Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat, Fortasse

Charlie shoulders the groceries Having been told that we were to meet with the director of the big autism center on Wednesday at 10am, and wanting to get the transition process started, I cancelled my Wednesday 9am Elementary Latin class (and provided them with some extra homework to practice the imperfect tense of verbs).


After Monday's class was over, I checked my email as I stepped into the hallway and found out that the meeting with the director was cancelled.

Vae mihi!


Some part of my brain said,
make something useful of this, so it's not one more chapter in the Annals of Education Frustration. I called Charlie's case manager and (mirabile dictu) she was on the line. Jim of course must be at the meeting with the director and I explained about needing to consult with him about a time. And then I asked if I might meet with her (Charlie's case manager) to talk about "some concerns." She said yes and we set up a 9am Wednesday meeting.


After which I found out that I have to be at work for a meeting at noon on Wednesday—good thing I put together a longer-than-usual homework assignment—-


In the afternoon, after a walk with Charlie through a field where some guys around his age were tossing a football (he was drawn to walk in their direction and kept his head down and forward-facing) and after watching Charlie go down the curvy slide at a playground (yes, when he stretched his legs out, he was almost halfway down the slide), the nurse at Charlei's neurologist's clinic called. I had left her a message earlier in the day, in view of the "
neurological storm activity" that wrent itself through Charlie on Wednesday. I mentioned how Charlie had visited the big autism center the day before and had a delayed reaction on realizing that a major change is happening in his life.


"Are they transitioning him gradually?" asked the nurse. "Having him visit his classroom and his new teacher? Teaching him the names of the other children in the class? He's been in the same school for awhile, hasn't he—this is a huge change!"


I said "no" to her questions and that the plan (such as it was) seemed to be to start Charlie "cold turkey." 

"No, no, NO," responded the nurse. "They can't just do that. You can't just do that. You need to have him visit, meet his new teacher, emphasize that it'll be fun and that it's going to a great new school and how much he'll like it. You cannot just have him be at his old school one day and the new one the next."


Simple advice, sure. But I took it more to heart than ever. The nurse's own daughter–she has passed on—was developmentally delayed. The nurse had told us this on our third appointment to the neurologist this summer, after Charlie had—when we mentioned that the school district had been talking about placing him at
Bancroft—lunged at the nurse. Jim grabbed Charlie and held onto a weeping boy while the nurse directed me to go to another room. "Don't worry, it's all right," was the first thing she said to me. "Charlie thinks you're going to leave him here; he thinks I'm the person who's taking him away from you." And then she started to talk about respite and care workers and different schools, some with, as she said, "a loving atmosphere."


The nurse's words from that earlier visit resonated in my ears this afternoon as Charlie carried in a bag of groceries and pulled out the big hunk of watermelon he'd selected and placed it on a cutting board. Looking at me, he said "watermelon" and dug in. I cleaned up the pink juice and wiped down the now-sticky drawers and handles and the counter while Jim took Charlie on a fast-paced bike ride, just before sunset.


Do I have some things I need to talk to Charlie's case manager about on Wednesday.

Fortes Fortuna adiuvat, fortasse? Yesterday, it wasn't perhaps. It was yes.

Make that ita vero.

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Comments
22 Responses to “Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat, Fortasse”
  1. emma says:

    What a great nurse to have! I’m surprised a slow transition hasn’t been planned for by the school district…..
    “a loving atmosphere”, that’s one thing we seem to manage to find here so far, but other aspects are completely lacking (although not everyone in Greece is in a loving atmoshere that’s for sure). Maybe the lack of organisation and rules and paperwork here means teachers haven’t had compassion beaten out of them and replaced with efficacy and procedure as yet?
    Fortius
    (hope I’m using that in the right context, I maybe learning some latin:-)

  2. Liz Ditz says:

    That neuro nurse is worth her weight in gold.
    I don’t have a dead language to say it in, but there you go.
    Thanks for the Latin links — now I can be vehement 2x.

  3. Shannon says:

    I just don’t understand it when the people who work with our children spend months helping said kids acclimate to every day transitions, then drop a major transition bomb on them.
    Regardless, I am thinking the best thoughts for your entire family.

  4. Dwight F says:

    Easing transitions is so basic, basic, basic for kids on the spectrum. Maybe they have a plan but that they haven’t mentioned it to you? Yet? It would have come up on Wednesday meeting?
    G has now started his 4th schools in 5 years and for all of them (an autism specialized preschool, a Montessori preschool, a private autism specialed school, and now a public system school) we’ve been allowed to walk him through the classroom ourselves and introduce him to the teacher (and sometimes aids) without any other students present, outside of normal school hours prior to the “first day” of his attendance.
    It has always been positive, getting him looking forward to attending school and easing aprehension. Way less new things to process that first day. It also allows leveraging his trust of us to help him trust and respect the authority of the new school (being twice his height buys you no automatic recognition of authority with G).

  5. Club 166 says:

    Just catching up with your last few posts (have been on the road again).
    That was a beautiful picture up on the mountain, with the cirrus clouds. Glad that you had a good (if too short) visit with your family. Jim’s right that there’s no geographical cure. Each place has it’s good and bad. Sometimes you just have to choose a place and go with it (and sometimes it’s best just to leave and go somewhere and start over). The trick is knowing when to do which.
    Hope the transition goes well. I suspect it might be easier than you think.
    Joe

  6. MATeacher says:

    We spent the entire summer transitioning… spending more and more time in the new classroom with familiar and unfamiliar staff members, and we’re still seeing major “transition effects” 2 months into the school year from at least one student (of 3 who moved into my room.) And the center wants him to walk in cold turkey? Ummm….. Definitely some things to be discussed there.

