We had difficult child 2's RTI meeting yesterday at the school. Most of his teachers were there. I was nervous going in...we've been having a time of it with him about going to school. He's hating it. The school is big, he's not making friends, etc. Every morning is a struggle to get him in the car. I was concerned that he might be having trouble at school too, so I was more than a little anxious about this meeting. All of his teachers had wonderful things to say about him. He's a joy to have in class, he's very respectful, etc. I was floored, although I shouldn't have been so surprised. He does very well with people he doesn't know, although very shy. So far, we all agree that his academic performance is not "quite" up to par, but definitely still in the "normal" range. We're chalking alot of that up to adjustment issues. We also all agreed that his biggest issue at the moment is his social skills. Everyone was on the same page in thinking that if we address some of his social skill issues, some of the other academics will work themselves out. We are going to be able to bypass the whole evaluation process to go ahead and get him services through Spec. Ed. Since he already has a confirmed medical diagnosis, they can go ahead and start services while we go through the whole evaluation process. (Normally, he would have to be observed for 60 days & if he is struggling, then they evaluate him for eligibility in Spec. Ed, then he gets services if needed. We get to bypass that process & get access to services now...the evaluation process will just look for additional services he might need.) His Visual Art teacher is a real gem. She said he's already made several friends in class that he likes to sit and talk with. Since that is his favorite class & where he appears to be the most comfortable, we're starting there to build on his social skills. The teacher kept complimenting him on his artistic abilities & understanding of some of the more abstract concepts of artistic style. She suggested that he have an art class of some sort every sememster, as he needs that creative, expressive outlet. I agree. We all talked about getting him into some of the clubs at school - thinking that a smaller group of kids with interests similar to his would be a good place to start working on his social issues. We discussed Chess Club, FFA, etc. Then his art teacher invited him to join Art Club. Normally, you have to be a second year art student to join, but she felt his interest in art, his natural skills, and his "quirkiness" put him on par with her second year students, so she extended the invitation in spite of his "status" as a first year art student. (We talked about the fact that many of her students who are a part of the Art Club tend to be the "quirky" kids & are often more understanding & accepting of people's "differences.") So, difficult child 2 is going to his first Art Club meeting after school today. He already knows a couple of the kids in the club, so we're hopeful that he'll fit right in and enjoy it. He's kind of proud that his art teacher thinks he's talented enough to join a year early. (He really is talented in that regard.) His other teachers have said they are going to look at ways they can help him make friends in their classes. We all have seen that he wants friends. He tries to be social with people, but he's just not sure where to start. He'll talk to other kids who talk to him, but he won't approach anyone. So, all us grown-ups are going to see if we can't help to nudge things along. His ROTC Sarg is going to find him a "battle buddy" of sorts. Someone he already seems comfortable with who can help "tutor" him on the stuff he missed from the first 9 weeks. Hopefully that will help him start making friends there. The other teachers are going to do the same thing in each class - try to find one student they can help him to connect with in their class, even if it is in a "tutor" capacity. (He really doesn't need the tutoring, but it gives him an "excuse" to work one on one with another student & hopefully make a friend or two as a result.) I must say, I'm really impressed with the attitudes & willingness of his teachers to try to help him to succeed. We all sat around the table talking about his strengths, his weaknesses, and brain storming ideas to help him. I was a little concerned that they kept chalking alot of his lack of social skills up to being homeschooled all of these years, but that's really neither here nor there. I doesn't matter if they think his social skills (or lack of) is a result of homeschooling or as a result of his Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis. So long as we're working on improving them, it doesn't matter what the cause is, or who's opinion is what on that note. The point is we all have the same goal in mind & agree on how to go about helping him. I don't think I've ever had a meeting at public school that was as productive as yesterday's meeting. At least there's some part of this kids' life where everyone is on the same page!! Now if I could just get the medical professionals all on one page, we'd be doing great!! And the bonus is that with him staying late for Art Club today, he won't be home until 4:30 or 5. That gives me one more hour a week that I don't have to be on guard for issues between him and his sister. If he joins the other 2 clubs that were suggested, that will give me 3 days a week that he stays an hour after school, plus whenever he has to stay late for ROTC stuff. I like that idea. I'll take all the time I can get that there's peace and quiet in my house.