Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dear Noah....a slight regression continues....

Noah's first artwork I have seen him bring home....something pertaining to Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night.  I have no idea what their assignment was but according to his scores he did very well.  P1080723


For the fourth day straight  I believe I have picked you up from school only to hear you had a bad afternoon.  Today you got into a pushing/shoving match with another boy in gym class....and while he started it and you ended it by pinching both got sent to the principal's office.  

While in social studies class you got upset about something and the teacher felt you needed to go to the hallway to "calm down."  A good idea but he did not provide a chair for you or a desk and there was NO MONITORING of you while in the hallway.  He told you to sit on the floor.  NOTHING constructive was given to you to GUIDE you through calming down.....NO ADVANTAGE was taken of that moment to TEACH you the CORRECT response out of you in a trying situation.   SO did you remain in the hallway like the teacher expected you to?  NO!!!  You did exactly what I have been warning them you might do.  YOU WANDERED off....left the hallway......went somewhere else entirely to sit down. 

You got upset with your aide this week and wrote on your paper you hated her.   I SEE RED FREAKIN flags all over the place. 

Today I saw the all too familiar zombie look on your face and body postures again.  You were very pale......and looked sad......almost mad too.  Like you had a headache but you did not.  It was all you could do to make it to my could not even carry your backpack.  ALL these are signs you are being too stimulated at school.  TOO many things are happening to set you do not appear to be receiving proper instructions on what to do in social situations when they arise....etc. 

I do not like many things happening here and not happening here.  I have asked for an IEP meeting and it has been canceled twice.  I was told last week it would be rescheduled again.  I am tired of waiting.  I have told the principal you will NOT be returning to school until we get these issues resolved and written up in your IEP and that they have to be followed.   I sent this e-mail to your staff tonight.  WHILE very long I think (hope) I made my point.


Dear Principal _______:

For about the 4th day now or more when I have picked Noah up from school I am finding out he has been into trouble for blurting things out, hitting another student, etc.  When I see him in the afternoon he is very pale and acts like his head hurts and he is super tired but of course he has no headache.  He looks withdrawn and sad...sometimes almost mad.  I recognize this "look" as a sign he has been too stimulated.......over stimulation causes Noah to act also causes him to become basically a walking zombie for a period of time of recovery.  The duration of his recovery varies depending on the amount of stimulation and his body's response to it.  He has learned to recover a little quicker I think than he has in the past but this week I have noticed he is not bouncing back so easily.  I have to say this has been very disturbing to me.....because it is a sign of REGRESSION.....and while he is making progress......too much of this type of behavior if repeated on a consistent basis time and time again, does NO one any good.....especially Noah.  He will go further BACKWARDS instead of forwards.   This is also about the time of year he becomes very stressed.....almost like he has had his limit.  It is very touch and go with him.  He loves school and wants to come and be there...BUT at the same time he also is having a difficult time handling the entire day!

Another bigger concern of mine is the fact that Noah has been sent to the hallway for a "time out" or to "calm down" a few times this week.....WITHOUT a monitor.  Today he was sent to the hallway from Mr. Winner's class and there was not even a chair for him to sit on.  NO teacher monitored desk was there for him....and he was not given something constructive to work through to help him calm down.  I am FURIOUS about this.....because what happened?  Exactly what I have warned everyone about from the start.  Did Noah remain where he was supposed to remain?  NO.   He left the hallway....and wandered off.  I have a CALM DOWN book I can make a copy of for Noah to keep at school that he can be given to work through to CALM down when sent to the hall.  BUT HE BETTER NEVER be sent to the hallway ever again without a chair and a monitor.
I do not know what I have to do to express my concerns about this.  Noah has a reputation for wandering off in the past.  I do NOT want to get a phone call from the school staff one day saying Noah is MISSING and cannot be found and you have NO idea where he is!   There is NO excuse for this.  NONE.  NOT with an autistic child and one with an IEP and aide. 

I have said time and time again Noah needs to be monitored.  I don't mean part-time.  He needs an aide/COACH and monitor pretty much all the time.  NOT just someone to help explain things to him academically.....but also SOCIALLY.  WHAT IS and IS NOT acceptable behavior and WHY.  To coach him through standing in line........taking turns....all the stuff other kids his age already know.  Noah is not emotionally equivalent to the other 9-10 year olds in his class.  His emotional level is more along the lines of a 6-year old......and that is pushing it.   I have been told his aide is not just his personal aide but she has to split her time with other students.  Then I have to say the school needs to hire someone else to fill in for her time so she can be his full-time aide because he needs one.  With his disabilities listed on his IEP he is more than qualified for this and is allowed this.  The monies for this is also there. 

