Friday, May 21, 2010

Stomach Ache . . .

Today I have a stomach ache. I had to write a letter to Dustin's school about an issue I have with his 1:1 paraprofessional. She is causing problems at home with the discussions she and Dustin are having at school. I know it is not intentional, but she just doesn't understand.

You have to understand that Dustin is a completely different child at school than he is at home. The issues he has at school are completely different from home, they always have been. He compartmentalizes his life. He is by no means perfect, he is just different. They don't see the child I do. He even talks differently. He does however triangulate. He likes to tell false stories to us about the staff and vice versa. He makes stuff up. He will tell them about trips to a store that we have never been to. He will tell them I don't let him do certain things that they are asking him to do. He tells us that Ms. M (his aide) tells him we shouldn't ask him to do certain chores.

Lately it has been getting worse. He keeps using the phrase, "I am not a child. I am too big to do that." I knew that was something he was hearing because it is always said the same way and that is not typical for Dustin. His speech and processing disorder causes him to jumble phrases unless it is specifically said to him over and over and over. So I know this is being said to him. The phrase in itself is fine. I am certain they are reinforcing to him that he is growing up and the childish things need to stop. The problem is that somewhere along the line he has generalized that to what his parents are asking him to do.

Last night we had a very big blow out with him. It was close to bed time and I asked him to get himself ready. He said, "Ms. M said I should sleep downstairs on the couch." That is not going to happen. He sleeps behind alarmed doors. He is not safe to be unsupervised at waking times, let alone times when we are all asleep. He will hurt the animals, the other kids, or play outside at 2:00 in the morning. He will burn my house down playing with matches, or take the van for a spin. I asked when he had this conversation and it took my about a half and hour to get some information from him since he kept saying I am not supposed to tell you. It was a private conversation. (another phrase he would never use) He said, "She says I am old enough to shoose where to sleep."

Turns out, he and Ms. M have been discussing his dreams daily. This is a major issue with his schizophrenia because we have learned he will stay in reality more if we do not talk about his dreams. We usually say, "I am sorry you had that nightmare, remember it is not real" and move the conversation along. If we discuss them he obsesses over them and reverts to a non-reality state. He tells me that yesterday they talked about a dream that involved a sexual reference. ( so not appropriate conversation for school for my 4 year old minded /15 year old son) Turns out she suggested that he sleep somewhere differently to change things up. Not a choice!

My issue is, this not only is NOT her business, but not something he can process. Now he is pissed at me because I have said no. I know she did not intentionally try to cause issues, but she really should know better than to discuss these things with him. While I appreciate the kindness and concern she shows him, a child such as Dustin can really confuse parental authority if he is receiving mixed signals. She has no idea what happens in our house and she should keep her nose out of it. In my opinion school is for school and you should not be discussing MY HOME at school. Apparently this has been happening fro some time and it explains his angry responses and non-compliance as of late.

I wanted all this is writing so I wrote his teacher of record a letter today outlining my concerns. I tried to be complimentary, but firm in my expectations. I know there are only 15 days left of school, but this needs to be dealt with. I hope it is received in the manner it was intended.

Am I over reacting? Should I have let it go?

8 comments:

Reighnie said...

No, you aren't overreacting...if it is true.

I only say the last part because some of MY kids lied about stuff like this and I went to the school all bent out of shape about it (before I learned not to believe everything they say *blush*)

But there was another time where there was something similar to this. I had a teacher who was parenting and that's what I would say this woman is doing. She has no right to tell him what he can and can't do. Period.

Doesn't matter what she thinks or even what she knows. It's not her place. You are doing the right thing no matter how much time is left. Whether your child has disabilities or not, no one has the right to undermine you as a parent. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't get that and we are put in an uncomfortable positiion.

I completely understand where the stomach ache is coming from...it's so easy to doubt ourselves.

Linda B said...

Not overreacting at all. I have this exact problem with Andrew. He'll say his teacher or para said he could do something and argue it with me until raging. His teacher has even written in his planner what she said he should do at home. I then become evil and stupid and he's running away to be adopted some place else. I think you are doing the right thing. It needs to be stopped asap. When I've talked about it to his teacher I get the response "He doesn't do that here..." like I'm not being strict enough. And this is a special ed teacher. Argh!!!!!

FosterAbba said...

Our kid was pulling the same exact thing with her teacher. I hate triangulation.

FosterAbba said...

And no, you aren't overreacting.

Miz Kizzle said...

You absolutely should not let it go. His aide was way out of line. Issues such as where a child sleeps are up to the parents, not to school personnel. She should have contacted you and expressed her concern about D's nightmares rather than taking matters into her own hands.
I think this can be a good learning experience for her if you outline the drastic measures you have to take at home to keep everyone safe. I doubt she has any idea how vigilant you have to be around D. Your talking with her may open her eyes and make her more aware in the future. It may even prevent a tragedy involving another child.

K....mom said...

I agree with everyone else...There can only be 1 parent and you are it! (You know what I mean) She may well be well-meaning but what she's doing is sabotaging his home-life and that's not ok. I like the whole 'what happens at home is not discussed at school, please redirect it back to school stuff'. That way she can't interfere with what doesn't concern her such as sleeping arrangements etc. I really have a problem with talking about sex stuff with school staff. I don't care who they are and how much training they have, they simply don't have enough for these issues.

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marythemom said...

I agree with K's mom. You need to have a discussion that tells them how to redirect it. If you want to educate them on the whys that is your choice, but at the very least they need to be told to stop.

We're going through this right now with my almost 17 year old son. Believe me, letting it go makes it harder on you, eventually on them, and most definitely on your child.

You are not overreacting!

Mary in TX