Category Archives: Edge-ucators

Internet Access at DayCare

For the last couple of weeks, Doodicus had been going to the daycare because school was out for winter break. He didn’t complain because his best friend was also going during break so he had him to play with, not to mention other kids he knew were also on break. We allowed him to bring his Nintendo DS because his friend, David, had one, too and they could play multi-player. However, after Christmas, Dood asked if he could bring his ipod instead as David had received one as a present.

From the time he got it a year ago, I have been quite clear with both Dood and his dad that he is not allowed to bring his ipod to daycare or school because it would be too much of a distraction. He’s snuck games for his DS he wasn’t suppose to and subsequently, has lost them, more than once. I should also remind you that he’s used his ipod to get on-line and watch videos he should not be watching. In short, he hasn’t earned our trust to be allowed to bring anything but his DS to daycare.

Dood mentioned to me this past Thursday that David had brought his ipod and somehow they had been able to access the wifi while playing in the nearby school’s gym (the church runs that elementary school and the daycare). I didn’t think much of it until a few hours later when it was time for bed and he asked me to sit with him for a while. He NEVER asks me to stay with him at night so I knew something was bothering him. He finally told me that when David had access to the internet, they looked up videos, including one that was about the paranormal character, Slender Man, and now he was afraid of the dark.

After about ten minutes of sitting on his bed, I got up to leave and he begged me to turn on his room lights (he already had on his bedside lamp). I was annoyed about with his anxiety, explaining that he had brought this onto himself and now he was going to have to suck it up. Yes, I am the meanest mom.

At first I was especially angry with David and was this close to calling his mom, who I am friends with on Facebook. Dood ended up out of his room several times begging me to let him stay up, which I denied, and I even was able to ignore the sobbing I heard from his room right before he finally dropped off to sleep. Instead of contacting David’s mom, I emailed the daycare Director, asking why the school did not have secure internet.

I received his response today and I can’t say I’m at all satisfied.

Thank you for communicating with me about your concern. First, I will address the school policy. The school has multiple groups and visitors that need access to wifi for presentations etc. Based on the difficulty with getting each group a password they have opted away from using a locked wifi system. They also have a policy for the students in which they feel that teaching them responsibility with the internet rather then locking it and them spending time trying to hack in is a good practice. They believe that the kids will have access as they grow and they need to get into good self discipline practices regarding the use. Kids at the school also only use school approved equipment with teachers monitoring use so that is why it works. As for us since kids in our care only use hand held devices it is impossible to fully monitor use. That is why this fall we put a rule in place not allowing any internet capable devices to be used. Over Christmas I relaxed on this a bit since most of the older kids had not been with us and it was something they enjoyed together. It was explained to them that wifi access was not allowed and only to use things they currently have. This was a mistake on my part. Helping Hands will stick to the policy of no internet capable devices being used from here on as this was my main fear. This is all very important as we try to teach children responsible and careful use of this great tool. Like I said I appreciate your communication as it brings to light for me why we instituted the rule in the first place. I apologize for [Dood] having anxiety over it. Please let him know that if he is ever uncomfortable in any way he can address that with me and I will make sure to handle it in such a way as to not embarrass him or make him feel as if he was telling on his friends.

I certainly agree that kids need to “get into good discipline practices” but that’s not something all kids are able to do using their common sense and their moral compass (hahahaha!). If that was true, then these kids wouldn’t need monitoring at all and I’d have to ask for a refund on the daycare’s fee I paid to have my son under their supervision for two weeks.

I have not yet addressed this with David’s mom, either, but I know I’m going to have to sooner or later. I want to talk it over with Dood first and I haven’t seen him since I got the response above from the Director. I think he needs to understand that what his friend was doing was indeed against the rules, and unfortunately it reinforces my stance that devices that he could use to access the internet are off-limits if he’s not under our direct supervision.

We can replace a broken screen and lost games (once he’s earned the necessary funds), but I can never replace the inappropriate information he’s already seen with less violent or less scary images. I can’t keep him under wraps forever, but I don’t have to push him into this often time callous and insensitive society, either.

Update to Self-Portrait

I posted “Self Portrait” via my Droid and unfortunately it wouldn’t recognize the two subsequent images I had included with the drawing. They were of the descriptions Doodicus had written of himself. The first one is supposed to include his physical attributes. The teacher read these out loud and the students were to guess who it was. I have no idea where the “one big eye” and “big ears” comes from because that was not what he had written when we first worked on it.

