Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another IEP Meeting

So on Thursday I went to Tommy's IEP meeting at the school.

I had to wake up Tom before I left because he was watching Natalie.

Waking up Tom is always such an enjoyable task. <--Sarcasm.

For starters, it can take awhile for him to even respond. The man could sleep soundly through an explosion and wake up hours later going, "Oh man. What blew up?"

I usually stroke his arm and say, "Tom? It's time to wake up."

I started stroking his arm and nothing happened. Tom continued to lay all sprawled out.

"Tom?" I hissed. "It's time to wake up."

I said this close to his ear.

He lifted his head up slightly. "Huh?" His eyes were still closed.

"It's time to wake up. I have to go to Tommy's IEP meeting. You need to watch Natalie," I explained. I walked to the other side of the bed and deposited Natalie beside Tom.

She immediately looked offended. How dare you set me down? What is WRONG with you? She started to whine, which helped Tom's eyes slowly open.

"Mmmmm," he complained. "I'm exhausted."

Whenever he says that I want to smother him with a pillow. I don't even think he knows what the word exhausted even means.

Max the cat joined in on the task of waking Tom up. He leaped on the bed and promptly attacked Tom's feet.

"Okay, okay," Tom grumbled. He sat up in bed and scratched his head.

I gave him a quick kiss on his cheek and then kissed Natalie, who was still whining.

Someone, anyone, pick me up, pick me up, pick me up!

I left a few minutes later.

Of course I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect. It's always a little daunting to walk into a room filled with women who are all there to help your son. Plus the principal, who knows Tommy well. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. My principal never knew me. I never had any problems in school. Perhaps if I did this wouldn't seem so foreign to me.

When I got to the school I signed in and then went to pick up Tommy. I had warned him not to get on the bus because I was going to pick him up for a meeting.

"Again?" Tommy asked with a sigh.

"Yes again. The meeting is to help you," I explained.

I walked down to his classroom and he was waiting in the hall.

"Mom!" he said cheerfully when he saw me.

You see? He's happy. He's not crying. Does anyone else see this? He's not crying at school.

He rushed down and gave me a hug. "Mom, look at what I got." He dug through his backpack and pulled out a small toy car.

"What did you get that for?" I asked.

"For being good!" he told me cheerfully.

I know his teacher does this chart for him. If he has enough happy moments, he gets to chose a toy and get an award.

"That's a cool car," I told him.

"Yeah," Tommy said with a smile.

"How about we go to the meeting?"

"Okay," he agreed.

I took hold of his hand and we walked down the hall. I saw other students leaving the school, backpacks draped over their shoulders.

How is he going to be when he gets older? Is he always going to have problems?

We went into the office and waited a few minutes before the school pscyhologist walked in.

"Hi Tommy," she said cheerfully.

"Look!" Tommy said, showing her his car.

"That's neat!" she said. Then she looked at me. "You can come on back now."

I gathered Tommy's things and we walked back.

I took a seat in the familiar chair in the room I had grown so accustomed to.

A few minutes later everyone had filtered inside.

The school psychologist asked Tommy's teacher to explain what she had been seeing.

"Tommy has been crying all day," she began. "It's gotten to the point where he shouts and screams. I have to take him to the office and leave the room full of kids." She looked almost apologetic as she said it.

The principal, who was sitting beside me nodded. "So you see Amber, I don't feel comfortable with a teacher leaving a classroom of children. I worry about their safety. It just breaks my heart to see Tommy so upset. He's usually with me in the office for a good portion of the day."

Not even six and he's already in the principals office.

"Also," the teacher continued. "The past few days I've caught his hands south of the border."

It took me a few seconds to process what she was saying.

South of the border..south of the..

And then I understood.

My kid was fondling himself.

"So he's been masturbating," the school psychologist said bluntly. She scribbled something down.

Tommy, Tommy, what in the world...

He does it at home sometimes and I always stop him.

"That's private, Tommy," I always tell him.

Of course he's probably confused. He sees his Daddy happily scratching his balls and his package even though I've explained to Tom that he needs to stop it.

I suppose it could be worse. I hear about kids exposing themselves in class. At least he keeps it tucked away.

Basically he's going to be in the resource room more often. He does well there. He seems to thrive in smaller groups. When he's in a large classroom he tends to cry and flip out if things are different. The teacher was saying that she moved a poster to the other side of the room and Tommy couldn't stop talking about it.

"The poster is wrong!" he kept saying.

He'll still receive all the same work as the "regular" classroom. He'll still attend the "regular" classroom during storytime and small group activities.

But then came the part I was dreading.

"We feel Tommy would benefit from a half day of Kindergarten," the school psychologist said. "It seems the whole day is too much for him."

Of course I started with my arguments.

"I'm worried he'll get behind," I explained.

I was told that he'd still get the same work, that the afternoons are basically art, music and PE anyhow. Plus they used to be speech for him but that's moved up to the morning anyhow.

"He enjoys computer and show and tell," I added. Both of which are in the afternoon.

The teacher promised that he could do show and tell in the morning. She'd allow him to stand up and explain his toy. She said he tends to get upset at show and tell anyhow. If he's not called on right away he cries.

Also, he could do computer in the resource room in the mornings. The same exact program.

I asked if he could just spend more time in the resource room in the afternoon. He can't because the afternoons are for the older children and the teacher wouldn't be able to focus on Tommy. Sometimes Tommy needs reminders to finish his work since he tends to get distracted.

I asked if half days had to be permanent.

"No," the school psychologist said. "First we'd gradually give him more classroom time in the morning. If he does well there then we'd extend his afternoon time."

Tommy has an ADHD appointment on the 11th. That is where I'm going to discuss getting him on Vyvanse. Hopefully this medication helps.

He obviously needs the medication. Last week I only sent him to school on 5 MGs of Ritalin.

He didn't cry as much but he wasn't able to get his work done. He would rock in his seat, tap his legs and barely finished any of his tasks. Sometimes he'd even get out of his seat and distract the other children.

On his meds, he's able to get his work done.

But he cries more. And he seems almost too quiet when he's not crying, that is.

So we need to find a balance. And I have done a lot of research on Vyvanse. It helps ADHD children who are emotional.

I asked what his chances are of going onto first grade.

"Right now it seems he'd be fine academically," Tommy's teacher said. "He can do all the work. Just socially and emotionally he'd have problems. But if we can help him now and set up a behavior plan then he'd probably be fine."

I'm just worried that because he's only going half day that it's going to hurt him. I mean how is he going to be graded on PE, art and music if he's not even there? That's another question I need to ask.

I imagine it wouldn't be a problem seeing as this is Kindergarten. A lot of Kindergartens are only half day anyhow.

But still.

I agreed to let Tommy go half day since they promised he'd still be doing everything the class was doing. They all seem to want to help him.

The school psychologist did ask if she could do some tests with him. I had to sign a permission slip for that.

After the meeting I explained to Tommy that he'd be coming home in the afternoons.

"Okay," he said.

He didn't even seem to mind.

By the way, a bus drops him off. I could have picked him up but it would mess up Natalie's schedule. Plus I'd like to save my gas.

He came home early today. No problems. He just walked in and went, "Oh hi Mom."

The teacher did send him with some work which we'll be finishing up.

I just want my boy to succeed.


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