caroline mentioned that maybe he is afraid of being HOME ALONE. Well, maybe that IS it. His dad, the Teach and I discussed this and took Home Alone away vowing we wouldn’t discuss it or let him “act” as Kevin and see what happens.
That was before Christmas. After Christmas break I thought we would be fine and excited to start back at something he loves. Man, was I wrong.
It was actually worse. There were tears, screaming and kicking of the door when I left. I started the tough love thing probably a little too late but I totally understand the abandonment fear because hell, I still have one of my own.
I walked out the door standing against the wall trying to distance myself from the fact that the child who was crying wasn’t mine. It was impossible but over time I did learn to just ignore the cries and wait until the stopped. It was never more than 5 minutes before he calmed down.
He was counting on Caroline a lot and when I left would yell for her to hold him. I had not been sending him on Fridays because I didn’t want him to also feel abandoned by her too.
The last two weeks I started calling in the women who heads up these IEP meetings to try to calm him because I couldn’t leave the school until I knew that he was calm and involved in something.
She (Nina) would go in and talk to him and he would stop crying in less than a minute but now I felt like I was counting on her.
Long, drawn out post here….so that’s the history…now let’s cut to the chase.
The meeting is to extend Caroline’s hours to have her there from the moment he arrives until it is time to leave and also have her there the 3 days he’s there.
Hopefully, the Board considers that he will be aged out in May and allows this for the next few months.
Tomorrow; the decision that I have to make in regards to Kindergarten.
Addendum: I am happy to report that Handsome is a well adjusted 5th grader now and has none of these problems going to school. He actually wants to be the first one there and runs into the school every morning.