Oh, how easy it would be to be NT

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InThisTogether
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28 Aug 2012, 4:08 pm

So, today was "locker day" at my son's middle school. You go there, order your school spirit clothing, set up your lockers, see who is in your homeroom, find your classes, and go home.

We got there early. We were one of the last ones to leave. Over 2 hours. Trecking around the school trying to make sure he can navigate. Most of the kids looked like it was just a time to catch up with your friends you haven't seen all summer. It seemed like others probably stayed about 30 minutes.

I ended up finding a really nice 8th grader to help us. OMGosh. She was a gift from heaven. She explained about "flipping" of lockers (make sure your lock is on all the way or they will take it off and turn it around so it is hard to get off), where to avoid going because the 8th graders tend to congregate ("I'm going to tell the truth, they are way taller than you and you will probably feel a little scared.") which stair wells were the easiest to use. How to deal with obnoxious kids. Which teachers he had that were really "nice" and "cool." How girls carry their books vs how boys carry their books. How to best manage your lunch time. I mean, really, I wish I knew who this girl's parents were so that I could call them and tell them what a good girl they are raising.

I ended up getting him a spiral bound 3x5 index card pad. On the first page I drew a little map of the first floor of his school (most of his classes are on the first floor...one on 2nd and one on 3rd, but both near the stairs). On subsequent cards, I wrote the "hints" the girl gave us, and I told him he could write other things he learns and that he can carry it in his pocket. I asked him if he thought it would be "cool" or "stupid" and he said "well, it's probably not cool, but I wouldn't call it stupid. Other kids might think it is, but I think it will help me so it's not stupid."

I am meeting with the counselor tomorrow. He is not on an IEP at this point and I have never had to establish formal 504 accommodations, either. This school seems fairly proactive and has a strong no bullying policy, but I am still afraid my son will slip through the cracks.

How are others doing who are transitioning to middle school? I seem to remember we are not the only ones?


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momsparky
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28 Aug 2012, 11:39 pm

Crap! Now I'm terrified!

We sent an email last week and only just now got an answer that he can go preview the school, meet teachers and set up his locker Friday...school starts Tuesday. I am frustrated that they are only just barely following the IEP (it was the last possible day for this accommodation.)

That girl is a gift. I'd bet that you can keep an eye out for her and let the guidance counselor know how terrific she is.

We've been practicing biking to school for a week and a half now, and were going to start solo biking - came to the conclusion this morning, when DS hopped off his bike and stopped the trip completely to check out a cricket, that he won't be biking to school on his own. It was kind of a long shot...



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29 Aug 2012, 6:04 am

I will not tell a lie. It is scary.

Of course, we had to run through things like:

"It is normal to get lost at first. Do not cry. Find a grown up and ask for help, or a friendly looking girl."
"Walk on the right side of the stairs and hold the rail. There will be a lot of kids pushing, so don't let go."
"Whenever you can, try to use your humor first. If that doesn't work, tell a grown up. But if you feel scared or are physically hurt, tell a grown up right away." (Mostly in reference to the antics I imagine some of the 8th graders might pull on 6th graders. My son is a funny kid and sometimes when other kids see that, they lighten up a bit on the teasing.)
"Remember, in the past even the kids who think you are weird at first usually like you once they get to know you. The same thing will happen here. You will find the kids who are like you and will make good friends. Just be yourself and they will see."

In his school, most 6th grade classes are on the first floor, 8th on second floor, and 7th on third floor, so except for the 2 periods where he has to venture upstairs, it shouldn't be that bad and most of his classes are only in 2 hallways. But because he is so directionally challenged, he still doesn't realize it. I wish schools would do more to make landmarks in their buildings. This school has some, like the 6th grade lockers have murals painted on them, so he knows his locker and homeroom are near Lance Armstrong. But I find the signs with "150-160" just are not helpful when a kid is trying to navigate quickly because then you have to stop to think if the number you are looking for is in that range or not and then decide what to do if it is not. Murals and different colors of paint make it much easier.

Apparently girls tend to carry their books up by their chests or on their hips, but boys carry them in one hand, dangling down by their leg. Seems like it will make it easier for people to knock them down that way, but perhaps blending better will make you less of a target for it to happen to begin with.

