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Old 01-03-2012, 08:12 AM   #1
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I feel like a horrible Mom today

I have only posted once or twice here, but I have had such a hard morning and I really need some support. sorry if this is long

I have a 3 1/2 year old autistic, SPD, lactose intolerant son

He is in a early special education class at a public elementary school and today was his first day back after Christmas break. When I tried to drop him off at school he would not get out of the car and he was screaming and crying. The teacher tried to pull him from the car and force him inside, so I got out and left my car in the bus line and took him from her. I truly do NOT believe in forcing a transition that is hard for him. We don't let him get out of doing what we are trying to get him to do, we just give him time to calm down and explain to him why and help him through the decision. I was able to calm him with joint compressions and I talked him into walking and holding my hand by telling him I could stay with him for a couple minutes once we got to the classroom ( the teacher has never had a problem with parents staying for a bit and there is usually at least one parent in the classroom). When we made it to his classroom, under his own power I bent down to hug him and kiss him at tell him I would be back in just a couple hours and the teacher stuck her head out and said "come on Aiden, Mommy can't always come to school with you, she can't come in, shes not allowed". So he started screaming immediately and holding onto me by my hair and saying "no mommy no!". I started crying because I had promised him I would stay a couple minutes if he was a big boy, and now the teacher is kicking me out. She grabbed him from me and pried he fingers off me and took him in the class and closed the door. I could hear him screaming and kicking the door. He was screaming for me and I just stood there in the hall crying. I stood for close to ten minutes while he screamed. The teacher aide finally came out and told me to just go home, they would deal with him.

So I left

I left my poor sweet baby screaming for me.

This was the hardest decision I have ever made and I am regretting it so much. He doesn't get out of school for 3 hours and I already want to just go pick him up and never take him back there again. I feel like I let him down today. My husband says I made the best decision, but I feel like he is just saying that to make me feel better. I am 37 weeks pregnant and I really feel guilty already that he won't be my only, even though this baby is so much loved and planned and wanted.

Thanks for reading. I dont have anyone that fully understands his disabilities so it is so hard to talk to others with "normal" kids. I just hope and pray that this is hurting me and not him. I want so bad to call the school and see if he has calmed down, but the secretary will only say they will call if they need me (I have called before to check on him I the past). Ok I'm done now. Thanks in advance. Sorry if there are horrendous misspellings and grammar as I am typing on my phone through tears.

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Old 01-03-2012, 09:00 AM   #2
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

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Old 01-03-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

Hugs mama! I couldn't read this and not respond. None of my children have quite the needs that your child does but I would have been upset at this as well. He is 3, not required to be at school.. Honestly i would have let him stay home. I hope he is happy when you pick him up though, to help you feel better!
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

(((((Hugs)))))). Like the PP said, I don't have the same special needs, but similar. Transitions are so hard for our kiddos, huh? I am not looking forward to tomorrow, when my kiddo goes back to school. I hope he is happier when you pick him up (((((Hugs))))).
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #5
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

I would have a meeting with that teacher. If you promised him that you would come in for a few minutes, and she didn't allow it, then I would feel I had violated my child's trust. You did the best you could under the circumstances, though as an educator I am unhappy with the behavior of the school staff. Sometimes it is better to just get the parent out, some parents linger unnecessarily and cause more issues. However, in this particular case, I think it would have been reasonable for you to stay for a few minutes. Maybe you can set up a system with the teacher where if there are the same issues again, she and the staff understand you will come into the room for a set amount of time (5-10 minutes), which your son will also be aware of, and then leave. I'm so sorry you had to go through that! I would have done the same thing, and felt guilty too.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:15 AM   #6
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

Honestly I think the teacher was out of line. This is pre-school and and he is coming back after a break, it is 100% reasonable for him to need and you to offer to give him a few minutes of transition. I wouldn't be ok with the physical forcing, especially. I have worked with autistic children as a an aide, and forcing/pushing generally just makes everything worse. I would be worried that the teacher is creating a fear of school, instead of letting you help him transition into the classroom. I would ask why they asked you to leave, because it seems strange that she would say that when you mention in the past that has been fine for a parent to stay for a time.

