Okay, so when we last met in Set Sail For Fail: 1st Grade Part One I gave a brief overview of the failure that was first grade. No specifics, just the basics such as “We don’t do that” and “He is just going to have to learn.” Well, here is more detail of how it all went down.
We had 18 problem free days.
This is the first thing that happened.
This letter got sent home because Teddy was working ahead in math.
He was working ahead because this is what was being taught…
And this is what Teddy knew…
And well, this is how the teacher reacted to Teddy being ahead in math. Actually, this is how she reacted to just about everything regarding Teddy…
And when I asked the principal if we could move Teddy to a 2nd grade math class, or at least into another 1st grade class with a teacher we knew he got along with, this is what I heard…
“We don’t do that.”
And there were problems in reading because for three hours each morning the class was learning…
And Teddy, who taught himself to read by four, was occupying himself at home with this. Really….
And just imagine what a seven-year old who likes to read physics thought of a science class where he learned… Teddy had already taught himself this about the Earth’s history…
And when Teddy tried to share with the kids what he knew, this is how they often responded…
They didn’t believe him, and they teased him and called him “weirdo” and “sick boy.”
And often when this happened, he hit them. Not once did the child who called him the name receive any discipline.
He was getting it from all directions and his behavior reflected his total and complete frustration and inability to cope.
So, he started to sleep in class.
And got in trouble for that too.
In early January Teddy and I sat down and we made this list:
THINGS THAT TEDDY GETS MAD ABOUT AT SCHOOL
1. Kids tease me a lot
2. Mrs. Andrews only calls on me 10% of the time
3. In line the kids poke and touch me
4. Mrs. Andrews isn’t always nice
5. School isn’t a fun place to be
6. Mrs. Andrews doesn’t always listen to me
7. But somethings are fun about school such as computers, gifted class and the special education room
8. The kids don’t believe me when I tell them something that is true
9. Sometimes I don’t think Mrs. Andrews likes me
School’s response to his feedback and behavior was to grade how he acted, hourly…
And this is what school worried about, wrote on these charts and punished him for:
Teddy played in the ant pile instead of running laps in PE. He only finished his laps after class was over.
Teddy almost lost his temper at his milk carton. (It wouldn’t open)
In lunch line he got very upset over waiting to get just the exact piece of pizza he wanted.
He took part of his banana and crushed it flat in his hands.
And as the chart said, Teddy had to write out his offenses…
Then one day Teddy tried to run away from school and almost made it out of the building. He told me he “had to get out of there.” Is it any wonder?
This his how the end came:
Friday, January 15, 1999
Stacy (Special Education teacher) called at 1 p.m. for me to come and get Teddy. He had choked a child on the playground. I went to school and took Teddy home.
Wednesday, January 20, 1999
After school Stacy came to our house to talk about Teddy. She asked where we were about getting a psychologist. I told her the one that was referred to us didn’t have an appointment until April. We were then trying to make arrangements to go to a different counselor, one our insurance didn’t cover. $100 for the initial appointment, $70 for each weekly appointment. Not only was this going to be a financial strain, I was reluctant because I felt that a lot of his problems weren’t just those a counselor was going to solve. I felt strongly that much of the anxiety was due to his current school situation.
Stacy discussed Ted be placed in an Emotionally Conflicted classroom.
I countered by requesting an aide.
Thursday, January 21, 1999
Spoke with Stacy in the teacher’s lounge before school started. I mentioned that I found out his counseling could be paid for under Related Services in an IEP and she immediately replied, and I quote, “I didn’t say he NEEDED counseling.”
I asked if Ted could receive help for anger, intolerance and aggression from the school counselor and was told the 1st grade counselor had no training in this area but perhaps the other counselor did. When that counselor called me she said she too had no training with autism but felt the best thing to do was to spank him when he misbehaved. I ended the conversation.
Friday, January 22, 1999
8:20 a.m. Stacy called to say Ted had gotten into trouble. He had gone to his classroom when it had been an IEP decision that he go to the special ed room to avoid the unstructured time in the classroom at the start of the day. He was not sent to special education and a problem occurred. Stacy told me she was not going to be at school that day and that she “could not” prepare the sub to handle Ted and then added, “I can’t always be here to take care of him.” I took him home.
Monday, January 25, 1999
We kept Ted home from school. The relief I felt from not worrying about school calling or what I would hear when I picked him up in the afternoon was so great that…
Tuesday, January 26, 1999
I withdrew Teddy from school.
And I wished I had done it so much sooner.
Next: Our experience homeschooling
Teacher, principal, geological table and laughing kids photos from googleimages.com