A family's story

The Extra Mile

We are very fortunate that our boys have such wonderful teams to help them succeed in school. I read many horror stories about denial of services, lack of accommodations, and falling through the cracks. Sometimes I think it’s necessary to shout out to the educators to let them know that their efforts are appreciated.

For example, Jake has been floundering. He’s overwhelmed, and school work is too much. Just prior to Thanksgiving, I had a few reports that were cause for concern. When I threw out a few questions to his team for clarification, every single one of the teachers and specialists replied to clarify how things were “going down” in their respective classrooms/sessions. We came up with a few strategies to help Jake power through the tough times. I got more feedback this week that he’s calmer and more relaxed.

Unfortunately, Jake’s resource teacher is having some health issues. She is on leave through January. I received a call from the principal that was very matter-of-fact. I appreciated that she let me know. Additionally, the resource teacher called me to inform me personally, as she knows Jake and how he struggles when his routine is changed. She started to cry on the phone, and without breaching her privacy, I told her that we’d work with Jake and help him through..and that she needed to focus on her health. We talked to Jake about his resource teacher’s absence, and discussed ways that he can get help if he’s not comfortable with the substitute.

Yesterday, Jake’s regular ed teacher stopped me in the hallway when I was at the school to get Tate for therapy. She wanted to make sure that we knew that the resource teacher was going to be out..and that she and the resource teacher really tried to impart upon the administration that the substitute be for the duration…and also be competent. The students who receive resource help cannot afford to lose 2 and a half weeks of instruction with an ill-prepared fill-in. It sounds promising for now, but my guess is that Hubz and I will be doing some hard-core tutoring over the next couple of weeks to make sure Jake stays on track.

Switching gears to Tate, his teacher put together a fantabulous resource book for each student, based on his/her abilities and present levels. The book goes between home and school and includes tools for the various subjects. It is amazeballs. I think I will do an entire post on this tool, as I think EVERY child should have one. I may even make one up for Jake, based on Tate’s!!

Tate’s teacher also created a “Good Morning” book for him. It goes over a basic routine for Tate’s morning, and it includes ways he can greet his family, teachers, bus driver and friends. The added bonus of this book is that Tate LOVES to look at pictures of his classmates, so he happily does activities he doesn’t care much for in order to have time with his book to look at pictures of his friends! Motivational tool!!!

This week has been rough for Tate in terms of re-entry to school after a holiday week. His behavior has been on “yellow” all week. When I asked his teacher to give me examples, she told me what had been happening, and said she had some strategies that she was going to try today to help him get back on track. She then emailed me to let me know that he had a fantastic morning, was engaged, talked with peers appropriately, and worked up to “purple”, which is the best behavior level he has.  She said he was incredibly proud of himself and happily chose a prize from the prize bucket.

His teacher also forwarded information to me about the Caring Santa program that is going on at various malls this weekend. She thought that it would be something Tate might like. We already  have plans to visit with Santa this Sunday, but I was incredibly appreciative that she took the time to let us know about the program (although I had seen it around the Interwebz).

Finally, she is writing an “I Can” book for Tate. In the book, there will be pictures of his school friends and teachers. It will give him strategies and ideas for social interaction with his peers, and has examples for him of different things he can do when he has finished his work in class, or if he needs help.

Our boys are incredibly lucky to have such invested teachers and specialists. We are fortunate that they are willing to work with them and us and to try new things so that our boys can learn and have a successful and relatively pleasant educational experience. I know that not everyone is so lucky….so I am very grateful!

Comments on: "The Extra Mile" (1)

  1. I’m so glad to read this. It helps to know that even when they are struggling, they have people around them who are really trying hard.

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