Monday, 26 September 2011

Warning: I Take The Term 'Bite Me' More Literally Than You Meant It!

Ah yes, the literal thinker.  So many arguments I've had with Dayton, then realized mid way through that we were having two different arguments - LITERALLY.  I can't even begin to tell you the arguments Dayton has had at school with his educators, and upon having Dayton tell me his side of the story, then listening to the school's side of the story, it turns out that they too have had two different arguments.  Unfortunately for Dayton, those misunderstandings ended up becoming physical for him because of his sense of being misunderstood, bullied and not given a chance to explain his side, and therefore completely frustrated.  The only left for him to communicate in order to get anyone's attention was to use his body like a weapon.

Taking wording literally is quite common in children and adults on the autism spectrum.  Forget having autism, think of your own autistic moments...  I remember my past employer at a local college telling me:  "Lou, we're going to move pharmacy again," meaning changing the program, and of course as I was the expert in the field, he wanted my help.  Instead my response was:  "But we haven't even found a suitable spot in the building to move the program this time, and now you're saying you're going to be moving my class again?  What about the lab, the sinks, the hoods..." and then I realized what he had meant by his comment, and felt like a total moron.  Great.  His look of disapproval did not help my downward spiraling confidence as an expert at all.  Ugh!!!

Now think how difficult this is for our kiddos on the autism spectrum.  To have to live with this every day, risk being ridiculed or looking dumb.  I suppose it is easier to just not participate in school activities or become the class clown.  Or do both like my babe does.  Sure, it gets him in trouble, but the reward of getting in trouble is much nicer than his peers ridiculing him.  Poor kid.

"Dayton, stop pushing my buttons!!!"
"Buttons?  You have buttons?  Where are your buttons and how many of them do you have for me to push?"  Then he starts shoving my shirt up to see if they're on my belly, walking around me to see if they're on my back..."  "I see your belly button, what happens if I push it?"

"Dayton, I got a bone to pick with you."
"Really?  Awesome!!!  Where are the bones?  Are they human bones, animal bones...  Ooooohhhh, please tell me they're dinosaur bones!!!"

In class one day:  "Class, draw your 'sneaker.'
Dayton:  "I don't wear 'sneakers, I wear 'skater shoes.'"  Now you can see the potential of a teacher thinking he was being defiant or refusing to do work here, right?  Yup. 

Teacher:  "Dayton, did you rip that back pack?"  This incident happened two years ago...  The teacher and his aid were standing across the room from Dayton, watching him stick his finger into a back pack that already HAD a small rip in it.  When Dayton stuck his finger in it, he pulled down hard, making the rip larger.
"Yes, yes you did, I saw you do it!"
"No I didn't!!!"
The two of them were having two different arguments.  Dayton's argument being there was already a rip in the back pack, the teacher's being that he ripped it further.  Furthermore, I see no point in questioning a child if you saw he did something inappropriate.  Choose your words carefully and be literal if you want him to answer a question, and don't bother asking questions you know the answer to.  This incident resulted in Dayton pulling desks out of the way to get away from his teacher as she approached him (big no, no.  Now you're intimidating and threatening him) as well as his aid who was coming in for the kill.  Apparently the principal at that time decided to join in on restraining my babe to the floor, and another large, male teacher came in to 'help.'  The daycare owner came running to see what was happening because she heard my baby scream, and watched Dayton fight off the four school staff.  She evicted Dayton out of daycare as a result of seeing this.  Awesome!!!  You can see my frustration, can't you?

At home, playing wrestling on his playstation with his buddy...  Buddy gets mad with Dayton for beating him in a game and tells Dayton:  "BITE ME!!!"
Dayton scoots over to him, bites him, then goes back to his seat and keeps playing his game.  His buddy is crying and holding on to his arm...
"Why did you do that Dayton?"
"Ummm, because you told me to."
"Ugh!!!  You told me to bite you, so I did!"
Oh dear...  Buddy hits Dayton in the arm.  Dayton plows him one in the face.  Huge fight.  Name calling.  Buddy's sent home, Dayton's confused and his feelings are hurt.

