This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom ( of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ah yes, let the school year begin

September 16, 2010

Chef's mental health worker, resource teacher, and myself had a meeting at the school.

Chef's teachers really like him. They are enjoying having him in their classes. I love hearing reports like that.

The resource teacher also informed me that Chef is eating lunches belonging to other students on the bus, not showing up where he needs to be, spending money that isn't his, going places he knows he shouldn't be going, etc., etc., so we brainstormed and talked about some planning/support strategies.

Chef informs me that "the school is lying" and that he "is tired of schools always lying about him"

Schools have always struggled with being able to implement the constant support my son requires. He receives Level 2 funding, which equals 3 hours a day. The next level of funding is for children with physical needs. My son needs someone with him throughout the entire school day in order to have a healthy and appropriate day. With support, he is more cheerful, more relaxed, able to focus more easily on the good things in his day, is able to make good choices, etc., etc. With support, my son presents pretty much like any other student in most areas. Without support, my son makes many bad choices and the fallout usually lands at home. My son is at a new school this year and they are working hard at trying to figure out how to provide what my son needs with the limited funding available. In younger years, schools were able to combine supports for students (ie: an educational assistant would work with two specific students throughout the day) but that doesn't work at the high school level because no two students have the same class schedules. The high school has applied for emergency funding through the division. We also talked about the possibility of a buddy-system when my son is between classes. I have a gut-level sense that, even though it holds terrific potential for positives in all sorts of areas, something like that probably won't work well. In the meantime, we'll all keep working together as a team to support my son in working with his anxieties and other challenges and keeping his choices appropriate and his focus on crafting all his positives.

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