Friday, August 29, 2008

We went to Ryan's open house last night. I spoke quickly with his teacher and she assured me that Ryan is doing really really well. He does have moments when he's a little riled up or when he's lost focus but he's very receptive to being redirected and calming down. She might have to redirect him 10 minutes later, but she said even that doesn't happen that often. And she said it's not all that unusual with 6/7 yo boys, in her (many) years of experience.

"He's all boy, that's for sure!"
"He's friendly with everyone in the class, he talks to everyone, will play with anyone."
"He's very cheerful and happy."

Good things to hear about your child!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ryan is doing so well at school, it's almost like he's a different child. Another week has gone by, and it was another week of "green" days. I'm just amazed, but at the same time waiting for something to happen. It seems like every year in October he starts to go a little happened in 2006 and in 2007. He really likes his class and his teachers, and he has so many little buddies. I've watched him in action with them during carpool and he's just so darn friendly, making sure he says goodbye to all of them, making sure he finished listening to whatever story they're telling him before he gets in the car (as annoying as that is to me, lol!), just all smiles and good cheer.

I like the work they are doing, too, especially the Everyday Math. I've heard a lot of moms complain about it (and maybe I will to in later grades) but so far it is such a creative way of looking at numbers that it's right up his alley. He has one page of homework every night, and he has not yet been reluctant to do it. And he's very cooperative at home as well. He still has his moments, but his anger is pretty short lived, as if he's mentally reigning himself in. School Open House is tomorrow and we're looking forward to it!

I met with his new psychologist today...this one takes our insurance! She's glad that he's doing so well and wants to seem him every other week right now, and is hoping that we can anticipate the October crazies before they happen or at least get control of it right away. Which probably means that it won't happen at all! She's very nice, very personable and I think we'll do fine with her.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ryan is doing REALLY WELL in his new school!! I'm amazed at the difference. But I'm not sure if the difference is his behavior or in how his behavior is perceived. He's been in school for 8 days, and has 7 green days and one yellow day...and she's not being lenient at all. Ryan is happy, he is fully involved with the kids in his class and has made a couple of close buddies already. One of them I hear making sure he says "good bye" to Ryan whenever I pick him up. I emailed his teacher to make sure his green days were actually true green days and not "giving Ryan a feeling of success" green days, and here was her response:

I really do feel that at this point Ryan has made a good transition to our classroom. He does need an occasional reminder, but not any more than any other student that receives a "green dot". (I do need to change the note on the calendar - a green dot really is better reflected by "a few reminders, maybe 1 or 2" yellow dot -several reminders and red dot many reminders.) It really is not unusual for 6 or 7 year olds to need to be reminded of correct behavior from time to time. At this point Ryan has not needed to have different standards. His most difficult times seems to be during transitions- when we're cleaning up from one activity and starting another, and walking in the hallways. It is sometimes hard for him to keep his hands to himself. I'm very glad he and Vance have become friends and that he is enjoying school. Please don't hesitate to email me anytime!

YAY for Ryan! I was talking to a few moms at M&L's preschool, several of whom are planning to send their kids to StMM next year. In talking with them, it seems like many people are having the same kinds of (negative) interactions with the administration there that I did, or they've heard of such interactions being common. I think it all boils down to two people there...the principal and the resource director. I'm hoping that the principal retires soon, I've heard rumblings that he's acting as if he really wants to (but that could just be wishful thinking). For the first time in *years* they have unfilled student spots in several grades. They have almost always had an extensive waiting list but I'm guessing that word has gotten out about dealings with these administrators. It's quite a shame actually, because the teachers there and other administrators all seem so on-the-ball and caring.