Expressions of speech are a nightmare for most kids on the autism spectrum.  A dare from another child is never looked upon as a dare.  A dare to Dayton is to do what he's told so his "buddy" will like him.  He wants to be included and just doesn't stop and think about the consequences.  Besides, even if he did, the most important consequence for him is acceptance, not his mother's wrath.  Or the principal's.  Or the teacher's.  Know what I mean?

Consider yourselves hugged!


Saturday, 24 September 2011

A Real Teacher Is One That Walks In When The Rest Of Them Walk Out

I really, really hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I am a grateful mom this weekend.  I love that my son is finally learning, and I love that I see him feeling more self confident as a result of his learning.

Dayton's grade 4 teacher is awesome.  Communication with her is so easy, never forced.  The woman is patient and kind, not just to me, but more importantly with Dayton.  Dayton adores her and his aid, which I'm sure is the reason he is becoming more eager to learn.  I pray to our Heavenly Father that this relationship between them remains consistent through the year. 

Almost two weeks ago on a Monday, Dayton received a list of twenty words, and the instructions weren't clear as to what was expected to do with these words for homework.  I figured that the kids needed to memorize these words, but wasn't sure how long they had to memorize them.  So, I reached for the phone and called the school to clarify the expectations.

Dayton's teacher told me not to worry about the list of words as he was not supposed to have had them placed in his agenda.  She would discuss this with Dayton's aid and let her know not to include the spelling sheets in his back pack.  I asked if we could hold off on that for a little bit.  Thinking out loud I told her how Dayton wants to be treated just like the rest of the kids in his class, and that I had explained to him that if that is what he wants, then he will have to work just as hard as the rest of the kids in his classroom.  If he is to be treated the same, it meant that he would have to show that he's responsible enough to do his work in the classroom and at home.  I asked the teacher if we could "just try" to memorize some of the words.  We both agreed that twenty words would be unrealistic at this stage for Dayton, but we could at the very least give it a shot and see what he can do.  I made no promises, but let her know I would leave her a note for Friday morning in Dayton's agenda as to which words Dayton and I had managed to work with at home, as their spelling test would be on Friday.

Dayton and I worked hard, I almost regretted having taken the challenge - almost.  Dayton had learned to spell ten out of the twenty words on the assignment.  With the note to the teacher, I attached all of our practice work to show the teacher our method of work and explained to her how Dayton needed the words enunciated before he could spell them.  He also needed to sound the letters out loud, which may be disturbing to the rest of the class, and she may want to move him to a quiet area so as not to disturb the rest of the students writing the test.

I was sure in my heart that my babe new the ten words inside out, but after school he told me that he got three out of the ten words we studied so hard correct.  The seven remaining words were missing one single letter per word.  Even though Dayton score was low at 30%, I rejoiced that some of what he had studied with me at home had remained with him!  This was fantastic!!!  You have to remember my babe has NEVER written before, unless he copied the words, and even then, the letters had to be dotted (outlined) for Dayton to trace the letters before he actually wrote!!!  I'll take the 30% of honest work before I take the 100% of traced words any day! 

This past Monday, Dayton had another list of twenty words for his spelling test on Friday.  I again called his teacher to find out when his test was, and talking to her, I could understand why Dayton likes her so much.  This woman laughed at my silly humor instead of judging me for it.  She didn't make me feel stupid or like a high maintenance parent for calling to ask questions.  She acknowledged Dayton still having difficulties with compliance, but didn't let me know about it on his daily progress reports as Dayton was making progress even in this piece of the puzzle, and didn't need to 'concern' me with it.  Her tone of voice was not the 'tired, irritable and judgemental' tone I've been accustomed to hearing from Dayton's previous teachers.  This woman sounded respectful of Dayton's needs and difficulties and told me all of his positive characteristics. Damn it!  Why had the woman listened to me?  I've got a fight on my hands this week again to teach my lil man to spell!!!  Ugh.  Oh well, I wanted Dayton to have the opportunity to be like the rest of the kids, now I got it.  I told my self I had plenty of time to curse myself out later.

