Saturday, August 30, 2008
How's this for a start? We walked in to the office of the new school, and Jaysen locked eyes with one of the secretaries. They just stood there for a few moments, and recognised each other at the same exact moment. He was excited "I know you... from kindergarten!" And he did- she was one of his paras when he was in kindergarten (before the new principal took over, and things fell apart) at the old school! So already, there was a familiar face.
She called his SpEd teacher down to meet us. His SpEd teacher is a lovely woman, with lots of experience and shining recommendations. She lived up to every one of them. (Yes, I know it was just Meet the Teacher Day, but still.)
She took us to the resource room to meet Jaysen's parapro.
I had made Jaysen these booklets, one for each "teacher"- I put a magnifying glass on the front, with the words "Can You Find...?" On the inside, I put a picture of the teacher, some brief facts, and their name.
When we approached the resource room, Jaysen has a blast comparing the people in the room to his "clues". When he found his para, he was excited that she was putting together his folder (The new school had asked the old school to send all of the things that Jaysen used throughout the year). The para didn't miss a beat. She invited Jaysen to help her put his book together, and show her which labels to use for his visual schedule. She asked him questions, and interacted with him like she knew him for years.
The school psychologist came in to greet us- I adore this man. He was the school psych at the old school (again, before it fell apart), and he really knows his stuff, and cares about these kids. The para took Jaysen on a tour of the school (complete with the checklist booklet I had made him- can you find the bathroom? Gym? Cafeteria? Office? Music Room? Etc.), the psych and SpEd pulled out their list of questions for me.
"We read his IEP, and would like your input on a few things..."
Did I just hear that correctly?
You (already) read his IEP...and you want my input on a few things???
I am loving this school.
We discussed the plan of action because Jaysen's IEP is so restrictive. It had to be restrictive to protect him, and make sure that what happened at the other school, didn't happen again. I didn't like the fact that it was so limiting, but it's something that had to be done. I started to open up to the Team, that Jaysen had such a successful summer at camp and ESY, and I really just wanted him to be as much of a "kid" as possible. They agreed.
The original plan they had was to start him off in the resource room and slowly integrate him into the GenEd classroom. Wrong idea, as it totally goes against the essence of the IEP, but it turned out not to be an issue because they said that since he had such a strong desire to be with his peers, they wanted my approval to start him off in the classroom, and pull him, in small increments, as necessary as things arise. I felt an immediate rush of relief. It was exactly what I was thinking, but they came up with it, so all I had to do was agree. Stuff is even sweeter if they think it's their idea. Bonus.
Then we were on to the GenEd classroom. We walked around- very strange seating, as the desks were in two long double rows instead of clusters of four. The psychologist told me they would like my opinion on where Jaysen's seat should be. Umm.... here's where I don't know shit from shinola. My child was rarely allowed in his own classroom last year, and when he was, he was sat off in the back corner of the room, alone. I studied the layout, and told them that anywhere, as long as he had an end-seat, would most likely be fine. They said that was what they were going to suggest to me. Double bonus.
Being realistic, I know that problems are going to arise, especially once academic pressure is put on Jaysen, but the difference is, I have faith that this time, this school will be able to put a plan into action, and not just turn their back on him.
I am starting to breathe. Starting to.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Maddy from Whitterer on Autism has graciously bestowed unto me this award:
I find this totally ironic, since Maddy's blog is the first blog I visit on a daily basis.
If they made an “I heart Maddy” bumper sticker, I would sport one proudly on my car.
The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.
Okay- seven blogs that I lurv.
This is so difficult because there are so many that I love for different reasons. I’m trying to steer clear of naming blogs that I just named for these awards, but if you are mentioned again…deal.
Here we go:
*disclaimer- this is not an all inclusive list, as there are many other blogs that I enjoy immensely*
Ashley’s Mom at Pipecleaner Dreams – Truthfully blogging about some pretty significant topics, like gulp teenagers! Debra is really an inspiration. She loves, loves, loves her kids, and has that fierce Momma Bear that we all can relate to.
K.C.’s Mom at Autism Schmatism – A big hearted blog that will make you laugh and cry. Possibly in the same post. K.C.’s mom is very real and down to earth. As comforting as a big bowl of matzoh ball soup.
Maize at Maizie’s blog (private) – Maizie is an awesome writer, and gives me insight as to what parenting ideas to try with my son, whether she means to or not.
