catch up

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Beginning of winder holidays 2017!

The wind has been howling for 27 hours sweeping away the last unseasonable warmth of the year.  The sun is brighter today than midsummer and shinning in unusual windows at unexpected angles.  The barometric pressure is . . . all over the place(?).  Snow by the end of the week.

I usually blame early winter decorations and Christmas music on Julia’s desires. This year I take some credit.  Daily news is an assault on the democratic principle I believe in. Not just democracy–greed and cruelty are on the rise, spearheaded by a Republican party that has been highjacked by the the worst of humanity. The lyrics from Cool, Cool Considerate Men from the musical 1776, repeat in my head over and over through the ever increasing disgusting trump news cycles:

Well, perhaps [there are not enough men of property in America to dictate policy]. But don’t forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.
And that is why they will follow us!
To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right.

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thanksgiving gratitude

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img_2359There is snow on the roof this morning.  Just the smallest of sprinklings which will disappear in the morning rain.  It is almost 8 a.m. and Julia is still asleep.  She loves the first snow and I puzzle whether to wake her.  But she so infrequently sleeps this long and we were out late last night.  I let her sleep.

Such a week this has been!

Julia has made it to school on time for the last 7 days.  On time! On one hand, such an mundane victory, but I feel like a Plantagenet claiming victory during the Hundred Years’ War.  There is back story of course.  While researching the reason that Julia was not getting picked up on time even according to Badger Bus’ schedule at 7:56, it was discovered that the student picked up before Julia hadn’t been to school since early September and that the driver was waiting for someone who is no longer going to school.  So, without that stop and without waiting for the phantom student, Julia is now picked up at 7:48.  My perfect world had her picked up at 7:45; I can concede those 3 minutes.  She is now dropped off at a different door and she does not have to wait for an SEA to escort her into the building.  She can run into the building, get to her locker and get to biology on time.  And she can do it without help although special ed is not willing to let her speed through the halls alone yet.  I expect she will be doing it alone soon. Continue reading

busting out of room 1112

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After 6 hours of cheer practice.

Sitting in the very crowded West library during last period.  I have less than an hour before I need to get Julia when school is over.  Going home will give me about 20 minutes there and I’ve brought what I need to meet her. I’m picking her up today because she gets out at 2:40 and must be back for cheer practice at 4.

I haven’t published for a bit more than a month, I’ve started a few posts and abandoned them. Each had high emotions and descriptions of broken systems.  The landscape and emotions shift too quickly for me to either continue or revise.  It seems like a new story every few days. The promising meeting or email results in a step back instead of two steps forward as planned.

Some highlights of the past month from where I sit today, starting with the positive because I have not been keeping the positive in my head recently: Continue reading

“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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