I had a meeting with Matthew's teacher, social worker and the chairperson for special education today to discuss Matthew's upcoming school year. I am really trying to come to terms with the fact that this teacher who I love, who was supposed to be with us, err, I mean Matthew, for a total of 3 years is leaving. She is so good that she is being transferred to another classroom within the district that needs her. I get that, I understand as the director of a program that at times you take the best you have and move them because you need your best somewhere! But just because I get it, doesnt mean I like it!
This is one of the first times that i feel like I have a real TEAM for Matthew. We have worked out the nuances of communication, I understand them, they understand me, and we both have a true appreciation for each other. I know that there will be times that I will "need" more communication than they can offer. I know that there will be times when they will be busy or cannot respond to a topic or concern I have. We both know that if there is an issue that cannot wait, that we will respond appropriately.
We can read the appropriate tones in each others emails, we do not expect perfection from each other and most importantly, we all truly care for Matthew. This teacher loves him. He is her kind of kid! I know that she will miss him, and wishes that she had the next 2 years with him also.
We met today to discuss whether Matthew is appropriate to remain at his elementary school or if an out of district placement is best for Matthew. What I liked about this meeting is that I was a true team member. My questions were met with sincere answers. I was treated with respect, and they shared my concerns. The chairperson for special ed shared enough information with me so that I felt very comfortable and know that they are looking out for my son. They have his best interest in mind. And, most importantly, while they feel that for now they can offer him the best education, this does not mean they can offer that forever, and they encourage these conversations.
One of my favorite parts of the meeting was as we discussed who the aides would be in the classroom for Matthew for next year. I get the sense that this is a high burnout classroom, so at times aides are moved around year to year as necessary. However, one of the aides who has now been with Matthew for a few years is purposely being put in his class again next year because she "gets him" and is well aware of all of his tricks, scams and maneuvers. His teacher made sure to keep this aide with him because she knows it is important that we don't lose time with someone trying to figure Matthew out.
Matthew is a tricky kid. I swear he could get anyone to do anything for him. However, this is part of the problem. Having this aide with him means that precious time will not be lost. It means that we are not starting from scratch.
I will forever be thankful that we had a year with Mrs Warner. She has changed my life and Matthew's life. She has taught me to believe in myself, and has been there through me during some tough times with Matthew. She has helped me to understand that there is some mental illness in Matthew that we are dealing with. She has shared our success, and been sad at the challenging times, however through it all she has set a high standard for Matthew and been a strong support person for me.
She has invited us to stay in touch. She even suggested that Matthew can keep in touch if he wants to. I am thankful that she is remaining in our district, I have her email and I will work hard to use it only as needed.
It is a rare occasion for any family, but especially a family with children wtih special needs that you find someone who is as supportive and on target as Mrs Warner. I am so thankful that we moved to Bethlehem, and so very thankful that there are so many people in our world who are there not just to educate my children, but also to support me and to help me understand all that each of my sons need.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!