Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Counting Mah Chikkuns

Jaysen's teacher.
I luff this man.

I've mentioned oh....maybe 50 billion, trillion, megazillion times, that Jaysen has not had a supportive school environment. I think that's a nice way of describing it, because in actuality, it sucks major donkey balls.  He basically has received NO formal education, and the education he has received, has been secondhand from his paras and supplemented at home.

Which is the main reason I decided to pull him from GenEd. He needs to build a stronger foundation. Get a sense of the educational system. Have some exposure to authority other than Mom. Learn about making mistakes and how to fix them.

He's currently in the EI (Emotionally Impaired) classroom. While there is an ASD classroom at his school, I felt the EI teacher would be better equipped to deal with Jaysen's outbursts and behaviors. He would be more used to seeing things like that, and not overreact to them. He would hopefully have the skills to help Jaysen work through them and teach him more accceptable replacement behaviors.

And I was right. :)

At curriculum night (I was the only parent to show. It was sad, but I got his teacher 1:1 for over an hour), Mr. Smith told me of the potential he saw in Jaysen. Jaysen is the farthest behind in the whole class, but he was confident he could get him caught up. He said Jaysen is very smart, he just lacks the confidence that he can do the tasks, and his anxiety gets the better of him. Yes. This is true.

We talked about Jaysen's self-harming. that his self-injury is driven by the sensory input. That we have tried alternate things, increasing his sensory diet, redirection, ignoring, etc. Nothing seems to sate that need for that proprioceptive feedback.

Then he asked me a most magical question. Mr. Smith stopped, looked at me, and sincerely asked me, "Has anyone looked into why he needs that feedback? Because I think that's important to know."

I was stunned. Nobody has ever asked me that before. Nobody has ever cared enough to even think of as to why that particular outlet (self-injury) serves a purpose for him. Nobody. And then the tears started flowing. Because I'm sensitive, dammit- and omg you actually care about and want to understand my kid.

Another awesome thing about this class?
Mr. Smith fosters a sense of Community.
This is huge. And I didn't fully understand the magnitude of it until he gave me an example.
Jaysen has a bully. One that he knew from the last school. This bully targets Jaysen, and generally makes his day miserable.
One day this bully was being especially assholish to Jaysen, he was calling him names and got up to go over to Jaysen's desk. The 3 kids surrounding Jaysen stood up from their desks, walked over to Jaysen's desk, and stood behind him.  One of the kids turned to address the bully. He told him to leave Jaysen alone, and to go back to his seat; while the other two kids flanked Jaysen, bent down to him, and told him "Okay, look. You need to ignore him. That's how we handle him. Mr. Smith will be over here in a minute, and he'll give us instruction. Then we're going to follow his instruction, because he'll know what to do."  They not only redirected Jaysen, they diffused a situation. Without instruction. That's Community, bitches.

And that? Is how it's done.

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