This is us

I was never a morning person. Never a solid routines person either.

I was never on time or organized. I had piles of chaos but could tell you exactly where everything was.

And I remembered everything without ever taking notes. 

I stayed up late and didn’t worry about the next day. Or the future. 

I never worried about money or saving all of my sick time to use for someone other than myself. 

I took vacations. 

And then I had a kid. A kid with autism. 

I learned that it doesn’t matter whether or not I am a morning person because she is a morning person. 

And routines are life. 

Schedules equal sanity. 

And if I don’t know where her doll’s purple shoes are with the yellow flower at all times, there is going to be a tantrum.

And if I don’t keep up with her therapy, care, and education plans—She suffers. 

Being a mom changed me. It made me worry about tomorrow, and about myself, and what if I am not here.

Some would say I am not fun anymore because the kids go to bed early and we spend our time with them instead of partying like it is 2004. 

And I don’t recover the way I did in my twenties. 

While I used to remember everything I needed and everywhere we had to go, now I feel like I am always forgetting something.

Like why I walked into a room.

Milk.

Putting gas in my car. 

And I go to bed early because she is going to be up at 7 am, even if I keep her up until midnight. 

And as much as I need a vacation, we never have enough PTO left to take one as a family. 

Because this is our life now as morning people who are organized, who follow routines, worry, and spend all of our money and PTO on taking care of children. 

This is us. Not just me.

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2 thoughts on “This is us

  1. Mischief momma,
    I have been teaching for 24 years. I am currently a first grade teacher. I have an autistic student that can be described very similarly to your child. They (SpEd team) recently finished all the assessments and we had our meeting for her IEP about a month ago. It was decided by the team that Gen. Ed. is the correct placement for her and she is remaining in my class. I am frustrated because as I’ve heard you express in your personal experience, my student is not having her needs met. Her outbursts and tantrums and refusal to do any work she doesn’t want to do is effecting her learning. She is not producing much work, struggles incredibly, and gets easily upset and frustrated. She has a one on one, as per her IEP, however this person is not trained in autism and has not been given clear direction as to how to work with my student. I’m not trained either. We are doing our best but nothing is being effective or successful. I want to go to the SpEd coordinator and team after we return from winter break to discuss what can be done that would be in my student’s best interest. I adore this child but feel she is not being successful in my classroom. Too much stimulation, unable to meet the expectations, even when modified for her, gets out of control when academic demands are put on her, and not capable of going along with the class agenda and rules. What is your advice? Is it your belief that my student would be best in a class that is able to meet her needs or do you believe she is in the correct place?
    (FYI, my student is very verbal and pretty bright but unable to produce work. She does well on math tests but not with classwork. She cannot read or write but has excellent comprehension. She cannot sit quietly and on task for more than a few minutes at best.)
    I would appreciate and value your opinion and/or advice.
    Thank you for your time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What you are experiencing is exactly what I am talking about. You can’t do this without support and throwing a para in does not solve the problem.

      First, the para and the child have to get along. Then, I think all students with autism need behavior assessments annually because if there is no roadmap with strategies to deal with specific behaviors then these kids are lost.

      My daughter struggles with demands put on her but I do not let her escape demands. For example, when she gets out of doing classwork I have them send it home and she has to do it at home. I will prompt her and sit here until it is done without escape except on a rare day when she has sensory overload.

      I also carryover rewards/consequences at home and it is a lot. If parents are not doing this it is half the problem. I also get my child speech, ot and social skills/aba outside of school because I am not one of those parents that says my child is the school’s problem and they have to provide all of that. They do provide some but it does not carryover into the rest of her life.

      My daughter has a BIP but I also found out that it has not been implemented because they did not know how to. We are working on this now so this is TBD.

      In all honesty…what these kids generally need is breaks, flexibility (seating, working away from the group, completing work in a quiet setting etc), and a written plan with strategies to address situations. Verbal discipline is usually the worst for kids on the spectrum….I ignore most of the undesired things she does and prompt her to what I want without acknowledging all of the frustrating things unless they are unsafe and praise her for the good. This child may need reward systems, visual schedule, predictable routine. All things the child study team should be involved in. The bright kids really don’t belong in the autism classrooms because many are gifted and you have non verbal kids who are not comparable and cannot teach the same curriculum to whereas in gen ed, these kids need the role modeling of typical kids to learn. My daughter gets up at circle time and walks around the room, dances, drives her teacher insane but she can recite every word to every song they learn and seems to be keeping up with them academically. Its so hard to tell what they need but I would reach out to some of the special ed teachers for their input on what to do with getting the support the child needs.

      Lower your expectations and start small to see if she can progress. My last advice is try not to be reactive but proactive.

      I am doing my graduate work on Universal Design for Learning. I hope the future brings all teachers in that direction.

      It is exhausting. Thanks for trying. ❤️

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