A Moment SUSPENDED in Time…

Just a few days ago I was thinking to myself… Holy Crap!  Kaleb might actually go an entire school year without getting suspended!  

Want to know what happened 24 hours later?  I realized I jinxed myself.  I came to this realization right about the same time his teacher was informing me that he’d been suspended.

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Yep.  Two days before the pinnacle IEP meeting to remove the harness (after working for months to prove that he could maintain control of himself), he goes and gets himself suspended.  And he earned it – big time.  Honestly, I’m a bit surprised it didn’t happen Monday.  I guess on the positive side of things, I can definitely say the school didn’t want to suspend him – but he really didn’t give them a choice.  So, unlike the catastrophe of last year, this was fully merited on Kaleb’s part.  Not just because someone didn’t want to deal with him.

Then again, my 6 year old got suspended again.  Any upside is a moot point anyway.

Monday he got mad because there was no ketchup at lunch – so he threw his tray and punched another kid in the back.  Then at P.E. he didn’t want to jump rope the way he was being instructed to jump rope, and he punched another kid.  Terrific.  Then came yesterday.  Once again he got mad at lunch because he thought a kid was cutting line in front of him (which was not the case btw – he just wasn’t paying attention before) and once again threw his tray and punched a kid in the back.  Then comes the real kicker – literally.  He gets mad during P.E. again and walks up to a girl who for her own special needs (I wasn’t informed what kind) had to sit out of class that day.  He then rears back, and kicks her as hard as he can.  He then continues to do so until a crowd of other kids comes over to see what is going on, and he starts screaming “violent and unpleasant” things at everyone around him.  They end up having to pull him away.

What the hell?!

I’ll be the first to admit that he’s been devolving for the last couple weeks.  It’s been day after day of highly emotional, overwhelmed, over-reactive Kaleb for going on three weeks.  But what we haven’t seen at home is increased violence.  We’ve seen more screaming, more crying, more crawling under furniture and refusing to listen.  We’ve seen him meltdown at the drop of a hat, drop to the floor like a sack of flour, and get hysterical over the most seemingly insignificant things.  But he hasn’t physically lashed out.  Actually, that’s been more of Mason’s gig lately.  Mason’s the one using his ridiculously well aimed arm to throw, whack, and swat.  Kaleb hasn’t been an angel on that end – but he certainly hasn’t had any real change.  9 times out of 10 Mason is the one hitting Kaleb first – and Kaleb’s been just upset enough to come tattle-  rather than retaliate – most of the time.

At first I just thought it was the growth spurt he was going through.  The kid’s size 7 jeans when from resting on the top of his sneakers, to sitting three inches above his ankles in a matter of days.  And during this time he also started sleepwalking again, and looked extremely tired each morning.  So, I attributed the emotionally heightened state to that.  And it might still have something to do with it.  We might need to adjust his medication, or hell, at this point, I wouldn’t be completely against trying something new.  And the increased violence could also have something to do with a few new students being added to his class – which has definitely been known to trigger behavior issues in the past.

He’s been on his current medication for years.  As much as we didn’t want to go the medication route, his escalating violence made it almost impossible to even send him to school, and he really had no control over himself.  When Kaleb hits that meltdown mode, it’s like a switch is flipped and all cognitive thought goes out the window.  He’s 100% primal impulse.  There are many times when he genuinely can’t even remember what he did after the fact.  The medication helped with that – he obviously still has meltdowns, but he was able to stay in at least enough control of himself to minimize the damage, and he rarely sought to harm another person.  We’ve had to make some adjustments over the years, to accommodate his growth, as well as the tolerance levels building in his system.  But now we’re concerned about what we do when he hits the point where we can’t make any more adjustments – or when we hit a dosage level we are uncomfortable with.

Enter problem number 2 – Tuesday’s incident likely would have been worse – much worse – if he hadn’t been on his medication.  Because even with his escalating violent behavior, at least he still retained a small bit of control.  He didn’t completely check out while it was happening – which is when the real damage starts (you can asked my pre-medicated-Kaleb self about the concusions and severe bruises from head to toe), this I know for certain.

So, what do we do?  Do we try and increase again?  Do we try to switch things up?