I have already decided to keep Noah home from school tomorrow Friday March 28.  He needs a break.  I am not going to stand by and watch all the hard work I have done with him over time deteriorate right before my eyes because he is constantly being thrown into situations where he is not yet able to handle them.  He does not understand CONCEPTS at all.....I think the staff already knows this.  He does NOT understand the WHYs of just about anything.   He has a very hard time understanding many things.  

I am not comfortable with having Noah return to school until we can get these issues resolved.  I asked for an IEP meeting to address my concerns which are growing instead of being alleviated.  I understand we have had to cancel because of the weather and I think Noah was sick one time.  BUT we need to get that rescheduled ASAP.  However....once issues are WRITTEN down and included in his IEP (if they are)...they NEED TO BE FOLLOWED.  The IEP does not exist for my peace of mind, only to be filed away in a filing cabinet to LOOK like everyone covered their butts and followed proper protocol.  The special needs are written down to HELP Noah succeed and do the best he can.  We must all implement what is in the IEP. 

Noah is to have a scribe for those times when there is a lot of writing required in the classroom......tests, quizzes and such.  We really need to ensure this continues to happen and he is not left struggling to write answers out and becoming so frustrated with the action of attempting the writing itself he cannot answer the questions at all or complete an assignment in the classroom.  He brings home a tremendous amount of homework......and with limited time to do it at home becomes frustrated even more then.  It is becoming a little too much for him. 

I have asked for help with writing......something he could use to TYPE answers on......etc.  NOTHING has been done about this that I know of.  I do know there are tools out there a child can use in the classroom that has difficulty with they can type their answers and responses in order to KEEP UP with the rest of the class.   Noah has come a long way with writing and I still want him to learn.....but it is becoming frustrating for him when it comes to classroom assignments and homework assignments if he has to do all that writing. 

Noah should NEVER be allowed to be in ANY classroom with other children UNattended.  NOT EVER.  You are asking for trouble.  It only takes a second for someone to even look at him the wrong way and he can be off and slamming the kid up against the lockers.   I believe this situation has changed recently and now the kids are finally MONITORED during indoor recess inside each specific classroom.  THAT IS a HUGE concern of mine.  INDOOR recess without a teacher in the classroom?  TWO walking around in the halls for the ENTIRE school is not proper monitoring of children.  There is no way one can know what is or is not going on in the classroom.

ALSO many times when Noah does get into today for instance in the gym......while NOT an excuse for his behavior....he also did NOT start the pushing and shoving match.  However Noah many times FAILS to tell a teacher.......or cannot get out HIS story or what happened quick enough for  an adult or teacher.  He does not think to TELL a teacher "HEY someone is PUSHING ME" first........he reacts first and does not ever mention it to the teacher.  I have told him for YEARS to tell the teacher if someone is pushing him or being mean to him.  He never remembers to do that.  SO he is the one that usually gets caught and then blamed for the entire thing.  Today Alex or Alec pushed him first Noah said.....and then they pushed each other back and forth and finally Noah PINCHED him......and then Alex told the gym teacher.  Noah should have told the gym teacher at the start "HEY ALEX is  pushing me!"...But again MY question is WHERE WAS the teacher during all this????  It sounds like he was right there as the kids were in line for some event in the gym.   WHY DID THIS ALL go un-noticed by the teacher and why did he not tell the kids to stop it?  WHY allow things to escalate?

I am sorry this is so long but I am very upset.  This all reminds me of how things used to be in the past for Noah.  Only multiply the behavior you have seen recently by about 50 x and you can get an idea of where he has come from. 

So we have to fix this ...or at least try.  We have to make some serious changes in his IEP.  He HAS to have a monitor.  He is not ready to be alone anywhere.   I am NOT going to allow him to WALK on any walking field trips unless someone can guarantee me he will have one supervisor solely for him alone all the time while out.  IF NOT......there is NO way he can be allowed to go.  I heard during the choir practice at Memorial Hall that the kids were to have PLENTY of adult supervision....and yet while there one little boy was grabbed by some unknown man.  I cannot tell you how this made me feel to hear this.  Noah was sick and missed it.  I am thankful.  Because had he been there and was not being monitored he could have easily been coerced to go somewhere with someone he should not have. 

