jadedmusings: (ATLA - Chibi :D)
Yesterday was our annual IEP meeting at the school for the kiddo. I went in anxious because the last couple of years have been us going round and round about them insisting the kiddo is on the autistic spectrum while I (someone who has actually worked with children on the spectrum) plus a couple of doctors have said he's not. Last year they were very pessimistic about his social skills and, well, I was on the verge of pulling him out and homeschooling until we found a suitable private school for him if we had another bad year.

Yesterday it was like I went to a meeting for an entirely different child. In May, they were convinced he was never going to get any better without a lot of intervention and assistance (even hinting at the possibility he might need an aide, or someone to come in every now and then). Yesterday, a mere five months later after he's had a summer break, they remarked that he's now eating lunch and talking with his peers, playing with them at recess, and he's even been giving at least one presentation in class where he's had to stand up in front of everyone and talk. He's, for the first time, spontaneously saying "Hi, Mrs. [Name]," to the teachers and principal when he passes them in the hallway, which catches them off-guard because he's always needed to be spoken to first. He's socially caught up and making friends.

One story his teacher told us was that one student in his class had his snack, but didn't want to finish it because it was too sweet. The kiddo saw and heard him say this and went over with his snack (cheese nips) and said to the kid, "Here, we can share mine if you like." Last year he barely talked to any of his peers and was a loner.

Academically, his math scores are damn near 100s (and have always been high), but it's reading where he's always lacked that he's picking up steam. He's reading consistently at/a little above grade level for the first time plus demonstrating far better reading comprehension (and his teacher says it'll only improve the more he reads). He's gone from reading the bare minimum required by his teachers to having to be told in class to put his book away and complete task. Now, the focus is on getting him to be better organized and to remember to turn in his work. (He even comes home and tells me, "I'm turning off the TV so I won't be distracted while I read." No, I am not making that up. Yes, I do consider myself lucky.)

As of yesterday he has completely exited out of the occupational therapy portion of his in-school therapies, and they are scaling back to one thirty-minute speech session per week. Since he was three years old he's been going twice per week, and for the first time this year his speech therapist mentioned the possibility of him exiting the speech therapy program next year. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard that as last year had me worried he'd be going to speech therapy through middle school at least.

He still obviously has speech issues, and verbally he doesn't like to speak more than one to three words in response to questions (unless he's the one who started talking first); however, when asked to write a paragraph about something, he will write several sentences that are punctuated correctly with proper grammar and sentence structure (despite still sometimes using improper grammar in his speech, i.e. "She seen a bird."). His occupational therapist read one paragraph he wrote about his field trip and said, "I know children in middle school who couldn't do that well." His handwriting is improving and letter spacing is damn near perfect, and he's catching up a bit to his peers by practicing cursive.

At home we're going to start working on his reading aloud. He still has a tendency to want to rush through words and trying to speak while inhaling. So every now and then I'll ask him to read a paragraph of what he's reading to me and I'll be helping him with projection and pacing (as well as occasionally reminding him about his "L" blends/sounds, one of his weaknesses).

As for the transformation, I credit the teacher he has this year. Technically she's a substitute for the fourth grade teacher who had a serious accident or medical injury before school started. This substitute took over for his teacher last year when she was out on maternity leave and is there at least through the holidays. She knew about the kiddo and his limitations, and he really connected with her last year and this year. She has let him sit with her on school trips and at lunch, and has encouraged him to be social. She loves him so much that I think she'd kidnap him and take him home if she could. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for a holiday present for her, something nice she can use along with a letter explaining to her how much this means to us. (There's no idea if the "real" teacher will be able to return this year, and the consensus seems to be there's now a possibility she will not return for the school year at this point.)

When we were walking to the parking lot after the meeting Sam said, "It took everything I had not to tell them, 'We told you so!'" Me, I've been too ecstatic and overjoyed to gloat about how we always believed in the kiddo and knew with the right amount of patience and understanding, he'd pull through. He's always blown away everyone's expectations of him, always surprising everyone (including me) with what he can do.