Niksmom at Maternal Instincts – Ohmigosh, this is another blog that will leave you sobbing and laughing at the same time. Niksmom is a wonderful writer, who often is able to write what I cannot. We share many of the same fears for our children.
Mom2spiritedboy at Spirited Blessings- Writing about true life as she lives it. I love reading about her adventures- Stop by, you'll be hooked too.
MOM-NOS at MOM - Not Otherwise Specified – I. Love. This. Blog. MOM-NOS was the very first blog I ever came across. I couldn’t believe that there was another mom with a son almost exactly like Jaysen! I spent hours reading through the archives, in total disbelief that my son had a twin (only a couple years older), and was hooked ever since.
Casdok at Mother of Shrek – Yet another blog that I just adore. Casdok is the Battle-Mom when it comes to her son. She’s gonna do big things for Autism one day. Another blog that is overflowing with information.
There. Seven. On the nose.
As far as leaving comments on your blogs notifying you of this incredibly high honor?
Maybe in the morning?- it's past my bedtime.
Now excuse me while I go eat some ice cream.
I mean go to bed.
The award is for blogs that you love, that uplift you. You know, the blogs that everyone should read, so you want to share the love? I am passing the buck- I mean award- to...
LAA at Mom Embracing Autism – this is one busy mom. She has 4 kids, and is homeschooling! Need I mention she’s a gutsy mom too?
Lastcrazyhorn at Odd One Out- I love reading this blog, as Valerie really offers some helpful insight as to how it is in the life of a person with Autism. I have learned so much from the different things she has tried, and find that although she doesn’t have kids (yet), she is a very strong resource for parents to have.
Heike at Rollercoaster Parenting – This is a blog that I don’t get to visit as regularly as I’d like to (I keep forgetting to put it in my feeds!), but if you wanna see some adorable kids- you gotta pop over for a visit.
Squid at The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom – A fun potpourri blog of awesome kid stories mixed with a lot of information. I like this blog a lot because it’s very diverse and has an awesome name.
DGibbs at My Favorite Autistic – Some really funny things happen here, yet DGibbs always seems to keep her wits! This is a great blog for the stories alone.
Marla because she’s All That is Dazlious – Enough said. You simply are dazlious. Oh- and she’s Maizie’s Mom too. J
MamaMPJ at A Room of Mama’s Own – MamaMPJ’s blog is primarily focused on addiction, but every once in awhile, she squeaks out a post about Autism. You should stop over and see her- this woman is raw. She holds nothing back, and writes straight from her heart. Very powerful writing.
ASDMommy at What we need – Another blog that will have you laughing. I love the things that come out of her son C’s mouth. Reminds me of another little boy I know...
Jerry at My Autistic Boy and Other Adventures – Ah, Demetrius. I can only imagine how many grey hairs you are giving your father lately. Jerry does an awesome job at telling his family’s stories and parenting tactics, plus- he’s a guy. From now on I am calling him Jerry the Man-Blogger.
So there you have it folks- check 'em out.
*This lovely award is created by Crystal @ Memoirs of a Mommy in honor of Noah and the donor of his sweet little heart who ENCOURAGES us to SHARE THE LOVE ! Thanks Crystal! [Click on Memoirs of a Mommy to learn and read this special love story!] The rules for this award are to pass it along to some people whose blogs you love. They make you laugh, smile, leave encouraging comments on your blog. You would like to share some love with them because they have uplifted, inspired, encouraged or prayed for you. Please include this paragraph with the link to Memoirs of a Mommy so that everyone will know where this award originated from.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Why Texas??? I don't rightly know. I can only hazard a guess that it could be our good friends Dollface and family moved up from there, or maybe he was watching the Spongebob episode where Sandy is homesick and wants to go back to Texas.
While I did the dishes, he played quietly in his room. When I peeked in on him, I noticed he was packing his suitcase (full of DVD's), and meticulously arranging his chosen VHS tapes onto a carefully laid out blanket.
He continued this for quite awhile.
Perseveration is a powerful thing.
He eventually emerged from his room dragging the suitcase, and carrying the blanket (with video tapes inside) over his shoulder. He asked me if I would help him attach the blanket to the stick. It was tough to do with a straight face considering the blanket was bulging with videos, and his stick was little more than a twig.
We went outside to find a better stick.