Riding his bike to school? I'm impressed you can even consider it! My son and I just discussed last night whether he should walk by himself to the bus stop. It is 1 block away and he only has to cross one side street. (LOL!)

I am so anxious I could type forever.


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29 Aug 2012, 7:08 am

8O I can't imagine how nerve wracking this will be! My little one (4) will be starting mainstream school next year, nervous is an understatement. So much to think of. The schooling for my big son (13) is much easier, no having to navigate all this social stuff and they even warm up his leftovers for lunch and if he's tired he gets to nap. Good luck to you all!! ! May the transition be smooth :)



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29 Aug 2012, 7:15 am

momsparky wrote:

I am frustrated that they are only just barely following the IEP (it was the last possible day for this accommodation.)



Why do they have to be like that? I mean, really...how would it have hurt to let him come earlier?

They don't have a "locker day" for all kids entering middle school? How the heck are typical kids going to figure out what to do? I mean, seriously. That is a big change, going from one room where all of your stuff is in your desk, to a locker and multiple teachers/multiple rooms.


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momsparky
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29 Aug 2012, 8:20 am

InThisTogether wrote:
momsparky wrote:

I am frustrated that they are only just barely following the IEP (it was the last possible day for this accommodation.)



Why do they have to be like that? I mean, really...how would it have hurt to let him come earlier?

They don't have a "locker day" for all kids entering middle school? How the heck are typical kids going to figure out what to do? I mean, seriously. That is a big change, going from one room where all of your stuff is in your desk, to a locker and multiple teachers/multiple rooms.


I'm with you, it makes zero sense to me. The only benefit I can see to DS, and we've talked about it, is that all the other kids will be temporarily in the panic state (I didn't put it that way, but that's the reality) where he lives all the time - so he will have an advantage, as it will be no different for him from an ordinary day.

My understanding is that the kids are pretty well segregated by grade, and I haven't heard any of those kinds of older/younger bullying stories at the school, so I'm less worried about that.

DS has a good internal map if we can manage to set it, so I'm less worried about that than I am the new protocol of walking in your own space rather than walking in line. Arrgh....



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29 Aug 2012, 11:02 am

InThisTogether wrote:
momsparky wrote:

I am frustrated that they are only just barely following the IEP (it was the last possible day for this accommodation.)



Why do they have to be like that? I mean, really...how would it have hurt to let him come earlier?

They don't have a "locker day" for all kids entering middle school? How the heck are typical kids going to figure out what to do? I mean, seriously. That is a big change, going from one room where all of your stuff is in your desk, to a locker and multiple teachers/multiple rooms.


They don't have a locker day???? :roll: This is stupid and ridiculous. We didn't just have a locker day. When I was in 5th grade, my class and I was taken on tour of a middle school. It was thouroughly explained. For example, periods were explained to us and lockers were explained. Locker breaks were explained as well and at what time we received them.

From this, I had to make my own locker plans of what books to carry around on what parts of the day. When I was in 8th grade, I had one class on the top floor of one building and I had to go to class which was on the top floor of the vocational building. During this time, I had to make sure I had all of my books and notebooks for a segment and I had to skip this locker break. Every year, I had to discover where my locker was and where all my classes were. Usually we didn't get books for a few days so I was able to map and plan when I went to the locker and restroom in my head.

This was because it was very structured. The school I went to was more ghetto so it had to be a bit more strict in their rules. It wasn't to ghetto because they didn't have metal detectors. They took no BS in my middle and high school. You could get into major trouble for cursing with a few days of ISS.



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29 Aug 2012, 11:34 am

Quote:
I will not tell a lie. It is scary.

Of course, we had to run through things like:

"It is normal to get lost at first. Do not cry. Find a grown up and ask for help, or a friendly looking girl."


Definetly do not cry. The other kids especially the boys will think he is a punk. If nothing else this is one thing he does not need to do. Do not cry.

With respect to telling him to look for a friendly looking girl. My response is "HELL NO!! !! !! !! !! !! !!" He does not need to ask a student for any help especially if he is lost. They will screw with him because they will think it is funny. They did this crap to me one time and I learned this lesson well. I 100% agree with asking a grown up. He needs to ask a grown up and only a grown up.


