I know I say it frequently, but consistency is key. And this school year has been anything but consistent, which has made for a very difficult transition for Johnny. His behavior has been erratic, his hyperactivity has increased and his stims have been off the charts where they were previously minimal at best. He's not doing poorly at school, but his inability to calm himself down has made getting him to sit still long enough to concentrate increasingly troublesome. This lead to a conversation between myself, his teacher and his doctor, which resulted in an increase in his medication. (You can read about our decision to medicate here .) He ended up showing signs of aggression, which anyone who knows Johnny knows he is anything BUT aggressive, so on top of STILL having a hard time with school, we had to take him off his medication. He is presently back to being super hyperactive and basically unable to control himself without assistance. His little life is in a massive upheaval.
Before I start on this next segment, you should know that Johnny has had the same teacher for over a year now. He has developed a bond with her, knows her very well, and knows what her expectations are. Going to school to see Mrs. R has become part of his routine. So of course I get a call from the ASD program director today. She said that because of an influx of kindergarten students at the same level as Johnny, his teacher is split between two classrooms. They feel that it would be better for him to have a different teacher so that he can stay in the same class with the same teacher. But don't worry, she says, all of his paraprofessionals, specialists, the kids in his class and his daily routine would stay the same, just his teacher would be different.
Hold the phone.
So you mean to tell me that, on top of the hardships he is already facing, you're going to disrupt his life EVEN FURTHER by changing a key part of his routine? He's just barely starting to get a hold of being back in school and you're going to pull the rug out from under him. He doesn't know this woman. He doesn't know what her expectations are, what her classroom rules are and what he's supposed to do. I can understand a change at the beginning of the year, but not 6 weeks in. You can't just drop this bomb on him and expect him to seamlessly switch his life around. I told her that this would send him into a tailspin and make this already rocky transition even worse. She responded with...
"Just because of a change in teacher?"
You're the director of the ASD program. You should have a better understanding than anyone that it's not about the change in teacher, it's about the change in routine. Tweaks in the routine have the ability to massively disrupt the lives of people with autism and can result in regression that can take months to repair. Someone with your level of education is perfectly aware of that, so don't give me that feigned incredulity bit. You and I are both conscious of the fact that you know better.
I bit my tongue and held back my ire. She asked if I just wanted to meet with just the teacher or if I wanted to meet with the whole team. I demanded the team meeting as soon as possible. Monday afternoon I am going to the school to find out when this is happening and exactly why. I will try to keep my mama bear in check and be professional, but if backed into a corner I may not be able to control her.
Pray for us, folks.
Peace and Love