  7. farmwifetwo says:

    We don’t transition anymore except for a verbal “we’re going here”, kind of thing. Mostly b/c both are use to change, use to changing classes in school, use to going to extra-curricular activities. They are both a little suspicious at first, but agreeable, 5min they are off and going with the rest. Most people that are involved with children expect a transition period with all children… we’ve had no issues worth worrying about.
    I am surprised though that an autism school hasn’t made a point of forming a transition period. I would even start driving by it, walking around it, with Charlie myself. Just to start the process.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s those people who provide true understanding and support that sometimes make me mist up a little bit. What a wonderful person to have in your life, and Charlie’s.
    Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat. I’ll be assembling my binder for tomorrow’s meeting later today, and that will go on the cover, right next to my son’s photo. Sometimes this mom job takes a lot of courage. Thanks for yet more inspiration.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s those people who provide true understanding and support that sometimes make me mist up a little bit. What a wonderful person to have in your life, and Charlie’s.
    Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat. I’ll be assembling my binder for tomorrow’s meeting later today, and that will go on the cover, right next to my son’s photo. Sometimes this mom job takes a lot of courage. Thanks for yet more inspiration.

  10. Monica says:

    Yes, it is the nurse, who is truly dealing with the life issues, who has the most one-on-one contact, who sees everything first-hand, who has the most wisdom, the most life experience … she speaks from experience, yes, and from deep in the her heart. What a gift she gave you to hold next to your heart.

  11. Monica says:

    Yes, it is the nurse, who is truly dealing with the life issues, who has the most one-on-one contact, who sees everything first-hand, who has the most wisdom, the most life experience … she speaks from experience, yes, and from deep in the her heart. What a gift she gave you to hold next to your heart.

  12. Moi says:

    You know, we parents get so overwhelmed with the day to day, that it is really hard to see the trees, let alone the forest. This is why we need the people who are supposed to be experts BE experts.
    I would love to be a fly on the wall when you ask them to tell you what their transition plan is. Don’t give ’em a break – they haven’t given Charlie or you one.

  13. Moi says:

    You know, we parents get so overwhelmed with the day to day, that it is really hard to see the trees, let alone the forest. This is why we need the people who are supposed to be experts BE experts.
    I would love to be a fly on the wall when you ask them to tell you what their transition plan is. Don’t give ’em a break – they haven’t given Charlie or you one.

  14. Synesthesia says:

    Cool! LATIN!
    That nurse totally knows what she’s talking about.
    I’m trying to transition from unemployed slob to full time worker.
    It’s hard to go from staying up until 3am to going to bed at at LEAST 12 am ><

  15. autismvox says:

    I will ask, Moi, first thing tomorrow morning.
    My college had a weeklong orientation in the summer for all freshmen students and lots of follow-up throughout. The students tend to think it is a bit too much at times — and funny how there’s the expectation that a child with so many more needs is not provided with any plan (that I yet know of).

  16. autismvox says:

    On a totally different note—am quite glad that no one minded all the Latin! Yes, fortius, thanks, Emma! Am planning also to share the list of interjections with my Latin students…..

  17. Jill says:

    He lunged at the nurse? You must have been very upset. Has he been aggressive toward people before?
    Does he show any interest in kids his age? It would be great if he could hang out with an understanding NT boy.

  18. autismvox says:

    Oh yes, just saying “Bancroft” caused that to happen.
    Yes, there have been more than a few notings of “aggression” from school. From reading the reports, these are the result of immense frustration on Charlie’s part on not being able to communicate (well, that is one reason).
    To quote a neuropsychologist whom we recently saw, autistic kids are not naturally aggressive —-there’s a reason. At home, we’ve noted Charlie stomping more and would say this is a way for him to alleviate frustration, over-stimulation (it’s certainly better than banging his head). At school, I realized (without us agreeing to this) that they stop the stomping. And on a recent incident report, stopping it led to more “behaviors” from Charlie—-I have tried to communicate the need for us all to meet so that Charlie’s last days in the school district are as smooth as possible, but so far, the district has refused a meeting.

  19. Dwight F says:

    >> And on a recent incident report, stopping it led to more “behaviors” from Charlie
    Pardon me, they did WHAT? They stopped it? Please say it at least actually says they redirected the behavior, although if he’s communicating unhappiness and they aren’t picking up on that I’m not sure how they’d successfully redirect. :/
    P.S. farmwifetwo, great point about getting the ball rolling with climatizing to the idea by driving by and talking about it. Although I get the impression Kristina and Jim are already working on it from that end.

  20. VAB says:

    I agree. Transitions are hard. With out guy, who started high school this year, the school set up several visit for all the kids (because everyone finds these things hard, not just exceptional kids). Then we walked up to the school several times with just me and MK. We walked around the grounds and checked out what stores there were nearby and just, generally, made it our own over a couple of months.

  21. Cori says:

    Transitions can be very difficult. Good for you that you are asking questions and being involved.

  22. autismvox says:

    I am very glad I asked—some things were quite overlooked, especially as far as how to smooth the transition for Charlie.

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