Today we had the spring parent/teacher conference for Jaysen. Josh and I had agreed at the beginning of 2010 when Jaysen's behavior issues began to escalate that we would make a firm decision whether to withdraw him after spring break or ride out the rest of the school year after the conference. Well, spring break is next week and we are no closer to a final decision than we were before. If anything, I'd say we are more confused than ever.
During the conference, I really felt the teacher was waffling a bit. He seemed like he genuinely cares about Jaysen and the problems he's having, but at the same time was covering his rear. Jaysen isn't exhibiting as many issues at school anymore, but at home he's having more and more problems. Jaysen is picking on his brother, teasing and taunting him. He's gotten downright mean and nasty with some of the things he says and does. We know it's mostly his frustrations and this is the only way he knows how to cope right now, but our concern is where is it coming from? We heavily monitor their TV, video games and movies for this type of stuff; so where is he learning it? Josh and I are sure beyond doubt that he's picking it up from school. Some of it, he's observing others doing. Some of it is being done to him. I can tell when it's something that's been done to him, those are the days when he doesn't want to talk about what has happened at school and he's particularly nasty to Joey. He's also getting pretty easily irritated with Katie.
The teacher also left me frustrated with his insistence that Jaysen inform him when kids are teasing and calling him names. Now, we agree that Jaysen needs to learn to handle things on his own as much as possible. But, there comes a time when a student can't handle it and needs a teacher or other adult to intervene or at least be informed of what is happening. I know Jaysen has been frustrated by trying to inform teachers and adults of what is happening and he has been blown off and told to deal with it himself. I wanted to see how the teacher would respond to our informing him that Jaysen is telling us of stuff going on at school, I had purposely not been letting the teacher know. So I guess it really doesn't surprise me of the teacher's reaction/response, but it still leaves me frustrated and confused. Is he really interested in helping Jaysen or is he just saying things to make us happy and give us a false reassurance that he will handle it? One thing, surprisingly, is that the teacher agreed that although socialization skills are important, one has to accept that there comes a time when you have to ask is the socialization detrimental or beneficial? And if it's detrimental, what exactly is the purpose of the student continuing in public school?
We also addressed an incident a couple weeks ago where Jaysen came home sobbing that he was treated badly by a substitute P.E. teacher. Jaysen said he was not feeling good and asked to sit down while running laps and the P.E. teacher insisted Jaysen had to keep going. Jaysen's classroom teacher agreed this wasn't acceptable for any student, but especially a student with developmental disabilities.
In the end, I think even Jaysen's teacher was beginning to see that continuing in public school may not be the best option for Jaysen. The social skills issues for Jaysen are much more complicated than his teacher was really willing to acknowledge and we all know it's only going to get worse as he gets older.
Jaysen's academics are coming along well, he's still struggling with reading but we expected that. Jaysen did get a big thumbs up for his math, seems Jaysen is pushing on ahead into mental math (figuring the problems out in his head without needing to write out the work) something that none of the other kids in class are able to do just yet. And doing it with large numbers, too! Good job Jay!!
There are 49 days of school left (not counting holidays and non-student days). On one hand, that's not that much. On the other hand, for Jaysen that is a lot of school left. Especially considering that every single day there is some new drama or issue to deal with. So, I guess we continue to pray about it and see what happens. Josh hadn't realized that our agreed deadline for a decision is pretty much here already and he's trying to stall for more time. But even I am not sure just what to do at this point, either.
We went into this conference hoping for some answers and confirmation for our decision one way or the other. We left even more confused and unsure of what to do than we were before.