Vlad and Attila Go to School

December 16, 2005 at 11:01 am (Uncategorized)

Two hour meeting. The school flip-flopped on Nate’s “behavior” problem, stating that he is very tired in the afternoons. On one hand stating he is overwhelmed and frustrated, on the other hand calling it “silent defiance.”

Jeff was so upset his hands shook uncontrollably, he cried at one point. I told the principal that threatening to send Nate from the classroom because of a hand stamp was “ridiculous!” We were told things that simply weren’t true. I know the teacher is not doing things orally with Nate like she should, if she was then the “unfinished” assignments would be marked and sent home as finished orally. They’re not.

True, based on what they’re saying, Nate has an attitude problem (which includes inappropriate responses when he fusses with a classmate), which we intend to work with him on. I pointed out that ADHD children and children with learning disabilities have a difficult time socially as well. They miss the subtle clues that lead to good social relationships. I asked him to receive counseling to help improve his social acceptance, which may improve his attitude.

Julie asked yesterday about his friends. He has TLC next door, otherwise, no. Even though children speak to him all the time in the grocery store and other places, Nate is bashful and backward and unsure of himself, so even though he may respond, he’s not the type of child that goes to others. He watches from the fringes, unsure of where he belongs.

It seems his problems are in the afternoon. He’s been tired, irritable, and cranky in the past two weeks. I told them he is going through a growth spurt, which cannot be helped. I asked that the oral and written work be spread out over the day. It may be that he is expending all of his energy writing in the morning and then is exhausted by afternoon. They assured me this is taking place. That’s bullshit for the reason listed above.

It may be a blood sugar problem, they do run in both of our families. It may just be Nate. It may just be the disability. It may be everything. It may be he’s fucking tired of school and, like everyone else there, is counting down the days until Christmas. His schedule at school has been disrupted by preparing for the Christmas program. This is bad.

Additionally, I told them how idiotic it was for Nate to try and complete an unfinished assignment at recess. I thought “recess” meant the other kids were in the gym. No. All of the children from his class are in the classroom, goofing off, and Nate is sitting at his desk attempting to concentrate. NOW WHAT KIND OF HELL SENSE DOES THAT MAKE? I conveyed that to the principal with an incredulous look on my face.

You take a kid with ADHD and put them in a setting where they are sure to fail. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I also reminded her of the problem of not just the ADHD but the come-and-go nature of dysgraphia and how frustrating it must be for him to be perfectly capable one day and completely struggle the next, not to mention the energy it takes for Nate to overcome it. Both ADHD and dysgraphia cause problems with self-starting and sequencing. Although it may appear easy to us to start at the top of the page at number one, that is not so easy for Nate.

It definitely isn’t easy for him to write something off the top of his head. His brain has difficulties with the type of reasoning it takes to form a thought and supporting thoughts. He doesn’t know where to start. Imagine having an idea and not knowing where to start. Then imagine someone standing over top of you wanting you to produce, you know you’re going to get in trouble if you don’t, but you can’t form the thoughts needed to produce.

Nate is a very poor communicator. He already knows he’s different. He doesn’t want to look different to his classmates so he stays silent, which I’ve been working with him on. He doesn’t just need a prompt to stay on task, he also needs a prompt to help form and convey thoughts. I ask him, “Who, what, when, where, how, and why? Answer one of those questions and you have a start. If you’re having trouble, ask your teacher, that’s what she’s there for.”

Jeff is going to be observing the classroom. He’s first on the call list now. He and I can talk to him and help him, even remotely. He called me at work one day when he was having trouble and I asked specifically what the problem was and then helped him with brainstorming and getting started. He went on to have a good day. I pointed all of this out to the principal, more so than the teacher because she had to teach after the first ½ hour.

Further, as far as Nate being rude and cranky, sounds to me like he’s not the only kid in the school being rude and cranky. I’m there at least three days a week. I see kids pushing, shoving, yelling, running, jumping and basically being little hellions. They said, “This is a change for him.” Maybe he’s tired of being run over by everyone else!!

Regardless, the school knows we’re going to be there. They know we’re not backing down from the modifications. One problem is that Jeff and I have seen none of the rude, defiant, hateful demeanor they’re referring to. Nate’s not perfect and he’s had trouble listening some this week, but he’s not been rude or defiant. I’ve seen him far, far worse. We don’t allow Nate to run over us, nor do I allow him to back talk, although it’s a constant struggle with him because he questions everything and he’s learning when its appropriate to question for knowledge versus just questioning to delay.

As a matter of fact, I have had less trouble with him doing his homework this week than any other week. He’s seemed happy to be working on it and completing it and all I did was get him started. But he is also a child. A nine year old little boy learning more and more everyday, growing in body and mind and he will push boundaries until he’s satisfied as to where they are. I think sometimes it gets overlooked that he’s still a kid.

There was so much more but lucky for you, I’ll just hit the high points. It helps me figure it out and document it writing it out like this. So, thanks if you’ve made it this far.

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