Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rendered Speechless!

Anyone out there use PECS?  (picture exchange communication system)
It is a tool used to communicate with kids who struggle on various levels with communication.
Superman benefits from using very limited PECS symbols to remind him what is expected when the teacher is lecturing or when the assignment has multi steps.  Using PECS symbols lined up in order of directions helps him move along and stay focused and successful in reg ed.

Well, Superman's AUT teacher this year is lacking.  Very seriously lacking.  Not just because she doesn't get it.  I don't think she cares to get it.  She is teaching so she can coach. She is a poor writer, communicates minimally, and has no teaching skills.  

Anyway, last week I suggested she start using PECS to help keep Superman on task.  The following day I got her interpretation of my suggestions.
You will not believe this! (Actually, sadly, many of you will)

A full page titled "Math class with Ms. Jones"
She wrote step by step, word by word expectations and directives.  At first glance I wanted to throw it out.  It was busy, overwhelming visually.   

Ms. Jones certainly did not take time to review her finished document. She simply typed her directions into the PECS program, hit print, and moved on.  

Let me remind all of you that children with Autism are literal in their interpretations of the world. 

So, over the word assignment is a picture of an ass.  Yes, you read that right.  An ASS!  (the animal, not the bum)

Over the word date ( as in put the date on your paper) is a couple.  Yep, a male and female holding hands!

Over the word board (as in start the practice problem on the board), is a cutting board!  A cutting board!

Over the word open (as in open your notebook), is a hand removing a lid from a jar.  

First of all, Superman is very bright and can read at grade level.  Superman does not need these types of directions... he just needs periodic visual cues to keep him moving along.  He does not need to be told, "Open your notebook to an empty page" written in PECS.  

Anyway, I was so angry about this...  frustrated, hopeless, borderline outraged,  I took four days to process and hid all things that could be used as weapons  (knitting needles included).

Monday morning I attacked.  I copied the document, wrote all over it, attached notes of explanation and attached it to a formal letter to the principal and the special education coordinator (both of whom I have met with regarding my concerns) stating this was absolutely unacceptable and it is not my job as a parent to correct the teacher, patiently walk her through this stuff, or teach her what to do.  

I then hand delivered these to each of them.

Haven't heard a word from either of them but I noticed in the back of Superman's assignment notebook yesterday was 4 PECS pictures of what to do when you listen.  Also was met outside the building by Superman's reg ed teacher (who is a saint).  She tells me that she won't be communicating with me as much as she has in the past as Ms. Jones needs to be the person communicating with me more.  


I am still not sure what to do with this.  She was clearly directed to do this as this is not her nature.  Is this really all the dark side could come up with for remediation?????  

Dear God.  We are in so much trouble.

Hub and I are fervently looking for good alternative schools.  

Anyone have any suggestions?


1 comment:

  1. I fear you may need to start your own school. Virtual schooling plus your own knowledge of autism may be what your kids need.
    My impression of the communication issue is this: special ed teacher found lacking, regular ed teacher might make her look bad. Heavens, we can't have that.
    Spec. Ed. coordinator downtown fears us now; we've made too many people look bad. He handles our case himself.


Although I am dangerously opinionated, I am a flexible thinker and welcome your thoughts.