I don’t know.  But I did make an emergency appointment with his neurologist for yesterday after Mason got on the bus (Shout-out to Aunt Brittany for saving my skin and getting Mason off the bus, and sitting with Kaleb for the IEP today), and re-confirmed his with his developmental pediatrician for his yearly appointment.  It’s time to gather the troops and nip this now before it gets worse.

Now, unlike 99% of the times he got suspended last year, Kaleb was seriously in the wrong this time – and I’m determined to make sure he understands why he’s in trouble.  This isn’t going to be two days of fun and mini-vacation.  We’re talking serious restriction this time around.  No TV, no Legos, no games, puzzles, or electronics.  The only things he is allowed to do are:  read, homework, clean, sleep, and eat.  This is the anti-fun time, and every single time he asks why I’m going to remind him of his suspension, and I’m going to explain again, why what he did was wrong.  Maybe it will sink in, maybe it won’t.  But it’s better than just doing nothing and blaming it on autism.  Kaleb was aware of what he was doing when he walked up and kicked that little girl, and he needs to understand why that is so very wrong.

And of course there’s the IEP meeting today.  Which is probably partly a waste of time – because I just don’t see them saying “Yep, lets get rid of the harness even though he clearly can’t control himself in school, and is therefore a potential danger to the other children around him.  Letting him loose on the bus sounds like the perfect solution for out of control behavior and violence.”  I can’t get mad if they want to keep the harness.  Honestly, I would be shocked if they said anything else.  The variables are too great.  He has tried so very hard over the past few months to prove that he was ready, and I’m so very proud of him for that.  And then he wrecked all of that hard work in minutes.  And that just sucks.  It sucks to know that he’s going to be set back by what he did.  But maybe he needs to be.  Maybe he needs to really understand how much one action can impact his life.

At the same time, I do want his Gifted testing redone, and since there’s obviously a problem with him right now, an already planned meeting is the best time to try and address it.  So, hopefully it’s only partly a waste of everyone’s time.  

Anyway, we drove to Orlando and we saw his “kid doctor” that he “loves because he is super nice and fun and listens” (this is why the drive is worth it). We decided that a change may be in the air, but some of that change is going to be determined by tomorrow’s meeting.  Which is hopefully not a waste of anyone’s time. Kaleb is brilliant, beautiful, creative, excited, enthusiastic, and his imagination is far beyond my own.  I just want to see him excel and grow, both emotionally and academically.  Which I have every confidence he will… as soon as he learns the value of self-control.

I so cannot wait until Friday.

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Straight From The Jacket…

Suspension.

Do you know what I used to think of when I heard that word?

illusionists.

Suspend disbelief.  High wires and tight ropes.  Magic.

Harry Houdini suspended 45 feet off the ground as he escaped from a  straight Jacket in 1915.    David Blane being suspended 30 feet off the ground in a plexiglass box for 44 days in 2003.  Cyril Takayama suspended in midair over Mumbai for 45 hours in 2012.

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Magic.

Now I hear suspension and my jaw clenches shut.  My head starts to hurt.  And I think about the merits of homeschooling.

Kaleb was suspended again today.  And for the first time in a while, I can honestly say it was the right thing to do.

I was really hoping he wouldn’t have a bad day – after the chaos of last night and this morning, he was in a good mood when he got on the bus.  It was all I could do to hope he didn’t get himself into trouble.

That dream was effectively shattered.  And it wasn’t a dream dream of course, because I had just put Mason down for a nap and hopped in the shower, with the hope that when I was done Mason would be asleep and I could go to sleep.

Or not.  Stick my head under the water and the phone rings… Darth Vader.  Son of a…

I can hear Kaleb in the background.  This isn’t good.  This isn’t good at all.  Aside from him in the background, the only other thing I hear is another child got hurt.  Hop back in the shower and throw some shampoo in my hair as quickly as I can.  Jump out, throw on the first pair of jeans and a tee shirt I can find, run my fingers through my dripping hair and throw on a ball cap.  Mason had of course actually fallen asleep, so now I’ve got to wake him up.  C’mon kid we need to go bye bye in the car.

Hop in the car and we’re off.

