I had the meeting with the school counsellor the other day. I asked her to please tell me straight out what they were all thinking about my son, because I can see that something is being thought, but not much is being told.
She let me know that as he is at the moment, they don’t see any way that he is going to ever be able to engage in mainstream schooling. With all the intervention he has already had, and all the stuff we do at home, and all the stuff they do at school (I silently wondered whether she was referring to ‘stuff all’…no that’s not fair, they are doing the best they can within the means they have. But I digress), they just don’t see enough progress to suggest that he will ever settle into standard schooling arrangements.
His social functioning is extremely unpredictable and not up to any kind of standard. He refuses to engage in learning activities in the classroom, and is therefore simply falling further and further behind his peers, which has to suck when your IQ is in the 97th percentile!
His swearing has hit new heights of expertise though. He can conjugate the word fuck like nothing I’ve ever witnessed, (except perhaps in my own father, but he has never done it around my son, and somehow it’s funny when he uses that word!) We are trying our best to reduce the allure, but you know, it’s hard. I mean, it’s a good word. Anyway, last night I told him that every time he feels like he wants to use that word, or the word ‘crap’ he is now to say ‘smurf’ instead. Yes, that’s right ‘smurf’. The novelty of it might be just enough to break the habit he has formed in letting the f word slip out unnoticed by himself. If someone pisses him off though, “SMURF OFF!” probably won’t give him the impact, so he might revert. Oops, I got distracted again…where is his Ritalin, perhaps I need some?
We discussed the options. Mostly likely, he will need to go into what is called the ‘multi category’ class. Unfortunately, he can’t go into that until he is 8 years old. The main reason being that the other boys in that class are all around 11-13 and they don’t think he should be around them as they are not the best influences. They are also quite large, and have a tendency towards physical outbursts. My son does also of course, but they are 50kg, and he’s 19kg, so that’s not really fair on him! So what other options are there? Well there is a special ED/BD (Emotional Difficulties/Behavioural Difficulties) class at a local public school around the corner from us. They have a programme which he can go into the smaller specialised class at the much smaller school, for about 18months until he’s old enough to go into the MC class at his current school.
If his behaviour settles down a bit, and we somehow miraculously get a lot of money, we can send him to a Steiner School, where they let the kids decide their own pace of learning and focus on what they are interested in rather than sticking rigidly to certain class time rules. Or? Home Schooling. I could home school him quite easily. The only drawback to that (apart from my own sanity being in danger) would be the lack of social interaction. He wouldn’t be exposed to all the different kinds of kids. As a parent, I quite like that idea, coz in general, kids suck from what I’ve seen and heard around the playground! However, that won’t teach him anything about how he’s going to eventually need to fit in with society.
So, if you think about it, yet again, we have the same problem. This is where we were two years ago. With people telling us that our son is so different, even from the ‘different’ ones they’ve seen before, and they don’t quite know what to do with him. Why is this time different though? Well, for one, I don’t agree with them. Not completely. I agree that he will never really ‘fit in’ in the way they expect him to, but he is capable of learning. He is capable of social interaction when it’s guided properly, and he is capable of engaging when he is properly handled. I asked them to see it out until the end of this year, especially while we are trialling this new medication to see if it does anything positive for him. They agreed. Then, if there are no changes, we’ll send him to that small class at the other school. If we still see no changes after 18 months there, well…I’ll think about that when/if it happens!
Meanwhile, I’m not sure about this new medication. We gave it to him on the weekend, and it seemed to just make him angry I thought. We gave it without Ritalin, and he had an incident while out bike riding. Usually when he’s outside and on his bike, he’s really good. Calm, happy, and thoughtful. Not on Saturday. There is a park he likes to go to which has a bike track with stop signs, traffic lights, intersections, pedestrian crossings etc. The park is often quite full, especially of small children on scooters, or bikes with training wheels. Usually, he is quite good about all the mayhem, and just rides around them. He’s extremely good on his bike and can avoid kids on the wrong side of the road, or going through the red light and that sort of thing. Sadly, he ran up the back of a little girl who wasn’t going through the intersection fast enough when the light went green. Then he went to move a little boy’s scooter off the middle of the road, the toddler approached him all upset because he thought he was taking his scooter, and hit my son on the shoulder. My son turned around and slapped him in the face. He then followed the child to his parents, where he started up an abusive tirade about telling them to make sure their child doesn’t leave his scooter in the road like an idiot, and that he deserved to be slapped because he slapped him first! Eeek. I rushed over, and apologised to the family and whisked him away for a calming bit of a stern talk about not hitting. Especially not hitting babies who don’t understand the rules yet! In the end, he went back and apologised to both the Mum and the boy, with a more polite lecture about the rules of the road and scooters not being left unattended in the middle of them. Not much fun for me though when he does that sort of thing! Fortunately, the woman had a nephew with similar problems, and she understood that it wasn’t just that I taught my son to do that sort of thing!
Hopefully, we’ll start to see some kind of improvement in these situations as time goes on. It’s slow, and it’s hard, and I know I have to be patient, and I have to understand, that it might never change. That’s a hard one. We’ve now had to start discussing not ever having another child because it wouldn’t be fair on our son or the other child with the amount of work and attention our son needs. What if he needs that level of support all through his teen and even adult life? Something to think about.