Dayton and I studied hard this last week for his upcoming spelling test.  There was a night of tears as his frustration grew over the word 'treat.'  It sounded like a long 'ee', just like 'green' and 'street,' so why was it spelled with an 'ea' and not an 'ee?'  "Good question Dayton, but I don't know.  I know I have it memorized that way, and this is the way to spell it."  Awesome answer right?  It's like saying to him "because I said so."  Ugh.  Another night he offered me a few frustrated kicks under the table, bruising my calf.  Oh well.  We still went on and on.  I kept encouraging him as I saw the note his teacher left me on his list of twenty words.  It read "Dayton picked these ten words himself."  I reminded him that he was the one who picked his words, not the teacher, so he had better learn them...

Thursday night came.  Dayton could write seven of the ten words he had picked perfectly, and the remaining three with a letter missing.  One of them was the word 'treat.'  Of course it was.  I've began to hate that word this past week myself.  I promised Dayton that if he could stick with a minimum of seven words spelled correctly out of the ten we studied,  I would get him the wrestling magazine with CM Punk pictured on the cover he so desperately wanted.

Friday morning came.  I wrote out the ten words Dayton would be tested on that day and gave it to him to read before the test.  I have no idea if he did or not, but I wanted him to feel like a success.  That was a really long day for me...  waiting and waiting and waiting to see how he would do was driving me crazy!!!  Finally, the time came for me to pick him up from the bus stop.  I ran all the way and paced up and down waiting for him to get home.  I was so excited to see him come off the bus.  Dayton was GLOWING, and smiling and super excited.  "Mamma!!!  I got it all right!!!"
"Holly crap!  Really?!"
"Well, maybe not all, but I got the seven you said I had to get for the CM Punk magazine!!!  Look!!!"  Dayton practically tore his back pack off his shoulders in his excitement to get it off and dig out his test.  Papers flew out everywhere, neither of us cared.  We both wanted to see the test...  And there it was...  My babe got seven out of ten right!!!  One of the incorrect words was 'treat,' as I had suspected, the other two just missed one letter in each, again!  Pride doesn't even begin to describe how I felt!!!  My baby is learning!!!  It's finally happening!!!  He's learning!!!

Again, I really don't want to jinx ourselves here, but I think Mrs. G. is a "Real Teacher."  To me, a Real Teacher is one that walks in when the rest of them walk out.  And lets face it, Dayton's past two teachers walked out.  They didn't have the patience like Mrs. G. nor did they have the faith in my boy.  But Mrs. G. does.  She didn't have to do what I asked her to do, to have faith in my little guy and let us at least try to spell even a couple of words.  She didn't have to give Dayton the test on Friday; How would I know if he had actually taken it?  BUT SHE DID.  And then she sent it home so I could see it. 

I'm now so happy that Mrs. G included him in the spelling with the rest of the class.  As hard as it is to sit Dayton down to do work, it is now rewarding.  I could see him feeling proud of himself, and feeling good about himself, and I want that feeling for him to continue.  I'm so proud of my little guy.  He's working very hard at school and at home.  He's overcoming obstacles I had worried he never would.  I am one happy mom right now, thanks to a Real Teacher, who has faith in my son, the courage to teach him and the patience of a saint.  Thanks Mrs. G.

Hoping all of our kids are having a good start to the year.  Consider yourselves hugged,


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Serenity For You And I

How many of us would like to feel serenity in our daily lives?  Especially those of us with kiddos on the autism spectrum?  How often do we miss the coming of spring, and driving down the road we one day notice that the trees have grown leaves?  I've done this many, many seasons of spring.  Each year I drive down the road, notice the leaves and wonder to myself:  "how did I miss this miracle?  Where the heck was I and how did this happen?"  Each fall I wonder:  "ummmm, why is it so cold all of a sudden?"

