Saturday, February 28, 2009

DJ Kirby Inspired Me Today!

Ah poor Casey! I wish there was a special school for Autie and Aspie kids to go to so they could interact in their own ways. I know I sure wish I could have gone to one as a child. This mainstream schooling is nonsense. xo-comment from DJ Kirby

Thank you Ms. DJ Kirby! Her comment really made me think this morning when I read it. She left it on my last entry concerning Casey's problems and impending solutions to said problems. Her comment really puts things in perspective for me. I actually feel better about "going backward" so to speak, and it sorta wipes away my feelings that we failed in this whole endeavor. Again, thanks!!

I got two calls from the special ed. administrator yesterday, concerning their ideas on how to work with Casey's schedule to allow him to go back in to the AI room (Autistically Impaired-ugh, really need a better title) permanently, but still allow him some times during the week in which he could be with the other class during periods where he did well with them (ie, gym). Long story short, I really approved of all their ideas and it appears a successul plan is underway. (She says letting out a sigh of relief.) I made a huge point of saying he no longer goes by that stupid discipline plan when he's with the other class, and he will never again lose lunch and recess with friends. The administrator heartily agreed.

Yesterday was his first day back to the norm somewhat. He came home a happy camper, and I recieved an email from his teacher titled "Woo Hoo!":

Hi Bonnie,

Just wanted you to know Casey had an awesome day all day and completely deserves the computer at home. He was happy all day long, focused, worked hard, a bit hyper verbally, but not in a stressed way, just excited way. We had Brain Gym with Mr. Z. today who is bald and Casey said to him, "Well, I guess you don't have to brush your hair!" He took it very well and it was fun.

This morning I was walking in the hall after talking with Casey about how he would be in our room all the time now except for Gym and I said to him in the hall that I was so glad he was in school today. He said, ever so softly, "Me too, Mrs. M.. It makes me feel very special." My heart!!! Totally made my weekend.

Hope you have a great weekend and a good trip. Take care,

Ahhhhh, something good for a change. Dare I say things may be looking up?! I am sure there will be more to report......

Back to DJ Kirby's comment for a minute. For awhile, I was really into the whole concept of inclusion, mainstreaming, etc.. He did it last year somewhat successfully, however you define that. But this year, when he started going to Social Studies and Science, the work was extremely difficult. He was sent home study guides that he basically memorized with no real concept of what he was memorizing. From all reports, the classes had become mostly lecture, and note taking oriented, which his para did for him since he was usually just trying to keep it together to behave properly.

The kids in that classroom never contacted us to have Casey come to a birthday party, or a slumber party, last year either. Granted, he wasn't a fixture in the classroom all day. And I doubt if I had him fully included he would have been either, probably spending a great deal of his day in a resource room.

But, say what you will about his AI classroom. Sure, the kids aren't overly verbal and there are only three. They usually are in their own world somewhat, but in some ways, I believe there is a commonality among kids with Autism, just as there is with children who love hockey, or kids who love Legos. I have to wonder, especially as they get older, that despite all their overt lack of social skills and social resiprocity, if they might find comfort in being with like beings, as DJ said in her comment?

Of course kids with Autism need to be exposed to children who speak and interact, and who behave somewhat properly. However, I don't think sitting in a classroom hearing a teacher spout off information that you're barely taking in is any kind of good social situation, especially when there are 30 kids around you. You have major sensory issues, and these 30 people whose faces you may not even really "see"are whispering, cracking their knuckles, tapping their pens on their desks, coughing, the flourescent lights are buzzing, a fan maybe blowing. And all this may be magnified 100 x's over, depending upon your sensory issue or issues. SENSORY OVERLOAD! No, this can't possibly be beneficial for most kids with Autism, in my opinion.

Bring one or two "typies" into a smaller room, set up social situations. Allow them to play a game, to practice proper social interaction, take turns reading, etc. This is hopefully what's going to happen for Casey and his fellow AI classmates.

And in the meantime, allow them to do their work, to learn what they can learn, the way they can learn it in a small room, with a few kids like themselves, somewhat on the same behavior and developemental level, with staff who knows about Autism. Let them learn at their own pace, and in ways that are of interest to them, not the general populous.

