Whenever I fill my tub for a bath, I follow pretty much the same pattern. I clean out the tub, then I start the water, double-checking for just a moment that I got all the stray hair and dust out. If not, I stop the water and do one last sweep. Then I start the tub with what I think feels like an appropriate temperature. If something leads my attention away, I can end up with a scalding hot bath or a lukewarm one. It's happened once or twice. Since we have a large tub, there have even been times when the hot water was depleted and icy cold water was undoing any warmth the bath once had.
My school dealings with Max are a lot like this. I worked like crazy to get him ready for Kindergarten, including therapy, early childhood, and lots and lots of social stories. I hoped and prayed I was making the right decision putting him in when I was not 100% sure he was developmentally ready. The tub was cleaned, I believed.
School started and some things were still floating in the bathwater. So, we turned off the water for one more sweep. We had an IEP meeting and tweaked some areas of concern. Water resumed.
His return to school since winter break has been tumultuous. He has said to me more often than not that he does not want to go to school. He wants to stay home. He has been refusing to do things at school, mainly in the gen. ed. classroom I fought to get him to be a part of. Lying down on the floor. Saying no. And, on Friday, kicking and hitting his PE teacher. Temperature of the water is a bit too hot.
So here we are, with a child who is cognitively able to handle the content of Kindergarten. Has a bunch of sight words under his belt. Recognizes and writes his name and various other words. Can play a problem solving game on a laptop PC using its touchpad. Simultaneously, he is showing the behaviors that I know will make it quite difficult to convince people of where he should be placed. It's not that I have anything against the special education room. [Ringing in my ears, Seinfeld's, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"] I just know that being in a gen. ed. room will get him the exposure he needs to continue his content attainment. A separate space does not guarantee that same level.
So, I'll put my hand in the water and give it a swirl. I'll give it some time for nature to run its course and for the water to cool. Sometimes I do not do that. Sometimes I get in the tub and regret it, as my skin turns a bright red and I actually sweat in its heat. I am wondering if I did that... pushed for him to be in too much gen. ed. Assumed that the gen. ed. situation is a strong fit. As a teacher who teaches students with similar schedules, sometimes they are in my room, sometimes not, I know the effort it takes to make everyone feel like they "belong." The magic does not occur without a great deal of comfort and commitment. We decided to have a meeting in January to check the changes in his IEP on the day we made them. So, we shall be meeting soon to determine how to get his bathwater temperature to be better.
Ironically, this week, we got the class composite for class pictures. His class? The special ed. class. Now, you must understand that this is the very thing Scott said last year that he did not want... the yearbook picture of him in a special ed. class. This is the very reason my husband did not want him on "the short bus." No, he's not in denial. I think he is being somewhat realistic. Just one more way for peers to note his differences, and one more time (I know there will be lots more) for us to be smacked in the face with the fact that our child is different. In that sense we step in to the tub after the water turned ice cold.