Friday, September 23, 2011

So, how're the kids doing with school?

My friend asked me that question last week and my immediate reply was..... "good!".

I paused. "Well, good for us, I think".

I paused again.

"Hmmm, maybe my standards have been lowered".

Because seriously, my goals for each day are:
1. Get kids out of house
2. Kids stay at school
3. No teacher calls, emails or other sneaky types of contact
4. Kids return home when they are supposed to and not before.

It's been about 3 weeks and so far it's been..... sketchy. Teena is forgetting her homework and trying to be friends with some vile brat who does not want to be friends with her. It's making me sick to hear about this wretched child being mean to my daughter and she keeps trying anyway to be friends anyway. Her teacher called yesterday to tell me Teena did not want hot lunch, and did not bring cold lunch. Ummm, ok.... thanks? Teena has a long history of being uninterested in food. Nothing they can do about it.

Genea has hit the skids. She no likey change in! any! way!!! She has the rest of her life scheduled to be exactly the same as yesterday. So school starting and a new grade/ room/ teacher/ kids/ schedule etc. are all factors consipiring against her stability. Since stability would now be a change, I'm thinking we are scuuuuh- rewed.

She is having a grand old time manipulating her teacher and in general being a high-preforming radlet. Skills and talent people. Sadly for Genea, her mother has a big mouth with fast clickie fingers and is keeping the teacher updated and informed of attempted manipulation. Email. I love it.

From: Mrs. Accident
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 5:28 PM
Hi Mrs Teacher, this is Mrs Accident, Genea's mom. Genea told me that she forgot her homework and her snack box at school today. Please feel free to keep her in from recess to do her work. She is the sort of child who is very linear in her thinking. So, if she gets away with something one time, that's all she needs to keep trying again and again. She does not learn from second chances. A second chance will always be in her mind as a possibility and she will continue to try for a very long time. However, if she has a quick logical consequence she is much more likely to do it right next time. Same thing with her snack. She has many food issues resulting from early life in an orphanage in eastern Europe and she can be very persistent in her attempts to get more, get better, get bigger, etc. She already forgot it once this year and I believe she is seeking out the classroom supplies. I know you have a generous policy to give a back up snack to students, and I don't want her to get upset but I don't want her to make this a habit either. Maybe she could have a smaller portion? Or a less popular one? 

From: Mrs Teacher
To: Mrs Accident
Subject: RE: Genea
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 00:58:21 +0000

Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate the background information very much. I will plan to keep her in at recess tomorrow to get her caught up. I have not yet been doing that with other students, but do start incorporating that policy before too long when work is missing. I have no problem having her make up the work at recess time. I will keep in my the snack situation if she forgets again.
On another note, I've noticed Genea has a very difficult time focusing. She is easily distracted by even the smallest movements or noises. I do have her seated right in the front. I'm just concerned about the number of times she needs refocusing/redirection during a single class period. I understand there have been concerns in the past, but I wanted to check with you and see if this seems typical or if her attention span seem to be sliding.
(why did that highlight? NO friggin idea)

From: Mrs. Accident
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 11:01 PM
To: Mrs Teacher
Subject: Genea

Thanks for your help!
  Genea had a rough afternoon. She did her reading when she got home, but then fell asleep for 2 hours. We had dinner, and then she did 2 of the 3 assignments by 8 but then had to go to bed. School drains her quite a bit and she usually takes a 1-2 hour nap. I'm concerned that she is already falling behind, and it looks like the work is going to be harder for her this year. Hopefully she just needs some time to settle in.

  Genea has what is called "hyper-vigilance". It presents just like ADHD but the origin is post-traumatic stress. Typical ADHD meds have made her violent. She does take a non-stimulant medication to address the attention related symptoms but is maxed out on the dose already. Hyper-vigilance is based in the need to constantly monitor her environment for changes, to keep herself safe. From what you wrote, I wonder if she would do better in the back of the room, where she could see everyone and would know they were all safe. That way she wouldn't have to turn around and check all the time. The tiniest little noise will break her focus and she has a hard time regaining it, I'm sure you noticed! That's a thought I just had, I have no idea what the result would be. I'm guessing this will fade as she gets used to the class but it has been an on-going issue and might not get much better.

Ideally, I believe she needs a place like the old "resource rooms", where kids could go and get extra time  in a quiet place with just a few other kids. So far she has not met the criteria for an IEP however like I said, I am very concerned that the gap is getting wider from what she is able to do vs what is expected of 3rd grade children. Genea is a perceptive little girl and will realize this, which will then cause her stress and make it all worse. She has had a variety of mental health diagnosis which seem to be affecting her ability to learn. Could she possibly be eligible to be evaluated by the district?

The good news is she remembered that snack cup! She announced it to me first thing off the bus- didn't say hi or anything, lol! 

From: Mrs. Teacher
To: Mrs Accident
Subject: RE: Genea
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 16:06:24 +0000

I checked into something as far as getting her evaluated. If I have consent from you in writing that you would like her tested for special education services, that could get things started quickly. Let me know what you think about that.

Thank you!
From: Mrs. Accident
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:43 PM
To:Mrs TEacher
Subject: RE:Genea

No problem. Is there a form or should I just write something up?

About her snack time at school, she told me today that she lied to you and said she did not have a snack with her. She did. I figured it out because her snack cup had the same crackers in it that I put in there last night. Yesterday, she swiped a cup of oranges out of our cabinet instead of taking what she should have. Just fyi. I wonder if we can circumvent this problem by having a stash of something for her at school. Would you be able to keep a box of crackers or something for her there (I mean, I would provide it) that she could take from at snack time? I'm afraid she will continue to try to "work the system" here. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal but she will keep trying if she thinks there is a chance she can get more.
To: Mrs. Accident
From: Mrs. Teacher

I think having a snack stash for her at school might be a good idea. Let’s try that.

So, that summarizes our school year so far!


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