Thursday, October 21, 2010

Effective Communication

The definition of "Effective Communication" is "2-way process sending the right message, that is also being correctly received and understood by the other person/s." (direct quote -- credit to

Once again, when I visit Simon's school, I notice everyone always putting a positive spin on everything. His teacher kept telling me about the things he can do. She told me of his strengths. She told me about his love of books. She told me how much he loves music. She told me how he loves to play in the gym. She told me about how verbal he is (in comparison to the other kids in the class) and how he enjoys circle time. It seems to be "taboo" to talk about any issues that he's having. I had to ask about his "play" and whether he plays with toys. Nope. Will he interact with his classmates? Nope. But he knows the schedule! He answers questions when asked. He knows his shapes, colors, letters, numbers, etc. That's good. No, better......that's wonderful! But what about his ability to function outside of the classroom?

His class is HUGE (relatively)!!!! There are 10 kids with 1 teacher and 3 para-educators (today at least). Another teacher was in the room as well, but I suspect that was for my benefit so the teacher would be able to answer my questions. But all of these kids have significant issues and need more direct intervention. Simon's teacher was explaining to me after the class stepped away that she was preparing his IEP documents and doing some testing to determine what his goals/objectives should be for the next year. She was amazed that there were no academic goals in his existing IEP (we were more focused on basic life skills at his last meeting). She intends to incorporate more of these in for the next year.

This would have been a good time for me to ask about ABA and whether they engage in this teaching/learning technique in the classroom. It also would have been a good time for me to ask if she feels that his placement at MPAC is his best option. However, I still just don't know how to bring up these questions, probably because I still don't know WHAT my questions are. I continue to have doubts about the whole thing. Would he be better off at CAPP with Rachel? Or PEP? And what's the situation about MPAC closing? Will it exist until he enters kindergarten? I really would like to know these answers before the meeting. But it's been 8 months since I've been thinking these thoughts, and I'm no closer to having answers now than I was at that time.

Why is establishing "effective communication" between myself and Simon's school so difficult? Why can't I ask them the questions that are racing through my head? Why can't I engage in an conversation and voice my concerns? When I had a conference with Simon's teacher and the administrators last year, it was the same thing -- I just found myself listening to them glow about the progress he's made and I just couldn't say much of anything. I don't see it. And, no matter how hard I try, I can't pull this out of him at home. I know he's made improvements. But is it enough? Is there more that's ready to come out that needs coaxing? Or is he where he's meant to be for the time being? I would like to think we're progressing and he's not falling further behind. I suppose that statement is true, currently, mainly because he clearly IS learning. I DO see that. And he does interact with his siblings, even if it's not in the nicest ways and even if THEY have to initiate that interaction.

I'm comparing them again. Argh!!!!!

This is an INDIVIDUALIZED system. Simon's progress is not dictated by his twin. But, then again, if she's making this remarkable progress, shouldn't he? And if the answer to that is YES and I see that he's not successful at it, I have to ask, "Why?". Is the comparison warranted? Two different kids -- can't forget that!!!!

My head hurts. My heart too.


  1. {{hugs}} you're not alone, the questions are slow to come when the future is a big question mark. Just remember you don't need to have all the answers yet. I know he'll continue to surprise you.

  2. I am sorry for the time you are going through...would it help to say you are not alone?? I have learned to take a notebook to ALL meetings-I have all my questions written down in front of me. I also start the meeting saying "I know my kid has had some very positive things happening-but I am concerned about..." It has changed things...good luck...(visiting from the blog hop)