It’s done

August 30, 2010 at 6:19 am 10 comments

     After a mere two weeks and one day, we pulled C from his school. We had been contemplating it since he started at this school last year, but we were pleasantly surprised when he had a pretty good year in third grade. We knew things would change as he went along, and we expected that around sixth grade, his school situation would likely have to change. Sadly, we only made it to fourth.

     Even more sad is that we are pulling him mostly because of what goes on during a mere 35 minutes of his day. 35 minutes in which the public school system (yes the “system” –  I don’t for one minute think this problem is unique to C’s school) has completely and utterly failed this child.

     It all started with lunch. I walked in only to see him sitting all alone at a table for 20 while every other table was completely full. C’s sometimes utter aloneness in a sea of children is often too much for me to bear. Part of his IEP includes having an adult help facilitate conversations between C and other children during situations like these. He wasn’t alone because he wanted to be; he was alone because it didn’t occur to him to ask someone to join him. Then to hear C chastised by an adult for not inviting someone to sit with him, well, that was about the end of the rope for me. I figured if the people working with him don’t get it by now, perhaps they never will, and I’m not about to wait around to find out. 

     Then it got worse. Far worse. He went out for recess, and with 130 kids on the playground and two aides, what I didn’t expect to happen this soon almost did. I saw it all from afar as I sat in the parking lot watching, tears streaming down my face. I watched C crying and arguing because he got called “out” of a kickball game I don’t think he was even being included in to begin with. Before I knew it, he was surrounded by several very large kids who were yelling at him and threatening him. He was, in my opinion, within seconds of getting punched in the face by a kid so big I thought he was an adult. Thankfully the situation defused itself, but not before it all happened a second time.

     There was no adult within 100 yards of C, and certainly no one was watching him. I know this because I was watching them not watching him. Oh, I understand there are a lot of kids to watch out there, but he is one that they are supposed to be keeping a special eye on simply because he is so incredibly vulnerable, and his social skills – in an unfacilitated situation such as this one – are so undeveloped. 

     The near violence at recess was the push off the edge that convinced me his experience at this school was over. Upon later discussion with C, it became clear he didn’t even realize how dangerous the situation was – which shows me he’s even more vulnerable than I thought.

     So he’s set to start a new school on Tuesday, one where we don’t expect perfection, but one that seems to not only celebrate kids in all their forms, but also seems to teach the kids to celebrate other kids in all their forms. It is with heavy heart that we leave a teacher we loved and the traditional public school system – which we have believed in so strongly for so long. It makes me sad that the public school system in general seems to have such a difficult time helping the very children who perhaps need it the most.

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Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

It’s a love-hate thing Lessons learned

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. therocchronicles  |  August 30, 2010 at 8:07 am

    I have been thinking about you and wondering when you were going to post about this–I knew something was going on over there on your side of the country but didn’t want to push.

    I am so sorry that C went through that. But so very glad that you are the kind of mother to sit in the parking lot and WATCH so you KNOW what is really going on. It’s one thing to have supports and accommodations written into an IEP, it’s an entirely different beast whether or not those items are actually being executed.

    You’ve given me something to think about, I’ll be popping by the school from time to time to see how things are really going with the Roc. As I read this I envisioned the playground and how the parking lot is right there.

    I’m glad there is another option for him for school and you are exploring that option. I look forward to hearing about his experiences there, and I so hope they are very positive ones.

    Reply
  • 2. pixiemama  |  August 30, 2010 at 9:31 am

    C needs to be where he is safe, and where the other children are kind. The kids at the public school have never been kind to him, and for no reason other than his tenderness. It’s not fair, and while I know it must be incredibly hard to leave a good teacher behind, I also know it’s necessary to leave those kids behind.

    I’d like to have a talk with ALL of their parents!

    ARG!

    love, love, love.

    Reply
  • 3. Dearna  |  August 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I hear read these stories again and again from parents everywhere.It breaks my heart that our kids are treated this way.And it makes me a little fearfull of the future when our little C starts school next year.Good luck with the new school.

    Reply
  • 4. Angie  |  August 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I wondered what was going on since you hadn’t posted in a while…I’m so sorry. It is heartbreaking to hear so I imagine your pain was very real, sitting there seeing it.

    I hope the new school loves him and he loves it.

    Reply
  • 5. robinaltman  |  August 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I’m so glad you saw those situations and acted to protect C. You’re an awesome mom. The new school sounds wonderful. The old school will be that much poorer without C to jazz it up.

    Reply
  • 6. fiona2107  |  August 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Such a heartbreaking story, and an equally heartbreaking decision that you had to make.
    We are currently in the midst of a similar turmoil at school.
    I wish you al the best for your new school and HOPE that you finally get what C needs.
    Sending hugs XX

    Reply
  • 7. Shivon  |  August 31, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Holy sh*t, I am so sorry. I hope the new school works out, C is amazing and deserves people that will celebrate him and support him.

    Reply
  • 8. lynnes  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Oh wow. I hope the new school works out, I’d love to read a post about what kind of school it is and how you chose it.

    Reply
  • 9. Erica77777  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    My heart completely sank when I read this. I had been hoping and hoping for a new post, and hoping that everything was okay with you. To read about this development makes me so sad and frustrated, but mostly angry. What is the flippin’ point in having an IEP in place?? How dare they leave him all alone! I know I would have no hesitation in making the same decision you have made.

    I hope that the new school totally rocks and that C gets the attention and care that he so deserves.

    Reply
  • 10. akbutler  |  September 10, 2010 at 7:32 am

    This stinks in so many ways. I’ve read your next post and know that things are looking up and I’m so happy about that for you and for C. I hope it continues that way.
    I hope it’s ok that I linked to this post today. This is one of my biggest fears about my son and school once he gets older, and I’m just heartbroken that you or anyone has to go through this EVER with their kids.
    Hoping this was a good week for you.
    Alysia

    Reply

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