This is a sure sign that I'm under stress, very busy, and need to stop and "smell the roses."  Funny, because my home still needs cleaning, the dishes are never ending, and I haven't seen the floor of my laundry room in ages.  Until, that is, this past spring, and this new fall season.  Since being off work from February, I actually did get to see the buds come out on the trees, and now I'm enjoying my favorite season of all - fall.  But my home still looks like a hurricane came rushing through it.  I'm no Molly home maker.  Can't bake either.  I'm going to make a horrible grandmother one day, if God wills it.  But it really isn't my fault, you see I'm only half OCD.  Because by the time I'm getting halfway done with something, my ADD kicks in and I've got nothing done.  Today just happens to be the day that my OCD and ADD don't want to get along, so needless to say, I still have a messy home to clean.  It's so bad...  I thought I saw a big huge bird flying off my roof tonight, but it was the cleaning fairy screaming "oh hell no!!!"  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Then there are the days where my OCD and ADD actually do get along, and ADD decides to take a break.  This usually happens when I'm outside playing with Dayton.  Then a bossy, mouthy child decides to ruin my boy's play time, which raises my stress level as I can see Dayton using his monotone language, which means he's not happy anymore, and he could strike out at a the nincompoop little brat who can't keep his mouth shut.  It's always the same kid.  I wish he'd just step on his lego and fall already.  The kid reminds me of an angry little chihuahua:  Yippy, snappy, annoying as hell, must have his own way and mark his territory, and all I wanna do is slap him.  Dayton always beats me to it though.  And than chihuahua's daddy gets upset with ME.  Every time.  "Well jeez buddy, he keeps coming back for more.  Maybe if you taught him some manners, this wouldn't happen all the time."
"Your kid's the one with autism."
"Yes, and your son has an anger management problem, what yours again?"
"You need an attitude adjustment."
"I don't have an attitude, I have an extraordinary vocabulary that you can't possibly comprehend."
"Your kid's the one with autism."
"See what I mean?  We've gone through this already.  Yes, so Dayton has autism, if he didn't, than I suppose you would chalk up his slapping your son as 'boys will be boys,' right?  Your kid is angry and calls Dayton names.  I think he's the one in need of an attitude adjustment.  And the next time you approach me, you need to ask yourself:  Did she take her meds yet?  Because I haven't today, and as you can see, I'm feeling pretty feisty."
"That sounds threatening, I don't like the tone of your voice."
"Well, wash my mouth out with chocolate."
"You're rude!"
"Some call it rude and disrespectful, but I call it choosing to stand up for me and my babe."

So, even though my life is quite less hectic this past year, I still have urges to smack stupid people.  I do try to use little words to explain Dayton to them, and sometimes I even pull the crayons and paper out, since some of them prefer pictures.  But there are days where I witness soooo much stupid, my brain cells want to commit suicide.  And this 'dad,' is one of them.  I've held my tongue for so long, I finally just blew up and let him have it.  My dad would call this "stink'n thinking patterns" or STP.  Every time I get cranky with someone, I think of how dad would be so disappointed in me...

Normally though, I do try to reserve myself and say the serenity prayer.  For those of you that don't know it, here it is...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.  

Although most widely known in its abbreviated form above, the entire prayer reads as follows:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking as He did this sinful world,
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

I know that saying the abbreviated serenity prayer has kept me calm in the past.  I need to start saying it more often on a daily basis.  Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time.  In other words, enjoying the buds in the spring, and the change of color in leaves in the fall...

May our Heavenly Father grace you with serenity,


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

You Don't Want My Son Around Your Kid At School? Bite Me!

And to think, it all started with this headline:  "This Is Not OK-9 Year Old With Asperger's Syndrome Handcuffed."

You have to check this story out before reading further to understand what transpired here in Winnipeg, during a radio talk show on CJOB 68:  Manitoba's Information Superstation.

The nine year old boy in the above story was bullied repeatedly through a period of time, and like anyone else, he finally blew up.  While you and I may be able to reciprocate in a verbal argument and banter back and forth, children on the autism spectrum just can't do this.  They lack the communication skills to make friends, never mind having to deal with banter and children who bully them.  What makes this worse is that the adults responsible for this little boy continually allowed the bullying, not interfering or helping the little guy out.  They are just as discriminating against this little boy as the kids who have bullied him.  As a parent of child on the autism spectrum, I trust that my son's educators will provide a haven for my child, and protect him from discrimination, not encourage it!!!  It is their job to teach ALL children to be respectful of others and accepting of diversity.  I sure have to help Dayton with this on the home front, why should it not be expected to do so on the educational front?!

