Disheartening conference

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yesterday was Parent-Teacher Conference Day.
    While the other parents met with-the homeroom teacher one-on-one, I was blessed with-four teachers and the principal.
    The math and science teacher really has it in for difficult child, but I can hardly blame her. He hates math and is totally disorganized. on the other hand, she had specifically listed how many assignements he had missed and on which days they were due. I can feel for difficult child, because he had made up some of the assignments, and despite that, she still counted them on her list of "not done." So you look at the whole thing and feel like giving up. She's unusually emotional for a math and science teacher. (I guess I expect people in that field to be more analytical and calm. She always seems stressed out and wears a perpetually concerned frown on her face.)
    The other teachers aren't like that; they are cheerful and ... still ... difficult child has fallen way behind.
    Part of it is because he's been sick, but most of it is because he just hasn't done what he's supposed to do.
    He's still up to his old habit of not completing assignments, not turning things in, getting 0's in everything, then getting 100 on the tests, so he squeaks by with-D's. All the teachers agreed that academically, he's got what it takes. But who would know it?
    The principal, Sister John Paul, saw that I had carried in most of difficult child's books and papers, and was prepared to turn in his homework. In her beautiful, calm, counseling-mode voice, she said, "You already went through 6th grade. You already graduated from school and college. You're an accomplished woman. This is about your son turning in his work."
    "I understand that, but he's been sick," I said.
    They all said, "Let us deal with-that."
    Pretty clear. :anxious:
    He's got a B in literature, A's and B's in all the electives (art, computer, etc.) and F's in all the core classes.
    They didn't say this out loud, but I can tell you, if he keeps this up, he's going to get kicked out by Christmas.
    They encouraged me to send him to school even with-a stomach ache. They suggested that he was stressed out and just needed to show up for class and work through it.
    They said it's spiraling down ... he gets a stomach ache, falls behind, then gets a stomach ache because he's behind.
    They said to stay on his case at home. Sit on him. Don't give up.
    They implied I was too soft and that I needed to crack down at home whatever way I can.
    So, I talked to husband and he is going to take away the PS 2 controller for good tomorrow am. and put it in the attic.
    I am going to put away all the games.
    husband wasn't keen on that ... I don't know if he didn't want difficult child not to go ballistic, but he said, "I don't have time for that." Huh? I'll do it.
    I don't trust husband not to give in while I'm in NY so I'll hide all the games.
    Not fun.
    But difficult child needs a wakeup call. I still don't think he "gets it."
    He told easy child mo's ago that he wanted to flunk out so he could go to the same public school that his best friends go to. Hmm. Not going to happen.
    I'm looking up military academies, respite care and tutors online.
    It is such bad timing that I'm flying to NY tomorrow to take care of my cousin. She's as bad as difficult child. Quite the drama queen.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    P.S. When I crack down, and he has no video games, he follows me from room to room, an inch away from me, and harps on me. I come up with-other activities and he flat out refuses to do them. He will only do things if he has a reward ... clean your room for a piece of chocolate. Do your homework for a playdate. Typical Aspie, in that regard, I suppose.
    It drives me nuts.
    Just had to get that in.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Terry, I don't have an Aspie, but I do have a son who wouldn't do his schoolwork for YEARS. He is academically gifted, but has a lot of anxiety and depression and couldn't seem to dig himself out of his own hole. No amount of external pressure from us, his teachers or his therapist made a lick of difference. Punishments in fact made him dig in even deeper. We finally needed to send him to a residential program to figure out why he was self-sabotaging and to learn positive coping strategies. He is now in a therapeutic program based on positive relationship building and earning a 3.7 grade point average in 10th grade.

    I'm not suggesting that you need to send your own son away to a residential program, but I am suggesting that you may need to rethink your punitive strategies. They may not work. My own experience is that meeting these kids where they are rather than forcing them to conform to a restrictive system that they may not necessarily be able to conform to may be a recipe for disaster. A Catholic school may just not be the right place for an Aspie. And neither may a military academy. Really think through what your son's needs are. And then find a school that can meet those needs.
  4. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    Dear TerryJ,
    I am fairly new to the board and am not as up to par on some of the conditions that each of our difficult child might be dealing with such as the Aspie that your son has. Though you have in your about sig, that he has some other odd and adhd right. Could he be needing an addition medication or medications to help with some of this possibly?

    Also I am not sure from your post if the school where he goes is aware fully of all the conditions and the problems that each carries with it. IF they are not aware I think that you should have a conference with them and lay open about each problem, how it affects the child, and how they can be helpful by being knowledgeable about these conditions to help your son and most likely other students they either have know or will have in the future.