Once the "bag" was secure on the stick, he hoisted it over his shoulder, grabbed his suitcase, and declared he was off for Texas. He was set.
I realized where this was going. I went on about how he doesn't have money for a plane ticket, blah, blah, blah...we ended up in my car again- he insisted that I drive him to Texas.
(Being the quick thinker that I am, I also realized this was a movie-worthy moment)
Behold the reasoning of my son, the roadtripper:
(Of course, being the technological genius that I am, the video was cut short)
It sounded like a plan, so I jumped in the seat and pretended to drive, looking at all of the super-cool imaginary mountains and rivers along the way.
Jaysen was looking at me like I was thirteen different kinds of crazy. He was less than amused.
When he realized that we, in fact, were not actually going to Texas, he started to lose it.
Meltdown approaching. I desperately tried to reason with him, but once he's at a certain level, your best option is damage control, not reason.
I told him that although we were not going to Texas, we were going on a "Mystery Trip" that upcoming weekend, and it was going to be very cool. And far away. Just like Texas. Only not Texas.
He accepted that. I would love to know how he decided which tapes would accompany him on the trip, and which ones would have to stay home. Interesting.
My little aspiring world traveler...
He's going to make me grey, this one is.
Monday, August 18, 2008
We're home from Ontario, and first I just have to say that London, Ontario has terrible coffee.
Storybook gardens has really changed from since I was a kid (gee, ya think?)- they've expanded it, but not to the point that it's not "doable". We managed to get through the whole park in 3 hours, and that included stopping at almost all of the attractions. The kids had a blast.
We played at the splash park:
Rode on the Ferris Wheel: Notice the huge smile!
We also went to the Children's Museum...
For some Olympic games:
Had some lunch: With excellent customer service!
Played on a fire truck:
Made new friends:
The weekend was a hit.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Despite the "back to school" advertisements, discussions, and other red flag warnings, I have managed to keep the thought of going back to school in the recesses of my mind. Now I am realizing just how fast second grade is approaching, and I am forced t face the music.
I posted last year, that for most parents, Back to School is a highly anticipated, warms-the-heart type of event. For me- it creates dangerous levels of anxiety, makes my mind race, my blood pressure skyrocket, and sends sheer terror throughout my entire being.
I am potentially sending my son into the proverbial lion's den.
Worse, I am sending him into the unknown.
Here's where I second guess myself. First grade was horrible. He was treated less than human, his rights were violated, and his spirit was broken. We are starting a different school (again) this year, and although this school is said to be more accepting and supportive of all diversity, disabilities included, I cannot say I know for sure. His last school seemed awesome- and was, until the principal retired and was replaced with a black-hearted, lying, power-tripping, ignorant, imbicile. Sorry... that was mean. Her heart probably really isn't black.
What I'm trying to say, is that his last school seemed like "the one", and it ended up being a nightmare. We are venturing into the unknown, at an unfamiliar school, with unfamiliar teachers and support staff. I was comfortable with the old school because even though they were a bunch of ass-blasters, I knew those ass-blasters. I knew how they operated, I knew their tactics, I knew their motives, I knew who to contact about what, and I could get ahead because I could predict their moves.
Much like Jaysen, I dread change.
This will be 3 schools in 3 years, and I think what freaks me out the most is I don't know what I'll do if this doesn't work out. This was my Plan B, and I don't have a Plan C.
I'm trying to remain optimistic, but it's so difficult.
He's my baby, and it breaks my heart to see such an awesome kid, so stressed out.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
And to Bobbi at Mixed Blessings, for the Brillante Weblog Award:
I am going to tag 7 people.
They get to choose which award they would like.
They have to each send me a banana split (because that sounds really good right now), for my generosity.
Okay- that last one is optional.
Mara at Mama on the Edge - This is a new blog to me, but I am really enjoying it so far.
Jackie at Are You There Blog? It's Me, Margaret - I could totally see myself hanging out with this chick- she cracks me up. We'd either have a blast, or end up in a whole lot of trouble.
Redneck Mom at Ramblings of a Redneck Woman - She has such incredible strength, and a heart of gold. This mom is truly amazing.
CMDHD Peterson at The Kids are Funny - Her kids, especially her son Deklan, are absolutely hysterical! I want to borrow him for a week. I really wish she would post more.
Kim at Mommyhood - Her son, Alex, reminds me so much of Jaysen when he was younger (and he's very cute!). I wish she would post more too.