Quote:
"Walk on the right side of the stairs and hold the rail. There will be a lot of kids pushing, so don't let go."


Tell him to make sure that if he has anything he values either keep it in his pocket, bookbag, or his locker. Do not carry it. Tell him to try not to carry to much in your left hand and to make sure that if you carry something that it they are similar in shape and size like books for instance. Do not carry a thick notebook and a thin one. You may drop one and not realize you did until you lose it. Yes, please hang on to the rail and make sure your shoes are tied(Periodically check for this).

Quote:
"Whenever you can, try to use your humor first. If that doesn't work, tell a grown up.


If he does dirty jokes do not do it around the grown ups and keep it in the boys locker room. If he curses do not do it around the grown ups. What I am saying is there are times and places for these things. Do not tell jokes about anybody's ethniciy, religion or skin color especially black people. They will hurt you bad.

Quote:
But if you feel scared or are physically hurt, tell a grown up right away." (Mostly in reference to the antics I imagine some of the 8th graders might pull on 6th graders. My son is a funny kid and sometimes when other kids see that, they lighten up a bit on the teasing.)


This can present a problem. Sometimes he should not say anything. In my day, this would be considered being a rat. This is one of the worst labels a kid can have.

Quote:
"Remember, in the past even the kids who think you are weird at first usually like you once they get to know you. The same thing will happen here. You will find the kids who are like you and will make good friends. Just be yourself and they will see."


This is what I would do to. Do not try to be something you're not to try to fit into one of the subcultures there especially any of the drug users or those who are ghetto. Stay away from them because they will lead you down a horrible path. There are some students there who will be real douches.

Quote:
In his school, most 6th grade classes are on the first floor, 8th on second floor, and 7th on third floor, so except for the 2 periods where he has to venture upstairs, it shouldn't be that bad and most of his classes are only in 2 hallways. But because he is so directionally challenged, he still doesn't realize it. I wish schools would do more to make landmarks in their buildings. This school has some, like the 6th grade lockers have murals painted on them, so he knows his locker and homeroom are near Lance Armstrong. But I find the signs with "150-160" just are not helpful when a kid is trying to navigate quickly because then you have to stop to think if the number you are looking for is in that range or not and then decide what to do if it is not. Murals and different colors of paint make it much easier.


I am directionally challenged as well. I try to look for specific landmarks ones that will always be there and can't be removed. There were times I'ved used graffati as my landmark.

Quote:
Apparently girls tend to carry their books up by their chests or on their hips, but boys carry them in one hand, dangling down by their leg. Seems like it will make it easier for people to knock them down that way, but perhaps blending better will make you less of a target for it to happen to begin with.


Or, I would just carry them in my book bag. This is one way I did it.

Quote:
Riding his bike to school? I'm impressed you can even consider it! My son and I just discussed last night whether he should walk by himself to the bus stop. It is 1 block away and he only has to cross one side street. (LOL!)


If he rides his bike to school, he needs to factor his time of taking the chain out of his book bag and locking his bike to the bike rack if there is one. He needs to make sure that his bike is fully secure and locked. Make sure he doubles and even triple checks this. If it is a combination lock, make sure he has memorized his combination and he has it written down somewhere. This combination needs to be in his room and your room. If it is a key, there needs to be three keys. One he takes with him, one he keeps in his room and one that you keep in your room.

Quote:
I am so anxious I could type forever.


I know. It will be ok. Another thing I would do is and if he is able to do it is he should take Karate, Judo, or Tae-Kwon-do as well. He could learn boxing as well. He may need to learn how to fight for self-defense. There is going to be a rule in place that has zero-tolerance for fighting. It was in my day and because I was rigid I took crap from bullies because I wanted to rigidly follow this rule. There are cases such as this he will need to learn one important rule of them all. This rule is sometimes some rules are meant to be broken. I still am confused by it sometimes. He will have to learn to use his judgement on this. With fighting, do not throw the first punch.