The whole drama of the child boarding himself up in a room using desks and splashing paint could have easily been avoided by the aid removing him from the situation and comforting him, then disciplining the rest of the children for bullying him.  In fact, this all could have been prevented by not tolerating bullying in the first place!  When there's an issue, the parent should be called first, not the police.  My goodness...  I'm sure the little guy is completely traumatized over the experience.  This could have been Dayton, they're the same age...

Charles Adler of CJOB radio station took it a step further in discussing this case.  Instead of inviting a professional to the talk show who specializes in autism spectrum disorders, this moron invited PARENTS of children with and without the disorder to duke it out on his show.  I'd love to sit and have an interview with him.  Perhaps I should give him a call.  Actually, I think I will, right after I cut out a wooden paddle board and engrave "Lou's Board Of Education" on it. 

To listen to the broad cast, click on the link below, scroll down to the bottom where the links begin and click on CJOB Am Audio Vault Charles Adler Program On Autism And Inclusion.  The segment of the program begins at the 6 minute and 30 second point.  It's not long, I promise.  And you won't regret hearing it.  While the first speaker, Ken, makes my blood boil, saying "I really do not want to have these kids in my son's daycare or in his school, umm, my son was attacked by a kid who had autism, and I don't want them around, I don't know what you do with them, but I don't want them..."   If I met this guy Ken in person, I swear I'd shove my foot up his a$$.  It's at times like this that I lose all sense of humanity, patience and forget about my Christianity.  It's a struggle keeping the sixth commandment.  And it's a struggle not to swear my head off and shout obscenities at people who are, lets face it, dumb asses. Anyway...  the link:

While I can appreciate that your child was struck with a child with autism, it is the responsibility of the child's assistant to be present and prevent this from happening in the first place.  As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I am mortified when I hear from the school that Dayton has struck a child, so please don't think I'm thrilled about someone getting hurt.  But at the core of any child's behavior is a reason.  Behavior is communication.  This is why children on the spectrum have an aid to help them when it comes to communication with others.  Furthermore, upon evaluating the situation and discussing it when this happens with Dayton, it turns out that Dayton either feels threatened, or is being bullied.  When he can't fight back with words, he will strike out.  So, if you don't teach your child NOT TO BULLY OR MAKE FUN OF SOMEONE, expect him to get beat up.  And as far as "these kids," I really don't want my child to be around your kid, who has no respect for those who are challenged.  So Ken, BITE ME. 

Many families have been reported in contacting advocacy groups such as the Autism Society Of Manitoba (ASM), Manitoba Families For Effective Autism Treatment (MFEAT), and Asperger's Manitoba Inc. (AMI).  These families were distraught about what they heard on the radio show, finding it offensive and handled with a complete lack of sensitivity.

Yes, hmmmm, what did the support groups have to say?  Quite a lot actually.  Here's a letter they got together to write to the head honcho of the radio station...

Now, while I may be fuming over how Ken and Mary bantered back and forth in the beginning of Charles Adler's radio talk show, I do have to agree with some of what was said in the segment.  Many families with children on the autism spectrum, including myself, agree that "inclusion" is not working well.  It is not working because our kids are not really given a fair chance.  Teachers and assistants are not properly trained or educated in order to adequately "include" our kids.  In the same breath, is it really appropriate for us as parents of children on the autism spectrum to demand our educators to get years of extra training?  Would it take years?  I'm not sure, but I know that at this stage, our educators and assistants are not mandated to take extra training on autism...  Who's responsibility is it to ensure that educators are trained properly?  The government mandated "inclusion," yet hasn't given our educators the tools and know how to do their job.  While I am grateful for "inclusion" and not having my babe dropped off at a building for the rejects, I also think that if the government is not prepared to give money to empower our educators to educate our children, then perhaps segregating our children in a school with professionals that are trained to teach our children should be looked at.