Sorry this is so long but I feel strongly about all this. In a perfect world it could all make sense I think. In a perfect world.......

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Journey has Ended...Thank God!

So it's been quite awhile since I've blogged. It's been a busy and weird, somewhat irritating and difficult couple of weeks, Caseywise.

The whole trial and error period of his going into the different classroom part of the day turned into, after extensive conversation and brainstorming in a meeting with the staff, his being able to chose whose room he wanted to be in a certain points of the day. Sometimes, he couldn't choose, because he had to go to Specials (gym, art, etc.) with the new class. What came out of this was that he basically chose to be with his original class when ever he had the choice!

When choosing became an option, his anxiety didn't seem to go down, his faking sickness to go home hadn't stopped, and his overall snotty demeanor continued. Finally, after a few episodes of breaking into tears, he explained in his way that he hated the new kids. I'm thinking the kids in his newer class situation. Come to find out at yet another meeting, they have a new student in his original classroom, who, apparently, is quite verbal, and is giving Casey a run for his money in the argumentative department.

This new kid likes to set Casey straight on what year it really is when Casey wants to pretend it's 2007. This other boy vehemently denounces Casey's fantasy with facts and that has caused quite a bit of upset in his original comfy enviorment. Oh good, more stress on the child!

His teacher thinks this could be a good thing in terms of bringing out more conversation and interaction, but so far, most exchanges between the boys have been less than friendly.

Anyway, on top of this, he consistently gets in trouble in the new classroom, episode after episode of trouble. According to one report, after being told to stand by a parapro, Casey came at her, hands out as if to hit or scratch. They reported that he said he was going to hit her. I had to wonder, was this after you asked "Casey, were you going to hit Mrs. D.?". Hhhmm, sounds like a good idea ,"Yes" he had answered. But was he really? Doesn't sound like our boy, and if indeed he was, why is he suddenly being so physical when he never was before?

To follow this little joyous occasion up, he lost lunch and recess with his "friends" for 3 days as a result. Wow, isn't that a great idea for a punishment for a kid who literally is dying for social interaction!? Even if he doesn't want it or care about it? Ugh....HE needs it!

The next day, he got in trouble once again when he shouted "stupid asshole" at the same parapro who he seemingly came at the day before! Oh, and she was the same one too who he had scratched a few weeks ago. Coincidence? By the way, we are not taking responsibility for the "stupid asshole" comment as I have never called Bill that. I've called him other things, but that is a Casey D. original!

And so, long story long, it was decided that all this is not working, they aren't working with us, they aren't going to work with us, Casey needs consistency and to be able to get back into working on IEP goals. Most importantly, the kids needs to be worked with properly, and he needs to be around professionals who know how to do so.

As of today I hope, he will not have to make any choices, and will have a nice consistent day of work, and play, and arguments with new kid. I guess he has to have a little stress, right?

(PS: if there are grammatical errors or just nonsensical sentences in this blog, please forgive me, I don't have time to edit right now)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Confessions of a Valentines Whore


I hope your V-day is all you hoped it would be and more! Personally speaking, I have to laugh at how my expectations about Valentines Day have changed over the years.

For some reason, when I was in my teens and early twenties, Valentines was extremely important to me. Sadly, I never had a boyfriend until I was 18, and even then he was a bit of prick who never really bought me anything for Valentines.

In highschool, they had this little deal where you could buy Valentines hearts, address them to friends and then at the end of the day, they would be delivered. I recall begging some guys, in a coy way, who were my friends, to buy me one. My girlfriends and I of course always bought eachother one so we were guaranteed something being delivered. I remember watching as the stereotypical pretty, popular girls got their pile of Valentines hearts and I would get like 3, from my two best friends and some guy that took pity.

In my early twenties, I worked at a grocery store, and if memory serves me right, I actually begged (there's that word again), or actually hinted profusely to all the guys I worked with that it sure would be fun to get flowers on Valentines, even though I had no interest in them. My friend at the time, who I suspected was gay, came through with a haggard bouquet of red carnations...awwww.

