(This was a picture that I took on our trip - The House On The Hill)
I was impressed that Miss M did not resort to rage upon my return home, in the past she would have. However, we seem to be experiencing some other behaviors - lying. Tuesday she came bee-bopping in from school and right in front of her CBA proceeded to tell me that an incident had occurred at school and if true would be a major deal/problem. (I will explain more at a later time once we have all the facts). The CBA looked at me and I at him. Nan looked at both of us and explained that this story keeps changing from where it started in the car. One version the teacher was not there, one version the teacher was there but did not see what happened, one version Miss M told teacher what happened and the other child's marker was moved on the behavior chart in class. First signs of lying is that the story is never the same as it is retold.
We had Miss M's IEP meeting yesterday and after the meeting I asked Mrs. Teacher about this incident. Eyes wide open she said that absolutely did not happen and that Miss M was "telling a story". She also said she would talk with Miss M. I asked Miss M when she arrived home if Mrs. Teacher had talked to her about what had happened in class. She said no. I asked her again what exactly happened. She admitted that she made the part up about the child's marker getting moved on the behavior chart and that in reality the teacher did not see what happened but she is holding firm that it did happen.
A big part of me feels that it is a lie that started as an attention seeker perhaps and that now she is riding the lie on through/sticking with it so as not to appear "caught". But ... the other part of me knows that if the story is true it needs to be dealt with and since I can't know for sure I am at a point where I need to have the teacher question the other alleged children involved and get their story. Why me???!!!
Any who, the IEP meeting was a treat as always - insert eye rolls. They asked if we had any academic concerns regarding our child? Oh well let's see yeah the fact that she is receiving low marks in reading and math is definitely a concern. They said it was a concern for them as well. Sometimes the Hubs is a hot head at these meetings and I am sometimes more laid back and let the others talk until they hang themselves. I can't spell worth a darn and thank God for spell check but one thing my brain is gifted at is remembering all the bits and pieces of something from previous conversations/meetings and catching the lie, kind of like working a puzzle.
I have also (apparently) mastered looking confused and unsure and sitting quietly which seems to keep the liars talking all the more. As I have mentioned before I have been requesting more help for Miss M academically since she was 3 and was identified in the early steps program as language and speech delayed. My point was yes she is but there is more to it than that. I had a meeting with the school etc. and requested more testing be done. Her scores were low but not low enough for extra help. I predicted that we would be back in this meeting when she was in grade K or 1st with talk of her failing and I would not be happy. Apparently it was all duly noted in the file because when the Hubs brought that up they said, "Oh yes we remember but that was a prediction of what was likely to happen and we did not have the data to back it up, now we have more data."
What a shame. I know from the services that Mr. C received during those important years of 3 to 6 what a HUGE difference can be made in those little brains. Their brain is still programmed to be learning language for example and I have seen gifted teachers do wonders with my son. He was able to get into the program because he acted like a total nut case during his evaluation, at one point he was climbing the door of the exam room and the examiners were all looking at each other and exchanging 'the look' that this kid was way off. That was his ticket in and I am thankful for it.
During the IEP meeting the head of the meeting pointed out that Miss M was low and behind grade level and that was with "a lot of help under the table." They have already put her in the low reading group and so she goes out twice a week for 30 minutes with the reading teacher, she goes out once a week with the reading mentor who is a grandmother that volunteers at the school, they are sending extra readers home and they recognize that we are giving her extra help at home and still she is behind. So they are beginning something called RtI (Response to Intervention) and that is the first step in finding what other resources she qualifies for.
I asked what her "bench mark scores" were because a little birdie had told me those were important. They told me I needed a separate meeting with the teacher for those scores. Mrs. Teacher said, "I have time now if you want to join me in the classroom." Yes! She brought out all kinds of scores but was unsure what the benchmark scores were. Sigh. I said that they tell us how she is doing in relation to the rest of her class. She showed me what she thought was the benchmark scores; she had received 18 out of 26. She also brought out her grade book and explained that Miss M had been "treading water" in the beginning and "just getting by" with the Kindergarten review and that now that they were actually in first grade work and the pace was also picking up that Miss M continues to fall behind even with the extra help she is receiving.