I also do not like dropping Noah off in the morning outside school and just HOPING and praying he makes it to his class. I HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING if he even gets to where he needs to go in the mornings.  I DO NOT LIKE THIS.  This is not acceptable.   Someone needs to walk him in.  If that be me I am fine with that.  I can walk him in.  I can bring him in the mornings and take him to his class...something.  Or an aide can come and meet us.  BUT to always just think he will do what he is expected to do is flat out wrong.  NONE of us can just assume that.   Today with him leaving the hall where he was supposed to remain again confirmed this to me.  Someone brings him to me in the afternoons after school.  That is great.   I have been bringing him to school a little later in the mornings to AVOID line up I have watched in horror all too many times kids pushing and shoving each other around.......all time bombs waiting to go off for Noah.  If someone accidentally pushes him or pushes him on purpose........there is no guarantee he will not lose it.  Same for him just observing others horsing around.  He will mimic it.  Again the monitors.......where are they?   I have seen some now.......since we talked about this the last time....they are there.  More than before.  Rarely however do they stop the kids from horsing around. 
Outdoor recess time I have no idea what happens.  When I take Noah to a park for example I DO NOT let him wander off and play with other kids alone.  I am along the sidelines.......watching.........ready to intervene and redirect when needed.  I already know this is not likely happening on the school grounds. 

SO as you can tell I have many concerns.  Noah seems to be doing poorly in the classroom...and we need to figure out why and fix that.  I am not in the classroom so I have no idea.  To me however I think it sounds like he is getting over stimulated and has no way to compensate for that during the day.  It sounds like he is getting frustrated.  Sending him to the hall to calm down can work if someone is there to guide him through calming down....and monitoring him.  To keep him on track.  However isolating him solely because he continues to disrupt a class and that removes the disruption from the room but he has nothing constructive to do in the hallway does no one any good.  Especially Noah. 

SO please talk and let us set up a new day and time for this IEP meeting so we can make some revisions and updates and try this again. 

Again I will call in the morning but I am not sending Noah to school on Friday March 28.  I can already tell tonight  he will not have a good day tomorrow either.  I am not setting him up for failure or expecting the worst.  I just have enough firsthand experience to KNOW how things are going to be based on his appearance and behaviors even here at home.  I would love to be able to trust him to always do what he is expected to do.  However I learned a long time ago he can unfortunately rarely be placed in that position and always do what is expected of him.  He has to have a monitor.  Have I said that enough?  Because I don't think I can say it enough or express how serious this can be without a monitor. 

Let me know when a good date and time is.....I can flex my schedule accordingly.





Noah I am determined to do everything I can for you to become the most lovable, caring young man possible and one who can learn how to handle himself in most situations with greater ease.   I will not stand by and allow you to go backwards because of being steered in an improper direction.  I will get you back on way or another. 

I love you very much Noah.  Forever I will.




Melissa said...

That's some beautiful artwork!

I'm so sorry you and Noah are having to go through all of this. I hope they schedule something with you soon and his IEP gets updated.
I also hope they listen to what you are telling them.

Sending hugs to you Melinda. I love you both.

Casdok said...

Great painting!
Hope your email works and things get resolved.
Very frustraiting.

Jack and Joann said...

Let me tell you what happened at my school when a sixth grade teacher put a student out in the hallway to stand and do nothing for his misbehavior. (He was mouthing off to the teacher.) This student went around the corner to the reading teacher's room and took some matches and set some papers on fire on her desk. At the time the reading teacher was working with a primary class and was not in her room. The door was always left open so other teachers could get to needed big books and other reading materials that she stored in the room. Well, to make a long story short we had a three alarm fire at my school and we were very lucky that the school custodian happened to see the fire and sealed the fire doors. If not, we would have had casualties. TEACHERS SHOULD NEVER PLACE STUDENTS IN A HALLWAY FOR TIMEOUT. IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE SOMETHING TRAGIC COULD HAPPEN. And this happened in Fairfax County Public Schools which has a national reputation as a model school system.Please, please tell your principal this story

Melinda said...

I agree Jack and Joann - this school staff has a hard time truly understanding that. I think they honestly believe nothing will is only for a short is okay to have the kids in the rooms during indoor recess with no teacher present......etc.

I do NOT agree with any of that and agree with your comment that it takes ONLY SECONDS for something tragic to happen or in this case...for Noah to come up missing as he had wandered away from where he was supposed to remain.....within SECONDS. I am FURIOUS still today about all this. Noah is home safe with me.

Old Lady Lincoln said...

Dear Noah, what a nice painting you took home to Mommy. I'm sorry you've been having some trying days at school. Hope everything gets worked out for the best, soon.
Love you to the moon and back,

drama mama said...

I wonder if Noah's "regression" is due to poor supervision and support at school.

Good luck with all of this.