Monthly Archives: February 2014

Transitioning Out of Wrap

Things have been pretty uneventful for us lately! Isn’t that unusual? Isn’t that awesome?

I had a meeting at Mikey’s school about his transition to kindergarten–a meeting that would have been very different had we not started him on medication a month ago! His early intervention teacher suggested she was going to recommend sending him to his feeder school (Mikey goes to a magnet Montessori) given some of his behavior challenges. The feeder school has more support resources in-house for “school age” kids (meaning Kindy on up).

Of course, the school district prefers all kids who have intervention services to attend their feeder school. At least this is what they said at our meeting. I actually laughed at them suggesting that as a viable choice–Mikey’s feeder school has 55% proficiency in reading, 66% in math. Not that I even like standardized tests, but this is telling data.

Worse, they have a 13 point gap racial desparity–meaning the average student of color scores 13 points worse than the average caucasian student at that school (and there’s only about 10-20 caucasian students at the school).

I didn’t mention any of this, though. I simply mentioned that the average kindergarten class size numbered into the 30s, and Mikey already struggles with attentiveness. Surely that would not improve in such an overcrowded classroom!

Anyway, everyone agreed, then, that Mikey will continue on to kindergarten next year. He’ll be in the same classroom with the same teacher (unless she earns a principal job somewhere…we’re all selfishly worried because she is completing graduate school!). He’ll be the “big 5” in the classroom next year, and judging by how he rises to being a 4 this year, we know he’ll really enjoy being a role model in the mixed age room.

Mikey wearing his "professional" clothes

This is how my big guy dresses for school now, because, as he says, “I am a professional.”

He’s doing so well, in fact, that we’re transitioning him to stay 4 full days each week, both by his request and Cody’s/my preference. His TSS has been taking careful notes and reporting data, but she mostly sits on a chair these days in the back of the room, not supporting Mikey directly. It’s been hard to justify her continued presence to insurance companies, so we’re cutting her hours back to 6 per week at school. She’ll complete these hours in the afternoons and help Mikey transition to the full days of school, but we think before long we’ll ease her out of even that.

Cody and I also talked about it, and we’d like to eliminate TSS hours at home. For one thing, Mikey will be in no mood to sit and work on social skills when he comes home from a full day of school. For another, Cody and I really feel like we have learned about all we can learn from our wrap-around team in terms of intervention when Mikey does have an episode or challenge.

We will still have our wonderful BSC with us, and she’ll still come to our house 2 hours per week. This will be partly to touch base with me about what’s going on in school and partly to work directly with Mikey reinforcing any skills we’d like to focus on.

Hopefully we aren’t jumping the gun in eliminating all these services. We fought so hard for a YEAR to get them in place!

But, truly, this particular medication has proven to be exactly what Mikey needs at this stage. We are proud of him and we can tell he is proud of himself when he makes great decisions and has a peaceful day. Plus, with Alex about to turn 2, I’d easily say Mikey is the easier of my two children to parent.

Mikey is quite fond of pointing out when Alex makes poor choices. Like, in the middle of a screaming fit where Alex is shredding important bills and throwing raw eggs on the floor, Mikey will lecture, “Alex, you are making a red choice. Do you think you are going to clean up that mess? Because that would be a green, peaceful choice.”

Maybe I should start a separate blog bemoaning my aggressive two-year-old!

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Just Another Snow Day…

This is probably our 16th snow day this year so far. It’s at least the 16th day if you include delays AND cancellations. Which is fine, I suppose, since everyone in the state of Pennsylvania is suffering the same disruption as me. But I just want to whine about it a little bit because it’s not just another snow day for me.

My kid has “staff” that I have to touch base with when there’s a snow day or delay. So I have to text his BSC, his TSS, and his early intervention teacher, depending which day of the week we’re disrupted.

If, like today, I have a meeting scheduled with the early intervention team, that means I spend the morning on the phone (above the cacophony of my kids) rescheduling meetings that are already impossible to schedule given everyone’s super tight schedules.

Today was supposed to be our transition to kindergarten planning meeting, where we assess the early interventions in place and see what we’ll need for Mikey when he moves on to “school aged” next year. Given his early intervention day is Tuesday and *literally* every Tuesday this year (since Jan 1) has been affected by weather delays/cancellations, I can’t say he’s actually received any early intervention services, despite their being prescribed.

So I’m not so sure what I’d say at this meeting anyway. Do we continue with the services that he hasn’t gotten? Or change them to new services he hasn’t gotten? It’s all a mess.

Chokey Cough

Mikey has been dealing with an asthma flareup for the past week. It’s awful–I feel so terrible for him. He’d been coughing sporadically and we’d been giving him his inhaler for what he called his “chokey cough.” I still felt like he could go to school, though I was anticipating maybe getting a call home about his coughing.

We got a call to pick him up from school Tuesday and I didn’t quite think he was bad enough to take to the emergency room, but we were due for a massive ice storm/snowfall that night and I couldn’t get in to the pediatrician in time to also collect Alex from the sitter…so off we went to Children’s.

He was prescribed a strong dose of Prednisone to control his coughing, and we were told it was ok to continue to give him his “good choices medication.” So the next day school was in session (he ended up home with me one day for snow/steroids), he was a little…calmer than usual.

And of course, school called again! They called to tell me he was staring off into space and not responding to questions. The poor kid can’t win. He’s too energetic one day, too calm the next.

To be fair, it is startling to see Mikey sitting calmly and not talking. If his teacher is used to him escaping from school, running circles around the classroom, and shoving other kids, I can see how she might be concerned. Unfortunately, I was teaching during the call so she got in touch with Cody, who failed to explain that there was a medication reaction happening, so off we went again to pick him up.

At any rate, 2 days of the ‘roids were enough to help him, we have a new type of inhaler now. He’s no longer coughing and he seems to be pretty balanced on this medication. We managed to go through the entire school day Monday without a call home, so that’s one for this year! Maybe we won’t get a call today, either!