Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Monday, 5 December 2011

In Which I Try And Summarise The Last Two Weeks

So let's start with Slugger.

It had to happen I guess. We were up against too much: too much water under the bridge; too many mistakes; too much playing catch-up. Two weeks ago the principal delivered the news to Slugger's mother. He would need a 'fresh start' next year.

She was stunned. She had not seen it coming. She had to ask what he meant. It was awful to watch.

She ran out of the meeting in tears, followed by her family advocate, an eminently sensible woman with plenty of experience in working with autism. It has taken a week but she is now able to talk civilly to us and hopefully we can manage his transition to the local public school smoothly.

So how do I feel about this? Sad. Defeated. I mean, I hate failure. We tried so hard in the last weeks but it was all about shutting the gate after the horse had bolted. The Boss approached me a day or so before the axe fell; I had already surmised that the decision had been made.
"I know you're not in favour of this" he began, but I stopped him.
"No, no, it's got nothing to do with whether I'm in favour of it," I explained,"I'm not happy about it, but I can see that we don't really have a choice. We don't have the support of the community and without that we are pushing it uphill."

Even this week, as we have seen more improvement in his behaviour and the whole atmosphere in my room has become less volatile, it has only taken little things to remind us that we still have a huge way to go: a letter from a parent complaining that he had 'chased' her child (????his minder had been with him every minute of playtime and could recall nothing threatening or violent. Possibly he had seen the other child run away from him and taken off in pursuit, laughing and sublime in his innocence and ignorance? It is all a game to him.); an aggressive request for another adult to 'go away' when he perceived his comfortable two person bubble had been 'invaded', followed by slapping at his minder when he supported the other adult's right to observe.

We have stabilised him. He can operate quite well in the structure of my room with the 1:1 support of his minder. We have developed a more appropriate style of activity to keep him engaged; shortened the sessions, kept things multi-sensory and particularly, tactile. We have used the visual timetable system, introduced him to red and green choices and closely monitored his interactions with other children in order to prevent social misunderstandings.
And he has responded.

But the funding is running out. He cannot be reintroduced to a classroom 'cold', the attitude of the other children and parents is way too negative, and it wouldn't be fair on him anyway. These things need to be built up gradually and we just don't have time.

Hopefully, in a new setting, without the 'labels' that he has acquired through his extreme behaviour at our school, he has a better chance. We will work with the new school to smooth the transition and hope that the greater resource pool in the state system can provide him with the continued 1:1 support he requires.

It still breaks my heart that we couldn't 'turn it around'.

The rest of the last two weeks has been spent in the ridiculous business of making a dress for the BA's next Formal dance. What was I thinking? What did I save? What of my sanity?

Here is the finished product as best I could manage it. I am not happy with some of the puckered seams but these are waaaaaaaay better than my first attempts with the overlocker which resulted in me throwing away the front of the dress and buying new material (it's a looooong story). The problem was the stretchy fabric. I thought overlockers were designed to cope with stretch, but I obviously have a lot to learn. Here is the back. The drapes are a soft, grey chiffon and look quite lovely on, although they look like nothing here.

This is the train which she really likes.

And this is the gal in question, fresh from having seen the new Twilight movie with her mother. We were on a bit of a high afterwards, hence her rather 'out there' pose!

The Formal is this Thursday so I'll get some photos of her when she's all 'done up'. I think the dress will be ok. The puckering kind of stretches out when she has it on, and bits of it fit her like a glove, which is somewhat disconcerting considering I remember when she looked like this:

In between all of this we have been spending as much time as we can with my dad who is here for just three weeks. He's been playing golf and catching up with friends and tomorrow night we're all off to the BA's End of Year Mass at St Saviour's. Her dad and step mum are flying in from Sydney for the night and we are looking forward to putting 2011, with all it's school related traumas, to rest.


Colleen said...

I've just finished reading... and I just wanted to say that all I can think is you are an amazing teacher... and an equally amazing mom. I hope I can give as much to my girls as you give to yours. You made her formal dress??? Twilight???

Arizaphale said...

Hahahah! You are very sweet Colleen. And I happen to know you ALREADY give an enormous amount to your girls!! Also, I am quite sure the BA would MUCH rather I had BOUGHT said formal dress..hahahahahahahah

Ssg said...

Dress is looking AWESOME! Can't wait to see it on the BA. Miss you guys xxx

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Awww - sorry about your guy. :-( And sorry mom didn't take it well. I always find it kind of amazing how well parents can block it out and how difficult it is to find the a way to tell them sensitively yet in a way that they understand that there truly is a problem.

Very pretty on the dress!

Mid sis said...

You took a picture of her drying her hands in a bathroom, not surprised she hammed it up - mothers - huh - sigh.... X