Nick has been stressed out about school for a few weeks but did not have the words to tell us exactly what was wrong until now. His dad did a great job helping him language the problem. Nick told his dad that in his Language Arts class (which he takes online, in school, with the guidance of a SpEd teacher) the lessons are primarily about analyzing and writing poetry.
Poetry. The most abstract of subjects in the Language Arts field.
Not only that, but the teacher has been telling him that our district’s LA classes are mostly poetry and he will have to get through them to graduate. (Bull. NOT true.) No wonder Nick has had two meltdowns at school in the past two weeks.
(But can we get a WOW!!! at the fact that even in the face of this academic bullying and complete dismissal of his neurology, he has only had two meltdowns?!? Clearly, the rest of his supports are working!)
So. This class is not specifically designed for autistic students, and we are going to have to deviate from the plan here. Nick’s dad wrote an email about the conversation, and I added my thoughts and forwarded it to our contact at the school. Our IEP team has been great about working with us to come up with a realistic plan to keep Nick on a standard diploma track, but then we have Karla to confront them with her irrefutable logic and her literal reading of the exact words of the district requirements.
Most parents believe it when the school tells them what is required for graduation. Even the teachers and administrators often don’t know what is actually required because they are reading simplified summaries and not the actual legal wording. PE? Not actually required. Foreign language? No. Electives from the classes designated as electives? No. (Nick is taking a senior ecology class as a freshman elective.)
And poetry? Definitely not required. He can get his Language Arts credits learning technical writing, creative writing, spelling/grammar with their rules and exceptions. This kid, who scored the highest in the entire 7th grade on the state reading test two years ago, now believes that he cannot write in full sentences. Something has gone very wrong.
We’re fixing it. Team Nick is on the job.