I worried yesterday was a dream so I've been telling everyone I could about it. Sam's mom gave me a hug and said, "You knew it all along," and she'd been someone to always back me up in my belief the kiddo was capable of far more than the school seemed ready to believe.

So my son has a bright future ahead of him, and he's really coming out of his shell socially and academically. It's been a long, very bumpy road, but now I see an end to it and I slept better last night than I have in months. To celebrate yesterday's news, we're going out after school to the mall, maybe a movie, and then some clothes shopping (which he won't be as happy about, but he needs new jeans since he's managed to put a hole in nearly every pair he owns). He's earned a huge treat.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Dean Oh My Gravy)
This year for his spelling assignments, the kiddo only has to pick one activity from a list and do it each week. (However, after September, if he makes 85 or better on the previous week's spelling test--and I feel compelled to add he's never scored lower than an 88 on a spelling test--he won't have to do any activity so long as he keeps testing well. Of course, being the mean mother I am, I will still make him take practice tests to be sure he's keeping up regardless of if he has to do it or not.) So, today, I'm looking over the list of activities and I see one that lets him write the letter of each word in a different color.

"Aha," I said, "this is quick, easy, and fun. He'll be done in no time."

That was about half an hour ago. Little did I know my son is an artiste and is carefully picking out the markers before he spells each word so he can make sure he has the prettiest spelling list in the world. Consider me rather chagrined, though I guess I do appreciate the opportunity to catch up on some blogs and see what news is happening. He's dilligently working and not getting distracted, so I'm not going to sweat it if it takes him a bit longer. If he were just doing it in pencil, I know he'd be finished quickly.

Oh, and by the way, we did math first, and he just sailed right through it like he never had summer break. The only place where he needed help was wording a response to one question asking what was wrong with an example number line. I questioned him first, and he knew the answer, but, per his disorder, he needed a little assistance making a coherent answer.

After this, it's reading. Last week he picked up Bunnicula, and we practiced retelling the story as we went along. It's a bit helpful when it's a chapter book as each chapter gives us something to practice recapping and retelling. This is his weakest area, but one he's determined to work through.
jadedmusings: (Default)
I have repeatedly been frustrated with the school. They refuse to acknowledge his initial diagnosis of Expressive Language Disorder and continue to insist he must be on the spectrum despite his lacking several key symptoms (and the opinion of other doctors). Frustrated again, this morning I just googled his disorder and found this video on YouTube, and...for the first time in a long time I don't feel so alone. I know, that's rather stupid and silly for a YouTube video, but I watched it and while this girl has better articulation than the kiddo (at the time of filming, she was two years older than the kiddo is now), the way she talks and the subtitles on the video explaining things hit very close to home.



This is the frustration the kiddo experiences, and he's developing a habit of trying to get out of having to tell anyone anything by saying, "I don't know," even though he does very well know and does understand, he just can't demonstrate it in a way that's satisfactory to them.

I've told the school that we are going to reschedule his appointment (or find a different place, perhaps involve a trip back to SC if I have to since I know the area there much better) and that I am looking into other schooling options for him. I don't know how we'll do it given how rural the area we live in is, but I'll find a way.

Kiddo-isms

Dec. 12th, 2011 05:33 pm
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang Water Octopus)
We stopped by the bank today so I could deposit my monthly check. The usual teller wasn't working at the window and the one who handled the check apparently didn't see the kiddo in the back seat. As we pulled away, kiddo noticed the absence of his standard sucker and/or stickers, so he got a little upset and a little whiny.

Jade: (teasing) "Don't cry!"

Kiddo: (wipes at eyes) "I'm NOT crying!"

Jade: "Well, you look upset."

Kiddo: "I'm NOT upset!" (pout)

Sam: "Then quit being such a grumpy face."

Kiddo: "I'm NOT being a grumpy face!" (pause for a couple of seconds) "Well, maybe a little."