Get to the school and we go to the office, where I can hear Kaleb clear as day from the back.  Oh man.  Mase and I get back there, and immediately I spot Kaleb on the floor slapping at the behaviorist.  Set Mason in a chair, give him Talking Tom to occupy him, and go to Kaleb, who has crawled under a piece of furniture.  Spitting, noises, spitting, noises – that’s all I’m going to get out of him.  They had to remove his shoes since he was kicking so hard.  Find his shoes, grab him, set him in a chair, he stands up on the chair.  Pick him up, sit in the chair with him in my lap.  Proceed to spend five minutes with him twisting and squirming and spitting in my lap while being told that for a reason nobody understands, Kaleb kicked another child in the back.

After getting worked up in music class he bolted for the door, and was blocked.  He then sat down and appeared to be calming himself down.  Until he jumped out of his chair and kicked another kid in the back.  No warning, no reason to suspect he would do it.  The other kid did nothing to instigate, and everyone was completely taken by surprise.  Of course now they have to fight to get him kicking and screaming to the office.  And here we are.  He hurt someone.  And I’m sick to my stomach.

I don’t even know how to process this.

And it hasn’t gotten better since arriving home.

I had to sit on him to get his shoes on him, I then had to carry him to the car (so the shoes were totally a pointless endeavor) while the behaviorist helped me with Mase.  The entire drive home he is spitting and making noises at Mason – which has Mason all worked up and upset.  We come home and Kaleb eats the lunch he wasn’t able to eat at school, then goes straight to his room.

In the last four hours he has had three major meltdowns.  Constant back talk, constant mouth and throat noise – and good grief with the spitting.

I put a call in to the neurologist, and left a message with a laundry list of requests. I don’t even know what to do.  There’s no way I can send him back to school – not after this.  So I’m taking the advice of someone I trust, and we’re looking into our options.

This is insane.  Instead of Houdini escaping from a straight jacket, I feel like I’m working my way toward being strapped into one.

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I just can’t reconcile this kid with the one who was sobbing in my arms at 6 o’clock this morning.

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends…

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 1993, you’ve seen Jurassic Park at least once.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen it approximately 8,476,521 times.

So, it isn’t much of a surprise that the quote above popped into my head (and consequently relieved a bit of my tension because of the ridiculousness of the situation) when Kaleb was suspended again today.  Because that’s totally what it feels like.

You are in this car and everything is going fine.  You’re on the right road, sure, there are a few minor glitches here and there – but for the most part all is good.  Then, without warning, all hell breaks loose.  The roof of the car comes crashing in – thanks to something that isn’t even supposed to exist.  You get spun around, flipped upside down, and trapped.  Then you get spun around some more, while subjected to a deafening roar of sound coming from all sides.  Then everything gets flipped around again, and you and the car go flying.  You land in a tree, shaking, sick, confused, frightened and alone.  Much to your surprise, someone reaches in a helping hand.  And you slowly climb out of the car.  You think you’re clear – on the road to something better.  Then the next thing you know, the tree branches snap, and the car you’ve been so desperate to leave is coming after you.  And no matter how fast you climb down that tree, you still end up back in the car again.

But at least this time you have a friend.

And we do.  We have friends and family that are worth their weight in gold.

Right now, I don’t have a lot to say about today.  Mostly because I believe it goes without saying.   Part of me is just stunned, and frustrated, and angry.   I do not want to hear that everyone is doing all they can.  I really don’t.  If you were really doing all you could – how did he manage to throw the same exact chair across the room twice?  Why wasn’t the chair taken away?  Why wasn’t he removed from the situation?  Look, I get it.  Kaleb is a force to be reckoned with.  You think I don’t know that?  If you read the post directly before this one, you’ll get a sweet little insight into the things that happen in my world with the Monster Man.

But he isn’t The HULK.  He isn’t The Rock.  He is a four foot tall, 60lb five year old – and yeah, he has a hell of a lot of muscle mass underneath those scrawny little arms. Yet, you’re telling me that four grown adults were not able to make certain that he did not pose an imminent threat to the other children around them?  When I spend a vast majority of the time alone with him and two other little kids – by myself, in a fairly large house – and I’ve managed to prevent any serious harm coming to anyone.  And believe me when I say the projectiles we have here are probably sincerely more effective than those little blocks he was chucking.  You are in one room.  You out number him.  You’re bigger, and stronger.  Be an authority figure.  Be the boss.  Don’t just call freaking mommy!

