Can't have an aide. Now what? Marg maybe? Anyone?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Son on the spectrum told me yesterday that he gets "angry" in the hallway in school. As always, I had to ask 100 questions to get the story out of him, and I'm still not sure I'm right, but it seems that he gets nervous in social studies and science without an aide which makes him angry in the halls after the classes. No, I don't understand the relationship either. Here's a backstory:
    Son was in Cognitively Delayed classes for years. He wasn't really CD, but he had some delays in social skills and life skills and was a tad behind in school and needed A LOT of help to do his work. This class, and teacher, was actually a fantastic fit for him. It took him to where he is now.
    Well, he can do the work now alone, thanks to his wonderful, fantastic ex-teacher and ex-aide so he was upgraded to Learning Disability (LD) and the aide is gone. He's fine with no aide in every class except social studies and science. I talked to the principal today. He's really nice. Son is getting an A in one class and a B in the other class so there is no justification for an aide to be there. I agree. He's going to talk to my son to see if he doesn't like the commotion in the halls or why he gets nervous in these two classes. When asked, son said math and reading were "easy" and that computer tech was fine too. He's worried just about these two classes and I know he has nice teachers. Marg, my son is very much like an Aspie. What do you think could be going on. You're so good at figuring out these kids. Son is doing really well in his classes--all A's and B's, however, as a typical ASDer, he thinks that if he goes from an "A" to an "A-" his grade And he worries a lot more than your average neurotypical kid. Help?
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    When are the classes? Just before lunch or later in the afternoon?

    He might be getting hungry and/or tired.

    He might focus so much in class that the transition to a busy hallway is too fast. His angry feeling may be one of overwhelmed with business and noise of the hallway.

    Growing up, I always had problems with the disorganization and chaos of the hallway between classes. It usually raised my anxiety a tab or so. I often wanted to shout, "Will everyone just SHUT UP! Just quietly get your books and get out of the hallway!"

    Hallways are anything but structured and it can be hard to transition from a classroom to the hallway back to a classroom.

    Does he have any coping skills for calming down? It may help if he takes an extra minute or so to do his breathing skills before enterring the hallway. Have him focus on shutting out the noise and movement in the hallway and focus only on getting to his locker and the next class.

    Maybe consider having the teachers allow him to be dismissed one or two minutes before the other kids to give him time to reach his locker and get the next books before the chaos starts?

    Does he get snacks in the morning or afternoon? Make sure he is not getting hungry about 2:00. I never could understand why there is not an afternoon snack time.
  3. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    MM-Could it be that Science and Social Studies have more group projects and "team" work being done and he therefore has to work things out with other kids more than in Math and other subjects? If this is the case then maybe he DOES need and aide or some other kind of thing because the anxiety of such work and the "struggle" to hold it together all during class makes him completely collapse afterwards. Just a thought.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If its the noise in the hallways and all the commotion...could he be let out a tad earlier...or later. Could he be allowed to wear an Ipod or cheap Mp3 player with soothing music on it to distract him enough to ignore the chaos?
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I wonder if it's the subject matter of science and social studies that is causing your son anxiety. Math, reading and computer tech, although the subject matter can be challenging, are fairly clear cut. In each subject, your answer is either right or wrong. It's black and white. If you do your work properly you get the right answer to your math problem, you know how to pronounce and define the word correctly, or your computer program runs the way it should.

    With social studies and science, things are not nearly so clear. With science, especially if you're working on lab experiments, there are so many factors that might change your results that you're not sure from one try to the next how your experiment is going to turn out. The subject matter of social studies is a bit ambiguous, especially for an Aspie.

    Combine this with not having an Aide, and I'm sure that Lucas feels very much out of his depth. And then, just when his emotions are getting the better of him, he has to go out into the hallway and deal with the chaos of hundreds of teeming kids milling around and making noise trying to get from one class to the next. It's probably sensory and emotional overload.

    I like Janet's suggestion of letting Lucas change classes a bit ahead of the crowd, so that he doesn't have to deal with the hallway chaos. As for the classes, even if it's not possible to provide an in-class aide, do any of the teachers offer extra-help or office hours, where he can go through the information one-on-one and clarify things?

  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I haven't got much time, difficult child 3 & I should already be on the road, but I had to get on the computer to print out his past reports.

    You've had some good suggestions so far.

    There could be many possible reasons for these subjects being the ones where he is more anxious. He maybe wants to achieve better here because he prefers these subjects. He could be more anxious because of current topics within the subject, or it could be the teachers, or it could be the other students. Or it could be where in the school these classes are held - the shape of the corridor, the nearness or otherwise of the toilet block - there can be so many factors. Letting him out early or later could be a way around the bustle of the crowded corridor.

    However, it does seem to me tat he needs support. And I was always told that support SHOULD NOT BE BASED ON RESULTS. If he needs support to transition fom class to class, then it doesn't matter if he's getting an A. Maybe if he was able to perform to his true ability, he might already be at university level.

    difficult child 3 was never given extension work because the local school insisted he had to complete the standard class work first. Even when he had demonstrated proficiency with the regular work, they kept giving him the same stuff as the other kids, which always includes "do more examples). difficult child 3 wouldn't do it after a while because he was already good at it, he wanted new work. As a result, he didn't progress when he could have. He started school already doing simple maths when other kids weren't even reading.
    difficult child 3, at school beginning in Kindergarten, was reading fluently, was doing maths. Academically, he was the brightest kid in the class. But because he had very obvious personal needs including support to stay in his seat, to stay on task, to behave appropriately - he needed an aide.

    You son has anxiety issues and this alone should justify an aide at least in those situations where his anxiety is greatest.

    talk to the principal again. Ask what it will take, who you have to approach and arm-twist, to get the aide. Point out that if difficult child is more anxious than he need be, purely due to lack of an aide, and some kid pushes him in the corridor and difficult child turns round and thumps out of fear and anxiety, WHO IS TO BLAME? Especially now you're putting the school on notice, that he has needs which are not being met.

    This has nothing to do with academics. This is to do with difficult child's safety, and the safety of other students.

    Put it in writing so the principal cannot at a later stage say he wasn't notified or warned. Also, even if the principal is supportive, put it in writing so he can use your letter to force the hands of those above him, in similar fashion.

    Good luck.

    We'd better hit the road - got to get into the city with difficult child 3, all reports are now printed and files sent. Yet one more example of why having good records and putting requests in writing, can really get you results.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all of you. Every single one of you gave excellent advice. I'm going to study it all over the weekend and call a meeting with the people in charge at school.
    I really appreciate your efforts and good ideas!