I still feel that back to school rush in the fall. No, I'm not going to school myself; in fact it was a near miss but I did buy a whole bunch of folders, pencils, paper, binders, lunch boxes, protractors (!) recently for my two students. I still get that back to school rush.
Shea seems tall and fast all of a sudden, leaping, running and being a dare devil on the monkey bars. He has taken on 1st grade with an enthusiasm and intensity that is mildly surprising yet isn't.
The teacher is working really, really well so far. Quite simply, she is an "old pro" who has many years plus special ed and Resource room background. We are blessed with only 16 kids in the class. 11 boys but she runs a tight ship.
Shea is reading and writing and sitting at his desk and listening. At the beginning, he was having the old "keeping his hands to himself" issue as usual.
But his teacher is engaging him in thinking about his behavior with a new little game that has resonated. Each day he gets to "earn" 4 smiley or frowny faces. He was proud to consistently come home with 3s and 4s. Then we told him he could earn some place ground time after school if he got 4s. That worked really well!
He brags out it in his first writing piece at school. "I got 4 smiles!" he wrote with a picture of smiling stick people. So darn cute.
But regression does happen. And, this week was a tough one. The principal called and left a message that said that Shea threw a rock on the playground and hit a little girl in the head. :-(
The message said "the child has since recovered...but it was quite serious....losing recess the next day...grounds for suspension...having a hard time getting Shea to understand the situation..."
I won't go too far into the scene that night but it resulted in him sitting down and writing a letter to the little girl to read to her the next day, losing Wii for a couple of days and many, many, many words about how wrong it is to hurt someone like that.
The whole thing hit me hard on a tough day and I was pretty teary myself and I think I saw something click behind Shea's eyes when he realized how upset I was. How shocked and horrified we all were by what he did. There is something about parent tears. Let's hope he gets it.
Jake took him to school the next day and they found the little girl and Shea read his letter and was forgiven. Jake said it was pretty adorable and she was wonderful about it.
Thankfully we happened to be having Teacher conferences this week too so Shea's teacher reminded me that regression happens. Learning to handle your impulses is big stuff and lessons happen in different way but that he will get there. I admitted my worry about his social skills and making friends and she reassured me that he was connecting with other kids in the classroom.
But the play ground is always such a different story, isn't it?
Shea said there was another boy involved with the whole rock throwing episode. Something about this other kid telling him to do it. Now, obviously that is no excuse but it makes we wonder about the dynamic on the play ground.
This same boy's name also popped up in a conversation about the word "mean" and Shea wanted to know what to do if someone was mean. I said you stay away from someone being mean and then he asked, "What if they follow you around being mean and won't stop?" (!)
I was sort of beginning to freak out by this point because Shea doesn't ask stuff like this very often. Certainly a very unusual conversation to be having and a huge warning light going off in my head!
I said, "Very firmly, you tell them to stop and if they don't you go tell the playground duty or the teacher or me."
It is hard to tell if he got much of that in this first part of a bigger conversation. Obviously, some interesting dynamics are happening at school and we'll need to revisit this topic again.
The art of the deal: special needs child version
16 hours ago