*All three of us burst into laughter for the next five minutes.*

ETA: And not five minutes ago:

* Kiddo decides to finish up an art project he didn't finish in school today. He doesn't tell me this involves glue and I figured it was just coloring.

* Jade is writing this entry.

Kiddo: "Oh no!" (shyly in that oh-so-familiar "Something bad has happened" voice every mother knows) "Um, Mom. I used too much glue."

* Jade turns around, sees a white puddle of glue on her coffee table.

Jade: "No, sweetie, you didn't use too much glue. You used half the bottle, that's a bit more than too much."

Fortunately, it was contained to the table and didn't get on the carpet. Also, it was relatively easy to clean up and we saved the cut out he was trying to put glue on. To be fair, it was a standard glue bottle and since he only really uses glue sticks at school, he forgot that you don't take the entire top off, just unscrew the orange part to open it.

Kiddo-isms

Nov. 19th, 2011 10:02 pm
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang Water Octopus)
"Never, ever press the self destruct button!" - Kiddo, aged 7

Ladies and gentlemen, these are wise words. Heed them well.

(And yes, it was indeed a well-timed pick-me-up.)
jadedmusings: (Ming Ming Sewious)
We had to write sentences with the kiddo's spelling words as we do every Tuesday for homework. One of his words is badge. While trying to help him come up with a sentence, we had a moment that made me giggle.

Jade: "Let's think. Who wears a badge?"
Kiddo: "The man."

He was quick to correct himself and say "policeman," but I couldn't keep from laughing because I'm a horrible person. The kiddo thought it was funny because he slipped up and I didn't tell him otherwise, and I'm glad he realized I wasn't laughing at him.
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang Water Octopus)
This being the second week of school, the students in the kiddo's class have been doing some assessment testing for reading and math so the teacher can figure out where everyone's strengths and weaknesses lie. Plus, she can design classroom groups to benefit students who might be lagging in one area or another. I have to say the kiddo's scores surprised me in unexpected ways.

On reading, he scored a 2.3 which translates into being at a "second grade level plus three months" and in the fifty-eighth percentile nationally. So, he's right on target for his reading level, which came as no real shock to me. What I didn't know is that he also had a math assessment, and today I learned he scored a 2.4 on and put him in the seventy-first percentile nationally for his grade. Now, at the end of kindergarten, he tested somewhat low in math and after last year, he was able to keep up though I was under the impression he was still a little behind. This assessment told me differently, and I have to admit it was quite surprising to see him performing better on math than reading. I was always the opposite on my test scores (math was always my weakest subject). I mean, it's not a huge difference either way and I know this wasn't exactly rigorous testing, but it was nice to see he's managed to catch up in math. I suppose I should have taken a hint when we did math homework this week that included word problems and also picking out the greater number and he flew right through it. Those are two things he had a little difficulty with last year due to his trouble processing language sometimes.

Also, he had his first spelling test of the year today. The teacher did accidentally mark one word correct that was spelled wrong, but other than that he got every word right plus the extra credit. His first test score was 109, and so we're starting the year off on the right foot, I think.

The other good news is that his teacher told me last week he had no trouble talking to her right away (usually he takes a bit to warm up to a teacher) and that he was initiating conversations with his peers. This was something that was worrisome last year, and he seems to be saying he's playing with others at recess so far. I'll speak to his teacher again this week to make sure he's still excited about socializing, but I take this as a positive sign and that he's continuing to improve with regard to his language delay.

I expect we'll hit a few rough spots about mid-year when the material becomes a little more challenging, though I'm not as anxious about it as I was after learning this.
jadedmusings: (Sherlock - Wrong)
Disclaimer: This is not a post about whether or not it's okay to spank your child. This is about the attitudes about how children should behave in public and the perception that poor parenting is always to blame when a child isn't exhibiting perfect behavior.

