Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When is a "Grudge" no longer a "Grudge"?

When do we switch from acting based on a grudge to seeing the truth? That's something I've been asking myself for the last few Saturday afternoons.

Simon has been attending the music (group piano) class Harmony Road 1 since September. We have missed only one class (but still made up for it in our own way). But going there is getting harder and harder. I still harbor so much anger towards them about how this class began (see my earlier post). I see the behavior of the kids in this class and I become furious. They spend much of the class playing the piano over the teacher talking. Simon doesn't do that. When we are working at the whiteboard, these kids actually LIE so they can get second or third turns before Simon gets a single one. Simon doesn't do that. And Simon is learning what is being taught. Yet Simon was the one who was complained about. I'm STILL angry about this.

But I am finding myself wondering if I have him in the right class. I can tell he doesn't like the work -- he wants to do things his own way. He refuses to answer any of the teacher's questions. He will answer them for me. He refuses to write on the board. But he will acquiesce if the teacher will do "hand-over-hand". I think next time I'm going to have the teacher "help" him to do it wrong, just to see if he (and she can use this for the class) recognizes that it's incorrect.

Ever since his IEP Meeting, I find myself really questioning how much he really understands. How much does he comprehend what's going on around him? Am I falling into my father's trap of thinking that the fact that he's reading is so important (in my father's case it's the toilet training)? Yeah, he knows over 200 sight words. Yes, he knows to sound words out (and is often reasonably successful) if he doesn't know them. But then when he can't tell you who the main character is, does that really matter? Yeah, he knows what a treble clef is, and he can find "do" on the piano (as well as re, me, fa, and sol which is as far as they have progressed), but he can't read them when presented to him. Nor can he tell you where on the staff they belong. Is that a sign that he's not ready for this class?

In the beginning of the semester, there were complaints about Simon's behavior. There were concerns about his ability to handle this class. Now I'm wondering, behavior issues aside, were they right? He comes every week. But what is he really learning?

This is what I hate about autism in Simon. With Rachel, I can figure this out. I can see if she is learning. I can see where she needs the extra work. Simon just baffles me. That "splintered learning" thing really just gets in the way. If he can do this, he SHOULD be able to do that. But that's simply not the way it is. He can do A, C, E, F, G, and I but not B, D, or H. With him, we always seem to walk away from things with more questions than answers. Even in this one place where I thought he would really excel, I'm forced to question whether I'm pushing too hard, just because I got angry.

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