I took a personal day Thursday so I could stay at Vince's school and silently observe him to get a better feel for what was going on. His principal kindly rigged a little veil over the door for me so I could peek in without being detected.
I learned a lot that day. First and foremost, I was given confirmation that I'd made the right decision about where to send him. His principal and his teacher are rock stars. I know they are both dedicated to their kids and willing to go above and beyond to make sure they get the necessary care and attention they need. That is extremely gratifying, and I am incredibly thankful that I found such a wonderful place for him to grow.
Secondly, I got to see my son in a wholly new light. He was just as disruptive as they warned me he was. He was screaming in ways I'd never heard him scream before. That being said, I noted that much of his reactionary behavior was, as I had anticipated, completely understandable.
For example, he kept getting in trouble for not sitting where he was supposed to sit on the carpet. His teacher assigned a back spot for him, and he refused to stay there. He'd either get up and go to the table, or he'd try to sit closer to the front (typically squishing other kids in the process).
I immediately understood why he was doing that. First of all, his hearing is still not 100%, so he wants to sit closer to hear the stories better. Secondly, his job at his last daycare was "page-turner." He'd sit on the lap of the instructor and turn the pages of the book. He's probably confused as to why he's not turning the pages anymore, and might think that he's done something wrong to cause him to lose that privilege. So he keeps coming up over and over again to try to be where he thinks "his spot" is.
No one explained to him that he doesn't have the job of page-turner anymore. No one explained that since this is a new school, he has a new spot to sit and new "jobs" to do. When I explained that to his new teacher, a light bulb went off over her head and other little things like that fell into place.
Especially given how Vincent says how much he misses his old school and his old teachers, this really makes sense. He likely doesn't understand why he can't be with them anymore, and he certainly doesn't understand why he can't do all the things he used to do.
Then there were the transitions. It seemed to me that he was behind by 1 transition throughout the day.
For example, when it was time for circle, he'd be at the table. When the kids moved on from the circle to the library, he'd finally get in motion to move to the circle (and so on and so on). He is so slow and unwilling to transition that he was actually holding the class back from certain activities. The teacher and aid did their best to redirect him and get him on board in a timely fashion, but Vincent's frustration would kick in and he'd just shut down and ignore them.
I think that's the area I need to work on most. Transitioning has been one of the hardest things for him to feel comfortable with, and it's been an ongoing issue since he was a small child. It's why I've always been such a stickler for his schedules. Consistency really is key for my little munch, and now that his regular schedule is being transformed into something else entirely, he's confused and frustrated.
I'm hoping as this new schedule becomes more routine, he feels more confident and less confused. That, in itself, will help quell much of his frustration.
After I finished observations, I gave feedback to his new teacher and took feedback in turn. We shared a lot of good ideas and I'm implementing a few changes at home to help Vince keep the same level of consistency here as well as in school. She, for her part, will try some of my tricks for keeping Vince's focus and coaxing him into transitioning better.
At the end of the day, I felt as though a lot of progress had been made. I felt much better in Vince's chances for success there, and I hope his teacher and principal understood just how dedicated I am to getting him on the right track.
Keep those prayers coming, folks. I appreciate so much all the notes, ideas and comments you've sent. <3
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