Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bubble Boy

Weston is finishing up his sophomore year in high school.

Tenth grade is the year when scholastic demands begin to increase to pre-college level. Classes are demanding and difficult. It is the time in high school when there is a big division between those who can keep up both academically and socially and those who cannot.

Weston is struggling to keep up.

This is when "inclusion", or any attempt at such...comes to a screeching halt. The intellectual and emotional differences between Weston and his peers is becoming too great. It is difficult if not impossible to find an appropriate class for him.

Placing him in a typical classroom is great for him socially but academically he is lost. He is unable to keep up with the increasingly difficult content and the accompanying heavy work load. His IEP calls for test retakes and lower homework demands but even with these accommodations, he is unable to maintain a passing grade, eroding his self confidence and furthering his feeling of failure and isolation.

As a result,  he has been placed in substantially separate classes for most of the day. He is grouped with the same three or four students who face similar academic and social struggles. While this environment helps him to keep up with the work load, it does not provide an appropriate social setting. How does one learn social graces when placed with other students who are equally challenged? He feels removed from the rest of the student population. There is no opportunity for him to build friendships, join groups or meet girls, an important rite of passage for boys his age.

It is as though he is in a bubble, floating through the school but not really participating in it.

Last week, we had some outside vocational testing performed on Weston. For 3 days he took tests and participated in some vocational training.

Today is his IEP to review what we have learned from this examination.

It is our hope that we find a vocation or at least some kind of trade that we can begin the process of preparing Weston.

Some big questions will be answered:

Do we keep him in high school and continue his goal of obtaining a diploma?

Do we forgo the diploma and seek a vocational school that serves as a base to begin the process of finding a trade?

Do we try to do both?

Thankfully, I have my trusty sidekick to support me.

Although you may remember,

these meetings always have a way of making me wake up and smell the coffee.