I still have to decide if I'm going to send Max and Lily there. The only thing holding me back from ditching the school altogether is the thought of sending them to our public middle schools, which are a mess. I plan to put them through the admissions process at both StMM and the public school Ryan is going to, and then make my decision in the spring, rather than in January when they actually have registration.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I think Ryan is in the right school, with the right teacher and the right assistance. FINALLY. I felt such relief after we had our assessment report meeting today. Right off the bat I could tell that things were different here because they referred to Ryan as very bright, happy, confident and eager to learn. At his school last year, he was referred to as "impulsive, aggressive, defiant, inattentive, but yes, he's very smart.".

First, his teacher. Mrs H is kind, calm, *compassionate* and as sweet as can be. She doesn't see him as a problem at all. And instead of being befuddled by his little quirks, she saw right through to the reasons why he does/says/acts as he does. Right away today she saw that he hadn't finished his work along with the other kids, but instead of reminding him over and over to finish up, she asked him if he needed more time, she saw that he was distraught over not getting the picture colored and let him know that the coloring wasn't important at all if it wasn't his "thing" (it was a writing exercise). She said she gave him a choice to take the time he needed to finish it if he wanted to (she recognizes that he has some perfectionist qualities and also that he might need to sense of accomplishment from completing it to his own satisfaction) or not worrying about the coloring part and moving on with the rest of the class. This is on day 3! She could only sit in the meeting for about half the time, but she made sure that I knew she would keep in close contact with me and that I was not to worry about Ryan *at all*.

Second, the first thing the school counselor said to me when we sat down (and again as we were leaving) was how glad they were to have Ryan at this school. She knows him on sight, and was telling me a couple of things about how he was getting along with certain kids during carpool the last couple of days. She (and everyone else at the table) was amazed at how well he has acclimated in just the 3 days he has been there.

Third, his report. No speech, hearing or language problems at all (not even pragmatics). No big OT issues, aside from fine motor delay which we were already aware of. They do not believe that he has ADHD, although he does have some issues with impulsiveness and some issues with seeming inattentiveness or lack of focus...but they think that has to do with his fine motor delay (more on that later) and this -----> Their consensus is that his weak spot is processing speed, which means that it takes him longer for paper-and-pencil tasks. This can be so frustrating for a very bright child, not being able to "spit out" the information that he KNOWS in the same amount of time that other kids are able to. This, combined with his fine motor problems...namely, not able to form letters and numbers easily...makes doing writing tasks pretty difficult and not at all fun for him, so it's likely that he loses focus because it's too hard. He does also have some social "delays", mostly in the areas of respecting personal space and keeping his hands to himself.

The plan...he will in fact have an IEP. I honestly didn't think that he would qualify for anything, but I am thrilled that he does. He's not eligible under the Autism heading (which is what his old school was SURE he would receive services for) fact, none of these folks think Ryan has Asperger's at all. Sure he's a bit quirky in an area or two that might be common in Asperger's kids, but in the biggest areas, he doesn't fit at all. As an aside, I am almost sure that the rating scales his old school filled out were based on their assumption that he did have Asperger's...they had things on there that I have never ever seen in Ryan, such as a "very evident" monotone speaking voice and "rarely" making eye contact. Not *my* Ryan! Anyway, they have him eligible under "Developmental Delay - social-emotional development". They said that "developmental delay" is kind of a catch-all category for kids up to age 9, for a variety of delays that they can work on and catch up to their peers eventually.

So what Ryan will receive is one hour every day, time with an ECE teacher. She will spend 30 minutes with him in his classroom, and then pull him out for 30 minutes when they will work on handwriting and social skills. They also have a variety of "accommodations" for him in the classroom, basically check lists, prompts and cues, reinforcing behaviors and shortening assignments/copying from the board, etc.

I felt absolutely no defensiveness or negativity at this meeting at all. Everyone there was interested in making sure that I was on board with this before proceeding. I didn't come away from this feeling like there was something wrong with Ryan, or that he was a problem for them. I felt encouraged and like they were going to take such good care of him and that they were personally invested in making sure he is successful.

