Sunday, October 12, 2014

The day after his suspension and some progress is made

    Nixon was suspended from school on Thursday. Mac was great and kept him on as close of a school schedule as possible. I was working and decided not to take the day off as it would send the wrong message to Nixon about the severity of his actions.

    Friday, before Nixon could return to his classroom, we had to all have a meeting (and introduction) with his principal. She'd been out on medical leave since before the start of the school year, which meant she barely knows Nixon and has never met Mac or myself before.
    We went back to the meeting room and waited for the vice principal to arrive. When she did the principal addressed Nixon, who was sitting between Mac and I across the table from his teacher and the vice principal.
   His principal starts asking Nixon if he likes school ("yes"), did he miss school ("A lot!") and if he knows why his behavior was wrong (Nixon said "I made bad choices"). She went on to tell him his actions and decisions were not okay for a school environment and that she didn't want to suspend him, but her hands were tied...the entire conversation was carried on as though Nixon's actions were all made by choice and something he could control. This resulted in me holding Nixon's hand and softly touching his cheek, just reassuring him he was not "bad". I was also shooting Mac looks letting him know I'm close to losing my shit on this woman, but he didn't notice because he was also focused on Nixon.
   I finally felt the need to say something. I came armed with a printout of an article I found  that I felt would help the school understand Nixon and his behaviors a little more, so they might stop thinking of him as an angry and disruptive child. I slid the pages to the principal and said "I think this might help you see that Nixon isn't acting like this on purpose, but instead  is reacting to over stimulation." The principal let Nixon return to his class and we continued the conversation from there.
   Let me say this: I'm truly beginning to despise his teacher. From the very beginning she's had a negative tone and attitude about Nixon. She's expressed herself, numerous times, and voiced her feelings on Nixon "he exhibits behaviors I've never seen in a child his age in all my years of teaching" (and that was not a compliment). But during this meeting, she admitted to contacting other people for help on "dealing with Nixon and his behaviors". I'm glad she sought help, but this also reaffirms my belief that she has NO experience with children on the spectrum. The principal insisted the school has experience with spectrum children, but his teacher was silent when Mac asked the question.

    From there the principal asked what we were doing for Nixon. I explained (again!) the appointments we've made to get him screened. She explains that the school can do those tests, with our permission. Nixon's name is well-known in the school and the IEP (individualized education program) board is aware of his issues. Apparently the board has to vote on going further to get a child tested. I'm pretty sure Nixon will be unanimously approved.
    In addition to that, if he is found to be on the spectrum and have Asperger's, the school will have to develop an IEP for Nixon that will set him up for success, even if it means giving him his own aide daily to work with him one-on-one. (As it was, once again, mentioned to us that Nixon basically has an aide that works just with him but that the school can't "justify" that assignment to the board as he has no IEP.)
   Mac and I agreed to the IEP board vote. From there, the board will meet with us and explain the screening procedures. Nixon will be tested and meet with behaviorists and child psychiatrists as part of those tests. From there, they will determine if/where he falls on the spectrum and there will be another meeting to share the results. After that they will put together an IEP and present that to us (at yet, another, meeting).

    Basically, we're going to get to know the school administration staff real well over the next couple months. We're also going to continue to pursue the screening through Nixon's doctors in order to get any future therapies he may need covered by Mac's insurance.

    I'd like to say, Nixon had a good day Friday. That was not the case. We don't know why, but last week was an awful week for Nixon. Something was different and it was setting him off. His teacher insists everything is the same and the issue is with Nixon.

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