Friday, December 02, 2005

Butts and Bozos

Was going to do a blog with Betty Page's bare butt in it. Hers was feted. Hers was also bigger than mine, which is somewhat reassuring. Wrote it twice, got bombed out of blogger twice. I can take a celestial hint, you know - if it bashes me across the head two or three times.

It was Segue's comment at Zilla's that got me Googling to find a nude picture of said lady. Happy Birthday, by the way, Segue.

On the school front, I am more and more prepared for the meeting with Son's new teacher on Monday. In spite of supposed careful hand over from year to year it seems that:
  • She has eradicated use of his three level stress warnings, used by his previous TA and teacher to great success, to educate him on how loud he was becoming, as he has little volume control. Now he just doesn't know he's pushed it too far until its too late and he's in trouble.
  • She has allowed him something to fidget with as an aid to concentration, but has insisted that when she is speaking to him he is to stop fidgeting and look at her face. In other words she has no bloody understanding of his neurological issues at all and is actually forcing him into a pattern of behaviour that makes it much harder for him to hear what she is saying. He needs to be looking away and doing something vacant to occupy the rest of him, in order to clearly hear her instructions - reduce stimulus from the eyes and allow his fingers to hear her words. He has to be moving to absorb info.
  • She has had several stern words with him about not saying 'sorry' with enough sincerity. Without home school communication when this happens I can't say whether he is being facetious (He could out Bertrand Mr Russell) or whether he is genuinely saying sorry. When he is genuine, the voice is flat and a little clipped and there is no eye contact. I know which scenario I suspect.
  • Last week another special needs kid, one that Son counts as a true friend, threatened to commit suicide, even running scissors up and down his forearm. He got a half hour detention for it. Son, not understanding the mechanics of that decision, was so distressed that he ran from the room, found a table and chairs in an isolated corner under some stairs, built them into a cave and hid under them. He was still muttering to himself to calm down over half an hour later, got in trouble for doing that in class, and got a half hour detention for trying to walk out of class when he felt unsupported. Obviously the teacher sees it differently, but neither incident was even mentioned to me by the school, whereas last year or the year before I would have had an instant phone call, to allow me to work through the issues appropriately when he came home.
The more I ask him, the more I begin to suspect I have an 'old school' teacher here, that what goes (punished but) dismissed and unreported to either me or the SENCo, all adds up to show what a great job she's supposedly doing and how the essential strategies built up over years arent necessary in her class because she's Mrs Super. It appears she has no idea of, or interest in his differences and sees herself charged with pressuring him into behaving like a neurotypical kid, as if, if she just keeps being stern, somewhere in his head the penny will drop.

She doesn't seem to have even considered that he might be in torment - her main concern seems to be that whatever is going through his head, success means that he sits still, shuts up and doesn't take her attention or complain.

Never mind that for five years the top goal on his ILP was to put his hand up before speaking.

And there she sits, believing that close home school communication is a sheet full of sad or smiley faces recorded each lesson and shown to me at the end of the week.

How many teachers are fixated on behaviour as a boon or disturbance to the way they like to educate? How many feel that the limit of recording behaviours should be to show whether they did or did not comply with classroom standards, with no explanation or investigation of where the 'wrong' attitude came from, or whether their teaching methods actually allow every child to access the lesson content?

This is why so many Aspergers kids go into senior school and promptly show signs of OCD and clinical depression. I'm damn sure its got less to do with puberty as a hormonal and chemical condition than it has to do with puberty being the start of adult self respect and the increased need to fit in and stand up for oneself. Faced with confusing, depressing, disinterested teachers like that, where nothing I said was heard as I meant it, I think I'd go doolally. Actually I think I'd start throwing things.

Which probably explains why still, in this all caring and knowing and beneficient school system of ours, one in four pupils on the autistic spectrum still end up being expelled.

I have a meeting with her on Monday. I've already told her I am not on the attack - just seeking to work together. All I have to do now is depress this righteous anger and resist the urge to shred her to pieces with all the ammunition she's given me. I have to wangle this to make her feel that this is 'us' making forward strides, with her, as the expert, in the lead. I know thats one treasured emotional minefield of hers that would take a dozen counsellors and a year of therapy, so I am forced to work with it instead of challenging it. I am going to have to manipulate her, basically; to make her feel that reinstating all the tools and attitudes that the school has had up until her class is not only a good idea, but possibly also her idea.

I have to work out how to couch the condemnation as 'I'm just a dumb mum, whats your idea Mrs Expert?' and soft soap her social climbing ego out of damaging my kid. I don't like treating people like idiots, even when they are.

God help me.

Any ideas, I'm all ears.

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