October 22, 2015

spd and a new school

Let me start by saying last week blew green donkey chunks. My full-time job was wearing me to the bone, and my son was miserable on a regular basis. Then Wednesday, while I was supposed to be in an eight-hour meeting, the head teacher left me a voice mail. We need to talk, she said. He's become aggressive, rebellious, and doesn't listen to instruction. She didn't feel comfortable taking him on a field trip for fear he'd run in another direction. In tears, I called my husband and asked him to pull the boy out of school for the rest of the week. I declared a family emergency and headed for the school.

Within 15 minutes of my talk with the teacher, it became clear to me that the things we were doing to help him just weren't what he needed. What he needed was a different school. If his actions have been giving me information, the information is "I hate it here and I'll do whatever it takes to tell you!"

It broke our hearts and strained us to the point of breaking. My son has been with these lovely people since he was eight weeks old. In fact, everything was great until he walked (or rather refused to walk) into his most recent classroom -- a large preschool room with at least 15 kids and oodles of play stations. It was a bit louder, a bit more structured, and a lot more than he could handle. Sensory overload.

By Friday afternoon, we had toured and decided to move the boy to a Montessori school within walking distance of home. More than one therapist has told us that Montessori schools may not be a good match for a kid with sensory processing disorder because it's less rigidly structured, but it depends highly on the child and the individual school. We talked at length with the director about our son's struggles, and learned that they are well-versed in bringing in kids with similar issues. We came away feeling like they could offer him just enough freedom and individual attention to get what he needs when he needs it.

Today is Day 4 in his new school, and he LOVES it. I mean, we look at our son as if he's a different person. We are continuing his SPD therapy, of course, and he's still human with struggles and moods. But he is remarkably happy. What more can a parent ask for?