Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School, Back to Square One

This week was back to school for Hamslice. We had all hoped against hope that our new school, located in suburban utopia, would be some sort of smiling bubble zone that would embrace Hamslice whole heartedly that this friendliness would erase all of his [former] issues.

So, it was a bit of a wake up call when he was already punching kids by 1:30 pm on Day One. I suppose that the big move to the county was a way of Hambone and I drifting off into blissful denial that we still have a little guy with a very different brain.

To be fair to all involved, I did mention Hamslice's sensory issues on "meet your teacher" day, which was the day before school started. I talked to the teacher three separate times in the hopes she wouldn't forget. I also spoke to the music teacher and anyone else I could find.

Interestingly, they all did seem to forget my conversations (it was a pretty busy day, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt) and that led to a pretty bad set-up for Hamslice right off the bat. For instance, his classroom teacher forgot to let Hamslice bring "soft bunny" into class to provide a sensory break as needed. Instead she sat him in front of the window, where there were contractors jackhammering all day. It was so loud in the classroom that the teacher had to use a microphone to be heard over the noise.

Hamslice went right from that environment to music, to the cafeteria, and then to recess. Three humungously loud situations in a row. By the end of recess he was swinging fists.

So the teacher notified me by email, and I responded with a very professional, clinical sounding email that basically said, what did you expect after all that noise and tactile deprivation? I told her that Soft Bunny was coming again the next for Hamslice, and she would need to start using it. She wrote back and said the principal and vice principal disallowed Soft Bunny (nobody had even looked at it) and that he would receive a stress ball instead.  At this point I let it go. They will get to enjoy whatever consequences they create there.

After school, the vice principal pulled me aside and said we would need to have a conference about Hamslice and his special conditions. On Tuesday afternoon I get to face another gang up of Teacher, Vice Principal, Principal, Social Worker, Student Liaison and I would not at all be surprised to see the goddamn Janitor there. We will have been in school less than a week on Tuesday.

So now I am rereading all those vicious documents from the therapists from two years ago trying to develop a plan for my school negotiations. I am not entirely sure what I will ask for yet, but I will go in unafraid. And I will advocate for my son like the best lawyer in town. And he will thrive, if I have to have meetings with everyone in order for that to happen.

On a positive note, perhaps getting in early with the powers that be is a good thing. Maybe we can get out in front of it this year before everyone jumps to their own conclusions about him. The school's reputation is for responsiveness and accommodation, so maybe this is just that reputation playing out. Maybe my shell-shock is showing through.

More next week...

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