As much as my heart breaks in admitting this, my babe has interrupted his classroom with his fits that stem from not being understood, or frustration at not understanding his school work and feeling dumb.  It's not fair to him or the rest of his classmates.  It's just not fair...  I want more for my child, and I know that given the tools, my son could learn and be a contributing member of society.  Why is this too much to ask for?

Consider yourselves hugged,


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Why Do We Have More Than One School Division?

I have wondered this out loud on facebook causing many arguments with fellow autism moms whom I hold close and dear to my heart, even through our opposing views.  The argument typically being I love the way Alberta's school system runs and the opposition agrees, however they say that Alberta's school system works better because they have oil money to help progress the school system.  Manitoba is a poor province, therefore not able to financially make the same school system happen here.

Here are my thoughts, and please remember they are only my thoughts and opinions, and not law. 

The city of Edmonton has what's called "school of choice."  It means one school division, therefore one superintendant.  Seems to me that this could save Manitoba some money, right?  I mean, I realize the superintendant would need helpers, but I'm sure their income would not be as high as the six superintendants the city of Winnipeg is paying for now.  I'm sure there has to be some financial savings we could allocate in places where "school of choice" may be more expensive in other areas?

The beauty of the "school of choice" for parents is that they get to pick where they want their children to go to school.  Each school specializes in an area of education.  So, if your child with or without special needs is a mathematical genious, chances are you would want to foster that genious, right?  It would make sense then, to send your child to a school that specializes in mathematics.  For those of us with special needs children, we would pick a school that has the most experience with our child's special needs...  The parents get to "shop" around for a school of their choice, having more control of their child's education.  There are no division lines to battle crossing or having to sell your child to a particular school that is not in your catchment area.

As any plan, school of choice is not perfect.  There are areas of concern, especially when it comes to transportation.  What happens if you cannot afford to drive your child across the city to the school your child would most benefit from?  Schools of choice like high marking students, to better sell their schools.  But even so, the city's school board has been visited by educators across the world to examine and review, wanting to implement the same system...  The beauty for us is that we live in the same country, and there is no need to re-invent the wheel...

For a detailed report and analysis, here is the link to Edmonton's school of choice model:

I know, I know...  Awwwwww Lou...  why are you making me read this?!  It's too much like homework!  In order to make an educated decision, you must educate first.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Organization In Education Is Crucial

I know Dayton's been in school for only three days, but WOW!!!  I sure pray I'm not jinxing myself in announcing this, but I am sooooo pleased with Dayton's teacher, aid and principal right now.  Dayton just came home and showed me all his "check marks" he earned at school, and I am so proud of my little guy, I'm practically GUSHING!!!  It must have taken Dayton's teacher quite some time to make up this check mark system, and his aid and teacher time again to fill it out.  And the sense of accomplishment Dayton feels right at this very moment shines right through him.  I haven't seen him so happy to be in school EVER.  I have never been this impressed before either!!!

Again, I'm terrified that I'm jinxing myself, but I am so very, very pleased.  I pray this continues throughout this school year, and worry that Dayton's educators may not have the stamina to keep this up through the whole year, but for now I choose to relish in Dayton's success and celebrate with him.  I feel fortunate that Dayton has a teacher and an aid who obviously recognize that being organized is key in education, and that children on the autism spectrum must see immediate and positive results before being able to comply with what we as adults wish for them to achieve. 

Anyways, back to celebrating!  I just had to take a few minutes to share with everyone!  I'm so happy!!!  And most importantly, Dayton is happy.  The old saying "If mamma ain't happy, ain't no body happy" is not true in my home.  Here the motto goes "If Dayton ain't happy, ain't no body happy" is the very much the case.  And Dayton is HAPPY!!!  Hoooray!!! 

If Dayton's teacher, aid and principal are reading this, THANK YOU!!!  You've made our home a happy home tonight!

