Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Regular Show

M loves "The Regular Show" - a cartoon about a blue jay and a racoon who work at a park.  I don't get it and I doubt I ever will but M loves it. What I've noticed and like is that I can use the show as a great examples of behaviors and emotional reactions with M.  Its opened up some good conversations and led to some great social skill practice because its more fun and interesting to  talk about the characters and episodes and M doesn't even realize what we're doing.

We are being hit with a wintery weather mix of sleet, freezing rain, snow and other cold, wet precipitation.  School is closed which wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have yesterday off for MLK day.  We've done all of our homework, we've read and we've watched everything on the dvr box already. Pulling out cards or a board game soon but I've got to psyche myself up for prepping M in case he loses.  Losing games is a huge weakness for him.  I'm fairly sure either Rigby or Mordecai hates to lose too so hopefully I can use that to head off a meltdown.

Monday, January 17, 2011


A few months ago, I heard one of our district administrators say that he wishes labels did not exist in education. He is a strong proponent of delivering interventions and modifications based on the student, not the label.  I had never given it much thought but now I agree with him - student 'needs based' education makes much more sense to me and all children would benefit if done universally and well.

Not everyone agrees.  Like the arguments and infighting about vaccines, how to educate our children brings out the debate club persona  in all of us. 

I live in a district that is fully integrated via a great inclusion model.  Its truly provides individualization for each child.  M spent most of his time in class with his peers with many of his services and interventions completed as "push ins" rather then "pull outs".  It works for him.  I know other children on the spectrum that need more pull out services and time away from the class - they have plans that work for them. 

Meanwhile, I have a friend that spent years fighting the district to get her son labeled autistic.  He was receiving services all along and none of the services changed when he was finally labeled.  She thinks labels should define how we educate our children.  She doesn't understand why I say M has pdd-nos and thinks its a cop out, that I should be fighting the district to label him with something more specific (his IEP says autism but his official dx from specialists is pdd-nos).  
She wants autism classrooms and programs because she strongly believes students with autism would be better educated in a specific separate program.  I have agreed to disagree and now bite my tongue when the subject comes up.  I don't think our children can be shoehorned into a one size fits all autism classroom - they are too unique and their needs are too widespread for it to work here.  Maybe in a bigger district it could work but for now, I'll stick with individualization, staff education about disabilities and better programming within an inclusion model.  Our children aren't  going to be segregated in life and I refuse to segregate him now if he can function in the regular environment.

I hate the fighting and disagreement within the community - whether its about vaccines, labels, education models, interventions... lets stop fighting each other and focus on fighting together to make the world a better place for our children.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

out of the mouths of babes....

I guess my daughter spends too much time with her brother and thinks she can just blurt anything out too.
We were having lunch at Chipotles before I dropped her off at a friends house.  She points at my burrito and says "I'm glad I'm not going to be home to experience that later....toot".  Thanks kid.  Just because your brother has poor social skills does not mean you get to reference burrito toots in a crowded restaurant :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

small but very meaningfull success

Mother Nature dumped another foot of snow on us and we spent yesterday enjoying her offerings.  As I sit and relish today's peace and quiet, I realized how awesome M was yesterday.

When we went sledding, he patiently waiting his turn to speed down the hill.  In the past, he never paid much attention to the rest of the kids on hill and would jump on his sled and head down the second he got to the top, even if others were waiting.  He watched and waited until the hill was clear so he didn't hit anyone.  When he careened off course, he rolled off his sled rather then hit someone or something. And when he was done, he asked politely and nicely if we could head home and then waiting while his sister and friend had one last run down the hill.

Later on, he saw his sister digging a fort in one of the huge snow piles in the yard and he headed out to help.  When she resisted his help, he didn't argue or freak out...he decided to build/dig his own nearby.  Later on, his sister's fort collapsed and she soon came inside to warm up and get ready for dinner.  M stayed outside to finish his and then asked me to take a picture.  He stayed outside for awhile after that and then came in and announced that he built another fort for his sister so she could have one for herself.  WOW!  We were all so proud of him!  The great day continued with little things like showering when asked the first time and generally not arguing or resisting our requests.

I'm so proud of my boy and all the great things I noticed yesterday.  Small but important steps...!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pre-snow blurts

The white stuff is forecast for tomorrow and both kids have started the snow day rituals in the hopes of a day off from school. Is there an anti-snow day ritual for moms?  Fork under the pillow instead of a spoon maybe?  I'll settle for a partial day of school just for the few hours of peace.

A friend asked why kids like snow days so much since it just meant a longer school year come June.  I think the kids realize that not much rigorous learning happens during the last few weeks of school as opposed to the "oh my G-d, we need to cram for standardized testing" period of January and February.  Its all about testing, no matter what the administration says. I really wish NCLB would be overhauled the emphasis on testing be taken out. I hate the stress it causes both of my children and the results never tell my anything I don't already know about my kids.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The return of homework

I hate homework.  Mike hates homework. Its torture for both of us.  I thank every saint and star daily that my daughter does her quietly and independently while Mike and I struggle through his.

Today's assignments resulted in some extra work for me.  "Continue research on Osama bin Laden and Mohammed".  Now, I realize he's in 7th grade and that 7th graders are supposed to know how to do research but I don't ever recall Mike learning how to do it and if he did, it didn't stick.  His idea of researching something is to type it into google and print something out no matter where it came from and what reading level it is.  He reads on a 3-4th grade level probably (waiting for his latest reading evaluation) so most of what he finds on google is not appropriate for him.  Last month, he had to research Italian culture (for consumer science), a current event related to science, and something about the heart and pulse (also for science).  Guess who needs an IEP goal added?!  and in the meantime, they need to provide material for these assignments that is appropriate for Mike instead of expecting him (meaning me) to pull out my hair and search the internet for him.

Next up was his English homework.  This class is co-taught by his SpEd teacher so I can usually count on it being well modified most days.  Today, the teacher read the Dr. Seuss book, Thidwick, to the class.  Mike had to write a response about a character trait he thought Thidwick had and why, and then what he thought Thidwick's  New Years Resolution should be.  Guess who didn't remember squat about the book that was read out loud today in class?!  Mom to the rescue with, of all things, you tube.  I found a video of some nice old grandmother reading Thidwick out loud for her grandchildren.  Thank you grandma and you tube for saving the day. 

Thidwick's resolution - just say no sometimes.  My resolution - to schedule a ppt and address these issues because its Mike's homework, not mine!