“special” ed

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Julia was supposed to go to the lunch time choir group yesterday, Monday. This year West High School lengthened their day by 20 minutes and many of the usual after-school groups meet during a lengthened lunch.  (As a new high school family, I don’t know how lunch time clubs and after-school clubs were run in the past.)

Three weeks ago, Julia wanted to go to the lunch time choir and we were told that there was not sufficient special ed staff.  The SEAs (“Special Education Assistant”) eat lunch during the students’ lunch, half at a time, leaving the non-eating half to help the students. There are a significant number of students who need help during lunch.  I got in touch with the choir director and her case manager and all agreed that an SEA could accompany Julia to lunch choir but not stay with her.  I thought this was a good compromise.  I think Julia could do the activity with only support from the teacher/moderator and club members, but she did need help getting to the choir room.

Last week, Julia didn’t get to the club because she needed to buy her lunch.  I suspect that other students who go to clubs also buy their lunches.  No matter, she needed lunch and by the time she got it, no SEA could be spared to walk her to the choir room for club.

Yesterday, Julia brought her lunch so she could be walked right after her class to the choir.  However, her case manager and two SEA were absent for the day and there were no special ed subs.  Julia was told to stay in Room 1112 (a special ed classroom) for lunch without much explanation.  From what I can gather, the lack of subs is business is usual in the special ed department.

Aside: During parent’s night at the high school when parents follow their students’ schedule for an evening, I was in the special ed classroom three times.  Each time, I was the only parent present.

Pondering: What can I do?

private truths

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Recursive Dream Study by Day Huynh

Thunder and lightening and rain last night.  Just before bedtime. This morning everything is moist and cloudy.  The bird and squirrel sounds come to my ears as if through fog. Sitting on cushioned wicker on the back porch, I listen to the uneven hum of the ceiling fans. Temperatures predicted to be summer like, so I open all the windows and turn on the fans. There is a disconnect between the wide open house and the gold-brown and worn green leaves blanketing the gardens.  But the disconnect, the tilt, the slight unevenness of my world’s tectonic plates feel . . . right, correct, just as it is. Continue reading

of the last week

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img_2150High school and Autumn are in full swing and, I am happy to report, my awful cold/ flu-y thing is on the wane.  Two packages of Hall’s Cough Drops down and I need to buy one more to get me over longish meetings.

Julia is still in high spirits about high school. There have been small fires almost every day for two weeks for me to put out–no bus, late bus, no homework (Julia needs homework!), near misses on social events, Julia being put on the bus when I am picking her up, problems with Google Classroom on Julia’s iPad which meant no access to her biology text or notes at home, etc., etc.   Continue reading

the how of now

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IMG_6214New day. New challenge.

There is a freshman party tonight at West High. It promises “food, music, dancing, games, photos, sports and fun!” There are about 510 kids in the freshman class. I cannot drop Julia off at the school house door and she does not have a circle of friends to go with. Her case manager talked about the possibility of finding an adult to go with her (She has no interest in going with me. Very understandable.). He failed although I’m not sure that going to a party with a assigned grownup is much better than going with me.

And she wants to go.

This desire to be part of the social scene is commendable. I’ve held onto the belief that if there was any chance that Julia would learn social skills, her desire to have friends and participate with them would be the key. Most of her therapy is about social skills and there are social skill goals in her IEP. But it hasn’t happened yet. Continue reading

freshman

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I started this three days ago on the first day of school. Three days. It feels like two weeks. One one hand, momentous transitions are happening and life is speeding along—Julia in high school and Coming of Age at church. I have a class to teach beginning next week.  On the other, we are still doing “homework” to keep up with math and reading and I’m juggling buses and pick up days to get figure out Julia’s fall therapy schedule, and struggling with respite needs. Continue reading

homecoming

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IMG_2072Three days home and feeling a bit more human.  The end of our summer travels were crazy mainly because I fell prey to a nasty flu bug the Tuesday of our Camp Awesum week and spent the rest of the week sleeping as much as I could.  We did not get to do some of my favorite things, especially walking the labyrinth, being out on the water in some sort of boat, and doing the night hike. Julia, however, did get to indulge in most of her favorite activities and generally had a good time.
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camp awesum

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IMG_6143Camp Awesum. Monday morning.

Independence. Julia wants it. I think she is ready for some. The question is always how to arrange it and keep her safe. An opportunity at camp has arisen.

There is coffee in the mornings starting at 6:30, breakfast is not until 8:30. I made it down for coffee at 7:30. Before I left the cabin, I told Julia, mostly asleep, that I would telephone her. Hopefully, she will wake up, get out of bed and start getting dressed.

I called, explained what I wanted and she wanted to meet me by the beach, dressed and ready for breakfast. T minus 15 minutes. Continue reading

Maine

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IMG_1870After Shyla’s wedding, Julia and I hopped a quick flight to Bangor, Maine, to spend most of a week with madison friends. Stephanie and Hope have a extremely sweet cabin on a lake.  There is no electricity and the first night I was a stunned by the dark, but Julia and I soon got used to living in the light and sleeping in the dark.  Gas powers the fridge, the stove and the water heater for hot showers.  Everything else battery powered and so, needed to be thought about before turning on.  We learned a few new games, put a puzzle together in record time, explored a little bit of Maine and ate great food curtesy of Stephanie’s skills and some lovely, simple restaurants. Continue reading

wedding

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My niece, Shyla, and her long time partner, Ben, married on Saturday, August 5.  They have known each other for ten years beating our family record that David and I set knowing each other for six years before we married.  It was an intimate wedding at the home she grew up in.  Her brother and his wife who now live in that house generously gave their house and lives over to wedding preparations and festivities for a week.  Julia, Cheshire and I came in early to help with the setup and decorations.

Julia had her first real manicure and pedicure. Continue reading