The entire time we’ve been dealing with Dustin’s school issues, John has had school issues also. It is hard enough trying to manage one autistic child’s education, but trying to manage 2 is a nightmare!
From the beginning of the school year we have had problems with John’s placement. He is in a regular elementary school. They have a special program for autistic kids at his school. It is a self contained structured learning center with autism trained staff and team members. Dustin went to the same school when he was younger.
John is in a room with younger autistic kids. Kindergartner’s and First Graders. Lots of behavior issues. John is the most verbal child in there and that isn’t saying much. From day one there have been escape issues with this room, lots of screaming from both kids and staff, and negative tones from the staff. It’s not been a nice environment for John at all.
John wanted to go to school so badly. He talked about it every day through out the summer. We even made a countdown chain for when he would go back to school. I addressed my concerns about the placement after the first week of school. John was coming home daily with meltdowns. I asked for John to be moved. I was denied and told they were working on the room, that everyone was still transitioning and give it time. They did bring in another associate which helped tremendously. We’ve known her for years and she is very good with the kids and knows autism. So with her in there, I felt a little better and I waited to see if things would change.
Over the course of weeks he was showing the bad behaviors we had worked on for over a year in ABA therapy. He was not using his words like he had been to express his wants and needs. Screaming, hitting, cussing. There were also other things I witnessed with this room going on with the other students, not my child. Students getting yelled at, yanked around, escaping. No positives in this room at all. No wonder the kids were showing the bad behaviors.I had one of our team members do a school visit to check on John. She also had witnessed what I was seeing. I decided to email the team asking again for John to be moved. I had waited long enough I felt. It was time to move on and get him out of that situation. It was a Friday. I had made my contacts during the day and was waiting to hear back. I went to pick John up that afternoon and was notified by the teacher that one of the associates, not the one we knew, but the other one I had concerns over, had refused to change John’s pull up when he requested it and made him go in the bathroom and do it himself.
That brought the concerns to a new level. At this point I was also concerned about the academics portion of John’s schooling. I had concerns he was sitting idle and not getting the learning in that he desired. That was the point of him being in school. I kept him home from school until we had a meeting. I was assured that administration was aware of the situation. Others had observed the same things that we had, from what I was told. Administration told me they were working on the situation because it needed fixed, so I let them do their job.
A couple weeks went by and I saw improvements. John was not melting down after school. He was not fighting to go to school. The times I was in the room the staff was positive and calm.
This past week, the situation went south fast. The negative tones had returned. Yelling at the kids No all the time. All this is being done by the teacher and the one associate that refused to change John’s diaper. So we had 2 out of the 3 staff really putting the kids through emotional and mental hell. On Tuesday when I was picking up John, one of the kids escaped the room again. He ran out the door and into the street. I chased after him and scooped him up before a car hit him. When I got the child safe on the sidewalk the teacher met up with me and started yelling at this non verbal child. The not so nice associate was standing in the doorway watching with her hands crossed. Wednesday when I picked John up early for therapy I sat in there for a few minutes. The library lady was in there reading the kids a book. The same child that escaped the day before didn’t want to sit in the chair. He wanted to lay on the floor. Teacher got nasty with him and took him to a center to do work instead. She was yelling at the child so loudly you couldn’t even hear the library lady reading the book. Thursday when I picked John up, John was bawling. Tears running down his face, sobbing uncontrollably. I asked what happened and no one knew. Then teacher told me he was using a pen to try and write on his lips. We finally figured out that she had used her negative, no, yelling tone on John and scared him and put him into tears. I had had enough! I emailed staff when I got home and told them I am done. Fix that room. John will not be coming to school on Friday.
I have been told significant changes are coming for this room. John is not going to school Monday. I am sending him Tuesday. I will let you know how it goes. Basically this is the last straw. If these significant changes don’t come, if these changes do not help or don’t work, I am done. John will be home schooled also. I waste more time fighting the school system than I do home schooling the kids. I shouldn’t have to babysit professionals. I shouldn’t have to worry about the physical, emotional and mental welfare of my child while he’s at school.