I dated a guy for awhile who was fun but who I was really not overly attracted to. He was smitten with me (who knows why, I don't even think I put out, sorry, had to say it) and a few days before Valentines offered me a proposition. If I would commit and be his girlfriend, he would show me a Valentines like I had never known. Roses, jewelery, candy, and dinner out had been promised. Being the Valentine whore that I was, I actually considered it, thinking I could break up after the festivities, before I was expected to put out. But my conscience got the better of me and I Mom still see this guy working at the same grocery chain we worked at together all those many years ago. Weird. Nice guy though.

And so I married the lovely Bill, who has come through for many years on Valentines, always surprising me with a lovely flower arrangement and sweet card. For some reason, I'm always surprised and delighted.

This year, he's sick. He wasn't out and about to do what he usually does on Valentines, and I don't care. I put a kibosh on flowers considering our newest addition, the kitten from hell, who would have his way with a bouquet quicker than flies on s&*#. Casey missed his Valentines parties at school due to a big bad case of diarrhea, so that was a bummer for him.

To make up for all of this, I ordered Case and I the "love pizzas" from Papa Romanos and got Bill a special pint of Ben n' Jerry's since that is one of the few festive things that sound good to him. I know, we are serious partyers and we need to settle down, but we know how to celebrate!

When I got home from picking up these items, there on the counter was a card from my boys. I was again surprised and this point in my life, it doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Hate You Tube!

I do, I hate You Tube....Do you want to know why I hate You Tube? Well, I'll tell ya! I hate You Tube because if it weren't for You Tube, Casey wouldn't have been standing with me at the checkout desk at the library, the quiet library, and he wouldn't have said "Welcome to the wonderful world of playing with yourself!" in a very loud announcer like voice.

The friendly librarian feigned not hearing him and proceeded quicker than before the comment was made to get us checked out. I was, well, appalled.

I know that You Tube in and of itself can be fun and cool. I personally have found some great stuff on there. How often are we emailed a funny YouTube video that we proceed to check out? Sometimes it can be educational. I found several very interesting videos posted when I was trying the gf/cf diet oh so many years ago. YouTube has it's positives, especially for it's entertainment value if nothing else.

I still hate it because Casey is addicted to it. I know, scream at your computer "Well then don't let him watch it you idiot!", I hear ya, I know! I know. But sometimes he gets on there when I don't know, or he'll be innocently checking out the multitudes of bits and pieces of kids videos or old commercials when something just really gross will pop up before you know it!

Case in point, he loves Pee Wee Herman as I have reported in past posts. So, for some reason, someone felt the need to post snippets of the Pee Wee's Playhouse on YouTube. I don't understand one's need to this, but, it makes Casey happy, despite the fact that he has most of the videos of Pee Wee's Playhouse. This is what he has chosen to watch as of late, innocent enough.

But, suddenly, I"ll hear "the laugh". It's hard to explain but it's just this little laugh he does when something isn't quite appropriate for him to watch. It's a bit evil in tone, but oddly, loud enough, and different enough for us to know he's watching something he shouldn't, as though he wants us to catch him in the act.

"The laugh" made itself heard recently and I immediately ran over to see what was so "funny". A few minutes before, it had been Pee Wee, but now, it was a video of Howard Stern, the gross shock jock, doing his own version of Pee Wee's Playhouse, called "Pee Wee's Play with Myself House". As if this isn't inappropriate enough, Stern is dressed like Pee Wee, and is acting like he's masturbating under a blanket along with a bunch of other guys dressed like some of the characters from the real show. Needless to say, it was really disgusting, and creepy, and not funny AT ALL, especially for a 10 year old to see.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a humorless person, I crack up at all kinds of stuff, dirty, bawdy, inappropriate sometimes. But why is it funny to take a children's show and make it into something like this. Worse yet, why should it be connected to a line of video snippets that a child might me checking out? Why can't YouTube either block things in some manner or perhaps have a separate website that you have to pay for to see really adult stuff? They know kids are on there. I don't care what kind of warnings they give. Why can't there be some filter?