I reign a lot in about this when I’m online.  Because the internet is the internet and you never know who is going to read what, and the last thing I want to do is make life more difficult for my main dudes.

However – one thing I’ve been thinking for months –

STOP MAKING ME THE PUNISHMENT!!!!!!  

We are NOT the punishment.  We are NOT the bad guys.  Do NOT use me as a threat!  I am a SAFE place.  Our home, our family, Mommy and Daddy and Mason and Milo – we are his SAFETY.  We are the ones who make the nightmares go away and keep the bad monsters at bay.  We are the ones who kiss the boo-boos, we are the ones who read the stories and tuck in the blankies.

Stop using me as a punishment.  You do not seem to see the potential damage you are doing to not just him – but to our entire family.  You are instilling in my sponge-like child that mommy knowing things is a BAD thing.

Stop it!!!  Stop it stop it stop it stop it!  And yes.  I am actually stomping my feet right now.

If you’re going to insist on suspending my child time after time after time – you need to find a different way to approach it – because I absolutely refuse to let you make me a punishment.  I have to be the bad guy often enough – I have to be the bad guy at home, and the store, at parties and vacations.  But he can ALWAYS talk to me.  Any single time he has something he wants to discuss we will sit down and discuss it – and regardless of what he is saying, I remain calm – because I want him to know when he gets older that he CAN come to us – we won’t jump to conclusions and flip our wigs.

Only now here’s yet another conflicting message.  Oh boy, I’m in trouble – but I can’t be in trouble because I GET to go home with mommy!

Don’t hit, kick, bite, scream, scratch, or spit – those are bad things.  We have to be nice to our friends.  But you can’t hold hands.  That’s not nice.

How is he supposed to understand all of the rules when the rules are consistently inconsistent?

How am I???

“Well.  We’re back in the car again.”

But at least we have friends.

Actually, we have a lot of friends.  And an incredible family.  We have been absolutely blessed with the number of amazing people in our lives.  For those friends I am grateful.  Kaleb and Mason are grateful.  The friends who give advice.  The friends that keep me sane.  The friends that show up with pizza and beer.  The friends that listen when I cry.  The friends who scream along side me as I rail against the walls being put around my kids.  These people are a part of my family.  

So, I want to thank every single member of our family – no matter how they came to be a member of our family – you are all superheroes for being a part of something so much bigger than me.  I love you all.

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Back To School Again…

“You can’t win, you know.  You can’t lie in front of the bulldozer indefinitely.”  He tried to make his eyes blaze fiercely but they just wouldn’t do it.

Arthur lay in the mud and squelched at him.

“I’m game,” he said, “we’ll see who rusts first.”  ~ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (written by the sorely missed Douglas Adams)

Arthur Dent laying in front of the bulldozer

Arthur Dent laying in front of the bulldozer

That’s what I’m starting to feel like when it comes to dealing with the school systems.  Like I’m laying front of a bulldozer that is trying to knock down my house to make room for a bypass.

Only the bulldozer is the administration, and the house is my child’s entire academic future.

Am I being a bit dramatic?  Maybe.  It’s happened a time or two before.  But nine suspensions – NINE since Christmas is a bit dramatic as well.  Especially when you’re talking about a five-year old pre-schooler with autism.  Don’t tell me you “tried to implement the intervention behaviors” and then turn around and tell me you’re suspending him because he refused to go to music class!  Maybe it was too much today – maybe he was overstimulated and couldn’t handle the noise.  Who cares what the reason is at this point – stop suspending him!!

We’ve looked at other options – they aren’t feasible.  For both financial and logistical reasons.  Which really doesn’t even matter – my child has a legal right to be given an education by this school.  The federal government placed him in the school.  I didn’t.

 

So, now instead of cleaning out the garage – which is what I had planned to do while Mason was down for quiet time – I’m throwing on my glasses and I am going to sort through every single piece of paper with my child’s name on it.  I’m going to gather every bit of evidence and ammunition in my paperwork arsenal, and I’m going to prepare for battle.