What a relief.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We've finished the evaluations by our public school system. The consensus there is...they don't think he has Asperger's at all. Soooo....our OT doesn't think he has it, the 4 professionals who evaluated him for the school system don't think he has it, his dad and I don't think he has it, his pediatrician doesn't think he has it...but one psychologist says he does. After reading the Misdiagnosed book, I really think he is a very gifted child who suffers from some social problems. I don't think it's a case of the school system not wanting to give him that dx so they don't have to serve him...because regardless of the label, he's not delayed enough to receive services anyway. And regardless of the label, he's eligible for some of their social skills groups anyway. Same with the sensory stuff...which I do believe he has...they don't see any signs of it, but looking through is OT chart, whatever he was having problems with wouldn't have made him eligible for services anyway. So there we are.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


So, we just spent a full 7 days in Orlando. It was wild! We had a great time, but it was anything but restful or relaxing, lol.

First off, we stayed at Sheraton Vistana Resort, which is mostly a timeshare location but they also rent by the night/week. We had a 2-bedroom villa, with 2 full baths, a full kitchen, living room, dining area, screened in porch and right next to one of the pools (kid pool and hot tub too!). The master bedroom had a king bed in a good sized room, and that bathroom had a HUGE whirpool bath and separate shower, double sinks with granite counters and all tiled. The other bedroom had two queen beds, plus there was a queen sleeper in the family room. Three TV's! Kitchen had microwave, stove/oven, full fridge/freezer, dishwashwer and all amenities. Oh..I almost had a (mini) washer and dryer we only packed 3 sets of clothing each and one pr of PJ's..and we came home with all clean clothes in our suitcases!! It was a GREAT place to stay with kids, I'd highly recommend it. The only negative part is the pressure to attend a "sales presentation", but you can avoid answering the phone and not deal with that! Here's what it's like:

If you page down to the "Springs Villas", that was exactly where we stayed and it looks exactly like our rooms! And it was reasonably priced, I think we had a special that was $158 per night, which is much less than we'd have paid to stay just about anywhere else with 6 people. It was just about 10 minutes door to door to the Disney parks too. We'd typically have breakfast at the villa, then pickup lunch on the way back from the parks, and then eat dinner out.

The place was huge, too. There are 7 pools there, plus a mini-golf setup and rec rooms all over. An adults-only exercise room, a food market, even a Starbucks! It's gated, too, and you have to have a parking pass to get into the resort plus they ask for ID after 8pm, so we felt very safe. We will definitely stay there again if we ever head back to Orlando!

I'll be posting more about the trip later...

Thursday, April 3, 2008


The public school assessment ball is rolling. Ryan had a speech/language assessment yesterday and an OT assessment today. The speech person said she got what she needed from him, that he scored well and we'd talk more about it during the final meeting. The OT said that she sees no sign of sensory issues with him now...which is HUGE. She said his posture is good, he has good core strength and his fine motor skills are age appropriate. So he has come a long way since September with his weekly OT! I took that info back to his personal OT and she said she's been considering releasing she did! He's done with OT for the time being, and we can start back up in the fall once we see how he handles being back in school. DH said that he's noticed that Ryan doesn't seem to bump into people/things anymore and we've both noticed that he's less likely to use his hands and body to express himself. We briefly met the psychologist that will be doing his assessment and he is the sweetest, most compassionate man. He was on his way out of the building when the OT called him over and introduced us, he realized we were a part of his caseload so he chatted with me for a few minutes. Then the OT asked me a question, and the psychologist noticed Ryan playing with my keychain, and he sat down next to Ryan and just chatted away with him.

Oh, and another big thing...everyone who has assessed Ryan (besides his private psychologist) has highly questioned the Asperger's diagnosis. Even the psychologist today only spent a few minutes with Ryan in the hallway and said that while it is a hard thing to diagnose at this age, he just doesn't see it (although he was quick to point out that he hasn't spent enough time with Ryan yet and totally defers to his psychologist).

My child, the conundrum.