Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Friday, October 5, 2012

the 1st first grade team meeting

She gave me a hug (for the third time), and then as she continued in the opposite direction down the hall she spoke over her shoulder, "Remember what I said about the coffee and a book."

Hayden's former teacher doesn't know that I don't drink hot coffee but I thanked her and asked, "Can it be wine instead?"

She turned around smiling with this expression as if to say it should be a given, and confidently offered, "I was being polite

One of the many topics discussed at this afternoon's team meeting was carrying over behavioral services from school to home. The 'coffee and a book' comment was in reference to allowing myself some sort of respite, even if it's while the Behaviorist is working with Hayden. Reminding me that there is both a time for my involvement, as well as a time for me to go in the other room.

It was easily 4:00 already, and here she was on a Friday afternoon stopping to catch up with me following a team meeting. A team meeting which she did not attend as she is no longer Hayden's teacher. But she is still interested, she still listens, she still offers welcomed input, and she still gives me her calming, trustworthy reassurance.

I made one more stop in the first grade classroom where the teacher was still present for a Girl Scout meeting, which was starting shortly. I said I just wanted to thank her in advance for next week, as they have accepted my proposal to briefly speak with the class about Hayden and fragile x. She seemed genuinely happy to accommodate and offered how much she is looking forward to it. I lightly added that I hope I finish before Hayden returns from Speech and sees me through the classroom door window. My short presentation is not something he should be there for, as his presence would undoubtedly cause a mutual distraction throughout the room.

When I finally exited the school building, I smiled as I replayed the meeting in my mind-- not because we sat in a room for well over an hour and shared good news with one another, but because we sat in a room for well over an hour only to discuss how to help Hayden. Period. If you are going to have challenges to solve, and you're lucky enough to have a team like his to solve them with, then you hopefully have reason to smile.

Hayden was not feeling well today and missed school as a result. As concerned as I was for him, I was almost equally frustrated over the idea of possibly having to cancel this afternoon's team meeting. It took weeks to schedule something with all necessary parties involved, and between everyone's limited availability together with my even more limited time off from from work I was praying we could still meet.

Luckily Dan made it home from work in time for me to keep the meeting, and today was just as productive a school day as any other... even with Hayden being out sick. As a matter of fact a rare, positive side effect of Hayden's absence included his Aide being able to attend the meeting as well.

As a team we discussed his recent challenges with recess time being longer than previous years, causing hyperactivity, and Hayden consequently taking it out on his Aide. So we brainstormed ideas of switching around his therapy schedule to allow only some time outside but not too much. We discussed different "jobs" he could have since he loves to help, as well as ideas for bad-weather days. On another note we also addressed oral motor challenges and appropriate options for allowing him that much-needed input, as opposed to Hayden practically eating his own shirt of course.

I was just beginning to feel optimistic about the new case manager-- keeping in mind, this is the 3rd year in a row that we've had someone new due to budget restraints which left the district with an outsourced Child Study Team-- when the topic of a calming room came up. Sometimes Hayden just needs a quiet, comfortable, dim space to simply breathe and re-regulate. This concept is certainly not a surprising, novel idea by any means-- it is something we have spoken about over the years. We know there is a need for Hayden to have access to a consistent, safe, quiet area when he feels overwhelmed. In earlier years the very well staffed and self-contained preschool program afforded him this opportunity as needed.

Well using what resources are available now, recently Hayden's Aide tried bringing him to the O.T./P.T. room when it was empty. He peacefully swayed back and forth on the therapy swing, and with the overhead fluorescents left off and only natural light coming in through the windows, she was successfully able to bring him back from his meltdown to a much-needed state of calm.

That is until certain officials got word of her being in that room alone with him and more importantly, without a certified professional. I immediately asked the team what steps I need to take to advocate for her use of the therapy room with Hayden. Clearly the idea was effective and there's no arguing that he needs it. But apparently state law dictates that only a certified staff member is permitted to be in a room with him, without any other staff present.

No sooner did someone innocently bring up the fact that his former afternoon Aide is certified and would be able to accommodate his need for the quiet space. But she was only his former afternoon Aide and was not-so-conveniently reassigned to the upper elementary school this year (rather surprising to her and everyone else I might add). So once again due to the inconsistent staffing of the outsourced Child Study Team, a very important detail was completely overlooked on an administrative level... something which a consistent, familiar case manager would not have. And the previous coverage for Hayden's one-on-one, which had been consistently successful for many years, was now suddenly and inexplicably altered. HIP HIP HOORAY! Three cheers for budget cuts. 

So aside from the absurd challenge of solving a legally-friendly calming space for Hayden, our first team meeting of the year otherwise went well. I might not be ready to sit back, relax and focus long enough to enjoy a book... but luckily there is something to be legally enjoyed here.

Corkscrew anyone?

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