    I am just beginning the process of getting Levi's school up to date on his condition as we ourselves learn more. I am working on putting together info packs about the conditions - symptoms - problems that he faces and how we are work with his family first worker, his new psychiatrist.

    About the math-science teacher, don't forget that she might well be going through something at home that no one knows about. We all face our personal struggles that many no nothing about. You might try fixing some chocolate chip cookies or something and taking them to her. Tell her that you know that difficult child is a challenge and give her some kind of info on difficult child and say something like, " thank you for doing what you do to teach our children, etc... might just make her lighten up a little on difficult child. And as a PS to the math science teacher being emotional. My 7th grade math teacher, Mrs.Mapp and my algerbra teacher, Mrs Annebel Ray where both grumpy and seemed they should have picked something other than teaching for a career, :peaceful:

    Lastly, ;), I know going on a bit, but it is sunday and I can sit and type without having to worry about getting ready to go somewhere in a short bit, LOL LOL

    The video game being taken away, surely will cause a ruckus at first but hopefully if you can get to him that if he does better about doing his school work, he can use the game. You might even have it that each day when he does his work that he is supposed to at home, he can then use the game. Set something up with the school so that you can be informed of knowing what he is supposed to have to work on each day at home. Let him know that if he tries to sneak around and say he does not have homework and really did, then grounded from the games and other activities for a week will be the punishement. Something like this, if need be keep him grounded from seeing friends or doing another activity, TV, maybe if he does not do as he needs too.

    Lots of soft thoughts, kinds and gently hugs and a big infusion of encouragement sent to you and your hubby,

    T. Paul
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Terry, I feel for you and your struggles and having an Aspie of my own, I totally relate :tongue:.

    If I may ask, and I mean no disrespect, what is it about the public school that frightens you or makes you think he will not do well there? They offer a lot more services. My own son went to Catholic school for three years and, just like you, I don't believe they understood that he was really different and maybe t hey judged my parenting as too lax...who knows.

    After I looked around (and I did!) to try to find a place that would actually be positive for both my son and the school (I wanted a school that would WANT my son), my son really took off. He actually made friends, his teachers loved him, and I never once heard that I was too lax. They seemed to appreciate how involved I was in L's schooling and life. I don't think L. could have done this well in every school, but we found one that worked for him.

    He is currently mainstreamed, except for one Learning Disability (LD) study hall where he can get help, and is getting all A's and B's. He gets his homework done (and does it well) in this study hall. They tell me he rarely needs help anymore. Terry, I was so scared when they mainstreamed him completely, but they really know him and understand him, and I'm almost humbled by how kind they have been to him and to our family.

    I really worry about your son in a military school setting. I truly can't imagine an Aspie making it in that sort of environment. In general (and, of course I don't know your son), but most Aspies are gentle souls who are confused with the world's rules. If my son was put into military school, he would not only fail, he'd be abused by the other kids. And military schools really don't *want* differently wired kids. They want typical kids who are looking at a military career. Perhaps you should talk to a few military schools first to see if they feel it would be a good placement for him.

    I hope you have a good trip and try not to worry. You do have many choices for your son and it is good that he is intelligent. That never hurts. (((Hugs)))
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I agree with SW and think that pushing an already overwhelmed kid is not the answer. Doesn't Ross Greene say that "Children do well if they can?" The structure of the Catholic school may be good for him, but the rigidity (which is entirely different) is probably not. He may be better served in a more therapeutic environment. Not necessarily a facility like SW ended up going with, but something that provides the structure he needs along with the appropriate supports and interventions a kid like him needs. It's not a sign of failure on anyone's part. It's just the fact that he needs different tools to succeed. He CAN succeed -- I mean, look at the test scores! He just doesn't have all the tools he needs to function to the best of his true abilities. And it sounds like that school he's in now is not prepared to teach him the way he needs to be taught.

    Don't despair. You've tried this school and maybe it doesn't work out. It just means you need to keep looking.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I will look into local therapeutic schools as well. It's just that most of the students are very low functioning and difficult child will notice the min. he walks in the door.
    The one military academy I checked out has spec svcs for ADHD and Aspies, but of course, it's an extra $2,000. :) Still, the fact that they had it was unusual.
    I skipped the hard core academies. Not what I'm looking for.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nothing to add, just want to send some hugs your way.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No advice- just sending support. For my son, who is not diagnosis'd as aspie, if stress is triggering problem behavior, more punishment only makes it worse.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    All the not letting up in the world did not help Wiz. Not one bit. I honestly think if you remove all the games,etc... for good then he may well become physically aggressive with you.

