Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heart-breaking Acceptance

This has been a rough week for me & it's only Tuesday!! I had a parent/teacher conference with Jailen's teacher yesterday. It went as expected, but was still a sad day. Let me back up & explain a bit since I haven't blogged in a year....

Jailen is 5 now & this is his 3rd year in the Preschool Early Intervention (PEI) class at our local elementary school. Last year I pushed for inclusion in Pre-K, got it, & he spent the afternoon (nap, snack, & storytime) with his "normal" peers. He did great, of course, so this year I pushed for more inclusion in the Kindergarden class. I knew this year was going to be the future teller year, if you will. Real classwork, real homework. He's been going to Kindergarden (just started 3rd 9wks) from the time he finishes breakfast until after math immediately following lunch. I arranged it so that all therapies get done in the afternoon when he's back in the PEI class, sure not to disturb him in the "regular" class. At first he seemed to be keeping up & I was getting excited. Then the homework papers started getting a little more difficult, math came along, now reading, & I saw him falling behind at home. I knew he wasn't going to be able to handle regular classes & learning at the regular fast pace. I kept my mouth shut the entire 2nd 9wks hoping something would change. It hasn't. Then his teacher sends a note home that she wants to meet with me. I immediately knew it would be regarding this. So, we're sitting there & she asks, "How do you feel Jailen is doing?" The tears started falling. I know he's not keeping up but I want him too so very bad. We agreed that he needs more time in PEI to work on his IEP goals & less time in a class that's already leaving him behind. We discussed his vision, which needs to be checked again & may call for glasses this time. We also discussed next year. That's what really broke my heart. I wasn't prepared for what came next & have been crying for 2 days because of it. He can't stay in the same school he's been at for 3yrs because they don't have a special education class for students beyond Kindergarden age. Now he has to be uprooted from everyone he knows & has grown to love over the years & be moved to the unknown. People he doesn't know. People I don't know. I'll admit, it's a very scary thought.

Anyway, I know we'll overcome this just like everything else. Life with Jailen has always been full of blessings in disguise. Maybe the next school we send him too will be where he flourishes. Maybe he'll still be able to keep up in a regular class somewhere down the road. Or, maybe special ed is where he's meant to be. Either way,


  1. Jessica:
    I hate to read this. I really do. I wish Jailen was in the same grade as Charlie because I'd be down there trying to work something out. I mean, they might not want to hear this, but Charlie is not changing schools. I didn't buy a house four blocks from school just to send my kid somewhere else.

    I'm wondering what their recommendation is for Jailen? Is it 100% of the day in special education? That would be my primary focus--amount of time in special ed. Also, does he currently have an aide helping him in Kindergarten? What is her role? Have they tried keeping him with the regular class and modifying either the curriculum or the grading requirements? I'm sorry, I know I'm being obnoxious with all the questions--this just hits a sore spot with me and as a former SPED teacher, I'm very aware of all the different types of services that CAN be administered.

  2. You'll be able to make it work for Charlie because you live right there & they do have to accomodate him. I've moved, though, so I feel like there's not much I can say about it now. If we still lived there, they would most definitely have to accomodate Jailen, but we don't. The recommendation was Kindergarten from the time school starts til lunch, then PEI. He does have an aide with him in the Kindergarten class. Not sure what her role is. Curriculum/grading hasn't been modified. This is a battle I lost when I moved out of the district I guess. I've always wanted him included in the regular class for most of the day, but he's not keeping up. And I know of other mom's who have made them change things to adapt the class to that particular child, but I can't see them slowing down the teaching of all the other kids just for one. Even if he is mine. I'm letting this slide as is. Once we find a different school, if they don't want to include Jailen in regular classes, then I might need to know your secrets! Btw, I do NOT mind your questions AT ALL!!

  3. Jessica,
    I'm reading your blog for the first time and I'm so impressed with your strength. I admire your pressing forward to help Jailen succeed in school. I can see how brokenhearted you are, but also how you are open to other opportunities. As with all things, sometimes doors are shut for a reason, and maybe there is somewhere else for Jailen to flourish. I will be praying for you and Jailen as you start a new journey. I truly admire your strength and wish the best for both of you.

  4. Well, Jessica, he does have two more nine weeks in Kindergarten. I would ask if he could have a modified curriculum. I'd try shorter assignments. Do they test yet? I'd to tests with only one or two answers. The teacher shouldn't have to adapt her teaching--the aide should be helping with that. The teacher CAN be asked to modify the work load. Another possibility would be for Jailen to work on assignments longer, but have fewer. For example, he could do A says a with his peers, keep working on that and skip B, and then rejoin them on C.

    I think I'm frustrated because these are not new concepts. I was doing this stuff in Arkansas about four years ago, and let's face it, Arkansas isn't exactly forward-thinking. I was doing it Texas seven years ago. I hate to think that when Charlie comes up they'll probably try to send him somewhere else as well. I shouldn't have to fight for stuff that is SO incredibly basic.