Find Out What Jen Finds

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

Youngerese at its best!

  • September 23, 2008 3:09 pm

Today is The Younger’s follow-up appointment for his evaluation results. Well, he didn’t have to go, but The Hub and I met with The School Psych, et al (there were 4 total present, it felt like an IEP meeting).

Let’s back up to yesterday. I texted The Teacher to ask her to call me to discuss what we ought to do because he was doing so well at this MDO program. She suggested that I have a visit with The Director and The MDO Teacher. After all The Elder, loved his preschool (the one before the 4 he got kicked out of) but when I went to observe him, I noticed that, yes he did have friends…but they were all playing over there while The Elder was playing in the corner by himself. “Oh he is just the sweetest little boy. We don’t get any trouble from him.” They should have knocked on wood…

So I called and The Director said that she couldn’t but The MDO Teacher could. So I get there a little late (they didn’t charge me) and I sat down in his classroom. The first thing I loved is that when I got there, The Director made herself available for the first 10 minutes. I assured them that nothing was wrong I just wanted to ask some specific questions regarding The Younger.

They talked about how good and sweet he is. The MDO Teacher went through their routine from beginning to end. Very detailed – so there was no room for assumptions.

She said The Younger can pick out his name, he sits nicely on his mat, he’s attentive and follows directions and he is good at cleaning up, which was no surprise to us. When I taught him to bathe himself with a washcloth, as soon as he was done…forget those toy boats! and he started cleaning the shower stall with his washcloth! This is also the guy who got a fire engine and a playset of a broom, mop, dust pan, etc. Guess which one he plays with more. He also was more excited about the vaccuum cleaner I got for him at a consignment sale. “It’s my size!” is one of his favorite phrases. Now we can sweep our floors without hunting for the broom (which was always found in his room).

What was really funny was the clean up chart. They get a sticker each day that they help clean up. Check out his chart:

There were no red flags that got me worked up. I gave her a few things to look for, those things that appear age appropriate, but can linger a little too long. Like playing by himself, which she admitted that he does do sometimes. Also she said that he doesn’t really participate well in Music Class which is in the choir room with ALL the children instead of just his class of 6 or a combined 3-4yo class of 14 total. It’s EVERYBODY. So there might a little bit of anxiety in larger groups because she said he is fine in the classroom.

I made a point to let them know how happy he is with the program because he has huge anxiety of the unknown. To the point that he is a completely different person. But here, he feels loved and secure and I don’t have to hide from him in the mornings to get him to go.

“That is a huge compliment to you and this program.”

Then I asked The AP about gymanstics and the library because when I take him, it is meltdown city. But she said he is fine. So he only performs for me. This is the same guy who just a month ago (August 11) melted down for TWO HOURS at his evaluation before he recovered to be open to testing. He pulled he stripped naked and peed on the floor. It was very intentional, because the assessor said that it was in a perfect arch around him.

So today, I was slightly afraid that they were going to give us a diagnosis that is not appropriate. However The Teacher insinuated that we should take the services if they offer it to us because if we decline then we can’t go back. Even a year later…

Well, this morning we wake up to this:

After I put The Elder on the bus and The Hub went off to work. We decided to do a little art project. I was taking notes and snapping pictures the whole time so i wouldn’t forget just how hilarious this was.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

The Birthday Card

Me: Today is Ms Nanny’s birthday!
The Younger: Yeah, and tomorrow is Daddy’s birthday.
Me: No daddy’s birthday is on Saturday.
The Younger: Oh Daddy’s birthday is Saturday and tomorrow is MY birthday.
Me: Let’s make Ms Nanny a card

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Me: Can you make a face?Exhibit A-a
The Younger: That’s Hair.Exhibit B-a
Me: Where are the eyes?
The Younger: I can make a mouth…I’m drawing Daddy.Exhibit B-b
Me: Where’s his eyes?
The Younger: Oh, I can make eyes.Exhibit B-c
Me: Can you draw a picture of Ms Nanny?
The Younger: I can make a road.
Me: Oh ok.
The Younger: That’s not a garage…Exhibit A-bThat’s the garage.Exhibit A-c
Me: What’s that?Exhibit A-d
The Younger: Crashing…there’s lots of crashings.
The Younger: This is the garage.

