A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Parenting struggles’

The Struggle is Real

In preparation for his transition to middle school, the team and we decided that Tate should have his triennial evaluation with the team that knows him, as well as in an environment that isn’t foreign to him. We opened his domain this week. Now we wait…and my anxiety is spiking.

I am a mess as I start to dig deep to prepare for this transition. Yes, I know Jake is doing just fine in his environment. (Although I still worry about the social aspects for him.) However, Tate is a different child, with different needs and the struggle is real.

My greatest worry is that our district really doesn’t have a place for him. Not that he really has ever clearly fit into the slot that is available to him….but even more so now that we are barreling towards middle school, his needs and the way our district structures things don’t seem to mesh.

First of all, we are a 2 middle school district. Our “home” school has an instructional class and resource. Tate will likely not fit into either of those classes. The other middle school, waaaayyyyy across town has an instructional class that is cross-categorical and provides the students with a more targeted, easily accessible curriculum. I’m not sure if they have a life-skill component…but that might be good for him. My struggle is that there is no available information on any programming for next year.

Tate is capable of learning and doing work that is modified to account for his autism. The issue is that he just is not quite able to attend and sit still and ignore peer behavior. It ALL affects him. He hears the buzzing of the flourescent lights and cannot focus. He sees his friend flipping a pencil and he becomes entranced by the rhythm. Peers, who find work difficult, know that Tate will react and get off topic with just the utterance of a word. So they say, “Fart”quietly to Tate, and Tate is off and running with a script, a giggle, and off topic talk.

I see the math that my older son is doing in his instructional math class in 7th grade. I know what he did as a 6th grader in that class. Tate is so far behind even that material. There are too many problems on a page for him, too. He requires a lot more individualized instruction. The 15 or so kids in Jake’s math class would be too much for Tate. He does better in a smaller class size.

His hormones are starting to rev up. Whereas his older brother is more delayed in the onset of puberty and such, Tate is right on schedule. He is girl crazy, and his body is definitely maturing on schedule. When a cute girl about his age acknowledges him, he  isn’t sure how to handle this, so he gets flustered and starts shouting his version of swear words. We are working on this in therapy, but it is slow coming. I worry that in a self-contained environment, we are just prolonging this process…but I also can’t see how he’s going to function well in a more fully-integrated environment, either.

I put a lot of value into public schools and their programming. In general, our district has done a lot of good for him. However, I have a nagging feeling that we should also be checking out some other options for next year. Outside placement, perhaps. If he’s in district, do they have sensory rooms somewhere for him?

I read about other children on the spectrum who are fully integrated in the classrooms. They are writing paragraphs, they are answering multi-step problems, they are able to stay on task without constant prompting. Maybe Tate isn’t designed for a traditional school setting, or even a more traditional instructional setting.

Being a parent is about always wondering what else can be done to get one’s child where he needs to be. *sigh* Tate does so well in a highly structured, one-to-one setting where he is task-based and can literally check off his tasks to earn his break/reward/etc. Traditional school is not set up that way.

Terrifying Threes

God help me, as Cole turns three in 3 weeks. His three-year-old antics started a long time ago, and if I make it through this next 12 month-or-so period, I am likely going to be fully gray.

I remember that three was rough with Jake. He tested us and got sassy. He had a few more tantrums. He tested boundaries. He wanted his way–always. Cole is like that, times 10.

My sweet, cherubic third-born son has gone from angelic to impish. He pushes, pushes, pushes. He writes on walls and the furniture. He won’t share. He has tantrums. These tantrums aren’t like Tate’s were….these are the “I-didn’t-get-my-way, so-you’ll-pay” variety.

Cole’s hair is in desperate need of a cut. He is days away from Hubz going all buzz-cut on him. I have had to walk out of hair cut places twice, now, with nothing to show but some sweat and tears after trying to get Cole to sit for a haircut. I think some of it is sensory, so we “practice”, but then his stubbornness kicks in, and tantrums begin.

Yesterday we went to the library. Each of the boys got to choose a DVD. Cole had to have 2. Of course. Then we went to the book section. I started to choose books for each of my boys. Tate and Jake helped choose a few books, and then they got to play a game on the computers. Cole made a beeline for the play area–as there were some new trucks.

Before I knew it, the Incredi-Cole Hulk took over. He ran, screaming, from a boy who also wanted to play, lugging a bin of toys as big as he was, with him. When I sat him down, and asked him to share, he kicked me. I told him he lost his privilege of playing, so he ran, screaming, and hid.

I picked him up, slung him over my shoulder, and we headed out. Tate and Jake checked out our books and movies, while I took Cole outside. Cole screamed for 5 more minutes before he realized that I was ignoring him. He lost that round. He sniffled quietly in the backseat until we got home.

Hubz is trying to help me out. He took Cole to the store with him last night, and encouraged me to go for a walk, by myself. I did, but I can’t help but get entwined in the spiral of Cole’s naughtiness, my frustration, and my anticipation of another day frought with battles. I need to get out of this “place”…I know I won’t do anyone any favors “here”.

As a start, I need to change my attitude. I have to be patient. I know it’s a phase, even if it is a crummy one. Today I promise myself to take it one thing at a time…and to breathe. It’s a start.

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