I had my mind blown today, and not in a good way. Because of all the school days that were canceled because of the recent snow here, both Sam and Jack’s Valentine’s Day parties were held today.
I went to both of them, Quinn and a half gallon of chocolate ice cream in hand. The effect that two separate Valentine’s Day parties and their assorted sugary treats had on Quinn is an entirely different post. One that ends with him lying on the rug in the second grade classroom making shrill whistling noises at the top of his lungs. But that’s not what this is about.
What it is about is Jack and his near complete isolation at school.
I started to be suspicious when Jack couldn’t deliver his valentines based on who was sitting at each desk, but could only do it by looking at the names written on the bags being used to collect the cards. This sick feeling I had was confirmed at home when I tried to use his valentines as a social thinking exercise. For each valentine I tried to get Jack to think about the child who gave it to him. He didn’t know any of them.
He could correct my pronunciation of the names, so he knows the names, but he can’t connect that information to a person in the class.
I am horrified. Absolutely horrified.
He has been in a classroom with these kids for nearly six months. Many of them he spent a year with in kindergarten. Sam knows the names of kids in Jack’s class. Sam knows which name attaches to which kid. But unless it is a child who he knows for another reason—I’ve set up playdates, they live near him, or maybe, maybe, if they are in a small reading group with him (but even then I’m not convinced he would know them)—Jack doesn’t know their names.
He knows his teacher’s names and he knows his aide’s names. I understand that he isn’t seeking out other kids to learn about them, but his classroom environment has to be bigger than just his desk, the aide sitting next to him, and the teacher.
I have a lot more thoughts and feelings about this, but what it all boils down to is a total failure to engage Jack with the class. I don’t see how the school can say he has made progress on any of his IEP goals if he hasn’t learned the most basic social information about any of the children he spends six hours a day with.
I don’t know how they could have missed this for so long. I don’t know how I could have missed it for so long.