I have not asked about the second part, written more as a prose, but I don’t think that was the intent. I haven’t asked because this is still hanging in the hallway of the school and I don’t want him to over-think it and become self-conscious about it. I learned more about Dood with this assignment than I have with any attempts we’ve had in a recent conversation.

Self-Portrait

image

“Hi, my name is M*****. I have brown eyes and one small eye and one big eye. I have long, brown hair. I have freckles and one big one. I have big ears. I am ten years old.”

“funny. fun. athletic. caring

Brother one sister: son of J***** and D*****

lover of minecraft, video games, TV

Who feels happy, angry, mad

Who needs a computer, Minecraft, little more

money

Who fears gangsters, Grampa dying, me dying

Who gives love, caring, money

Who would like to see Canada, Mexico, Jordan

Resident of *****, Nebraska”

Naughty

Aitch’s preschool class takes turns in bringing snacks for all the kids. Each day, a Snack Bucket is sent home with one child who is to return the next with snacks for all. This is rather an exciting event to four-year olds. I remember the first time my son came home from preschool with the Snack Bucket because he had snuck it into his room and had fallen asleep not only with it in his bed, but with it wrapped tightly in his arms.

My daughter is no less enthusiastic about this honor, but when I asked if her classmates had enjoyed the snacks she had brought yesterday, she sadly told me that she had not been able to hand them out. Instead she had sit in time out. “I wasn’t listening,” she explained with a pout.

This had not been the first time that she has told me about sitting in time out for Not Listening, so today I caught the preschool teacher and asked her about it.

“It’s not that she’s being naughty…” she started. I braced myself because really, what else could it be?

“…it’s more of she’s not following directions.” PO-tato, paTAto, right?

The teacher continued, “When we came in from recess, I counted the children and came up with 23 (FYI: there are 24 in her class), so I counted again and came up with 23. We realized Aitch was missing. We quickly discovered she was ‘hiding’ from us, which is why she was given the time-out.”

Oh,yeah, I definitely think that qualifies for being naughty.

How Do You Answer These Questions

I had yet another downer of an ending post drafted before I deleted it all. Instead I put to you these questions I had last night from Doodicus:

"I hate school. Why do I have to go?"

"What difference does it make if I get Fs and Ds instead of As and Bs?"

Please, don’t respond with "So you can go to a good college and get a great job!" because if we’re already struggling beyond words to get him through the fifth grade, you can bet the farm he has absolutely no desire at this point and time to look forward to another four years of higher education if we’re even able to get through these next seven. "A great college…" is no incentive here.

Also? The flute lessons are absolutely off the table, but you may have already figured that out.

Contrary

The transition from a private Catholic school system to a public school has neither been as bad as I had imagined or as good. I would be delusional to think that this would have gone picture perfect, but I would be a pessimist if I thought it was going to be rough.

The week before school started, I sent an email to his homeroom teacher introducing Doodicus. It wasn’t a formal 504 Plan with a list of accomadations, but it wasn’t a hey! my kid is perfect! you shouldn’t have any problems! kind of letter, either.

I recently decided that instead of him keeping a devoted notebook for each and every subject, which was not only the teacher’s preference but Sparring Partner’s as well (and one we tried first), he is to keep all of his subjects’ notes on divided ruled paper in what we refer to as The Case. I bought a set of 8 dividers that have pockets on both sides (Avery brand and they are AWESOME), which I labeled in order of his class schedule, and then put in several sheets of ruled paper with the reinformed sides for note-taking.

While the down-side to this system will be that when the teachers want the kids to turn in their notes, he will have to open the D-rings and hand over the loose papers instead of a notebook, AND that if he loses the binder he loses everything (which nearly makes me nauseous just thinkintg about it), the disadvantages to the other system (one notebook to each subject) are not as easy for me to accept. He was bringing home the wrong note-book to use to study tests or not bringing them home at all, or if he did bring them home the night before a test, he had nothing written in them and by then it was too late. The other issue I discovered is that while each notebook was labeled with the subject, all of them that I brought home after my meeting with his teachers last night had notes in them from at least two different subjects. His notes consisted of a few words at the top of the page and the rest a series of doodles. Then a couple blank pages, more doodles, then a page with a definition or two written on them and usually from a different class. There’s no way they would ever be effective for studying. Sorry, but I tried it their way, it’s time to try mine.