I've made no secret of the fact the kiddo has a couple of developmental delays, one of which is a speech delay. He's always been an incredibly bright, happy, and well behaved child, but no child is ever perfect 100% of the time, and when he was a toddler and unable to effectively communicate his desires and needs, there were moments when he would become so frustrated with his inability to make us understand that he would tantrum. Sometimes these tantrums happened when we were out in public and there would be much screaming and crying and occasionally flailing as I tried to keep him from running away from me.

One day, after a long day on a family outing, exhaustion combined with a lack of positive reinforcement caught up with the kiddo (then three years old) while we were in the middle of Best Buy. The catalyst was that he wanted something and we failed to understand him. Unwilling to play the "Show me what you want" game, he had a meltdown right there in the middle of the family portion of the DVD section. Naturally this meant I could almost hear several dozen necks creaking as other customers slowly turned to stare at the Terrible Mother and Bratty Child who had dared to spoil their evening of milling around a public place. Per usual, the responsibility for getting the kiddo to calm down and use his words fell to me because, well, I'm mommy and had previous experience with this sort of thing prior to becoming a parent. (Any trace of bitterness directed toward my ex is not exactly imagined.)

It didn't take long for me to realize that the kiddo was way overstimulated and not going to calm down until he was completely removed from the situation and allowed several minutes to cool off. I'd been down this road plenty of times, though not always in public (minus an incident at an IHOP) and knew that I was going to have to carry him out the door whether he cooperated or not. On the way out the door some "enlightened" individual snidely remarked, "Well somebody needs a spanking!"

Had I not had my arms wrapped around a squirling and wailing child, said individual would have gotten an earful with regard to context and how hard it is to raise a child in this world without asshats regularly making commentary about what they think is wrong with either your child, your parenting, or both. Instead, I walked away to four years later bring it up again after reading through comments on a Shakesville post regarding CNN's LZ Granderson's most recent column yet again shaming parents (mostly mothers) for failing to properly beat their children into submission control their children in public spaces. And as with all pieces I've seen in this vein, there is never any sort of understanding that some children can't help but lose control, that parents can't always maintain absolute control of a situation, or that sometimes kids are, well, kids and act accordingly and none of this is necessarily a reflection of a parent's inability to rear a child. Never is any consideration given to children with social and/or developmental disorders. Never is there any consideration for the fact that the other 99% of the time the child is otherwise well behaved and is just having a bad day. No one ever considers that the only way for a child to learn how to behave in public is to, get this, actually get out in public. No, the child is always a selfish brat and the parent (again, usually the mother) is entirely too permissive and never sets any boundaries.

I'm not exactly a stranger to spanking, but in the situation I described spanking would have only served to increase the kiddo's already-high anxiety. Even worse, it would further confuse a child whose biggest crime was lacking the proper tools to express his anger and frustration in an appropriate manner. And when I'm already feeling embarrassed, when I already see several pairs of eyes on me and hearing the mumbled, "What's wrong with that kid?" the last thing that helps is a suggestion that I must physically punish my child for something he has little control over.

Look, I've been the adult in a restaurant where someone's kid decides now is a good opportunity to show mommy and daddy they have a well developed set of lungs. And I'm not saying that there aren't places where you should reasonably expect to be child-free (ask me about the time I was at an R-rated horror movie with a three-year-old in the audience). Those times are frustrating and perhaps real examples of bad parenting choices, but context is always important. That child throwing himself to the floor and kicking and yelling might have never done that before and the parent is as bewildered as you are annoyed, perhaps even more. And I assure you, that parent is absolutely embarrassed and wishing she or he could crawl into a hole and emerge twenty years later after the child has been through college and has children of his own.

In public places where families and children go to, kids are going to have moments when they're more like devils than angels. Adults have them too, but we allow them the excuse of having bad days or [Insert Noun Here] Rage of one sort or another. And sometimes that child and parent are navigating over communication hurdles most people never have to worry about. Sometimes that child is actually terrified, confused, and lost, or might not even know what they feel and only know that it's scary and please won't somebody help them? One bad moment is not necessarily a reflection of an entire life.