Barbara at TherExtras - It's refreshing to hear such different spins from a therapist. You can tell she is good at what she does, and therapy is more than "just a job" to her.
T at Send Chocolate - This is also a fairly new blog to me, but I am thoroughly enjoying T's writing!
So there you have it.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Scratch that- I know I am.
Everyone has a story of friends that have flaked out once your child's been diagnosed- and it does seem that parents of children with disabilities often are limited in their friendships to other parents of children with disabilities... and I guess I've been examining my own friendships.
I've had many acquaintances, but have always preferred close friendships with a few select people over large groups. Perhaps I chose incorrectly.
My friends all have children, most of them are around Jaysen's age. Aside from the obligatory birthday parties, he is rarely invited over to play. Some of them have never invited him over. When I have initiated the playdate, I'm usually met with excuses of anything from "I forgot he made plans with Timmy", to "she's not into playing with boys", and my personal favorite "Yes- let's go out. Oh, the kids? Um, I'll have to check our schedule."
And it's not the kids, they're really happy to see each other and play. Jaysen's very social, and will pretty much play with anyone. I think that's pretty true for most 6 year olds though. And if it was Jaysen, I would hope that these people- my friends - would have the decency to talk with me about it. I mean think about it. If Jaysen's stimming stands out to another kid, what better opportunity to explain awareness and acceptance to that child?
We have a friend that does have us over, but is very opinionated, and will tell me how I should be parenting in the same breath she's "not being judgemental".
After our last playdate, I was told, "that went really well," and then she proceeded to analyze everything Jaysen had done since we arrived, and how I should have handled it.
...Did you expect it not to go well? Oh right, because my son has a disability. Sorry, I forgot.
I recently received a phone call from an old friend who sort of understands this dilemma. His brother was in a car accident, and he said that family and friends had turned their backs on his brother, so he was aware that things like this do happen.
The friendship ended on less-than-wonderful terms (I was very hurt), but bygones are bygones, we've both gone through some life-affirming things, and it was actually very nice to catch up.
It was cool to compare points in our lives that have changed, and those that hadn't. Scottie knew Jaysen briefly, when he was much younger. Although it has been years, he remembered taking Jaysen places like the pumpkin patch and the cider mill. It was refreshing to talk to someone who wasn't stressed out about (or rather because of) Jaysen.
I told him about Jaysen's diagnosis, our issues with the school, how big he's gotten, and some of the hysterical things that have spurt forth from his mouth. It was liberating to talk to someone who understood the feeling of lonliness a person can get when *gasp* disability is mentioned. It was nice that Jaysen was just Jaysen, not Jaysen-the-volatile-terror.
I don't know what made Scottie call me, or if the past history will eventually resurface and we'll end up hating each other again, but as I said, it was nice to talk to someone who wasn't all wound up.
I've always considered a friend to be someone who is supportive, through thick and thin. Sort of like a spouse without the "spousey duties". Well I guess that's a crappy analogy considering I'm divorced. Okay, forget that idea. You know what I'm getting at though.
Jaysen will be starting a new school this year, and I have high hopes that we will both make new friends. I may not know how or when to end "toxic friendships", but I am hoping that this new school's reputation precedes itself. I am told this school is more tolerant of diversity (including disabilities), and the atmosphere, the parental and student body, are more accepting of everyone's differences. I sincerely hope this is true.
Here's to new beginnings.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Jaysen: "Let Rylan come out and play with us!"
Me: "No...he just had a bath, and I don't want him to get all dirty. Plus, it's his bedtime."
Jaysen: "Equals what?"
Jaysen: "Equals what?"
Plus it's his bedtime.
My little aspiring world traveler.
Friday, August 8, 2008
You are driving in a car at a constant speed.
On your left side is a "drop off" (the ground is approximately 18-20 inches below the level you are traveling on).
On your right side is a fire engine traveling at the same speed as you.
In front of you is a galloping horse, which is the same size as your car, and you cannot overtake it.
Behind you is a galloping zebra.
Both the horse and zebra are traveling at the same speed as the fire engine.
What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?
(For the answer, click and drag your mouse from star to star)
* Get your drunk-ass off the merry-go-round *
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Thank you Deborah, for once again giving me the opportunity to talk about my son, to people who aren't yet bored of hearing me blather...