Tad’s Next Adventure

I pick Tad up early from school on Fridays, right after lunch and before recess.  This gives us plenty of time to get to his ABA session at the University of Washington Autism Center.  It’s working out pretty well, even though he misses half a day.  His teacher, being very experienced in the world of special education, deliberately makes afternoons lighter work than mornings, and Fridays even lighter than normal.  Tad is not the only kid who leaves to do some kind of additional therapy.

Between picking him up right after school on Monday for his swimming lesson and picking him up early on Friday, I see his teacher and paras twice a week and get some additional feedback from them, in addition to his daily communication book that comes home with him each day and tells me what he did and how he did.  This last Friday, as Rerun and I walked into the class to pick Tad up (Rerun immediately wriggled out of my arms, went to the bookshelf, picked up a book on dinosaurs and started “reading,” much to the amusement of the paras), his teacher, Mrs. Mac, introduced me to a new para (who was very obviously Japanese, from name to accent), who will be working with Tad.

Tad has blown his teacher’s mind this school year.  At curriculum night a couple of weeks ago, she told the Webmaster and me that “I’ve rarely had a kid this bright in this program.”  It stunned us – we know Tad is bright, but to have his teacher say it is something else entirely.  His reading skills so floored her at the beginning of the school year that she started him on a phonics program, which has gone very well.  They have been working on ways to keep Tad academically challenged, while knowing that his social skills are still so much in flux.  Enter this new para – we’ll call her Midori.

Midori will be keeping an eye on Tad while he attends a mainstream kindergarten class for reading and math.  His teacher made a point of telling me that he will be in the top reading group in this kindergarten class.  Mrs. Mac said that she would take him for the first few times, to get him acclimated to the new environment, but then Midori will watch him, escort him to and fro, and intervene when necessary.

I was so stunned and happy that I could’ve cried.  In fact, I did tear up when I called the Webmaster later to give him the news.

To be honest, as time has gone on, I have cared less and less about mainstreaming him.  What I really want are his social skills to develop.  I knew that he was excelling academically, and I knew that his teacher was coming up with ways to keep him busy and challenged without getting frustrated.  She told me that they decided on a kindergarten class (which is a full-day class taught by a different teacher than he used to visit for snack and reading last year) because he was still at kindergarten level in math, and I said that I was perfectly fine with that because most of those kindergarten kids are the same age he is.  (Which is why I want to hold him back a year… but that’s a different story for a different day.)

So, he will get more focused reading and math work, plus social practice with his peers.  Pinch me, it must be a dream.

Yesterday was the first day.  His teacher wrote to me in his communication book: “Tried gen. ed. for some reading and math instruction today.  Did well with following instructions – I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of the group – I am hopeful about this!  Will let you know weekly about how this is going in general.”

When I asked Tad about it, all he would say was that it was “good.”

As we were leaving school yesterday (no swimming, but we were off to speech therapy), we ran into the vice-principal who I have talked with a lot about Tad – she’s the vice-principal who oversees the special ed programs at the school.  “There’s our bright boy!  We’ve been learning just how smart he is!  But you already knew that,” she said to me with a smile.

I did, and I didn’t.  My boy is constantly surprising me.

5 Responses to “Tad’s Next Adventure”

  1. Friend
    October 25th, 2011 08:14

    I knew it!!!!!! So happy for Tad! 🙂

  2. Erin
    October 25th, 2011 08:47

    The full day kindergarten teachers at his school are excellent, he’ll love it!

  3. Aunt Mary
    October 26th, 2011 13:28

    So glad to hear all of your good news! I’m sure he is very “bright”, but much of his success is also due to his home environment (dad and mom). He has the best of both worlds.

  4. Deanna's Corner » Blog Archive » Consequences
    November 16th, 2011 01:33

    […] is doing tremendously well in class right now.  His time spent in the mainstream general education kindergarten class is working out so well that his teacher told […]

  5. Deanna's Corner » Blog Archive » Tad, Reading
    February 1st, 2012 01:00

    […] twice a week.  Midori, the para that had initially been assigned to go with him (who I mentioned here in a previous post) to the gen ed class, was reassigned to another child, so Tad’s teacher, Mrs. McN, told me […]