Find Out What Jen Finds

My journey on the spectrum of life … and the lessons I learn along the way …

How could you vote out this cute face? #ASD

  • December 15, 2008 9:57 pm

Alex Barton

Here is the most recent update on his story.

Recently, I was sharing this story with The AP and showed her a couple of uTube videos about it. My purpose was to try to explain to her why I was so physically sick over The Elder being in kindergarten and getting these notes home.

I’m not sure what all I have blogged about The Elder Kindergarten experience. I would have to scroll through a couple of “lazy” tweet posts and some Success Sundays that may or may not be a week apart and may or may not be on a Sunday. I apologize for the lack of posts, but it has been a new era of unknowns, uncertainties, and anxieties.

Don’t get me wrong…The Elder is doing much better than I expected. Not that I had low expectations of him. I’m very much an optimist and believe in the best. However, he has EXCEEDED my optimism. And I can say right now it is a result of the kind of support we are getting from the school. That’s right. I said SUPPORT and SCHOOL in the same sentence and there wasn’t a NO or NOT in it either. The K Teacher is just so amazing. She actually makes eye contact with me at the pickup line! And…and…and……she smiles and waves at me. I know! And when I volunteer in the classroom (only twice so far, but I wanted to do it more often), she….talks to me. Crazy! And it isn’t yelling and it isn’t with furrowed brows or with condescending judgmental looks. At first, the “normalcy” of her behavior made me a little uncomfortable. At times it still does until I just get over my self-conscious self.

Well, the Alex Barton topic came up after a really difficult Thursday. October 29th to be exact. He had hit a few people in the cafeteria, he had thrown his shoes at 2 people (hitting them), and he had removed all the other students’ clips from the board that indicated which “center” they were stationed. I talked to him about it afterward. “What happened at school today?” in the same jovial tone I do everyday, and he gave me names of who he hurt and tried to explain to him what they might be feeling, such as fear. We sat down and wrote I’m sorry notes to the children. But now…I knew their names now. I don’t know if that was good or bad. But it didn’t feel good. Especially since I was volunteering in his classroom for the first time the very next day for the Fall Party. I actually felt like the children were judging me. How silly is that? But it was the parents that I was actually afraid to converse with. They’d ask who my child was and when I would point out The Elder it was like they gave me the “courtesy nod” and moved on. I know now that all of that was in my head. But when you read about stories like Alex Barton’s, how can you NOT have those fears? Fears that his classmates don’t want him there. And based on my past experiences, the fears that the adults don’t want him there? I got teary when I signed in at the office in total panick of what to expect when I got there. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. The lunchroom lady who lines them all up approached me while I was eating lunch with him (LOVED that!) and told me about some of the things he had been doing that was getting him in trouble there. But she ended with a very cheery and perky, “I love him, he’s so sweet.” Talk about a tension release!

Since then I have volunteered one other time and my fears were calmed even more to hear the other moms who volunteer more regularly tell me how sweet he is. Whew! THAT is why I want to volunteer more often. So much for good service to the school…it’s for my own emotional health! The Super Doc would be proud…

His new case manager is great too. She is a good communicator, she knows him inside and out and exactly how to turn him around. She even had him call me on my cell phone to leave me a message on my voicemail to help him remember to bring his library book back to school. Evidently a meltdown was about to ensue over the fact that he couldn’t check out a new book with one outstanding and wouldn’t get to take his test. (He has been signed up for the 2nd grade book club at the school library. The K teacher was already sending an extra book home for him to read, but he started to refuse them because he prefers the library books. He gets to take a test on them for comprehension and he has gotten 5 out of 5 right on most of them, 4/5 right on the others. He wants to take the tests. nerd.) But back to the resource teacher. She has even given me her cell phone number. Her personal cell phone number. Little does she know that I totally abused that knowledge with The Teacher. Funny though, I haven’t called her in a while. I’ll get on that.

And then lastly, The new Asst Principal. He was a Special Educator for 13 years and this was his first year in administration. He told us during the last IEP meeting (when we were having the meeting in one room, and he was in the other room because he was sent to the office for having a meltdown in the classroom. He didn’t know we were there) that he knew more about autism than he did about adminstration. That made me feel really good. kinda.

Then The Elder got his first pink slip last week. He has an official school record. My heart sunk.

He’s had a really good week this week. But the thing is is that it is so sporadic. It changes week to week, day to day, hour by hour. Am I overreacting? Is this normal? Is this ASD? He has a bomb inside of him that has NO fuse. It’s either dormant or it’s exploding. There’s no ticking involved. But you take him aside later when he has calmed down and he knows exactly what he did wrong and what he should have done. Fortunately The Resource Teacher understands that he isn’t doing the misbehavior on purpose, he just can’t control his impulses. But because he has no empathy or a bland affect it makes him look heartless or aloof or apathetic to often very serious situations, even though he understands them as we do. It’s so difficult to decode him at times.

What I’m excited about though is that we have a meeting with the OT on Thursday to give us the results of his evaluation. I pray he gets services because I think that would help a lot. He’s been getting in trouble in the lunchline for running into people, (When I was there, I saw that he was pretending to be shunting cars on a railroad. But hey! He was pretending!), leaning/laying on top of people during carpet time, and tearing and crumpling his papers. I had started the joint compressions again. He likes them a lot. He even tries to do them on himself. Gets tricky when it comes to compressing his elbow and shoulder.

We are also getting a behavior specialist observe him in the classroom. The Resource Teacher is very excited about that. That’s really going to make a difference if she can pin point which scenarios tend to trigger the meltdowns. It’s funny because as his mother, I can anticipate meltdowns in the heat of the moment, but if you were to ask me, “so what triggers your son’s meltdowns?” I would look like a fool because I couldn’t tell you. Not without giving you specific examples, but that doesn’t help someone who needs to be able to generalize it for a classroom.

So hopefully I’ll get to post again before the holidays to update on the OT meeting. If not, Happy Holidays!