Because I’ve finally had enough.  Congratulations administration – you woke a sleeping giant (and you probably couldn’t have picked a worse week to do it).  I have played nice.  I have gone through every proper channel.  I have climbed my way up the ladder and the chain of command like a good little girl.  I have requested all of the right meetings and all the right tests.  I have hopped, skipped, and jumped for you people, and I am done playing nice.

… There, now I feel better!

Beautiful Day Part 2…

Okay, first of all, Kaleb was suspended again today.  I mean, seriously.  Again.  I was just at the school for two hours thursday for a manifestation meeting – he didn’t go to school yesterday, and again he was suspended.  Apparently he got upset in line and kicked another kid.  My question is – where were the adults?  And how did that kid’s face get close enough to Kaleb’s foot for him to kick?  I know that sounds kind of silly – but it’s not like Kaleb is Chuck Norris.  He can’t kick above his head.  He can barely kick a ball.  So how did he manage to squarely kick another child in the chin??  Luckily, the other kid is okay, or I’d be considerably more freaked out right now.

So, yet again he has been suspended.  The worst part of all of it- the part that makes me sick to my stomach?  When I asked him what happened, and walked him through the day, we got to the part where he went to the vice principal’s office and he said “Then I got to see you and we got to go home!”

Do you not see WHAT YOU ARE TEACHING MY CHILD?!?  What am I going to say?  No, seeing Mommy is supposed to be a punishment?  Give me a break!  No matter how mad the kid gets at me – I’m still Mommy!  I’m his safe person.  I’m his comfort zone.  I am his reward.  Congrats.  Way to completely ignore the collective five hours we have spent in meetings over the last two weeks.

Alright, clearly I’m a bit worked up.  And yeah, I’m angry.  And I’m terrified of what this is teaching him.  I mean, what do they want me to do here?  Do they want the lawyer involved?

Of course, it wasn’t but an hour later that I got a phone call from transportation requesting he no longer bring Legos on the bus because they cause huge meltdowns.  Oh lady, if you only knew the trouble I went through this morning to try and prevent that, you wouldn’t be calling me.  However, I guess from now on the Legos have to go away while he’s sleeping until after school.  *sigh*

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On a totally separate note:  did you know it costs a minimum of $400 to file a new business for tax exempt status?!?!  Four hundred freaking dollars!  Who charges that much money for two pieces of paper!?!

I know this now, because I filed the paperwork to incorporate Monster Marchers over the weekend, got our EIN, and we are officially a business!  Now we just have to wait for the official documents, meet with an accountant (Uh yeah, no way am I filling out those forms alone), and file for tax exempt and Monster Marchers will be up and running!  I’m super excited about this.  We figured out what our percentages are going to be – and I figured I’d share here to get some different takes on it.

About a month before an event (Like the chicken BBQ we’re going to have this summer) we will notify a local autism service provider that they will be the recipient of a grant, and a local family that they will be the recipient of a scholarship.  After the event, 50% of what we bring in will go to the provider to help pay for everything from updated equipment to overtime and mileage for the therapists.  30% will be given to a family (though whatever provider they are using) to help them cover out of pocket therapy expenses.  11% will go to our Autism Speaks walk (because no matter what I think that’s hugely important) – including setting up at the resource fair, and 9% will go to cover our overhead.

I’m really excited!  We’ve talked about doing it for years – but all of this IEP stuff and suspension with Kaleb has really lit a fire under my butt – someone has to change something, and it might as well be us!  So we’re also working on setting up an IEP resource page on the website (which I spent all of Sunday night re-doing), and we want to hold training/support type sessions to help parents navigate the murky waters as well.

So, there’s my news!

House of Fire…

Missed the bus; flames shooting out of the blow-dryer; ten year old ceramic tub shattered across the bathroom floor; late for school; new addition to movie night;  new fish fascination; 45 minutes at the post office; Kaleb gets suspended.

That’s been my day today.

