This blog idea actually comes from my husband. I had been writing on the facebook boards and telling him about some of the issues relating to school. He reminded me that I should tell people about having to watch the teachers. Most of them have been well meaning since we moved to our little town, but sometimes even well meaning people do not do the right thing by your child. Mostly with my younger child, they have been way too lenient with him. The proverbial pat on the head for the little boy with aspergers.
It is very important that you meet with the teachers regularly, when our boys were younger we actually had that put in the IEP. So we had an ongoing idea of what some of the issues were and weren’t blindsided in their IEP reviews. Also, if you do not know what the problems are then how can you help to fix them? When they got older we came up with a journal that would be written in every day by the aide or the teacher to update us on what was happening. When they got older it became the "only if there is a problem journal." Which quite frankly worked just as well.
Some teachers faxed home a weekly update on what assignments the child had to hand in, the weekly grades they received and if there was a continuing issue in school. When they got to high school and the children were completely responsible for writing down their asignments, we had the aide make sure that everything was in the agenda, if your child doesn’t need an aide, then the teachers should be checking in on them and sending you regular email updates if there is any issue or long-term assignment to work on.
Another way to keep on top of things is to make sure the child regularly sees the school psychologist. Just so someone is checking up with him/her. Our psychologist also has an ongoing relationship with the private therapist so they keep on the same track. Now I know that there are therapists who resent biforcated therapy (using more than one therapist), well you then need a different private therapist. Because their goal should be to help your child not control your child. It is in my experience that there are many people with many different skill sets that can help your child. It is not a bad thing if they all work in concert to help your child at the same time
Now there is another issue, the IEP report. We made a mistake of not really paying attention to what was going on with our oldest and believeing that the IEP told the entire story. According to my oldest’s senior year IEP he was doing great, after a rocky beginning. So we sent him off to college without support. Bad mistake, big mistake, poor kid.
We ended up hiring a social skills counselor to attend college with him, He adjusted great after that and ended up having a really good year. But if I had listened to my husband (don’t tell him I knew he was right. He’ll never let me forget it. He still remembers when he got a better grade then me in a class we took together in college- 1 point) and not taken the IEP as the end all and be all, then he would have had the support from the beginning. My oldest also did not want any support person in college, so I was happy to try to give him that. You live and learn. You are human. You make mistakes too. Forgive yourself, find the answer to fix the problem and move on.
Just as an aside: the high school knows just how angry we were about them not being forthright when it came to my oldest, and they are not so surprised that I have become a helicopter mom this year for my youngest. They are also listening to my concerns and resolving all the problems I find.
Summer is upon us -school issues seem very distant. Quiet and calm for now enjoy!
Until next time,