The children have exactly 9 days left to school. A couple of weeks ago, I was donning my Autism Warrior gear to fight for the right of my son to be retained in the third grade. The meeting was informal and in the principal’s office. My son’s teacher was there, the principal, the school psychologist, and his special education instructor. I did not feel intimidated by all of the school officials sitting around the table. The school psychologist had to leave the room because there was an issue with one of the children in my son’s classroom.
As we sat around the table, the principal told all of the staff why we were in the room and that I had a concern about my son’s progress throughout the school year. I was majorly concerned because I did not think that he was making progress throughout the school year and that I felt he was not performing at grade level that he should be kept back because I want to set him up for success next school year. I wanted to have definitive answers that he has made progress throughout the school year.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he has made progress and is not that far behind average. I was also concerned that he has been calling himself stupid and getting frustrated with his homework. I was also concerned that he just wasn’t getting certain subjects in school. The principal pulled out a questionnaire that shows whether or not a child should be retained in a grade. Yet, first she showed me his progress throughout the school year. He has made progress!
We talked about his academic success since starting at that school. We talked about how far he has become from the start of him attending the school and how he has gone from a restricted classroom to a general education classroom. We talked about his behavior, academic progress, and how well he is actually doing. I brought up his self-esteem issues and wanted to make sure they knew that under no certain terms he was going to progress to the next grade level. I was prepared to advocate for my child. I had paperwork with me to show that I didn’t feel he has made progress.
Yet, the paperwork they had made me see that he has made great progress since the beginning of the school year. On the retention questionnaire that they had to fill out showed that he was on the higher cusp of consideration to keep him back. He was at mid-level. It was at that point that I realized that he should not be kept back. My major concern was that I needed proof that he has made progress since the beginning of the school year. The result was that I agreed with them that he should not be kept back and that we will continue to monitor his progress next year and all the years ahead.
They were surprised to find out that he will not be at the same school next year. We talked how it is going to be a HUGE transition for him but I am confident he will make a smoother transition to the new school than he did when he entered Kindergarten. Kindergarten was HELL for him. He was out of control and went from going to his district school to an out of district school in the city in which, we live.
I have come to the conclusion that I have to stop worrying so much about him and work with him at home. The boy is smart but doesn’t have the confidence in his abilities. He will excel at the new school and I am glad that maybe just maybe he will make a lot of new friends at the new school. I am moving him to his district school now because his old school was a K-5 school and his district school is a K-8 school and I think to transition him at the fourth grade level would be a better transition than to transition him at the middle school level where he would have no friends. I only hope he transitions well.
This is scary because I remember clearly his transition from preschool to Kindergarten was a complete mess. I will always worry because I am his mom. Moms are supposed to worry and make attempts to advocate. I am glad that the school was able to show me that he is doing better than I thought he was doing. I am glad that I feel more comfortable with his advancing to fourth grade. Then again, I think his self-esteem would plummet even more if I kept him back.
Overall, I am optimistic about this transition and move to fourth grade but I still worry about this transition because he is used to the same faculty members at his current school. Now, he is moving to a new school with ALL new teachers and staff. Plus it is a bigger school with more kids because the school will house Kindergarten through eighth graders. Scary – but we will persevere as we always have!!!
Thank you for reading!
There were no animals harmed in the making of this blog!
Tags: Eunice Crankyponts Autism Progress School