She said plainly that Miss M needs more help and that it is her opinion that she would have benefited from being held back in Kindergarten. She said she would not sugar coat the grades and that they are what they are. I agreed that was what we want too that we want Miss M to get the needed help so that she can learn the needed skills and academics and not just continue to get passed forward to the next grade to continue to struggle. She said that "A Kindergarten" teacher had indicated that she was not sure she should have passed "a student" forward and she asked that teacher "why didn't you do something about it then?" Then she said, "But I'm not going to look back I'm going to look forward and determine what is needed from this point on."
It was a positive meeting. The Hubs and I could both tell that the teacher is getting a clue about Miss M and doesn't see us as parents with out a clue. She did share that Miss M even gets answers wrong when they do the work together as a class and the answer is on the overhead projector. I said, "What do you think that is?" Mrs. Teacher said, "I don't know." I have learned not to say that she is likely doing that on purpose, it is best when they come to that conclusion on their own.
Sadly she is a mix of legitimate learning disability and the RAD issues that drive her to do it her own way. It is difficult to determine how much is which and so we just go at it as all legitimate and wait for the other shoe to drop.
Yesterday evening Miss M was upset with me because I had re-questioned her about the incident at school. I asked if the child's marker had really been moved and she said no that the teacher had not seen what happened and that she was going to tell the teacher but the other child told her not to and so she didn't. I explained that we could talk to the teacher together and tell the teacher the whole story because it was important that the teacher know what happened so that she could keep everyone safe. She did not like that because she does not want to talk to the teacher about it. She took her dinner plate and stomped off to her room.
While there she took her cup of mandarin oranges and poured the juice on the carpet. When I went in her room later I asked, "What happened to your carpet?" She said that one of the dogs must have pee'd. I said no that the dogs were in the kitchen and had not been in her room. About that time Mr. C came in and said, "What happened to the carpet?" He smelled it and said, "that's pee or either juice." Well thanks for that definitive answer. Then Nan proceeded to join us and she smelled it and said, "That's the juice off of Miss M's oranges." At which time I saw the little bits of orange.
Miss M started the drama crying again to which I exited and gave her a minute to calm down. She got quiet and was in her bed. I came in and helped her put on her PJ's and then had her help me clean the carpet. I explained that everyone has accidents but what should she have done different? She said, "Tell a grown up." I said yes and that when I asked her about it she lied, which made it worse and that it is never okay to lie. Then I moved right on to teeth brushing and hair braiding. If I don't move right on to another activity she will go into the drama cry, which can turn into a major rage.
While we were brushing her hair she apologized on her own for lying. I told her how good it was that she apologized and admitted she did something wrong. I also told her that all 6 year olds make the wrong choice sometimes and that it is Mom's job to help them know how to do it better the next time. She said, "And even when you are 7 years old you still make mistakes but not when you are like 10 years old like Big Sis then only sometimes you make mistakes." I agreed that we do know more things when we are 10 then we did when we were 6 or 7 but that everyone still makes mistakes. The End and off to bed.
She slept well which lets me know she had resolved the situation in her mind. All of this is great progress but it is still difficult to deal with. I find my mind asking myself if this kid is ever going to let these old ways go? Are we really on the road to healing or is she just changing the game, getting smarter and outsmarting us more? Scary thought!
But ... we do see real evidence of healing, her attachment is stronger than ever before she wants to be a part of us and doesn't like to separate from us. Apologizing sincerely is something she did not do until recently. She seemed to be of the mindset that you deserved whatever she did to you. She accepts responsibility for being wrong, for doing wrong. So yes I do think we are sincerely on the road to healing but there sure are a lot of darn pot holes on this road!