The first week and a half of school for Sir Dantes was a delight for him and frustrating for me. There was basic confusion, lost nap mats, lost snack containers, lack of communication, and so forth. After a long letter to his aide and teacher I am glad to report that we seem to be on track with me having a better idea of what is going on day to day. But, what really helped me to have a better understanding? A lengthy conversation with his Occupational Therapist.
I mentioned before in a previous blog about how we had to have several evaluations repeated to determine his status as “Special Needs” at school. It was a little frustrating since we’d already been down this road. Of course, they determined that he is indeed autistic and that we needed an I.E.P to determine how to best see to his educational career. However, one evaluation was missing at the time of the I.E.P and that was the one to be done by the Occupational Therapist.
He had a family emergency and we all thought it best to proceed so Sir Dantes did not fall further behind. So, this means we will be having another I.E.P soon to put into place the finding of that evaluation. Fine. Emergencies happen and I can not fault him or the school system (except that maybe budget cuts will only allow for one occupational therapist for an entire county school system). Anyway, emergency over and evaluation scheduled. Now, the results.
Prior to getting the results, I was a little put off that Sir Dantes has only been in his regular classroom for special activities…music, art, library, recess, and lunch. What!! You are suppose to have him in the regular classroom as much as possible. Why is he not there? Why no communication about this? Somebody please clarify this for me!! I know you have heard of the “Least Restrictive Environment”. Is he causing that many problems?
Well, no. That is not the case at all. This is where the conversation with the Occupational Therapist comes into play.
Apparently Sir Dantes is a one in every six year kind of child with autism. He has scored extremely high on his cognitive testing and they determined that the child is taking in and processing information so fast that the therapist is not sure how we/ they are going to keep him engaged and motivated. Because of his sensory issues, he can not concentrate in the regular classroom. He told me that kindergarten is to chaotic, although organized, for him. The sensory overload is to much so in order for him to concentrate he has to leave.
So, Wow!! Our kid is really smart. We could have told them that, but I guess they had to see it on their own. Now, you may think that this is fantastic news, but slow down.
It is wonderful that Sir Dantes, who is just starting kindergarten, could easily master second grade work this year; hell, maybe third grade. But what do you do with that? His social inabilities and sensory issues would make it impossible to put him physically in those grades. Can you imagine the fun that would be made of him if he were to enter a second grade classroom still wearing diapers? We need a plan. A real plan to deal with this. Plus, he’s just really now getting his first taste of being around groups of other children. He needs to learn to make friends and that would be very difficult with children a few years older than him. There’s other issues. My brain is just tired.
He loves school. He loves to learn. We want him to succeed. It is wonderful that he is so cognitively blessed. It gives me a lot of hope for his future. One in every six years kind of child with autism that has passed through the county school system. Cute as a button! However, the social and sensory issues continue to cause problems. At least I know where I need to put my efforts in towards helping to make him a well-adjusted child that can succeed. Sigh.
Just an after thought…that other child six years ahead is still in the same county school system and is doing very well.