Somehow I managed to either shut off or sleep through my alarm this morning.  The former is more likely since I sleep with the thing inches from my head and it’s louder than a jet liner landing in my living room.  I wake up ten minutes before Kaleb’s bus is supposed to get here.  He refuses to get up.  This leads to many small, but overall time-consuming meltdowns.  We miss the bus.  Awesome.  Mason is already up and screaming for someone to come get him.  I finish getting Kaleb ready, get Mason dressed and ready, and jump in the shower.  As I go to shut off the water I hear something out of place.  Mason.  As I rip back the shower curtain to tell him not to play in the bathroom, he knocks the little red claw-foot ceramic tub I’ve had since high school off the toilet – it meets the tile with a resounding shatter.

I holler at Mason to get back so he doesn’t slice his foot open – way to be a jerk mommy – he starts to cry.  I jump out of the shower, grab my towel, calm him down, get him some milk, and send him to play with Kaleb.  Pick up the mess, no time to be sentimental about the stupid thing, get dressed at warp speed.  Need to dry my hair since it’s so cold outside I can already feel the hair on my legs growing back.  Fire up the blow-drier… literally.  The damn thing actually catches on fire.  Are.  You.  Kidding.  Me?!?!

Unplug it, throw it in the sink, turn the faucet on full blast, let it run while I grab my socks and coat.  Start the car, throw shoes on the kids, run back, turn off the faucet, wrap the useless hunk of crap in a plastic bag and toss it in the garbage as we run out the door.  Get everyone in the car, and realize the ice is so thick on the windshield the defrosters have not made a dent.  What the hell!  We live in Florida for crying out loud.  I should NOT need a freaking ice scraper for the car!  Patiently (drumming fingers, tapping feet, using breathing techniques that didn’t do a damn thing for child birth but have helped my head from exploding since) waiting… waiting… okay, we can see enough, let’s go.  Get Kaleb to school right as the bell rings – drag the boys to the office to get his late slip.  Take him back to class, Mason screams bloody hell when we leave, fight to get him back in the car – and we’re off to see… the barista.  If I don’t get some coffee in my system I think I’m going to have a nuclear meltdown.

Call Poppy, get coffee, grab a couple of breakfast sandwiches for myself and the bug, and point our mostly defrosted vehicle to Walmart.  Where we proceed to spend an unbelievable amount of money on the things that have we have run out of or broken this week.  New hair dryer – check.  Computer ink – check.  Paper (apparently, Kodak is totally cool with selling you cheap ink, but if you try to use cheap paper it will jam on you every other sheet, until the only thing stopping you from throwing it through the front window is the fact that you NEED that stupid piece of paper to print) – check.  Stuff to send to Daddy, grabbed our groceries – done and done.  Until… we went to grab a bone for Milo and Mason saw the fish.

He just about came out of his seat.  “Fiih!  Fiih!”  We stood there looking at those little neon fish for almost an hour.  Every time I went to walk away he screamed so loudly you’d have thought I was trying to amputate his foot.  I tried to explain why we couldn’t get a fish.  Mommy kills fish.  Mommy has caused the death of every fish she has ever owned.  Mommy even killed her sea monkeys.  Mommy doesn’t know the first thing about fish.  Are neon fish even good starter fish?  Do they need one of those filter things?  Do you want them so you can look at them, or do you just want to see what they taste like?  This is a bad idea.  We need to walk away from the fish before your big doe eyes talk me into doing something crazy.  Like buying fish.

Finally distract him enough to get away from the dreaded fish.  Get a message from a friend inquiring about joining Movie Night – awesome!  The kids and I will love that!  Run through the checkout lane, load up the car, and off to the post office we go.  Where we stand in line – Mason with his new Mater (that would be the distraction mentioned earlier), me with our boxes and envelopes – for 45 excruciating minutes.  Submit to another bout of highway robbery, swing by the gas station, and scoot on home.  It is now noon.  Put Mason down for a nap, and start bringing the groceries in from the car.  Get three quarters of the way done, and a number beeps in on my conversation with Daddy.  It’s the school.

Of course it’s the school.  Why wouldn’t it be?

