Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm here, really I am!

In spite of my plans to be better about blogging, I obviously have not been doing as well as I'd like. It's not so much that there's nothing to blog about, because of course there is always plenty. It's more of a motivation issue. I'm going through a low point in my marriage and in life in general right now, and I haven't been motivated to do much of anything except ride my horse. School has been a mess, I have a TON of neglected work on my online class to finish this week or else I'll fail... Unfortunately that hasn't much motivated me either. Obviously I need not to fail, because it would hurt my Pell grants that pay for me to go to school, and also because I didn't make the effort to go to college only to fail because I'm going through a rough patch. So I'm in the process of making some hard decisions about my marriage, and kicking myself in the butt to stop moping and just do what needs to be done.

Only another 2 weeks left of the semester, thank goodness, and I decided to take the summer off in hopes that the break will help my friend brain recharge. I also realized that I am not in a huge hurry to get a degree, and that spending the summer enjoying Jaymes' time out of school means more to me right now.

Jaymes is doing really well at school. He's spending time in the regular ed kindergarten for morning circle time, music, and centers time and has actually started to participate in group. The teacher has really made an effort to involve Jaymes, rather than just tolerating his presence in the classroom so that is a huge step.

His school skills are really coming out. He can write quite a few letters of the alphabet, and he can write his own name, spelled correctly. He does write his "y" upside down for some reason, so we're working on that. His drawings are becoming more and more recognizable, and his favorite things to draw are houses, trains, and balloons. He also enjoys drawing holiday themed things, like eggs for Easter.

He still isn't "really" singing at all, but he does chant the words to songs along with me or with his class. He surprised me in the car a couple weeks ago by chanting "baa baa black sheep." I didn't know he knew that! He is also a huge Barney fan, which is kind of cool because I really loved Barney as a kid.

As well as he is doing, my plan is to beg and plead with the school principal to retain Jaymes so he can do kindergarten again. Now that he has the skills, I know he can handle being at least half-time in a regular kindergarten class. If he is retained, he'll get that whole school year to catch up on his skills, and will have a better chance at spending less time in the AU classrooms. If they do not agree to retain him, I don't know how he could ever hope to catch up. It would be really unfair to expect that he start next year the way he did this year- part time in the AU room and part time in Kindergarten, because he is still behind enough that he does not have the skills to spend any amount of time in a first grade setting. I guess this will be the moment of truth, we'll find out if the school actually cares about giving Jaymes the same chance to be part of the non-disabled community or if all that matters is shuffling these kids through the system until they can dump them into schools like Lowrance Middle and Carter Vocational Highschool. From discussions with parents of older autistic kids, plus my own observations, it seems like the school district wants these kids on the "vocational track" rather than an academic, diploma track. That may be appropriate for some kids, but I know Jaymes, and I know that he has the ability to learn and eventually be able to join his peers. I don't want him locked in "special" rooms all his life. I know I sound like a broken record, I say it so often... But really, the only way people with disabilities can become part of normal society is to make their own way. Of course Jaymes has his own little army behind him, with general mommy at the lead... I'm not giving up on him, and I certainly hope the school isn't either.

We have an IEP meeting the day after tomorrow, mostly to discuss extended school year (summer school), change around some goals, and talk about Jaymes' placement next year. Originally, when I talked to the principal, she told me that it was an IEP team decision whether Jaymes could be retained. However, I was informed by the school case manager that the decision to retain a student is 100% in the hands of the principal. I was told she would be at this meeting, so here's to hoping she'll hear me out and try to think outside of the box. It's so easy to get used to doing everything by the book, cookie cutter style. But that doesn't work for our kids. You need to think creatively, and to be willing to try unusual things to get results. I've heard lots of good things about this principal, but I also have had my run ins and I don't think she is particularly fond of me. To her credit, if I was working for the school and had to deal with someone like myself, I wouldn't be too keen either. There's nothing more difficult to deal with than a parent advocating for their child. But on the plus side, I don't yell, insult, or curse. I'm actually really spinelessly polite- so that's helpful I guess!

In other news, I've been riding my Rocket pony every weekend either on the trails or at the hunter paces. We're a great team, he is perfect for me. He's just the right size, and he's up for whatever I want to do. If I want a calm ride, that's what he delivers. If I want to go, we GO. He's a cool little guy, and I love him. I've been starting back into jumping a little on him, and he is very patient with my inadequacies. I'm losing some weight, because I've been out riding hard and that's always a good thing.

Sierra is doing very well, and talks and talks and talks. She's so smart. She loves to ride Rocket, and is also helping with our garden this year. The marigolds are her responsibility and she really enjoys watering them every day.

As for me, I'm still here. Just very depressed with life right now and in the process of picking myself up and getting the things that need done, done. Lots of hard decisions to make, and plans and all that unpleasant stuff. But I hope that in the end, we'll all be better off.

Anyway, that was one hell of a rambly blog post... Anyway, I'm adding blogging to my chore list in an effort to get myself to sit down and do it. It's not that I haven't wanted to, it's more of an issue making the time and actually getting myself to start writing. If I start, I can't stop. As evidence by this looooooooong post.

Anyway, happy spring everyone, and yes, I'll be blogging more frequently.


Jasmine said...

Glad to see you back, and to hear everyone in general is doing well. I hope YOU are happier soon. :) Going on solo rides with the pony is great therapy!

leah said...

I hope you can get the school to let Jaymes have an extra year in kindergarten- after all, the "I" in "IEP" is for individual- every kid needs a different plan to succeed!

One of our local school districts has a 2-year kindergarten plan- I wish ours did. It would give Nolan (who has a late August birthday) more time to pick up those early pre-reading skills and to mature.