So, I am pretty sure that is where today's comment in the library came from. It just makes me sad. I love that he is so innocent in so many ways still, but already, his little brain is aware of something like that, and even worse, that it can be construed as funny or shocking, which is why I think he said that today, just to get a reaction. I don't know how much he knows about anything, but if he's going to learn, I certainly don't want to be from watching Howard Stern fake masturbating.

I guess the filter I mentioned before will just have to be me. Me not letting him watch You Tube!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I got Duped...I think!

Casey's teacher called around 2:30 this afternoon to report that Casey was complaining of a stomach ache. She explained that he hadn't really complained much all day until they were coming home from a field trip, and when he had to go to the other class, that he hates.

The she told me that he said he didn't want to ride the bus home and have to wait for the other 4 kids to get off before him. She also reported that he had had a healthy bowel movement at school (good to know!) There has been, she reported, some bug going around, so maybe that could be it but he did seem fine most of the day.

So, being a good mom, despite the fact that nothing had really been proven, and despite that he only had one hour to go, I got my work done toot suite and got on the road.

As I rounded the corner to the hall leading to his classroom, I could hear him before I could see him saying "OK "blank" upper elementary school ( I'm hiding the name of the school to protect the innocent), I'm going but I'll see ya later! This is the end of the Casey show at "blank" upper elementary!". Wow, he sounded so sick!

His parapro looked at me and said "He seems fine now!". Great.

I hauled his little ass to the grocery and he picked up a Butterfinger, always good for an upset stomach. I got him some ginger ale, just in case he wasn't really feeling good, but I really had my doubts.

In the car home, I asked him if he felt OK and he said he didn't have a tummy ache but a cough, followed by a fakey hacking cough sound.

I believe he fooled his teacher and me.

Duh, really?

I have to wonder though about the bus issue. He is the closest to school so he's the last to get dropped off, so maybe it seems like a long ride, but I'm surprised he'd go to such extremes to avoid the ride, let alone put so much thought into getting out of it.

Somehow, the stripes seem appropriate!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Reunion

Just when I start to think Casey's drive to have a friend has severely diminished, a simple trip to the pool puts my fears to rest.
We went to the pool last night while Dad worked out, me praying that the kid talked about here wouldn't be there and we would be able to swim with no one bugging us.
When we walked in I noted a child that looked familiar and realized it was the brother of a boy who Casey had formed a friendship with at his old school. I suddenly became aware of his parents and finally the boy himself all hanging out in the pool.
I have to confess, I'm a bitch. I had issues with the mom of this kid somewhat, our personalities collided a bit, and I'll admit it, I let Casey's friendship with this boy fizzle because I was selfish. I didn't want to have to deal with her, and so I chose to forgo Casey having a friend so I didn't have to feign pleasantries. Yes, in this case I suck.
I struck up a conversation with the boy's parents and Casey found his old friend almost right away. It was actually very nice to talk to them, and with their son being a year younger than Casey, the conversation revolved around the school Casey is at now, which is where their son will be attending next year. All the while, we scanned the pool, they for their little one, Autistic, and the boy who was Casey's friend, also Autistic, and me looking for Casey, mainly to make sure his trunks weren't falling down or that he wasn't splashing someone inadvertently.
Suddenly we noticed that Casey and M.(I will call the friend this because I'm not real sure if his mom would care if I used his real name or not.) were off in the corner of the pool really, well, hanging out together! M. is quite a busy guy, being afraid of nothing, and was sorta jumping in with daredevil preciseness backwards, sideways, anyways, all the while Casey giggling and egging him on. Then Casey decided to jump in too, something he hasn't done in a long while. Later they were wrestling like two little typical guys, acting the fool and splashing anyone in their way. They were having a great time.
The interaction was sorta new, having been more of a parallel play back in the early days, and it was exciting and fun to watch. I was thrilled.
Miraculously, Casey even almost went down the water slide with M., but chickened out at the last minute, but he followed him up the stairs, and then realized that he is scared to death of the slide and made his way down. Perhaps their next meeting? Who knows?
M. is about Casey's "level" developmentally, not quite as talkative, but a really good boy. They even look at little alike. His birthday parties had been one of the few that Casey had ever been invited to, he was one of the few kids Casey ever talked about. I had ruined all this for him because I was a wench. I guess I was given a second chance last night, and watching their interaction made me realize that my comfort level with his mom was so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I was grateful I was given a chance to let him have his friend again......
And so today, I had planned on taking Casey to a local concert, and picked up the phone and invited M.. His mom was elated as she had a lot to do and was worried that M. would be bored. Casey and M. had a great time singing Veggie tale tunes together in the car, dancing at the concert, playing in the play land at McDonald's. I basked in the glory of watching our boy be interested in another kid, and that kid in him. M. is coming over Thursday for a play date.
A little bit of normalcy can go such a long way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Week in Review

