Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Well, you certainly are helpful.

Hey, thanks, guys. The overwhelming response to that last post was just – oh, wait. Ahem.

So I have to pick my own topics AND write about them. Sheesh. Fine. OK. Let’s talk a little bit about my kid.

You might recall that prior to the start of the school year, I was a little bit worried about how it would be for D. to be in a classroom full of typical peers with a shadow. Would he fit in? Would he be able to get through the day without disrupting the whole class? I had nightmares of the other parents calling me or getting together behind my back and saying, “You know, if D. weren’t in the class, these kids would have won a Nobel prize already. He’s really holding them back.”

As it turns out, D. is not the problem child in the class. One of my friends constantly reminds me, “Well, he has Shadow. Of course he doesn’t have any issues.” Which makes sense, because of course having a shadow immediately eliminates all issues. Why, you give a kid a shadow, and he’ll eat forever! Or, you know, something.

Anyway.

One child in the class is now set up for a complete evaluation, and the parents told Mr. WG that autism is on the table. Let me tell you, if it’s autism, he’s extremely high functioning. The kid has issues for sure, but I wouldn’t have guessed autism. We’ll see. The class is also about to get a new student who joins us because he was expelled from his former school (expelled! At age THREE!) for – wait for it – biting.

Mean as it is, and as much as it means I’m going straight to hell, I can’t help but be a little bit thrilled that my kid is not the kid with the worst issues in the class. I take my joy were I can find it – I don’t have a choice. Case in point: I was looking at the stuff outside D’s classroom the other day. The teacher asked all the kids, “What can we do to make our classroom more special for Yom Kippur?” And then next to each child’s name, she copied a verbatim answer.

Child A: I would like to help the teacher by creating a full-wall mural with hand mixed paint.

Child B: We could decorate with streamers and balloons.

Child C: I want to repent for my wrongdoings and beg forgiveness for my sins.

D: Lights!

Seriously. Every other kid had like a paragraph, and D. said, “Lights!”

On the other hand, he has made such tremendous progress since the beginning of the year. In fact, we had set some goals:

By the end of November, three months into the school year, our goal is for D. to participate in the program. In other words, we want him to come to circle time, play time, and other activities along with the rest of the class, and we want him not to disrupt the class. This may mean that he sits on your lap or just in front of you at circle time, and that you are by his side all the time during activities. That’s fine. We would also like it if he were able to answer occasional questions in circle time, even if those questions are specifically picked and drilled ahead of time.

I don’t know about answering questions, but I do know that he responds properly to his “Good morning, D.” line every day with “Good morning, Morah.” I’ll double check on the questions thing, but the rest – he does, and not with so much help from Shadow. He’s also seeking out friends, inviting them to sit with him, and even requesting and having after school playdates. It’s pretty amazing. In fact, I think it’s time to set some new goals.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your "friend" is a big meanie for saying D behaves because he has a shadow. He is behaving because he is a good boy who is headed in the right direction! - Maggie

WriterGrrl said...

You're right, Maggie. It's basically because she's in denial about her own kid (in a different class), who has his own issues.

Teej said...

Um, no. Does nobody recognize what a good idea D has here with the lights? It's visionary! It's the sort of answer I would give (because apparently I think I am visionary). Everybody else would give these long, involved answers, and when it would come my turn, I would pause dramatically and quickly make eye contact with each person in the room, and when the silence became unbearable I would release the word with a flourish of my hands and a crazy look in my eyes:

"LIGHTS."

The smart, perceptive kids would all say, "aahhh!" while the soulless children would look confused for a moment, and then continue blathering about crayons, cotton balls and glue sticks.

I'm behind D all the way here, and I suspect you have a burgeoning artist in your home. Lighting is art.

Either that or he's intensely practical. Hang some lights, totally change the ambiance in just five minutes, and get back to more important things. Like story time. :)

Andrea said...

I'm with D! Lights make all the difference! :)

Yay for meeting goals! And I think it's perfectly fine to breathe a sigh of relief when one discovers that their child is not the "problem child" in class. I think all of us do to a certain extent sometimes, especially when we feel like we're at the end of our wits.

Blu said...

Congrats! New goals means new progress ahead. :) I'm really happy for you. And I think "lights" was a brilliant response. :D

ella said...

Yay D! So great to hear he's making such good progress.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Oh, drat! You didn't give me time. I did post about my group writing project and I did decide what I wanted you to write about -- but just not in time.

Glad to hear all is going well with D at school and that he's making progress.

Lisa b said...

This is so encouraging. I'm so glad to hear D is doing well.
I also agree that the lights idea is genius.

WriterGrrl said...

Lisa and MPJ, I do thank you for your comments on the previous post. And MPJ, I will be doing the group writing project--thanks!

Teej, love you. But you knew that.

Andrea, thank you. I still feel a little guilty, but I find that a nice cappuccino is enough to make that feeling go away.

Blu and Ella, thank you! It's good to know that D. has his fans!

Lynn said...

Actually, I think the "lights!" response is the best one. She asked what they could do to make the classroom more special for Yom Kippur...lights! Actually, to be technical, the other kids didn't even really answer the question. They said what they wanted, not what would make the room more special.

So neiner to those other kids.

Anonymous said...


Wonderful web-site you've gotten going here.