This week has been a repeat of 'being pecked to death by a chicken' and I'm really, really over it. I found out that Alex is going to fail English if he doesn't extract his head from his behind and do at least some of the work he's avoided up 'til now.
The deja vu part is that we went through the same thing last term, first term, last year and the year before. I know, I know, which part of autistic and ADD aren't I getting??
I'm just frustrated that the teacher, knowing his history with work avoidance and lying about it, didn't let me know that he hadn't handed anything in this term ... and when I say anything I mean not.a.single.thing!
I tried explaining the consequences of his actions (and lack thereof) in simple terms...
"If you don't pass English this term, you fail English completely. If you fail English this year, you can't go on to Year 11 ... at all!"
This was met with blank looks so I amped it up a bit.
"If you fail English, you will have to repeat Year 10."
More blank looks...
"At another school."
Slightly panicked looks...
"And you won't be able to the computing course you want to do at TAFE."
Awareness starts to dawn that this may be serious...
"So what are you you going to do about it?"
Back to the blank look...
It was at this point that something stopped me from committing actions I would no doubt regret once I was put in prison for them and poured a bucket of ultra-calm over my head. (It must have been his guardian angel! Thanks whoever you are!!) I was then able to calmly sit and discuss the various options available to him (all of which included him doing the work, much to his disgust!) and reach a suitable compromise (none of which included doing him bodily harm, luckily for him).
In all seriousness though, I am worried that we, as parents, and the system are both failing him. If he, someone with a 'label' and a rather vocal mother, is falling through the cracks, what chance do the quiet, struggling students with disinterested parents have?
I realise that some of his behaviours are typical of teenagers but I am concerned that I can't tell which ones are teenage rebellion and which ones need active specific intervention and help. It's very much a deal with them on a case-by-case basis and hope I'm not totally screwing him up in the process.
I also realise that the teachers have many students with differing needs and abilities and are probably overwhelmed with everything they have to do. Yet I am incredibly frustrated that some of the teachers he has had repeatedly for the last almost three years, still don't understand how difficult it is for him to do some of the things they are asking.
I'm not asking you to give him a free pass or straight A's (especially seeing as he hasn't done the work!) but when I ask for more information to help him with a task, please don't act as though I've asked you to donate a lung to a chimp with a 40-a-day smoking habit. All I need is clarification on a couple of points or a more specific set of questions for him to work with and I'll get out of your hair!
Another thing I discovered in amongst everything else, is that he hasn't been taking his ADD medication. We had discussed this earlier this year and he wanted to be responsible for administering it himself. I allowed him to do it under supervision for a couple of weeks then left him to it. Apparently he decided some months ago to only take it every now and then which, of course, doesn't do much to help him at all. One day back on his tablets and he's been able to write almost two pages for one of the assignments with no arguments, backchat or dramas. What a difference a day (and some severely restricted pharmaceuticals) makes!
Now we just have 5 journal entries (at least a page of handwriting each) and a major assignment to finish before next Friday. Wish me luck!!