Meltdown at School

04/18/08
This is an old blog excerpt – from the second day Julianna was in public school after being home-schooled for nearly 6 years.   Not having “autism spectrum disorder” officially on her school IEP, no one was prepared for the inevitable meltdown that ensued – not that I didn’t warn them!  Not only did the school personnel not appropriately deal with the situation (no preventative action, no sensory break, yelled at her in front of the entire P.E. class which was three 3rd grade classes combined) – they didn’t even READ her IEP!  They thought her behavior was just a spoiled child trying to get her way.  They went so far as to tell me (not this particular teacher, but the school PSYCHOLOGIST) that she was just never forced to follow socially acceptable rules as a home-schooler – as if I kept her in a box and never took her out in public???

Here’s the story:

I talked to Mr. Phys Ed Teacher this morning.  Apparently, yesterday Julianna (age 10) screamed at him that she did not like to play outside games.  [what she didn’t say was that she didn’t understand the directions and that she was embarrassed about it].  She threw a fit, lost her temper, screamed, and kicked the cone that the ball was on (making her team lose).  Her classmates were VERY upset that she made them lose.  Anyone that knows Julianna could have told you this would happen if she was taken to an outdoor game activity (it’s happened so many times that I can almost picture it in my mind). I told him that Julianna said he was mean to her.  He said that this is the type of situation that sometimes parents get irate over – I laughed when he told me that!  I know full well what type of reaction Julianna has to outdoor games.  She doesn’t understand the rules, hates getting hot/sticky/wet/sweaty and she gets very volatile – sometimes crying, sometimes screaming, sometimes she goes into full panic mode where she goes almost catatonic while shrieking.  I wish that Mr. Phys Ed Teacher had been informed of her IEP before class.  He knew nothing about Julianna’s auditory processing problem or seizures.  I am glad I got to talk to him in person.

Since Julianna refused to participate in PE yesterday, and she full well knows that I expect her to participate, I made her walk to school this morning.  She was devastated that I would make her walk all by herself. I dropped her off at the corner about 4 blocks away.  She cried and fussed and told me she was scared.  I told her that she would be able to see me the entire time she was walking.  She refused to shut the door to the van all the way and stood at the door crying.  As soon as her hand left the door, I drove away.  I drove about 300 feet and stopped to shut the door.  Then every time she got close I drove a little farther.  I gave her a thumbs up sign a few times and she stopped crying long enough to smile at me.  After she got to school, I told her that she would walk even farther if there was EVER a next time.

There was only one other time that the VP had to be called in, but THAT is a different blog post…

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