Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One step forward, 2 steps back

You may remember that right after Thanksgiving we were able to add an hour to Angela's school day. Things were FANTASTIC the first trimester of school, without one single incident, so we added one hour. In my mind I hoped that by the end of the year Angela would be back to attending school all day.

The first week things were ok. 

The second week there were a couple minor incidents. 

By the 4th week it was daily. Now, school staff is back to spending her last 45 minutes there keeping everyone safe. It's possible that when this tri is over things will improve. The "trigger" time seems to be the FACS (family and consumer know we used to call it Home Ec. LOL) When they were cooking it was great, and Angela loved it. But then they went into child development. Lots more "talking" and "listening", which Angela doesn't do so well. They shortened the time that she's in there, but it really hasn't helped at all. (Fortunately the 6th graders don't get to have little kids in there! In 7th grade they do, and then Angela will not be allowed in there! She is NOT SAFE with little kids.) 

Next week on Wednesday we have parent teacher conferences, and the behavior team has requested to be part of the meeting. Her DCD teacher and I have talked some, and I'm pretty sure we're going to back off a bit, and drop the hour that we added. It's just not beneficial when they're spending that entire hour fending off blows, and making sure she's out of reach of anyone with hair. It's also not fair to the other students who are supposed to feel safe at school. If there was a problem here or there, it would be one thing, but that's not how it is. It's constant. 

Her behavior issues at home seem to wax and wane, I'm sure a lot of it has to do with raging hormones. We did start a great behavior programs that makes our mornings smoother 5 out of 7 mornings. She usually picks 2 mornings to dig her heels in. Unfortunately the incentives we have set up for her get old after just a few days, and then we have to think of something new. 

When she comes home from school, she has another list of things she needs to get done, and she can check them off as she goes. She really likes this routine, and is pretty good about getting all of it done. (with the exception of homework! LOL) We only have occasional problems in the afternoon, but when we do, it requires quick "duck and cover" reflexes. 

The behavior person comes once a week to check in, but also works with Angela on identifying feelings and emotions, and talking together about what's expected, and coming up with "a plan" for every day. Today was the first time I saw carry over from that. We'd picked up a new movie, and while we were driving home she was looking at the cover. She started labeling the facial expressions of each of the people on the cover, then telling me why each person had that expression. "That boy, he has surprise face. He surprised because a party!" 

So, I'm kind of bummed that we weren't successful with adding time to her day. It's a very real possibility that Angela will never be able to attend a full day of school. It used to be that she was just plain tired. Even with a half day of school she would come home and sleep. But she doesn't get tired anymore. She comes home full of energy most of the time. Sometimes she's a bit on the tired side and will hang out in her room, or doing something quiet, but not for very long. I'm not quite sure what it is, if it's just overstimulation (though I don't think so, as she's in a very quite environment at school) or if it's just the demands of school, and having to maintain good behavior for 5 (what is for her) very long hours. 

But, even though I'm kind of bummed, my main goal is for Angela to be successful, and happy, while still learning the things she needs to get by in the big world that is waiting for her. Over this past year I've been very fortunate to find some things outside of school that Angela loves to do, and that will help her later in life as well, both physically and socially.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I have a houseful of raging hormones---- and I will tell you tht you are not alone. I may not have the same issues as you, but you are not alone! LOL.

Hmmm, have you tried maybe Monday, Wednesday, Friday instead of an extra hour everyday?