Monday, April 22, 2013

Testing The Fates: It Was A Good Year

I know, I know - year is not over yet. But it kinda is for us - we are taking kids out of school for the month of May for a Family Adventure, so feel comfortable evaluating the school year. The 4th Grade has been good to us. Partially because we had a great support team at Alameda, but also because of Isaac. He is almost completely in GenEd, some days not venturing back at all to the CB classroom, and doing almost all of the same work as his GenEd classmates, with just a few modifications regarding handwriting. So what changed? I've been pondering this, knowing that any success is carefully crafted like a house of cards, and just as easily falls apart. So what changed? How far should I get caught up on speculation? Maturity: And I'm not talking about 10yo behavior. More like 8-9yo behavior. But this still means greater understanding, perspective, and self control. Oh, and the onset of puberty. It's started, and heaven help us. Boredom: I've said this before, but its worth repeating. A behaviorist came in to observe him at the end of 3rd grade when he was exclusively in the CB classroom. While it is labeled a CB Academic classroom, a huge amount of academic time is sacrificed to managing behavior problems. And to be honest, Isaac was one of those problems last year. So not sure if the boredom was causing the issues or he was just incapable of handling educational demands, we were not sure what to do. When things are crappy, it can make taking a chance a bit easier. So we took a chance on insisting on starting GenEd at least 50% of the day from day the first week of 4th grade. And it worked. But why? Was it he using the genEd students own behavior as role-modals? Was he just happy to step up to the challenge? Could this be repeated in 5th grade? Expectations: As parents, we started changing our own language. We verbally laid out our expectations for him. He participated in setting goals for himself. HS impassioned love of the U of Oregon Ducks and wanting to go their for college was a really good one (I'm a Beaver, but what can you do?). College is about independence study, reading, writing, and testing. And boom. He went from resisting to working on all. Peer pressure: It apparently has its uses. For years we have been trying to get him interested in reading books and athletics. Within a month of hanging with NT peers, he's reading books independently and asking to join a basketball team. And the more time spent with NT peers, the more he requests to not go back to the CB classroom. Sad and surprising all at the same time. Tomorrow is a meeting regarding Isaac's re-evaluation for SPED. He still qualifies, still solidly ASD. But how he moves forward in this adventure through PPS has to be discussed. We know all too well that it's always two steps forwards, one step back.