I seem to have a lot of school related things on my brain lately. I will be the first to admit that i am not a math person, numbers can literally confuse me on sight. J brought home a math worksheet for homework the other day and i had to get help on it. How sad is that? I am not smarter then a first grader in math? I at least thought i would have the Elementary School years before my kids found out that mommy is definitely lacking in certain educational areas.
At the end of Kindergarden, J went through the testing for the IEP and qualified for services in speech which is the only area that he is lacking. This IEP enables him to get extra services for the areas that he is lacking. The only other thing to do was label him and i hate that term “label” because it will be with him forever. However it needed to be done we had to determine if he would be “Developmentally Delayed” or “Learning Disabled”. Both of them will get him services that he needs, however the “Learning Disabled” label will limit the services that he receives to just those outlined in the IEP whereas the “Developmentally Delayed” will allow him to get whatever services he needs within the time frame. A child can only be labelled “Developmentally Delayed” until they are 8 and then if they are still having issues and needing an IEP then they will be changed to “Learning Disabled”. Having gotten the IEP in place for the start of the school year was a big help, however either i didn’t listen or they didn’t make it clear that not only was J to get speech assistence he would also be seeing a resource teacher and that would be every day. I have gone over my notes and i know that i didn’t get that anywhere.
First grade has been an adjustment for J, he is in a class with a lot of students with IEP’s and i am not sure that is a good thing. The teacher is great and has experience not only with students handling delays, but a variety of grade levels and really is the type of teacher i had hoped J would have last year.
J’s schedule is tough and he comes home exhausted at the end of each and every day. It makes getting the homework he has to do hard because he is so tired and i swear there are days that i hear his brain say “STOP!”.
It is hard as a parent to know that your child, while they need this assistence, is constantly struggling to do the work and retain some of the stuff that they are throwing at him. There is such a constant push on the teachers to get the kids taught and a push to get them all ready to take the EOG’s (End of Grade Tests) starting in third grade that school is more like a boot camp.
I have a good team of teachers though and am able to communicate with all of them my concerns. I am keeping up with his schedule and am giving him some time to adjust to all the work being expected of him. While i know it is tiring for him, i cannot stop encouraging him to try to keep up with the work. I cannot storm the school and demand that they change all the rules just for my son, as much as i want them to. I cannot expect that after a summer of easy times that his first weeks of school will be easy ones, since so many things come hard for him. I know that he is trying his best and is being challenged every day.
It has been a few weeks now and we are getting into the swing of things here at school, i am noticing that first grade is SO MUCh harder then i remember. Ok i don’t REALLY remember first grade, but i certainly don’t remember this amount of work being put into it. Maybe i don’t remember it because first grade may not of been as hard for me as it is for my oldest, J.
Many of you may or may not know, that J has suffered from a Speech Delay since forever, really since he should of been cooing say at 6 months but really didn’t. Somehow that whole hearing thing is really important in that sort of development. Well medical reasons aside when we finally got him to a point where he could now hear at 100% around the age of two we started him in on the speech, occupational and cognitive therapy to help him catch up to his peers. He still hasn’t caught up and i will tell you that i am fine with that. Don’t get me wrong, it breaks my heart to see him struggle, really struggle with conversational skills and just get completely frustrated with his inability to communicate even after 4 years in speech therapy. He has come such a long way though and we have done everything we could get our hands on to get him here.
At the end of Kindergarten last year i was able to finally get him back on an IEP (individualized education plan) since having his lapse when the public school system didn’t have speech therapists avaiblable even though he qualified for the public school program. Our county is really struggling in this area and they couldn’t fit him in. So i paid for him to see a private speech therapist to continue his therapy because i was just not going to let his progress lapse and we have great insurance that picks up 60 sessions of speech therapy a year, just enough to get him to Kindergarten.
In Kindergarten i really fought with the teacher to get him put back on an IEP (if you do not remain with the state provided program even if there is no one available and you get outside help your IEP will lapse) and she just kept telling me to wait that a switch will turn on… *sigh* I understand the need to be optiimistic, i do, i want nothing more than J to be more like the others, but he won’t ever completely and i knew that he needed this plan to get assistance. It came down to my getting the principal involved and this was after the New year and then things got moving. The speech therapist had already known about him and was helping him once a week without the IEP as a favor to us and i know that we needed that IEP to get him more time with her.
For me participating in my son’s school activities is very important to me. I want to be as involved as i can in his and when the others are in school their classrooms as well. I make it a point to volunteer for field day and any other school activities that i can and that i can swing getting someone to watch the other boys for. What i don’t understand is how to break into this apparently elite group, the PTA. I pay my dues and am a member, go to meetings, but i tell ya, i have a better chance of snagging a date with George Clooney then getting someone to notice that hey i am trying to get involved over HERE!
What do i need to do to get them to notice that i want to be an active member of the PTA? I have 4 boys and am just beginning this school journey so i think that i will be with them for a long LONG time.