If you’re new or just hadn’t read those posts, please do so. You’ll totally get where I’m coming from with the below if you do. Thanks.
Yesterday was the end of the 2nd term. I spent the past week being nervous about the meeting with Ace’s teacher. Along with the standard, “Tuesday and Wednesday will be half days and the teachers will meet with parents to hand out report cards” letter, I also got a “Ms L, the school Vice Principal would like to meet with you to discuss Ace’s progress” letter.
Do teachers know what letters like that do to parents? Or am I the only one who immediately freaks out when I read things like that? Just like I had done before (links above), I did my research. The difference is that this time, instead of googling (which I still LOVE), I spoke to other parents and I read more blogs that addressed this issue and by divine intervention I found THIS. I bookmarked it. I thought to myself, “this will be great in December when I’m preparing for Jay’s next IEP meeting“. Please read it. It talks about special accommodations that are made for children to help them get through the school day.
What I didn’t count on was how helpful it would be in Ace’s parent/teacher meeting yesterday.
Once again, the conversation that I had prepped myself for didn’t happen. I was so sure that his teacher and the school VP were going to recommend that he repeat kindergarten. They had said it was a possibility at the end of term 1 when he failed math. Instead, Ms. M said he is doing very well academically. He has improved drastically, particularly in math and reading and has gone from being the equivalent of a failing/C student to a solid B student in all subjects. He still is a little sloppy with his hand writing but even that has improved over last term. The issue they have with him is that he is fidgety. He simply is unable to sit still in class. He always is moving, or touching something or humming to himself. He does things to calm himself or provide himself with comfort. Sometimes, he traces his name tag that’s on his desk with his finger. When he’s standing or sitting next to the teacher he wants to rub her arm. In special ed circles, we would say he “stims”.
They told me all the tricks that they have tried with him so far.
(Are you ready to be impressed?)
His teacher actually brought her personal i-pad from her house and downloaded shows that she knows Ace likes and uses it to bribe him. Yup, she tells him that if he sits still for 20 minutes during story/listening time, he will get i-pad time during recess.
They have given him his own special “magic carpet” rug to sit on.
1 of his teachers got him a Thomas the train hat because he had a full week of being “good”. (I don’t usually like to throw around words like good and bad but it’s serving the purpose here).
They have made him the official class helper so he’s in charge of handing out papers and picking up crayons etc just so that he can get up and move around during the class.
They have given him a special eraser to (inconspicuously) play with while they are teaching so he’s not singing to himself or rolling around on the floor.
They asked me if it was OK for them to discuss him with the schools special ed coordinator to get more ideas even though he’s not a special ed kid.
They asked me if I had any tricks that we’ve used at home that they may try because they are willing to do what it takes to help him be an all round success in the classroom.
When I said on facebook last night that good teachers are a gem … that just doesn’t do them justice. I’m totally impressed with and blown away by their dedication to my son and I’m sure all the kids in the class. I had no idea they were doing those things to help my Ace.
Based on the posts I read from Solodialogue/Four Sea Stars and the other moms, I suggested the velcro on the bottom of the desk and the disco ball seat and chewlery. His teachers were excited to hear those and definitely open to the ideas.
They’re gems I tell ya!
Now this is where I really need YOUR help!
Besides his “ants in the pants” antics, the other big issue is his poor eye contact. We have no idea how to improve that. His teacher said they often bend down to his eye level when talking to him but that’s all they’ve got and it’s not working. His eyes wander and he looks at everything except the person speaking to him. He seems to be physically uncomfortable during the brief moments that they do get him to look at them.
If you guys have ever heard of or tried anything that will improve eye contact, PLEASE let me know. I’m willing to try and I am fortunate enough to have teachers in my sons life who are also willing to try just about anything.