I'm sure he isn't scarred for life and you are obviously a wonderful, caring mother, who just wants what's best for him I hope you can make it through the day without feeling too badly! I hope they report that he had a wonderful day after you left, but if not, I encourage you to talk to them about what to do ongoing in order to best help your son.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

I agree that the teacher was out of line especially with physically forcing your DS out of the car and into the classroom. I have a 3.5 year old with ASD also and if I promise her something and then don't follow through (like you saying you'd walk him into the classroom), she completely melts down. The teacher should have realized that you needed to follow through on that promise! Plus physically forcing my ASD daughter always makes things a million times worse and I think that is pretty typical for ASD kiddos.

I think you handled a bad situation as well as you could and I'm sure your son will be okay, but I recommend that you schedule a meeting with the teacher and talk to her about how you two can handle a situation like this in the future. I'd also ask her to refrain from physically restraining or moving your son in any way unless he (or a classmate) is in immediate physical danger. Maybe you can request a Functional Behavior Analysis by an Autism expert (not someone already in the classroom) to observe your son and the teacher and offer tips for how she can best work with your son and potential behavioral issues. It doesn't sound like she is handling things very well right now.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:45 AM   #8
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

I have 2 sons with SN - 1 has PDD-NOS, SPD, and hyperactivity and the other has SPD and ADHD. They have these melt downs often. I also do what you do. Letting htem scream and get out of control just regresses my boys for weeks.

DS3's inhome worker was training another girl Friday. DS3 has been having sleep issues so is not very cooperative lately. It is frustrating to say the least. He was refusing to eat. Fine. Do not eat. Eventually he will ask for food or pediasure. The worker was forcing him to sit for 5 seconds. Then trying something else. THe child was FREAKING. I waited for her to do her supposed "Calming" technique and it was never done. I got up, went in and got him. I was very angry. I do allow meltdowns to occur if I can help it as I pay for and the child pays for it for weeks.

Sure enough, she was no call and no show since the event and my son has been HORRIBLE since. He is still not sleeping, not eating well, and is very hard to manage. When he is pushed to that place where he cannot breathe, as he is crying so hard, he no longer can stand anything and just melts. That is where his brain will remain, too, until something triggers it.

I would not beat yourself up (26 weeks PG here) adn simply tell the teachers in a very stern voice that you will NEVER be allowing what happened today to happen again. You know how to get your DS to calm down and if that means you staying a few minutes, that is what you will do. If they do not like that, then next time you will simply walk back out with your DS and he will nto be attending that day.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:15 PM   #9
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Thank you so much to all the Mamas that replied. He just got home about 30 minutes ago and he is swinging in the backyard. I got more hugs and kisses than I ever do when I picked him up. I did not see the teacher, as they leave straight from the lunch room to be picked up, but I am going to call and make an appointment to speak with her. The teacher left me a note in his backpack saying he continued crying for 30 minutes after I left and then they put him in cool down for awhile until he got ahold of himself (cool down is time out, but he likes it because he gets to be away from the other kids). She said after that he was compliant.

I sat and I thought for a long time this morning and I do feel that I would have been able to calm him, had I stayed. We may have had a few tears but it would not have been a total meltdown. Like the PP said about her child, this will set him back, and he usually won't eat for 24 hours or more after a huge episode like this, and acts kind of zombie like for a while, but I am happy that he came home happy to see me. I cannot say I would leave him again, because if it happened again I would either insist on staying with him or jut take him home, but I can say I will never, ever let the teacher treat me and my son that way again.

Thanks again for all of your opinions!
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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Re: I feel like a horrible Mom today

So sorry that you had a rough morning. I agree that the teacher was out of line. I was a pre-school teacher and would never put my hands on a child and force him/her to do something even during difficult transition times. I also think that you should have a talk with the school- calling to check on him after a horrible drop off like that is completely understandable, and the school should get that. I always encouraged my parents to call if there was a bad drop off. I knew that given time the child would be fine, and didn't want the parents worried all day.
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