Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spencer's Parent Teacher Meeting

I met with Spencer's teachers and some of his therapists on Friday. He is doing well in school: knows 36 out of 40 of his sight words, asks a lot of good questions (especially about science and social studies topics), works well independently, isn't having any behavior problems. Therapies are going well. There are definitely improvements over where he was at the end of last summer. I was very pleased to hear about the progress he has made in OT. I believe the Montessori program, with all of the hands-on learning tools they use, has a lot to do with that progress.

I went into the meeting concerned that his teacher would tell me that Spencer is ready to be mainstreamed next year. Academically he is doing great. The quiet, calm environment he is in (10 students, working in small groups or on their own with the support of a special educator and two aides) has had the effect we had hoped it would. He is able to be heard (we're still working on that mysteriously breathy voice) and able to focus thanks to the absence of distractions (and the medication for his ADHD). Fortunately his teacher recognizes that he really needs to be in this kind of environment again next year in order to continue to succeed. I am very pleased that GW Montessori has a class that will be appropriate for him. I sincerely believe that it's not just the class size and student/teacher ratio that is beneficial to Spencer. The Montessori style of facilitating learning, rather than teaching, and use of hands-on learning tools is perfect for him. I'm so glad that he'll be able to continue there (pending district approval, of course).

Spencer's teacher wants to see him begin to be mainstreamed at times. She feels it would be best to do this for science and social studies, because these are his two strongest areas. I've often felt that I need an encyclopedia to raise this child, with all of the questions he asks, and they are seeing the same thing at school. He just wants to soak it all up, and in the Montessori program his teachers are his guides on his quest for knowledge (I love that he came home after school one day and asked me if we could "research" the Egyptian Sphinx together!).

I know I keep raving about this program, but how can I not? How lucky we are to have a free Montessori program in our district! I always thought I would like to send Spencer to a Montessori school, but I knew there was no way I could afford to. I'm just absolutely thrilled at the experience he's getting through the public school system. I also really appreciate that the school is in an area of the city which is racially diverse, where many of the children come from Spanish-speaking homes, and most of the families could not financially consider anything but a public education. I don't know the history of the decision to place the Montessori program at this particular school, but I'm thrilled that these children and families are benefiting from it. Now if only I could convince the school to teach a little bit of Spanish as a routine part of their day!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


There is just something so funny about hearing your son with autism say "Dammit, f***it" in the right context. Functional language, that's what we're shooting for!  He has heard the words "dammit" and "f***" out of our mouths on occasion, I won't deny it. But this particular phrase he came up with all on his own.  And he says it so passionately!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Long Overdue

This virus, followed by bronchitis, followed by gastroenteritis diet really works! I've lost my holiday weight gain plus some! Seriously, how is it possible to be dehydrated but still have post nasal drip?

Over the holidays I put our Christmas train around the tree. I told Spencer, "It's a decoration, not a toy. You can look at it with your eyes, but not touch it with your fingers." He replied, "But Mom, my eyeballs are in the ends of my fingers!"

Here's a video of the NICU where Alex and Spencer spent the first three months of their lives.  There are quite a few pictures of us in it.  It's a beautiful way to show them what we experienced there.  I hope you'll consider giving to the March of Dimes, the AMC Children's Hospital, or Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital District.  They are all part of the miracles that Alex and Spencer are.

When things happen I think to myself "I need to blog about that!", but I always get busy and then forget what it was I wanted to share.  I'll be back when my memory decides to serve me better!

Thanksgiving 2010