Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shortened school days

I received a phone call yesterday from Elijah's school to set up a meeting to discuss his shortened days. Wait...what?! The only time everyone could meet was....today! We didn't know who had initiated the meeting or what to expect.

Once we were in the meeting we found out that E's neuropsych and the school's special ed supervisor had finally connected on the phone. He did not suggest shortened days as a first tactic (this did not line up with the most recent conversation he and I had, so Dan and I are kind of confused about this), but he did offer to help Elijah process things at school with less effort even if that means coming to school himself and making specific suggestions. He suggested the team get a specific book to read that is geared toward helping NLD kids in the school setting...and that book was sitting on the table in the meeting today. Dan and I were very grateful they had gone to the lengths of purchasing the book. We could tell right away that his team is working with us and that they truly want not only what is best for Elijah while he's at school, but also what is best for him while he is at home.

The special education supervisor started talking about possibly exploring other options that did not involve shortening E's school days. To be honest, I didn't hear much of the following three minutes because I spent that time fighting back tears. My chin began quivering uncontrollably so I spent all of my energy trying to get that under control. Once I did, a good conversation followed. The team is finally understanding how Elijah's brain works and that he cannot be expected to do much of anything after he has reached his limit. They really seemed to understand that even though an activity might be fun for him (gym, lunch, recess, visuals in the classroom, music, etc), that doesn't mean it is easy for him. Things are starting to click.

We were told that without a doctor backing us, it wouldn't be as easy to make shortened days happen...but that it could still happen. I know the other Dr. M will back us as long as he can chat with the sp-ed supervisor, so to make things less of a hassle I gave her his info (as he told me I could do) and hopefully they'll be able to connect. It was pretty obvious that Dan and I wanted the shortened days and nothing less than that. The team agreed to back us.

Starting next Monday, Elijah will leave school at 1:00 every day until the end of the semester. We will keep a daily journal at home to note how specific things are going (anxiety, sleep, etc) and re-evaluate at the end of our trial period. If things haven't improved by the end of December they won't be able to justify keeping him on shortened days, so we'll return to full days. This doesn't quite make sense to me, but we are GRATEFUL for their willingness to do this trial period for us. Perseverance pays off!

I have had a few people ask why I haven't been meaner. Why I haven't demanded shortened days sooner. I want to say this here...we have no hard feelings and I've never been inclined to be mean or demand anything. It is not in my nature to be mean or demanding and it is in Elijah's best interest that we maintain good relationships with his educators. We happen to truly like his educators! His teacher and special education case manager are both INCREDIBLE teachers and people, as are the rest of his team. We have nothing but positive things to say about them. Our priority is obviously protecting our boys...always...but we feel good about the way we have approached this situation.

We have two more meetings with E's team coming up in the next couple weeks. It feels good to have some things in place going into those. Phew, huge weight off our shoulders tonight! Thanks for peeking in!

1 comment:

Deb G said...

This is so awesome to know! From a special education teacher, it really is OK to cry! I have many meetings with parents who have shed tears! Thank you for your understanding of not needing to be demanding. I think that is why E's team is willing to learn about his disability, because you worked with the team. I hope and pray for the best! It will all come together!