The boys are fast approaching the end of the school year. It seems to have flown past. To think D has completed his first year when he was so excited and at the same time wound up about starting. It’s amazing to see how far both boys have come.
Yesterday Hubby and I had a meeting at the school, with the head teacher and the educational psychologist, as well as each boys respective teachers. I hate these affairs. I get so nervous before hand. I think it’s because I wear my emotions about the boys so close to the surface, that I know if bad things are said, I will cry, and that achieves nothing. This is why I need the rational head of Hubby sitting with me so I don’t let my heart dictate what I do or say!
We had spoken to the boys to tell them we were having the meeting. I don’t think it would have done either of them any good to bump into us in the school without knowing we would be there. It also meant we were able to talk to them about why we were having the meeting and see if there was anything they could bring to the table via telling us. At the end of it all, these meetings are about the boys, and while it is not suitable for them to attend, I think it is important they understand what they are about.
D’s teacher was up first. She had nothing but good things to say about my baby, and this made me feel so proud. I am not just proud of the fact he has achieved so well at school (although this makes me very happy), but the fact his teacher says, that while conscious of the potential of outbursts from him, she has never seen him loose his cool. While there are times that I think it would be great for the school to see what he can be like, I am so proud that he has been able to keep it together for the 6 hours a day he is there. I think as long as his new teacher is aware of what might happen, it makes life easier for them to plan to ensure it is unlikely to do so. We did explain how angry he is at home just now, and we were concluding it was to do the anticipated changes. What was suggested was that he wrote a fact page about himself to present to his teacher when he found out who it was, and they would ask the new teacher to do one to give to him. What a brilliant idea to soften the transition. When we got home afterwards, I spoke with D about what was said, and told him how proud we both were of him. I then explained about him doing some work to let his teacher know who he is. He was SO excited by the thought of this that he started immediately, I think I might have to help him scale it down otherwise he will be into P3 before his P2 teacher has finished reading it! We had the calmest evening for a long time from him, so I do believe it was the worry of a new teacher that has been stressing him out.
Back to the meeting.
M’s teacher arrived, and gave a summary as to how she had found M, as she has only known him for 6 weeks. She felt they were forming a good relationship, which they are in our opinion. M has let her past his walls and to have let her in so quickly means he must have great respect for her and the way she deals with him. She commented that she felt he needed strong guidelines, and again we could only agree. Where most people like to see how far they can push their boundaries, M uses them as a safety zone, and as long as he knows what is expected of him then he will try his hardest to achieve, even if his route doesn’t just go A – B but takes detours to other places first. Knowing M is staying with a teacher who is so obviously trying to understand him real gives us peace of mind – I’m not saying his previous teachers didn’t try to get to know him, but he didn’t have any of them long enough to get a stable two-way relationship of trust that I think is really important to any child let alone a ASD child. After his teacher had finished her summary of M, she said the most shocking thing. She said she had never directly been involved with a child with an ASD. Shocked, yes, totally, because all the things she was saying were as if she had been adapting strategies for ASD kids for years! She said as soon as she knew about M she had started reading up to familiarise herself with autism but that she was on a learning curve with him. I wonder if alarm bells should have started ringing, but totally opposite. It was a refreshing amount of honesty. I can see there is potential for problems somewhere along the line, but there would be anyway, but more importantly, I see a teacher who wants to teach my son, and is there anything more important in a teacher/pupil relationship? She then asked about some behaviour traits, such as his skimming, so she knew how was best to deal with it. She said she will come out with him after class any days she feels we need to talk, if we’re alright with that. Of course we are, if he has done something that she doesn’t understand or we need to talk to him about it, I would rather it was spoken about on the day, rather than saved up for a formal occasion. The way forward seems positive too, with a smaller class to begin with next year (the school role is continually growing due to new houses being built so it might not stay a small class for long) with space for a quiet area for the children – not just M to go if needed. This will benefit him greatly to know if he feels stressed or upset there is an area he can take his work to so he can almost shut the rest of the group out. It sounds as if we should manage a less stressful transition into the next school year for him.
Hubby then went off with M’s teacher to discuss the IEP as there were a couple of bits we wanted clarified before we discussed it with M. I went to the playground as it was the end of the day bell time.
I came out of that meeting feeling better than I ever had at any other reviews. I am proud of my children. M has had a tough year for one reason or another but has come out of it a little boy who is happy at school, and has a teacher he has already learned to respect. D has put his head down and absorbed everything that has been taught to him, he loves learning, and I hope he doesn’t lose his thirst for knowledge anytime soon.
I am not expecting a bed of roses for the next educational year, but I believe the boys are in a school that gives them an environment to achieve what they are capable of. My hopes for the next stage of their education is that they are allowed to flourish in the same way they have been.