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Monday, October 15, 2012

Tough Weeks for Jacob

It's been a couple tough weeks for Jacob.  

In his defense, I had him pretty programmed: 
Gymnastics 1x a week
Music class 1x a week
Montessori school 3x a week
Afternoon Kindergarten 5x a week

I really thought that if he was consistently engaged, he would do better.  

I was wrong.

Things were going okay for a while, but after six weeks of school and activities I started noticing that he was falling behind. The homework was getting more and more beyond his ability and Jacob was getting frustrated and discouraged.  He can't hold a pencil to write his name, and, despite our practicing, he didn't know his letter names or sounds.  It was all too much.  He knew it and I knew it. 

Then it got worse. 

Jacob was getting increasingly irritable.  His nervous ticks were more exaggerated.  He was missing his naps each day and his sleepless days were snowballing.  He started saying he "hated school", and he was having tantrums and melt downs all the time.  Quickly, we could see things escalating into a major behavior problem.

 Then, after a year and a half of successful toilet training, Jacob had THREE accidents--in one week! That was the last straw.  Jacob was stressed and although he couldn't tell me that with his words, his actions spoke loud and clear.  Something needed to change. But what?

I couldn't take him out of public school.  I didn't want to take him out of Montessori. The Montessori school was the best thing he had going for him.  They had quiet classes and low student-to-teacher ratios.  The teachers individualized his learning, and the pace was perfect for Jacob.  I felt really stuck.  I counseled with mothers of other special needs children, and with friends who had experience in education.  

After much thought, I realized that I needed keep him in the program that was working best, and that was Montessori.  Then, after the third potty accident, I knew my course of action--I had to withdraw Jacob from public school.   This was a huge decision for me.  I felt like I was abandoning my community, turning my back on the entire concept of public education, and cutting off Jacob from all peer associations.  Still, I felt I was doing what was best for Jacob, and that I had no other choice.  

I called the principal and set up a meeting to discuss his withdrawal.  I also talked to the kindergarten teacher and the resource teacher.  They were all supportive, and willing to go along with our decision.  Then, (just when I had emotionally geared up to withdrawal him from kindergarten) I got a message from the "severe" special needs teacher.  She told me her team had just devised a plan to start working with another student in Jacob's class in a one-on-one environment.  She suggested that Jacob could come for half of the Kindergarten day and spend that time really focusing on what he needed to learn.  

This solution has made all the difference for Jacob.  He now attends Kindergarten half the time, which allows him to get a much-needed nap every day.  He is working with specialists at his pace.  He is only in the kindergarten class for recess with his peers and sometimes for class projects.  My happy Jacob is back.  Yes, he still has hard days and some frustrations, but it is a lot better.

The picture above is Jacob writing his name on a dry erase board at a local frozen yogurt shop.  I was so impressed that, all by himself, he could write a "J" and the start of "A" "C" "O" "B".  He is getting it!  He is slow, and sometimes I think it will never happen.  But he might just surprise me.  

I hope he does.

Post Script- In addition to cutting back on his school load, I also took Jacob out of music and he is no longer riding the bus.  We are streamlining his schedule, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it keeps working.


  1. Megan! You are such a great mom! Trying to figure out the best schedule, doing what's right for Jacob and at the same time making sure he is getting the best. You are amazing! We're all following your example

    1. Thanks for being the first Scott girl to take all of this on. You are an example to all of us and we will all follow in your footsteps. We are all honking for you and him! Love you. - Brittany Scott

  2. Oh Megs!!! You are you, and you are AMAZING!! That lucky boy!! What a trip it is to keep figuring out what he needs, but you are on top of it, and doing a marvelous job!
    I love you, and have been thinking about you!!! kiss hug kiss hug