Well let's see, each day this week had some sort of marked event but I have to confess I truly try to put them out of my mind. Some that stand out were my meeting with the teachers Monday morning, Casey getting written up for scratching a parapro, and oh, the in school suspension on Wednesday for hitting a kid on the arm. No big deal right?

The meeting Monday was a bit of a cluster fuck. Excuse my language but it's my blog! And it was a cluster fuck. It went on for over an hour and a half with 2 teachers, a parapro for part of the time, and the administrator for special ed. Keep in mind, this was all prior to Casey's juvenile delinquent like behavior the rest of the week (oh, wait the scratching incident was happening while the meeting was in progress..ha ha...sorry). Long story short, after discussing the issues, we decided that for a couple of weeks they would give him the option of choosing what classroom he wanted to go into, his old or new one, and at what points he did it. This way, they believe they can feel out where and when he's most comfortable and if he chooses one over the other, then that is where he might have to you see why I called it a "cluster fuck" now? I just sat and listened and nodded and watched as the two teachers involved feverishly looked over their colliding schedules and went back and forth and did a lot of "what ifs" and "that's not going to work for me at". Whatever. I am looking at it this way. Neither class is perfect for him, so if he gets to choose where he is, and he's getting his work done, and is happy and not getting written up every five minutes, than so be it. And it's only for a couple of weeks. So that's that.

So, the scratching incident. I guess he was getting his computer time reward (geeze) and when he was told to get off (and boy howdy, there was a frickin novel explaining their steps of doing this-way to cover your asses ladies!) he didn't, got warned again, and when the parapro finally tried to grab the mouse, he scratched her! Broke the skin too! I gotta cut his nails....but I digress. Seriously, it was bad, but boy, I tell ya, I get this kid off the computer all the time and never get scratched. I know he was wrong for the most part, but I just have to ask what were they doing wrong? There was something, a step, not being taken to set him up for success.

Keeping in the physical brutality vein, his smacking the kid's arm was yet another situation where I have to say, what was done wrong? Apparently his "peers" in his new class have taken it upon themselves, as I learned in the cluster fuck meeting, to do a little discipline of their own, friendly discipline mind you, with a wink and a nudge apparently, as was reported by the new teacher. She seemed to think this was a good thing but finally admitted that the kids do "shush" him a lot with their little innocent fingers pushed to the lips. So, a kid did this to him, and I guess he slapped him on the arm! First off, when I was in school, no one disciplined me but the teacher, and had another kid told me to "shush" I think I would have been mortified (my much ballsier sister Sue would have slugged them too, and she is not Autistic, we think, hee hee). I don't know that having fellow students being allowed to offer friendly discipline is a great idea, especially for their own safety. He got reprimanded for the slap at school, and that was that.

He finally told me the night of the slapping incident, out of the blue, "I don't want anymore office referrals!". I guess that's what they call their stupid punishment system. I lectured him a little, feeling secretly proud that perhaps all this was having some impact.

I go back to my view on the whole thing, they aren't setting him up for success. I tried to offer suggestions. And yet, they continue. I have to wonder, who really is the one in need of some disciplinary action? Don't get me wrong, I know he's not an angel, but I know his potential. I know, in the immortal words of his preschool teacher, "he can rise to any occasion". They're just not helping him do that!

On the bright side, he got a haircut the other night and he was awesome and now at leastlooks like an angel!
Does this look like the face of a juvenile delinquent? I ask ya, does it?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Please....Read his blog.....

Please read it, and please comment, he's losing confidence in the world of bloggy friends!