Ordinarily I only have bad news to share. Life can suck that way. Today I have great news to share.
I received a phone call at 6:30 tonight from the head of the Support Centre at the kids school. She apologised for calling so late, but said this is the first chance she has had all day to phone, and she couldn’t wait until tomorrow. I told her that she was free to call us any time. My kids always come first.
At first I was apprehensive and scared – I thought that maybe Nicky was in trouble, or had done something wrong, or something bad had happened…
As some of you are aware, Nicky has been bullied at school of late. He had all of last week off while I attempted to try and think of a solution (plus I was rather frozen in an Autistic way myself, unable to pick up the phone and call). I eventually text the head of the Support Centre, K, and let her know what was going on, and she got in touch with the principal who called me first thing Friday morning. We had a long chat, then she organised for one of the school counsellors to call as well, and set up some starting solutions to get the boys back at school (Quinn was home as well, though for different reasons). One of those solutions was to start Nicky off at the Support Centre until he felt safe enough to go back to his classroom.
So yesterday, Monday, Nicky was at the Support Centre all day, and one of the projects he had to do was make a poster. He worked on that today too. He also talked to K about his programming, and she suggested he bring his computer in so that she could have a look. Today he took his computer in and showed her the work he has been doing on a program he designed to help Quinn learn his times tables. He also wrote a program in front of her to make a box appear saying “hello”.
In this house, this is pretty basic programming, but K thought it was a big deal, so she went and asked the IT guy at school to have a look with the intention that he might be able to work with Nicky on some programming stuff. He informed her that what Nicky was doing was high school, if not university level and that he was himself currently learning this stuff at university! So sorry, but no, Nicky was beyond what he could help with.
K also went straight to the principal and informed her of Nicky’s ability. An impromptu meeting was called with the principal, the vice principal (as the principal is going away on long service leave next term), and a few other people, including K. Phone calls were made to various places, trying to find out what can be done to help Nicky with his studies, as apparently none of them have dealt with a kid like this before. K said she has dealt with 2E* kids, but none at this level.
(2E, or Twice Exceptional, means a person who is gifted as well as having a learning disability, such as Autism).
So we have a meeting tomorrow to add in our thoughts and get some more information. The school is trying to get Education Queensland on board as they will then continue with Nicky through to high school and keep that continuity going. The school is also going to liaise with the high school Nicky will be going to next year to make sure that he has an appropriate programme – as Nicky doesn’t test well, there’s no guarantee that this will be an automatic thing.
There was talk of Nicky doing some high school subjects as well as possibly even university subjects in the very near future. They are also going to fight to try and get him a one-on-one tutor…
K was looking at Nicky’s poster today and had another realisation – not only is he disengaging because he is so bored, but she saw him take a passing comment as a personal insult. She mentioned that he paraphrases his work, rather than just copying and pasting like all the other kids do. “I don’t DO that,” he replied lol… She realised that the staff have been treating him like the other kids at the Support Centre – that he is probably constantly thinking “why are treating me like an idiot?” He is getting in trouble and people aren’t telling him why. He is bored, and they aren’t understanding why. And because he is still Autistic, but in a gifted way, he tends to take simple comments personally and we all need to work with him on that.
All of this – the realisation that he is so smart (smarter even than I have been giving him credit for I think), the realisation that he is disengaging, the realisation that he doesn’t test well, the realisation that it’s going to bother him to treat him at a lower level than what he is – I am SO glad that someone has finally noticed. I mean, I can tell them all I like, but in a system that is set up to only look at test scores with a kid that doesn’t test well – and with all mums thinking their kid is the greatest – I can yell as loud as possible and no one is going to hear me.
Well, someone has heard HIM now, and they are so excited, they are calling me from their home at dinner time lol…
As I said, the school hasn’t dealt with a kid like him before, so they are calling everyone they can think of to try and come up with the best way to help him. If you have any ideas, please let me know!!! This is obviously very new to us too. We have put him up a grade before, but he had to go back down when he didn’t learn anything while being homeschooled. There was an issue then – because he essentially missed out on a years worth of work, he was expected to know things he didn’t know, for example, all the kids had learn their times tables, and he still didn’t know what multiplication was. I explained it to him, and he was fine after that, but this issue will be larger now that he is older and I’m not sure how to deal with it.
Everything is up in the air at the moment – it is going to take a few weeks (especially with school holidays starting next week) to get anything sorted. Finally though, they get it.