    Is it at ALL possible to wait until you return to implement changes? Your husband always seems half-hearted when it comes to being stricter, though that may just be a misperception on my part. in my opinion it would be better to wait a week or two and really refine what you are going to do rather than to jump in, leave town, expect husband to follow through (or your daughter if she is going to come to help out), and then have to listen to everyone gritch and moan about the changes.

    They will still gritch and moan, but if you don't have to shore up husband via long distance phone calls then it will ALL be a lot easier.

    The one thing that has really helped Wiz was to have a schedule for after school. He gets home, gets a snack, can watch 30 mins of tv to unwind and then must do homework. If he does not bring homework home then he must do work my mom or dad assigns. Having both been teachers, they can really pick assignments that complement his curriculum - he HATES that, LOL!

    If he argues or bargains about homework then he gets an extra assignment or a chore. My mom is GENIUS at leading a child back to a half done chore and telling them to finish. Over. and over. and over. and over. and over. and over. and over. and over. and over. and over. She never raises her voice or shows any anger other than sometimes that clenched jaw.

    THEN she will tell Gpa that she is EXHAUSTED and he needs to take her out to dinner. The offender not only is left home, they don't get any leftovers from the meal out and they get whatever is least appealing that she can think of.

    She also is then "too tired" to drive a child anywhere, to do laundry, or to do anything else. And would the offender "just bring me" many things over and over - just as the offender gets settled into a book or tv show.

    I am not explaining it well but she is a GENIUS. She used this on her Aspie nephew, her aspie son, her borderline aspie me, and my majorly aspie father. It takes a TON of energy just to not explode. But it does get through.

    You might thumb through TEC and What your explosive child is trying to tell you, and any love and logic books you have on hand. I know your trip will be exhausting, but it might be helpful to take the books with you and to try to brush up on this stuff before you come back. Some of them are on audiobook, maybe you can download some of those?

    Sorry if I rambled too much. Hopefully this will help. I also think the Catholic school may not be the right place. It is so hard to find that right place though. But no military program is going to do well with an Aspie, in my opinion. But I DO have significant bias against Catholic schools, so take my reservations about Catholic schools into account when you weigh that part of my opinion.
  11. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Is it possible for the teachers to let you know what the assignments are before they are due. Our middle school has a homework line where students and parents can call to get a recorded message of the days assignments. You could offer the play station as a reward only after his nightly assignments are completed and at no other time.

    Good luck in NY, I hope things go smoothly with your cousin.

  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hey, Terry, I haven't read all the replies, but....if difficult child will work for rewards, would he do school work for game time?

    We have to do this with easy child 2. She earns 30 minutes for every A, 20 minutes for a B, 10 minutes for a C and gets points taken away for any assignments not turned in...would something like that work for him?
  13. nvts

    nvts Active Member


    Please listen to me! Military school, taking away video games, etc. isn't going to change him. Putting him in with lower functioning kids isn't going to help either.

    Even if he's in a private school, he's entitled to services from your school district. What you need to do is open a case for an IEP to be done. What you want is a para that can help him with his organizational skills, noting assignments, etc. Also on the IEP, you can have modifications done that will allow him to have either less homework, or a different balance of "what counts" toward his class grade, etc.

    Please don't make it more stressful for you and him Terry - you've gotten so far and you've been doing so well with some of his quirks. Aspies are notorious for being disorganized - you're fighting a losing battle - however, he can be trained to become organized.

    Let me know if I can help. I know quite a few places to dig up dirt that you can use to set up specific parameters for him!

    Hugs to both you AND him! ;)

  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Beth, I believe IEPs are not applicable at private schools unless the private school accepts federal funds. Some private schools like my daughter's will create their own version of an IEP, but it is not enforceable by law and certainly doesn't provide aides.
  15. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Oh, I wasn't aware of that! In NYC, they are required to provide services to all of the kids, whether in Public or Private school as long as the CSE (Committee on Special Education) approves of the services. The IEP is written by the committee just like it was if the school based support team, but it is then sent to the private school and the public school district provides the funding.

    Now the private school can refuse to implement the IEP and tell the parent and child to go pound salt, but the CSE then has to find an appropriate placement for the child. If it's determined that the local public school is an inappropriate setting, then they have to provide transportation to another location.

    Either way, let me know if I can help - I can try and see if your state handles it the way ours does. I really wish there were rules that we just straight across the board - life would be so much easier! :D

  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    In our state, if the school does not receive fed or state funding, they are not required to uphold any of the gov't mandated Special Education laws.

    That was one reason why I ended up going to a public school here -- I knew they'd HAVE to help my kid one way or another. I think her best option is either a public school or a private one that caters to kids like him.