It’s October! And we are officially one month into the school year. And I have nothing to report.
Which, I have to admit, leaves me a bit… well, concerned is not the right word. But I’m certainly feeling a sense of vague apprehension, like maybe something is coming and I should be expecting it. Or maybe not.
Sheesh, I am crap at describing things today. Just go with it.
That Girl is now one month into Grade 2. She has two main teachers, Mrs. C and Mrs. A, who teach a half-day each. We went into the school year knowing that last year’s teacher, the incomparable Mrs. M, had passed That Girl on to who she believed would be best suited to That Girl’s personality and disability, as well as knowing that the Special Ed lead was up to speed, and that everyone who needed to be was ready to get to work on Stinkerbelle’s IEP.
So, one month in, and Stinkerbelle is having a great time. She loves her class, her teachers, and has fun almost every day. So that’s all great.
Maybe I am used to the way things were with Mrs. M, whereby there was a constant feedback loop. We touched base once or twice a week, feeding information back and forth, trying to adapt routines and approaches to help That Girl succeed, and generally making sure we were always informed about whatever was going on at school, home and therapy. And when we could not chat directly, we wrote notes in Stinkerbelle’s agenda.
This year, though, it has been somewhat silent. Or maybe that’s just my perception.
I have had a few discussions with Mrs. C, who seems wonderful and takes my feedback to heart. I know both she and the Special Ed lead are working on her IEP, as Mrs. C called me at the beginning of the week to ask some questions. I also know the Special Ed lead is in discussions with the board to get That Girl some accommodations, such as technology, and funding.
And whenever Mrs. C talks about That Girl, she is effusive in her delight over how she is doing. She says she is fitting in well. She tells me she is delightful and happy and adorable. She says she is doing surprisingly well with routines.
I get almost no feedback from Mrs. A. But she is new, and I think defers to Mrs. C’s definite seniority and experience.
So, for most people, that would be enough, right? So why do I feel uneasy?
I am a little concerned that there is little to no homework. I am a little concerned that there’s been no discussion of spelling testing (which I know is bogus, and in Stinkerbelle’s case, will be almost always counterproductive — she will not be able to recall or write them, as long as she can read the words, I will be content). And I am a little concerned that there is no reading program, as I had been led to believe would be implemented.
Now, Mrs. C DID say they’d be starting the year off slowly, so the grade 1s would be able to get used to routines, and the grade 2s would be able to adjust to the change in more work/less play style of learning that comes as you move up in grades.
And maybe, with her vast experience, maybe Mrs. C is actually just really, really good and has everything under control and is just going with it. Because that is also a possibility, right?
So I am thinking I am fussing for nothing.
BUT. There’s that BUT again.
As the parent of a special needs kid, you are accustomed to being hypervigilant about information about your kid. All the time and effort and money spent in therapy sessions teaches you there is always work to do, there is always information to be gleaned, and there is always something looming. And I am not getting that right now.
I would love to sit back and think, “OH! She’s doing GREAT! There’s nothing to worry about! All the therapy work is paying off!” But in my heart of hearts, I know that is not true. I do not want to get my hopes up, set my expectations unrealistically. So I feel like I am letting the balls drop and there will be hell to pay later.
Yesterday, a folder was sent home showing some of the math work that Stinkerbelle’s class had been doing in school. She’s been doing pattern recognition, and we got the folder showing some of the work. There was a generic info sheet at the front showing that “your child needs more work in this area” sort of information (as opposed to “your child has a firm grasp of/good knowledge of this stuff”) and then one line about how That Girl is going to be working Grade 1 expectations (detailed above) as outlined by her IEP.
Okay. So. There were no Grade 1 expectations (detailed above) and we have not yet received her IEP. But it was something.
But immediately, both BDH and I were all on high alert. “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WHERE ARE THE EXPECTATIONS? WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN? WHAT CAN WE DO AT HOME? WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT.”
You get used to doing that, as a parent of a kid with disabilities. You’re all WHERE IS THE INFORMATION WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WHAT SHOULD I KNOW TELL ME.
And today, I am a bit on vibrate, like I have had way too much caffeine or something, all fretting about letting things go easy this first month, and should we have been concentrating on math, and how can we get her progressing, and what do we need to do.
I feel kind of like I need to get back on the special needs kid treadmill. I need to DISCUSS. I need to TASK. I need to PLAN. I need to SCHEDULE.
Part of me is trying to calm the jangling by saying a nice, soothing “but it’s only one month in” kind of a mantra. But the rest of me is a little in freakout mode. One month is a long time in special needs land. So much can go pear-shaped in a short time.
I used to get the whole “no news is good news” thing. But during the last few years, where my child is concerned, no news is generally a warning sign that a ball has been dropped or a gatekeeper is being uncooperative or someone is letting their side down.
And there’s a bit of panic, thinking… that person? The ball dropper? The person letting the side down? Might be me.