Empathy, how does it work?

Kiddo-isms

Mar. 15th, 2011 06:16 pm
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang Water Octopus)
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the bathroom getting ready to jump in the shower since I was feeling cruddy (it was late afternoon). The kiddo completely ignores Sam sitting on the couch and runs down the hall to knock on the bathroom door.

Kiddo: "Mom? I want a snack."
Jade: "Okay, I'll make one after I get out the shower."

According to Sam, this happened a few minutes later.

* Kiddo walks across the living room toward the hall, once more completely ignoring the fact there's another adult there who could just as easily get him a desired snack. He pauses once he hits the hallway and hears the running water.
Kiddo: "She's still in the shower! Ugh!" (stomps off back to the other room)

Last week after I picked him up from school:

Jade: "What did you do at school today?"
Kiddo: "Math assessment."
Jade: "Oh, I bet that was rough."
Kiddo: "Yes. (sighs heavily) Seventeen pages!"

And today while I'm taking a break while dinner cooks on the stove.

* Kiddo walks into the living room, stands in front of me, and jumps up and flaps his arms.
Kiddo: (sighs) "I can't fly!"
* Kiddo walks back to the bedroom and resumes playing his game without another word.

Yeah, he's my kid all right.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Jimmy Geekalicious)
So, I'm catching up on some linkspam in various journals I lurk, and I found a link to the Red Riding Hood trailer. I think I've read a review of the book it's based on and I remember feeling unimpressed by the premise and the characters, but Gary Oldman's name was attached so I had to watch out of morbid curiosity.

The kiddo was in the room with me and wandered over to see what I was watching. I watched the trailer and, as suspected, I was severely underwhelmed by it (also by the lack of Gary Oldman save for two seconds).

Kiddo: (After the trailer ends, in a very unimpressed tone.) "That's no good."

Ladies and gentlmen, I have raised him well. He knows bad movies when he sees them. My son is wise for his young years.

Kiddo-isms

Oct. 31st, 2010 07:30 pm
jadedmusings: (Default)
Jade opens up her new Sony Walkman 16GB mp3 player.
Jade: "Aw, it's so small and cute."
Kiddo: "It's not cute! It's awesome!"

Kiddo: (In a very matter-of-fact tone.) "After Scobby Doo is over, I'm going to play Nick games." (Points at my laptop, which I am currently using.)
Jade: (Raises an eyebrow.) "Oh really?"
Kiddo: "Yep!"
jadedmusings: (Default)


That's the kiddo holding up his medal. He earned the Principal's Award for August in recognition of his good manners and respectful attitude. According to the kiddo, only he and one other student got the award for this month, though I think there'll be one selected for each grade. Maybe.

Not bad for being in an entirely new school for not-quite three weeks, eh? Also not bad for a child whose first teacher thought he needed an aide and wouldn't adjust to school.

I'm so proud of him, I could burst.

Now to resume waiting for FedEx. (More on that continuing saga later.)
jadedmusings: (Default)
Me: "Time for a bath."
Kiddo: "Bath? But school is closed.*"
Me: "I know school is closed, but you still have to take a bath."
Kiddo: "...oh. But it's not night time."
Me: "Yes it is. It's after eight o'clock."
Kiddo: "No it's not!" *walks over to the window, pulls back the blinds, and points outside where it's just getting to be dusk* "See!"
Me: *wonders if this talking thing is still as great as she made it out to be*

In all fairness, he did go to the bathroom and got ready for a bath without me needing to say anything else and he was joking around rather than talking back. This time last year, such an exchange would have been impossible, and the fact that he's learning how to play with words, and knows how to make jokes, is great. Of course, he's starting to show he inherited my sarcastic/smart-ass attitude too, which I suppose is parental karma coming to bite me in the ass.

