One step forward…three steps back.
I’d expected to be writing such a post about Captain Oblivious as he navigated the first six weeks of junior high, but we’ve actually been pleased with his school situation. The itinerant teacher that manages the mainstreamed autistics met with the Cabana Boy at open house and explained that the jr. high theory is very much like ours at home– they let him roll. If the other kids tell him to shut up, or to knock off his unacceptable behavior, they let him experience the effects of peer criticism (and praise), and only interfere when someone’s about to be hurt. We really haven’t heard much from them, and he seems to be getting along. So, keeping our fingers crossed while we’re ahead.
No, the black spot on our outlook at this point is Little Miss, who was doing so well. She hasn’t changed– in fact, socially and at home, she’s continuing to improve all the time. Her intuition is coming into play, she’s displaying more empathy and genuine correct emotion. But academically, her language delays and dysfunction are shooting her in the hind end over and over.
Everyone says fourth grade is different, and boy, are they right. The whole style of teaching changes. Everything moves fast, there’s more lecture, less hands on, and the material heads into the area of the abstract, which is not a place where our kids exist happily.
Little Miss is particularly fond of the concrete–her math is still solid. But so far 2 x 2 still equals 4, you know? The concept of government by the people and for the people? Lost on her. How about the process of scientific experimentation? Proposing a theory and designing a test to prove it? No way. It’s heartbreaking.
So, I’ve bitten the bullet and requested the formal evaluation that they’ve put off for several years. The school psychologist, who has been a great help and support, has been reluctant to do the test because– you guessed it–the child has some significant delays that make communication difficult. Well, painful as that is for all of us, we need to document just how bad it is. Then we’ll need to devise a treatment plan during school hours, including putting her back in autistic support the majority of the day instead of just for two subjects. The teachers have made it clear she doesn’t need a TSS in school, she needs speech. So we’ll have to fight for that. And make them do it.
We’re accessing outside programs as well, not dropping the whole bomb on the school. We had the managed care re-eval and they want to send us a BSC and TSS for six after-school hours a week. Along with C.O.’s mobile therapist, we’ll have eight hours of strangers being in our home again, taking our time away from the children. I’ve been searching for a speech therapist within a 60 mile radius, to help push those issues of pragmatic, expressive and receptive language. So far, nothing.
But we’re on that road again. All we can do is hope it’s for the best.