Well, it’s been a long couple of weeks. As you recall, I put the children in daycare, which started on 11/5. It’s only been a few weeks.
Zoe just started receiving early intervention therapy and the caretakers in her classroom have been happy to help, and happy to learn about care for special needs kids. What a blessing!
Amelia has been integrated into the 4 year old class (she’ll be 5 next month) and is still going to IU preschool 3 times a week. Her morning teacher has had great difficulty. After a series of “this is wrong, that is not working, can you do a-b-c to help”, her teacher asked for a meeting with me. I thought that was probably a good idea, but it got to the point where I began to think she dreaded me walking in. Here are Amelia’s, um, “issues”:
-not potty trained
-has a consistently runny nose
-has a short attention span and “ruins” circle time for the others. All this means is that when Amelia gets up and roams, the other kids want to get up and roam too. Imagine that.
-takes things out of their centers
In fact, we had an issue about a diaper one morning where the teacher put on that pissed off look as she helped Amelia with potty and I got pretty ticked. I went home and told Chris about it and he talked to the daycare (he insisted). I then chatted with the director as well. This is the way I see it: teacher was going along, loving her job and all, and then one day got a difficult kid and work became grueling. She is not happy.
I am not trying to be bitter, this is my honest, gut assessment of the situation. She is not special needs trained-which she fully admits, and I think it terrifies her that she might be failing Amelia. I think having disorder in the classroom is throwing her too. (She’s GOT to be new at this, right? I mean, she hasn’t experienced disorder among 4 year olds??)
So in the phone call, bad feelings were vented and we decided to wait for the meeting. The day before the meeting, Amelia’s IU teacher called to set up her IEP and ask about the daycare issue. Here is what Miss Dawn said to me:
“Well, I think Amelia is doing WONDERFULLY!” (Cue up “Vindicated” in the background.) We love you Dawn!
The daycare teacher came with a large sheaf of papers that boiled down to what I listed above. She tried to spin it about how she wanted the best for Amelia, but I didn’t buy that. I told her what Miss Dawn said, and she said she should speak to her. But please. This is about a girl who’s not really had an early morning, daily schedule and no sooner did it start than holiday break came in (which always makes my kids nuts). This is about a mom who is trying to deal with her other daughter’s developmental delays and sleeping problems and this highly stressful new schedule, and a lack of sleep. This is about a teacher who is having a hard time coping with change.
During the meeting, teacher told me what makes her feel good as a teacher…Let me just advise you who are teachers, please don’t say this in a parent conference. The first thought in your head after a comment like this, “WHO CARES WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD??” I appreciate deep down, really, that she cares about her job and her kids, and I know it’s better that she likes it, but HELLO this is a meeting about MY KID not you.
It seems to be working now, I GUESS. I can only do so much. We’ve contacted Unconditional Child Care to help us, but that takes time. Teacher wanted a TSS but IU thought that was too extreme (requires doctor and psychiatric visit, and takes a long time to get too). Yes, Amelia is on medicine which does help when she takes regularly, but that’s not always possible (did I mention she’s FOUR??). Yes, she is NOT potty trained but I was upfront about that and have come to accept that it will happen when it happens as much as we try. Yes, Amelia has a shorter attention span but she’s also delightfully creative, and can cut, glue and draw on her own. She knows the alphabet and can draw circles and lopsided squares (don’t we all?). She is affectionate and fiercely independent, and I think she can go to kindergarden in September.
I’ve forgiven the teacher, and I know the director has to support her staff and be diplomatic enough to paying cusomers. I know this is tough on the teacher, and I know that it must be frustrating and hard when you think you’re not getting the parent’s support (I got the feeling this was her perspective). If so, this was an incorrect assumption on her part. I am not all about “dump ’em and leave ’em” with the daycare. It’s just that’s she’s done so well at IU for the last 2 years and I didn’t expect that there would be no leeway for a period of adjustment (3 weeks is not long enough for a kid to adjust, IMO – least not my kids.)
Anyway, we have an IEP coming up this month, so that will be helpful. But to all the parents struggling to mainstream kids with ANY issues at all, hats off to you. This is hard, REALLY hard. We deserve a break 🙂
BTW, I’ve updated ALL my blogs, check the links out on the right, under “My Sites” (yea, ya gotta scroll down!)