* = While normally one would say "School is out," in the kiddo's case, this is true. His school is closed and won't be reopening, sadly.
jadedmusings: (Default)
I am alive, if overwhelmed. We have been super busy and I haven't had the energy to do much more than read blogs. I haven't even been able to comment as I would like.

Next week is the kiddo's last week of school and his last week of t-ball. Friday, assuming all goes according to plan, we will be heading up to North Carolina for Memorial Day weekend to visit Sam and finally meet his family. (Oh yes, there is much trepidation on my part.) While there, I'll be getting started on looking at rental properties and getting a feel for the general cost of living. So, yes, still planning to move this summer. I'll be providing more details soon as well as posting about books and other things I want to give away.

Speaking of the kiddo, his final assessment scores for occupational therapy came back this week and they were astounding. He is now considered average for his age range in terms of fine and gross motor skills whereas back in November he was well below average. I'm not sure I can convey how huge this is, but I do know he's worked hard and it shows. His therapist still reccomends another year of Occupational Therapy to maintain his skills, but it looks like next year may be the last year he'll need the OT. Speech will, of course, be needed for a few more years, I think, though there is hope that he will be phased out of there before all is said and done.

I've been in a funk for a few months, I know, but now that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I know I can get out of here, I'm starting to feel better. Getting up to visit Sam next weekend will be a nice shot in the arm, and knowing school is out is putting a good sort of pressure on me to get off my duff and get to work.

I'll probably be quiet for another week as next week will be complete murder. We have things to do every single day next week, and even with the kiddo only going to school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for half a day, I'm still going to be running myself ragged. There's a doctor's appointment for Mom in Augusta (standard stuff, nothing serious), vet appointments for both dogs (again, nothing serious), and the kiddo's awards ceremony at school. Oh, and two more t-ball games, one of which I'm providing snacks and drinks for after the game. Thursday will be a parent-teacher end-of-year conference, plus errands to pay bills, handling banking stuff, and the kiddo's final t-ball game. And then, of course, Friday is when we'll be driving up to North Carolina after dropping Sasha off at the boarders since Mom can only handle Penny (Sasha can jump Mom's fence while Penny is calm and loves spending time with Mom). Somewhere in all of that I'll be squeezing in household chores and packing for the trip.

Oh man, I feel exhausted just typing all that. And now I go to bed so I can be up before the post office closes tomorrow to pick up a package. Fun.
jadedmusings: (Default)
This happened while I was cleaning today and sorting out laundry:

* Kiddo brings one of his balls that's actually a globe over to me.
<Kiddo> (pointing) "There's United States of America."
<Jade> "Hm? Oh yes, that's right, and look, there's Canda, Mexico, and South America." (pause) "What state do you live in?"
<Kiddo> "South Carolina."
<Jade> "That's right! And do you know where Sam lives? He lives in Georgia, near Atlanta, which is the state capital of Georgia."
* Kiddo is silent for a few seconds as he looks back at his globe/ball. I can tell he's concentrating on something.
<Kiddo> "That's a lot of water."
<Jade> "..." (realizes where he's pointing) "No, no, that's the Atlantic Ocean. Sam doesn't live there."
<Kiddo> "Oh."

And then he ran off to find something else to get into while periodically asking me what I was doing ("You cleaning?/You sweeping?"), or telling me what he was doing, including telling me at one point, "Mom, I have the hiccups. Hiccup!"
jadedmusings: (Default)
Kiddo woke up and is, of course, tired and cranky. While fussing at one point, the following occured. It's important to note he's going through this little phase with his speech where he wants to be contradictory with me. (i.e. "You're tired." "I'm not tired!" or "You need a bath." "Do not need a bath!")

*Kiddo whines and starts complaining.*
Me: (exasperated and using her "warning" tone) "Christopher..."
Kiddo: "I'm not Christopher!"
Me: "You are too Christopher."
Kiddo: "I'm not two Christopher. One Christopher!"
*Jade just blinks and can't control her laughter.*

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Wrathful and Unrepentant Jade

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