Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Puberty - God's way of telling you that he hates parents.
OK - so having gone through this once with the oldest one I had thought (I admit to being in a delusional state) that child number two had made it through the middle school puberty thing fairly painlessly. I was wrong. Oh, how wrong. It's hit and it's much worse this time around. I know there are teachers who are thinking "What a lousy parent! Why are all these homeworks missing? Why is this notebook such a disaster? Why does this child, who had been on the honor role, now not listen to a word I say? Clearly its the fault of BAD PARENTING!"
You know what? I am not in control of this child at this point - tears and lies have replaced all communication. I am told nothing about what's happening, even on total disaster days. You want to blame it all on me? Fine, but I'm blaming it on hormones sucking all the grey matter out of my kid's cranium.
And the totally sad thing? This is just child 2 - one more to go. There's a clear logarithmic trend in the pain of my living through their puberty. You know what that means? I pretty sure that kid #3's puberty will lead to my institutionalization.
I really thought that after this post I was done talking about Alex Barton and Morningside Elementary. I had read some rather nasty comments on this news site (there are some particularly nasty comments here if you really want to see them) on the issue, accusing Alex's mom of being self-serving and questioning the concept of inclusive education. It took this post and this one to get me to realize all this attention in a crappy school in a state that clearly has issues with education was going to lead to reprocussions. It's hard to believe how vindictive people can be. Just in case you don't feel like reading the link here's a quick summary: While Alex has been pulled out of Morningside where he was clearly unwanted and unsupported, his 10 y.o. older brother Kyle continues to go to school there. This is the only school with a Gifted program in their zone. A letter from the principal told them to find a different school. The vice principal pushed Kyle. A group of parents picketed the school to show their support for an abusive teacher while yelling at Kyle and driving him to tears. There's a stalking parent and a billigerent teacher. Basically this family's abuse goes on and on.
I might be a little late, but I blog against disablism. This needs to stop. Our schools need to lead the way.
And on a positive note, I know of charter schools in Baltimore that could give lessons on how to be welcoming and inclusive.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Seems like a lot of doom and gloom lately. Sara Nuefeld is leaving the Sun, which really bums me out. I certainly wouldn't be blogging if it hadn't been for Inside Ed and and my whole sense of connection to City Schools as a whole (as opposed to individual schools and teachers) comes from reading and posting on Inside Ed. Then there's this disaster of trying to figure out ESY that I've already posted about here and here. Combine those things with the flurry of activities and stress of a jam-packed calender. I just want to bury my head under a pillow and ask the world to go away. But, having three kids doesn't give you that option (probably one of the better arguments for why would you want to have kids - you have no choice to stop being self-absorbed). So, the solution? A cheering post that reminds me of the good stuff. So here it is...
I can not believe the growth I've seen in those three kids over the course of this school year. The high school freshman, who seemed so ill-equipped to deal with the independence required of high school students has grown into the task. I won't say it wasn't without a lot of help from some excellent teachers (and maybe some parental engagement), but I think we've turned a corner. There are still final exams to go, which make me pretty nervous, but I'm feeling pretty amazed at the transformation.
The middle one is no longer a kid, and anyone with a hormonal middle school kid knows what I mean. It's a little scary and not too pleasant for anyone involved, but growing up can't be halted. There are moments when I wonder if brain function has slowed in an equal ratio to the speeding of physical maturation, but it's good to be on the far side of this boundary.
But the transformation of the special one, that's incredible. There are milestones that have been hit that I wasn't sure would ever happen. Today I saw a kid that wanted to impress classmates because they were friends - I would have never dared to hope for that, and within a school year? That qualifies as a miracle if I was religious. Staff that really goes to the effort to truly include and care. Blossoming verbal interaction - you might have to ask questions, but the answers aren't just a way to get you to quit talking (as they have been for several years). This kid has a genuine desire to get information across. Another miracle. And I've got to say that classmates and staff have been transformed as well. The idea that people who don't talk much don't have much understanding or intelligence has fallen by the wayside. And I see genuine affection and attachment going in both directions. You might have been told that autistic kids have no attachments (hence the term autism from the Greek autos or self), but I'd argue that it's a two way street - we nuerotypicals can't figure out how to make attachments with someone who doesn't have interactive mirroring as much as auties can't figure out how to navigate the rules of our society. But given time, training and practice and the attachments are real.
So there - the glass is definitely half-full or better.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
- snip (a preamble related to the original post and other comments)
I am sick to death of the idea that it's a drag to have an autistic kid in your life. I've got one in mine and it's a privilege. I can't tell you all the things I've learned that are useful in dealing with so many other things than my autistic kid. I truly believe in inclusive education, but not in schools or with teachers that see my kid as a burden. With that off my chest maybe I can get back to my job.
Sorry, one more thing - don't assume that Mr. Greer (the Baltimore City Teacher of the Year that the blog post was about) has no autistic/aspergers kids in his class unless you have gone through his last 7 years worth of 503's and IEP's. You might be surprised at the number of smart and academically successful kids who are on the autism spectrum, of course that would mean that you quit making assumptions about autistic kids.