Consider yourselves hugged,


Monday, 12 September 2011

Our Morning Of The First Day Of School

Holly crap.  Dayton woke up at 5am all on his own, got dressed, brushed his teeth, showered, brushed his hair, put his shoes on and packed a few things for his lunch...  Never, in his school history has he gotten up two hours early of his own accord, and got ready for school!  Meanwhile, I'm wondering around the house like a zombie as I've only had two hours of sleep, grunting to answer Dayton's questions.  Stumbling around the kitchen with eyes half open, I somehow managed to make coffee, just wished I had the energy to drink it!  You know things are bad when you mentally pray to God to give you the strength to drink your coffee.  Let's face it, coffee is a nectar from the Gods, and if you need to get something accomplished during your day, coffee is a necessity.  In my case, I need coffee to just simply speak.  I wish someone would come up with an intravenous form of coffee...  I'd be willing to be a guini pig in the study, so please, spread the word!!! 

Anyhow...  back to Dayton and his first day of school...  an hour before his bus is to pick him up, Dayton's already asking to go and wait for the bus.  By this time, I've managed to make his lunch, but I'm still grunting responses and trying to finish my first cup of coffee...   And I'm thinking SERIOUSLY?  This is the same kid who swore all summer he's never going back to school!  I'm still trying to figure out where all of his energy is coming from, I mean, the kid refused to go to sleep the night before, staying up until close to 1am, and now he's up sooooo early...  What's happened to the kid that has to sleep eight to ten hours a day?!  So I end up walking to the bus stop with Dayton twenty minutes early, carrying my first cup of coffee with me.

The bus of course is fifteen minutes late, as it is the first day of school...  I was expecting that, and as much as I tried to prepare Dayton for it, he wasn't as understanding as I was.  Go figure, I'm the one that spazes all the time, and yet I'm remaining calm (probably due to lack of caffeine), and Dayton's going nuts.  His autism kicks in...
"The city bus has come by already mamma, where's my bus?!  The city bus always comes before my bus.  Call the bus mamma, they forgot about me."
"Babe, they could never forget about you sweetie.  It's the first day of school.  Many parents forget during the two months how long it takes to get their kids out the door, they're running late, which makes your bus late."
"But my bus ALWAYS comes after the city bus!!!"  A little melt down...  Then another change...  A school bus we think is ours, turns into the high school across the street where we live...  Holly crap...
"Maaaaaaammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaa!!!"  Now we've got a wee bit of a melt down, but it's OK.  I've sucked back the rest of my coffee by now.  I'm alive!  I can take care of this!

Thank God our bus came within minutes of the blow out.  Dayton calmed down when he saw the bus slow down and recognize his bus driver.  He got on the bus, looked out the window and gave me a lil' wave.  Big grin on his face.  He may be nine, and he looks like he's nine, but this morning's melt down reminded me of a five year old.  At this point all I can do is pray the rest of his day goes well.  New teacher, new principal, new aid...  Definitely clutching my cell phone beside me all day long.  Two choices, back to bed or more coffee?  Back to bed it is, with my phone on the pillow beside me, just in case.  No call from the school.

3:10pm.  I'm outside waiting for Dayton's bus, wearing my bathing suit and sarong, so if Dayton had a rough day, he'd be excited at seeing me knowing my attire meant we would be going swimming.  I see the bus round the corner and become a little nervous.  Dayton comes off the bus, and he's SMILING!!!  Wow!!!  On our walk home, he tells me how hard he worked "my first day of grade four.  Grade four is really hard mom, but I did good work, just like you told me too.  I did what the teacher said.  I kept my hands to myself.  I did good mamma!!!"
"What kind of work did you do?  Tell me everything, right from the beginning!"
"I almost fell asleep on the bus, but I didn't.  I got to school, met my teacher and my aid, and the kids in my class.  I fell asleep and didn't wake up until the recess bell rang.  hahahaha."
"Really?  You slept in class?  What was your aid doing?"
"Oh, she was tired too."
"Hahahaha.  Tell me more.  What happened next."
"Then my tummy hurt, but the principal said I had to stay at school and not go home yet, cause it might get better.  Then we had art class, and we had to draw our sneaker and I did.  Mrs. H (his aid) helped me where I got stuck.  I did most of it all by myself."
"Wow Dayton, that's fantastic!  So, do you like your new teacher?"
"She's really good, better than Mrs. D.  I like Mrs. H, but I miss Mr. J (Dayton's last year's aid)."
"OK, so what makes you like this year's teacher better Dayton?"
"She understand me."
"You mean you understand her?  Her instruction?  You understand what she wants you to do?"
"Yeah, and she's nice."

