It's been a long, first two weeks of school here. M has not been adjusting well, and the other half and I are beside ourselves as to figure out what is going on with him. I literally have to drag or carry him down the sidewalk and steps that lead to his building each morning. It sucks. The aides are trying their hardest to help me work through it. They meet us at the base of the steps now and we do a quick hand-off so as to not prolong the tantrum. Supposedly he calms down pretty quickly after I leave. Did I mention this sucks?
This isn't my kid. My kid likes going to school. My kid only had the rare tantrum while walking into school, and in fact usually barely even looked back at me as he grabbed his teacher's hand. So what is going on here?
The news got even worse at last night's back to school night. I spoke afterward to his new teacher. She, like everyone at this school, is absolutely lovely and truly trying their hardest to figure out my little guy and how to help him to work to his potential. But the truth is, M, whose autism once presented as PDD-NOS, (For those lucky enough to not know what that means, it stands for pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified; or someone who doesn't meet all the criteria for classic autism and is considered high functioning), now presents much more classically autistic; and the staff just doesn't have the kind of training necessary to deal with it, in my opinion. His little body cannot stop humming and moving. He flicks his fingers in front of his eyes quite frequently while making these guttural sounds, which for him, actually indicate pleasure. But for me, indicate autism. He has hundreds of words and can indicate simple needs, but he seems to choose not to be conversational at most times unless you are fortunate enough to have one of those 'moments' with him where he's really with you. Anyhow, I asked the teacher if he was floundering and she confirmed my fears. She said that he is 'content in his own little world,' and that 'he prefers to flick his fingers, talk gibberish to himself, and tick instead of engage in one on one teaching activities.' Even though I've witnessed this myself at home over the past five months, it hit me straight in the gut to hear it from the teacher.
So here's the real intent of this post and the thing I hope everyone will give some extra thought to after reading: At the beginning of the back to school program, a member of the parent-teacher organization spoke about the year's fundraisers and what past funds have been used for. Last year, the PTO raised $67,000. All of that money is already spent for this year's areas of need. I was so taken aback from one of these things that I failed to remember the other two. The parent said that unfortunately they just weren't able to cover music this year for the school like they had the past few years and that this year the school also presented them with the urgent need for some of this money to pay for physical education. You hear about p.e. and music being cut at schools all around the country, but in truth, I've never actually been at one of 'those schools' and apparently was living in quite the little suburban bubble.
I came home and watched part of the Republican Nat'l Convention and I apologize for spewing political venom here, but I was MAD! I had knots in my stomach as I watched these politicians, who if elected again are just going to continue spending money on invading other countries or drilling for oil and NOT where we need it: on our children. In our schools. Places that are really going to make a difference.
If there isn't money for music...and there was money for p.e. only because of the parents...there isn't going to be money for my child to get the fair education he has been promised by our government.
Vote for real change.
This has been brought to you by a pissed off Mom who wishes none of this bureaucratic b.s. that I have to deal with on a daily basis with schools and insurance companies on anyone else and hopes that before you think that Sarah Palin, the mother of a child with Downs Syndrome, is going to be a great advocate for parents of children with special needs, that you realize it is all just a sham. She actually cut 62% of the special education funding in her home state as governor.
Okay...somebody get this girl a glass of wine :)