Honestly, as an expression the administration does not know their ass from their face sometimes. In fact, the administration as both you and momspark have experienced have their heads far up their ass. Do not accept the mantra that fighting does not solve anything. Sometimes walking away does no good.



momsparky
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29 Aug 2012, 2:13 pm

In the school's defense, they did have a very thorough school tour in 5th grade, which DS missed because we had him "shadow" one of his older friends for two different school days. So there's that, which he did pretty well at and which I keep forgetting.

However, it does nothing to acclimate him to his own schedule, locker, stair-climbing, gym class, etc. Plus he's now developing migraines instead of melting down when he's overwhelmed socially, which I'm not sure is better (certainly isn't for him.)



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29 Aug 2012, 8:07 pm

cubedemon6073 wrote:
Quote:

"It is normal to get lost at first. Do not cry. Find a grown up and ask for help, or a friendly looking girl."


Definetly do not cry. The other kids especially the boys will think he is a punk. If nothing else this is one thing he does not need to do. Do not cry.

With respect to telling him to look for a friendly looking girl. My response is "HELL NO!! !! !! !! !! !! !!" He does not need to ask a student for any help especially if he is lost.


I get your point. However, for some reason he is really able to peg the motherly girls. You gotta love the motherly girls. I was one of the motherly girls.

cubedemon6073 wrote:
Quote:
"Whenever you can, try to use your humor first. If that doesn't work, tell a grown up.


If he does dirty jokes do not do it around the grown ups and keep it in the boys locker room. If he curses do not do it around the grown ups. What I am saying is there are times and places for these things. Do not tell jokes about anybody's ethniciy, religion or skin color especially black people. They will hurt you bad.


I mean jokes to deflect the teasing/bullying/whatever. For example, his plan is if any boy repeatedly knocks his books from his arms, the next time he sees him coming, he will say "Let me get that for you" and drop his books himself. It usually disarms the teaser and he is pretty good about doing it. I shared that plan with his counselor today (we met for an hour) and she said she thought it would actually be effective, though she doesn't suspect he'll have to use it.

He is a very rule bound kid. Would never tell a dirty joke, curse, or make fun of anyone for any reason. Justice is high on his list of important things and he is very sensitive to hurting someone else's feelings.


cubedemon6073 wrote:
This is what I would do to. Do not try to be something you're not to try to fit into one of the subcultures there especially any of the drug users or those who are ghetto. Stay away from them because they will lead you down a horrible path. There are some students there who will be real douches.


This is a very middle class school. We came from an inner city school, but there is no ghetto or even subsidized housing in the school district. This isn't a concern for me. As I said before, he is rule bound, to the point that he actually asked if he could be friends with a kid who cursed.



cubedemon6073 wrote:

Or, I would just carry them in my book bag. This is one way I did it.


For some reason, he cannot carry his book bag between classes. Only his folders/notebooks. They have a set of books in each class and they get a set to keep at home for homework. So he won't need to carry books.


cubedemon6073 wrote:
Quote:
I am so anxious I could type forever.


I know. It will be ok. Another thing I would do is and if he is able to do it is he should take Karate, Judo, or Tae-Kwon-do as well. He could learn boxing as well. He may need to learn how to fight for self-defense. There is going to be a rule in place that has zero-tolerance for fighting. It was in my day and because I was rigid I took crap from bullies because I wanted to rigidly follow this rule. There are cases such as this he will need to learn one important rule of them all. This rule is sometimes some rules are meant to be broken. I still am confused by it sometimes. He will have to learn to use his judgement on this. With fighting, do not throw the first punch.


He is one belt below a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has not been to class since we moved but as soon as I can afford it, I will send him again. His Master was very clear about using martial arts at school: one must never use it as an offense, but if anyone lays a hand on you, use it in defense. He said he would drive to the school himself to defend any student who was disciplined for standing up for themselves. My personal opinion is that if someone else hit my son and he hit him back and got suspended for it, I'd buy him pizza and let him game all day. I think it is ridiculous that kids are not supposed to stand up for themselves against physical bullying. My dad's rule when I was growing up, even though I was a girl was: "You better never throw the first punch, but you better throw the last." LOL!

Thank you for your feedback and input. I always enjoy your posts and I appreciate the time you took.


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