“Ms. Purvis, this is (the woman I am beginning to associate with brimstone and ash), I have Kaleb here.”  Of course you do.  Why else would you be calling me?  Certainly not to tell me I’ve won an all expense paid vacation to the world’s most luxurious spa.  Probably not because you’d like to meet to discuss why you keep suspending my child – as I recall, that meeting was Monday.  You weren’t there.  Maybe you forgot.  Maybe you just enjoy watching my face turn the color of overripe tomatoes.  Who knows.  The point is, I’m not stupid enough to think you’re calling me for anything other than “We need you to come get Kaleb.”  ** Ding ding ding!  We have a winner Bob! **

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Put away the groceries that need to go in the fridge/freezer, go wake up Mason who has been asleep for all of two minutes, and go to the school.  Calling the person in the ESE program I’ve been speaking with all week regarding Kaleb, and my lawyer on the way.  Go pick up Kaleb, swing through a drive-through (because he again didn’t eat lunch, and apparently french fries and cupcakes have become my ‘Kaleb has been suspended’ crutch), and back home we go.

TGIF.  TGI Movie Night.  TGI an acceptable day of the week to consume alcohol.  I considered making One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest our movie tonight – but thought better of giving the boys any ideas.  I guess we’ll stick to Finding Nemo.

Willful Suspension of Disbelief…

Could someone please, PLEASE explain to me how suspending a five-year old autistic child is a productive way to manage a difficult situation?

How is teaching my child that every time he misbehaves mommy comes to get him a good thing?

How is “Refusual to stand up” even grounds for suspension??

Or, how about this one:  “Insubordination, refusal to listen to adults, took off twice causing campus disruption”?  What do we think about that?

I will tell you what I think.  I think he’s a difficult, highly intelligent, stubborn, hard headed, smarty pants, and nobody wants to take the time to figure out how to work with him.  So, instead, they’re just sending him home with his little yellow suspension slip and saying “nothing we could do!”

My ass there is nothing you could do.  You could remove him from the situation when he starts to meltdown.  In other words:  when you see him clenching his fists and jaw; when his body goes rigid and/or tense; when his eyes start to flick from left to right at a high speed; when his voice becomes high-pitched, and he starts to squeak-squeal-whine; when the decibel of is voice begins to increase in pitch quickly… MOVE HIM.  Put him in his safe spot.  Keep him at least two arm lengths from the other children.  Speak to him slowly, calmly, quietly – like you would a three year old – because (I’ll say it again) – he has the cognitive thought process of a three year old!  Put him somewhere safe for him to lash out – a place where people won’t get hurt.  Make sure he is at the front of the line when walking to different buildings to ensure he will not get an opportunity to run into traffic.  Take the time, put the preventative measures in place, and holy cow wouldya look at that?!  progress!

Okay, I’m sincerely aggravated right now.  I’m probably coming off as an unsympathetic b*tch.  Which is okay, because I’m not really feeling all that sympathetic right now.  I’m feeling more like a volcano on the verge of eruption as it just so happens.  My child is autistic.  OH, and let’s not forget that “Suspected Undiagnosed Epilepsy” that the neurologist has been throwing around for two years – because everyone has SEEN him have a seizure, but they can’t get it on the EEG or MRI’s so we get to throw around vacant un-diagnosis’.  It seriously is like living in Wonderland.

I know that there are good people out there who are trying to help, who genuinely want to help, and I couldn’t be more grateful to them.  I could not begin to say just how incredibly comforting it is knowing that there are other people out there besides us who are fighting for our children.  But that does not change the fact that he’s being set up like a faulty set of bowling pins on a crooked lane.  I sent a note in to school this morning with his teacher.  Explaining that we went to the neurologist on Friday, we are adjusting his medication, and trying to get him in behavioral therapy.  We then did a sleep deprived EEG on Monday – basically forced him to run on little more than 4 hours of sleep all day, drove to Orlando, ran the test, drove home, where he didn’t go to bed until 9pm.  So, I gave fair warning that today would be difficult.  Didn’t matter.  He refused to stand up and go to Special Area.  He got suspended.  Again.  4 times in less than 6 weeks.  7th day total of suspension.  I’m losing my mind.

Now, we’re waiting to hear back from a Special Education attorney, IEP set for Monday, and I’m oh so la-de-freaking-da about the fact that my chances of not getting a phone call tomorrow are…. just shy of zilch.

Do you feel like you’re beating your head against concrete?  Because I feel like I’m beating my head against concrete.  Maybe that should just be my new thing.  What’s that saying about an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object?