Hey, if he's comfortable, I'm comfortable too.  I'm super happy he's doing work, and listening to his teachers.

"Then my teacher got sick too.  So the new principal came in to teach us.  I like him too.  He didn't give me any trouble."
"Well, could that be because you listened to him, did your work, and did what you were asked to do without fighting?"
"Maybe.  I like him."
"That's great Dayton.  I'm so glad you like your teacher, your aid and the new principal.  That's awesome!"

I pray this good relationship continues.  Everyone's had the summer off to relax and rejuvenate, so I hope the good vibes don't end once everyone gets into routine and feels overwhelmed with work.  I pray Dayton is right, and that his teacher does understand Dayton, and that Dayton understands her too.  I pray for a year of success. 

Praying for a year of success for all of our little ones.  Consider yourselves hugged,


Friday, 9 September 2011

And School Is In Session!

So the time has come where most parents celebrate as screaming and upset children are taken to school by bus...  But not this parent.

So, I got to meet Dayton's new teacher and teacher's assistant yesterday.  I really don't want to jinx myself by saying this in public, but I like them both!  I really hope that this is going to be a good year.  I'm trying to think positive, and praying that I warm up to the new principal soon.  We got off on the wrong foot last week.  Then again yesterday, and the day before that...  I'm going to chalk it up to misunderstanding each other, and pray our relationship gets better.  We have however, come to an agreement about Dayton's need for "quiet time" to work.  And we agree on the classroom / storage room where Dayton can work with his teacher's assistant when he can not focus in the classroom. 

Dayton's new teacher seemed very comfortable with our visit, as did Dayton's new teacher's assistant.  His assistant is into wrestling...  SCORE!!!  Getting Dayton "unhooked" from guns, meant I had to help him find another "passion."  And so the passion for wrestling and hockey began.  Wrestling was his father's idea, naturally, and come to think of it, so was hockey...  Good job dad!!!  Back to the point, the teacher's assistant got Dayton's attention very quickly, and the bonus is that she has beautiful, long blond hair - Dayton's favorite!  He loves blond, long hair, and the lady likes wrestling!  Awesome!!!  Dayton could not stop talking about her on his bike ride home.  Instead of being super upset about going to school and dreading it as he has been these past few weeks, he's actually asking me when he'll see his assistant again!  "Two sleep Dayton, and you'll get to see her again sweety."
"Cool.  Do you think she'll let me play with her hair mamma?"
"I don't think so babe.  Most ladies don't like their hair touched."
"But you like it when I do."
I don't have the heart to tell him that I only let him play with my hair to calm him down and help him fall asleep, not because I like it.  Birds circle my head the next morning as I have my morning coffee on the patio, and my neighbours refer to me as "Dances with birds," because I scream like a banshee and swing the broom at the birds trying to nest in my hair.  I go through two bottles of conditioner a month to get the knots out after his "hair time."

Dayton's new teacher is informed of Dayton's medication and asked appropriate questions.  She seems to be prepared for Dayton and his needs, and made both Dayton and I very comfortable.  She didn't try to "get rid" of us, was friendly with Dayton, and was well organized.  I loved the way she set up the classroom, and loved that she put tennis balls on the feet of every chair in her classroom.  I pointed this out to Dayton, as he has a problem with "scraping noises."  Less distraction for him this way.  He also thought that was "cool."

We even ran into the guidance counselor, who had a smile on her face, and looked so refreshed.  Dayton hugged her, and showed her his new Chopper bike.   

So, tomorrow will be the first day of this new school year.  This is it.  The time has come.

Pray for me, especially my sanity.

Pray for Dayton.

Pray for his teachers, especially their sanity.

Pray for success!

Consider yourselves hugged,