Me: I think she will love it.
The Younger: WAIT! I not finished yet……there, I finished.Exhibit C-a
Me: What does that say, your name?
The Younger: No. says, happy birfday annie.

Exhibit C

Exhibit C


Enlightening Conversation

Me: Guess what? You have gymnastics today!
The Younger: I donwanna go gymnastics.
Me: But you love gymnastics (positive thinking)
The Younger: Gymnastics is BORING.
Me: Why don’t you like gymnastics?
The Younger: I be really sad…..I will miss you

Me: Do you like the feathers at gymnastics?
The Younger: No.
Me: Do you like the bubbles at gymnastics?
The Younger: No….Its BORING. (to the tune of “leave me alone already”)
Me: Do you like the trampoline?
The Younger: No…um, yes. (trick question I guess)
Me: Do you like the Bars?
The Younger: I donwanna go on big bar…is scary…I small…[The Elder] can go on big bar. He’s big. I small, mommy.
Me: Yes you are small. Do you like the balance beam?
The Younger: No, too scary.

Me: Well, [The Gymnastics Teacher] said you are SO good at the balance beam, and the trampoline, and the car, AND following directions.
The Younger: (immediately perked up) Heeeeyyyyy, I do directions at my school!
Me: Do you like school?
The Younger: No…Um YES I happy at my school.**Can you tell he is 3yo? No is the automatic answer to every question!
Me: What makes you happy?
The Younger: I not crying
Me: What do you like best at school?
The Younger: I don’t know.
Me: Do you like music?
The Younger: No
Me: Why?
The Younger: Cause I can’t talk.**He is SO my child! Except I like music class…
Me: Do you like story time?
The Younger: Yes
Me: Is it your favorite?
The Younger: No (to the tune of “duh”)
Me: Cleaning up?
The Younger: No (to the tune of “no, silly mommy”)
Me: What is your favorite thing to do at school?
The Younger: I like to……I like to……I like to…..Play! Outside!


All Boy
No Aspergers

Oops! Update—> The Hub’s birthday is on SUNDAY!! I thought the 28th was on a Saturday. I really did honey…honest! :)

Blog Love

  • September 22, 2008 8:12 am

I “commented” into this award so I can’t take credit for actually earning it, but since The AP is from Brazil and teaching my children Portuguese, I thought that I would go ahead and past the award on (without cheating-tee hee) in honor of her AND to give Miss Nelson some link love.

To translate the gift from Portuguese to English, it means:

This blog invests and believes, the proximity. [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' -being close through proxy]. They all are charmed with the blogs, where in the majority of its aims are to show the marvels and to do friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate?

I do want to say that Miss Nelson is a very appropriate candidate for this award. Here is something I wrote about her in a previous post:

Miss Nelson is from a special breed of educators for special needs children who CARE about the importance of their work and CARE about the children they touch. I think I was just spoiled by The Teacher, that I didn’t recognize just how valuable this special group of teachers are! Thank you Miss Nelson!

I consider Miss Nelson a friend and her site has a great deal of information and links so I think her site deserves to be propagated! Go check her out!

So the RULES are…to pass it on to 8 bloggers. Since I have moved to wordpress, it has left me feeling lost in the blogosphere, away from my regular bloggers and commenters. I bet they just can’t comment due to technical difficulties. So I’m looking forward to reconnecting with them, getting my new commenters access to just how wonderful is the blogger and the blog itself!

  1. Miss Nelson at Meaningful Outcomes – I can cheat if I want to, right?
  2. Bonnie at Coffee Autism Faith Explored – we have those three things in common!
  3. Katherine at gfcf mommy – my tummy always growls when I’m at her blog…
  4. The Domestic Goddess – OMG she is hilarious!
  5. Kat at Laughable Life – check out her tagline quote!
  6. Angela at Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy – lots of good homeschooling information
  7. Trish at Another Piece of the Puzzle – a good virtual friend of mine, especially since we have been able to chat
  8. Karen at BEYOND Understanding – an awesome advocate for justice and empathy