June 10, 2013
Warning Signs Your School Is On Crack
When you have a kid with special needs, there will undoubtedly come a time that you wonder if a traditional school environment is the right place for them. We didn't have that worry until this year. He enjoyed school, to the extent that he didn't want weekends or long holidays. He wanted to be at school, learning.
Then he got to Yr 2 and there were signs that things were not going as well as previous years. Stomach cramps. Frequently. Some of them were fake - to get out of school (telling in itself, right?) - some of them were real and clearly very painful, with no food-related pattern to them. Reports of negative behaviours in the classroom increasing. Kids being deliberately mean to him. Not liking school at all anymore. "Its BORING. Nothing is interesting. I should be doing Year 4 work!" And he was right. He does Yr 5 work at home.
Those were the little things. Then the BIG things started.
1. His teacher knows he cant handle more than two pieces of information at a time, is extremely literal, and that he has attention issues. So she spends 3 minutes (his friend timed it) in class - in the midst of his hyper moments - telling him how he needed to take responsibility for his learning and blahblah about his potential and he has to stop behaving the way he is. Erm...NEP, anyone? The conversation about his SPD? Being assessed for ASD? Anyone in there??? A 7yr old ASD kid take responsibility for his learning? Are you on crack????
F-Man asked me later that evening "what does 'potential' mean?" She made him sit through a lecture that he had no hope of understanding, blaming him for the results of his own disability. Good work, that.
2. Not just one, but 4 ASD kids in one class, with an SSO for 15 minutes in the morning. No other support. No pull-outs, no OT, no breaks. Crackheads, clearly.
3. No supervision for the spectrum kids that get in trouble every single day for being extrememly rough with other kids. Hurting people (intentional or not, kids get hurt) every single day. There was never any change to the supervision levels, and the school consistently blamed other kids for what was happening. Blamed my kid for trying to defend himself. One kid is in the office weekly for the same behaviours and has been for 3 years! The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. Insane from crack.
4. We made our feelings about F-Man being in that particular class VERY clear at the end of last year due to a long-standing issue with one of the ASD kids who would be in with him. This boy has been consistently aggressive towards him since pre-school, stabbing him with a sharpened pencil in Reception being merely one of many incidents. So they put them in the same class. And the crap keeps happening. Well duh. Here, have a pipe.
5. We agreed on the NEP in week 5 of Term 1. Everything in it was ignored. Everything we mentioned about how F-Man feels about certain things, how he thinks, how he approaches situations, what he can and cant do, psychologically speaking. "He wont ask for a break. It wont ever occur to him. You have to give him the break card." So of course, no break card was ever given. What the actual fuck, even?
6. A report from the teacher for his ASD assessment in which she wrote "F-Man occasionally reaches an appropriate level of work, with significant scaffolding" which in normal speak means that "most of the time he doesn't do enough Yr 2 work to pass, but if we give him heaps and heaps of help, then he can sometimes manage Year 2." Last year - Year 1 - he was doing Year 3 work with no "scaffolding" at all. Hmmm...what is this telling you??? At home he is coming up with the concept of algebra all by himself. I give up.
That report made me feel sick. He was gone within the week, leaving the staff to think "what the hell just happened?" I'm sure.
A week after he left, Monkey-Boy mentioned to him "you seem happier". He replied "since I left school, I haven't had to worry about B (arch nemesis with ASD) anymore."
After testing, he was immediately put up a year level with his distance ed school, the principal saying he was "more than capable of at least Yr 3 level."
Not surprisingly, the stomach cramps have disappeared completely.