Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Note from School

Yeah…that happened again.

Friday afternoon I came home, went through O’s backpack (because it’s what I do every day when I get home.) and found this note from her speech therapist:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Ordinary,
Olivia missed speech today due to not completing classroom work. I walked into the classroom and she was under her desk picking up her pencil. The teacher was writing a math problem on the board for a math review. The students were instructed to copy the problem down onto the given paper. She was not copying the problem down so I told her to copy the problem down then come down to the speech room. I was working in the speech room with one of her classmates for 30 minutes and she never came down to speech. When I went back into the classroom Olivia was still at her desk and this was the sheet that she completed. It was supposed to have two to three different math review problems.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
She included her contact information.


I replied with:
Thank you so much for your note last Friday. I am sorry that Olivia was uncooperative that day.
By the time she got home from school, she was unable to articulate to me why she behaved the way she did. She tried but couldn’t quite tell me what she was doing when she wasn’t doing her school work.
Please believe me when I say that I understand the frustration and share in it when Olivia is at her most obstinate. I do, though, want to say that I don’t think she’s ever deliberately trying to misbehave. I think she’s easily distracted and some days are worse than others.
I really think she wants to cooperate but sometimes things get in the way of that in her head.
Yes, she’s very stubborn and once she’s set on a path, it’s VERY hard to get her to change paths.
I talked to her about the importance of following instructions and doing what you and all her teachers tell her to do.
I hope I’m not coming across as making excuses for her. We know she’s capable of following directions and doing the work. She sometimes just needs to be guided back to the task at hand over and over again.
Thank you again for keeping me in the loop with her progress and/or lack of progress.
Tommie Ordinary

Yeah. So I find myself wondering…is keeping Olivia in the mainstream classroom doing her any favors? Would moving her to the special ed. class full time help her at all?

I mean…would she be missing out if we moved her? Is she even getting anything at all out of being mainstreamed? Sure, she’s learning but she’s also frustrated because she can’t do the work as well as her typical peers. Then again, if she were in the special ed. classroom full time, I don’t even know what she’d be learning. I don’t know how that classroom works when it comes to academics.

She CAN do the work. I know she can. She’s proven she can. But she needs someone near her ninety percent of the time keeping her on task. She’s capable of doing the actual school work but she has a hard time maintaining focus if there isn’t an adult there helping her maintain that focus. She needs to be redirected often.

Is it fair to her peers in the mainstream class that her teacher or the teacher’s aide, has to be nearby most of the time? Then again, do the rest of the kids even need the help of the teacher or the aide and is Olivia’s presence hindering them in their learning at all?

So many questions, so few answers.

Her next IEP meeting is in a couple of weeks. I plan to go in with these questions and more.

I desperately want Olivia to succeed but I also want her to be happy and if academic success means she’s stressed and frustrated all the time…well, we may need to weigh the positives against the negatives.

Honestly, if we were independently wealthy, I’d opt to homeschool her and look for other, less stressful ways to find social experiences for her, like dance, gymnastics (non-competitive,) crafting with friends, etc. There are so many things I feel like I could do for her if I didn’t have to work. But we have to deal with what is, not what we wish was so I’ll keep doing what we’re doing and hope it’s enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can request a 1:1 aide on the IEP. Maybe she doesn't need it at all times, maybe just for certain instructional times. That can be specified. Olivia is doing SO well, I would think that in the interests of the Least Restrictive Environment, getting her the help she needs to stay there would be a slam-dunk.