Thursday, October 2, 2008

Same Song, Different Verse....

Today, I wrote the following e-mail to school OT and the guidance counselor:
Hi ladies,

I’m writing today because I’m having a few issues with Second Grade Teacher and LMNOB. More than anything, I just need to get my thoughts out and maybe get some guidance about how to communicate these things to Second Grade Teacher in a manner such that she will truly hear me. Communication with Second Grade Teacher has already proven to be a difficult thing for me. As you were party to at the 504 review I had to correct her on something that we had previously discussed. Additionally, twice now, I have told her that I had conflicts with the volunteer schedule (I was unable to start volunteering until 9/25 and that I would be gone on an upcoming Thursday, 10/16). Both times I wrote the specific dates in the e-mail, and both times she misunderstood me – thinking I was going to be there on 9/18 and then thinking I wouldn’t be here today 10/2. I don’t know how to be more clear.

I’m receiving the daily checklist and that’s good; however, it seems to appear that the majority of sensory activities are occurring on the playground at recess rather than being facilitated in the classroom. If this issue was the sole issue, I would not be writing. But combined with some of the other things – I’m a little frustrated.

We have been having weekly blowouts at home with LMNOB on Wednesdays – the shortened day at school – which makes sense because a shortened day gives even less time to have the sensory input that she needs. As a result, homework struggles have followed – which can have academic impact since she is now being graded on homework. I have some suggestions that I can offer to Second Grade Teacher – largely that the ante is raised on sensory things on Wednesdays.

I sent LMNOB’s theraputty and chewies to school with her and LMNOB has told me that she has not used them because her deskmates have chastised her for it – not understanding that she is “allowed.” I asked her if Second Grade Teacher knew about this and she said that she had not said anything (true to her difficulties with that confrontational speech) about it. I plan on addressing this with Second Grade Teacher, but again just put it in so that you could understand where I am coming from.

I have been volunteering on Thursdays for two weeks now. Both weeks, LMNOB has had struggles with the transition of going to recess and me leaving. This is true to her pattern of having difficulty with transitions. Last Thursday I told Second Grade Teacher repeatedly that she needed to take LMNOB from me or else it was just going to prolong things – this also happened on the first day of school – and she ignored me and proceeded to try and reason with LMNOB (if you can’t let go of Mom, she can’t come volunteer any more). This does not work and will not work when she is in a heightened arousal/anxiety situation such as transitions. Today, she left me to fend for myself while LMNOB kept grabbing at my purse, my clothes, etc. such that I was unable to leave. Another teacher had to intervene after several minutes of struggle.

It is a simple enough strategy to just take LMNOB away from me at the end of the volunteering session and things would go pretty smoothly from there on; however, with Second Grade Teacher’s reluctance to think outside of the box, and accommodate LMNOB’s needs which are different than a “normal” child, it would appear that my volunteering is causing more harm than good at this point. It places undue stress on me, creates a scene that her peers are witness to and could have undesirable social ramifications for LMNOB, ultimately feeding negative emotion back to LMNOB about herself. As a parent who loves her child and wishes for her utmost well-being, none of these options are acceptable but it is really frustrating to me to have to make an either or choice because it doesn’t have to be that way if I could just get her teacher to be supportive.

Sensory integration disorder is a hard one because no two cases are identical – nor are the nuances of the disorder static and fixed – what is a fun activity one day becomes a trigger for a melt-down on others. I know that with such nebulous details it is hard to fully convey the ins and outs, ups and downs in a ten minute meeting before class (as I did on 9/5) or a 40 minute 504 review – it took me several weeks of OT and LOTS of reading to truly “get” it, and even now, there are times when a new trigger pops up and it takes me a long while to catch on and remedy it. However, I get the impression that it’s not a priority for Second Grade Teacher to learn so that she can understand and employ proactive tactics that will improve the chances of LMNOB’s success. And I’m a little stuck on that. I know that each teacher is different and I got spoiled last year with the best case scenario. I know LMNOB is 1 of 24. But she is the only 1 out of 24 that is mine and I want her best interests to be considered.

Again – I’m not asking for intervention on your behalf so much as some guidance on how to best address these issues. I’m a straight shooter when it comes to communication and not used to having the type of communication struggles as I have with Second Grade Teacher and just wondering if there is something I can do to better get these concerns across and ultimately, resolved.

Thank you for your time. I appreciate your thoughts.


School OT called me back very quickly and she "feared this is the way things would go." She is going to continue to "educate" Second Grade Teacher re: the legal nature of a 504 Plan as well as try to increase her awareness about SID. I am doing the same. If the e-mail I sent to Second Grade Teacher does not get results, the next step is me going to the principal.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved


  1. UGH! What a pain. I'm glad that the OT is going to keep working on the teacher, but how long is that going to take, and how much more frustration do you have to deal with before she becomes "educated"? I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, but I'm thrilled that you're being such a Mama Bear about it! You go, girl!!!

  2. Seriously well written letter...I have no doubt that you'll see some sort of action taken now because damn, mean business.