After the meeting with his teachers yesterday, which I initiated, I cleaned out Dood’s desk. Chaotic doesn’t even begin to describe what I encountered. Aside from the mess, we found three pieces of homework that were due today so I brought them home. When I showed Dood, he went into a full-on meltdown, yelling how he never gets any free time. He can’t seem to understand that if he gave himself less "free-time" at school (not using the study hall periods or the after school access to the study center effectively) then he would have more time at home to do what he wants.

Last night was also suppose to be the parent’s meeting with the music store to talk about the band, orchestra and rentals, which Dood really wanted to go to as he is interested in learning to play the flute. The meeting was at 6:00 and it was nearly that time, an hour after we arrived home, that he had finally stopped yelling at me and got to work. There was no way I was going to be able to take him to the meeting, have supper, and still get homework done by bedtime. I never said a word about the meeting until after he was done for the night (not done with homework, mind you, but it was bedtime), at which time we had to break the news that we just couldn’t add band to our schedule.

He of course broke down into a fresh wave of tears, this time in grief instead of rage, and I felt like an absolute shit for taking that away from him. We could only promise him that we would consider the option next year, but that just made me feel worse to know that he would have to wait a whole year to try something he wanted to do now. I tried to make him understand that it wasn’t a punishment, but that we just don’t want to have these fights every night over what needs to be done first before he can just chill out with a video game, or watch TV, or play with his sister. Getting him to practice an instrument was just another battle I personally do not feel up to taking when I am so battered from the ones now. That’s probably why I still so badly want to say yes, because the reason I’m saying no feels entirely selfish.

Therapy Session No. 2

I took Doodicus to his second therapy session this morning. Dr. Rita (that was his nickname the last time, right?) had called and spoken to Doodicus’ teacher before we arrived to ask for himself how Dood was doing in school. After he told us that the teacher confirmed the concerns from our first appointment, Dr told us quite bluntly that the medication – 20mg Daytrana patch – isn’t working, and that we would need to schedule an appointment with the psychologist, Dr Herring. In a way, I was glad to hear this because it meant that things can be better for Doodicus, but I’m very worried about the adjustments we’ll have to face.

We spent 90 minutes with Dr Rita discussing how the pervasive feelings of how Dood thinks he does nothing right. We talked about a 504 plan and an IEP, details of what’s involved forthcoming. I just can’t get into it now because honestly, I don’t have enough information. But it’s finally happening. Dr Rita also thinks his teachers are woefully-prepared to deal with his ADHD, and told us that Doodicus’ failure to thrive this year is directly AND indirectly related to the personnel at his school. Sure Dood is responsible for staying organized and completing work and paying attention, but he’s also responsible for making sure the teachers DO THEIR JOB AND HELP HIM stay organized, complete his work and pay attention! His teacher’s suggestion this past fall that included assigning a “buddy” to help him get his assignments written in his assignment book was just another confirmation that his teachers are clueless: it’s the teacher’s job to make sure his assignments are written down, not a classmates; and there’s the added concern of how negatively this could affect Doodicus by creating a situation for additional stigma.

As for the teacher’s repeated admonishment that fourth graders should no longer require everyday review of their assignment book by the teacher, Dr Rita said children with ADHD work at approximately 75% maturity and responsibility level of “normal” children. Another indication that his teachers don’t get it because they want to treat all the kids the same, and obviously they are not.

In case you weren’t sure before, we like Dr Rita very much. He seems genuinely concerned and also confident that we will make things much better for all considered. Let me share this last little tidbit that made me a believer in Dr Rita: The clinic’s policy only allows appointments to be scheduled two out at a time. This was a concern because it would mean it would be almost impossible to get the slots we needed, which were late evenings, if we wanted to eliminate our need to take a whole day off from both work and school since four hours alone are devoted to travel. He personally came up to the front desk with us and had the limitation lifted from our account and I was able to schedule appointments approximately every three weeks up through this summer.

The other extra step he took was even more remarkable. The psychiatrist’s FIRST available appointment happened to be in three weeks on a Friday, and only because someone had just cancelled. The initial problem with that was we wouldn’t be able to see Dr Rita the same day as he sees patients at a satellite clinic on Fridays. Trying to coordinate both appointments on the same day was proving to be a statistical nightmare as Dr Herring’s next available time wasn’t until June and we really need to get Doodicus switched to medication that actually HELPS. Dr Rita said it was important enough that he would make this one-time arrangement and come into his office that same Friday. We now wouldn’t have to make two trips in one week!

On a related note: The reason for the opening with Dr Herring was because the clinic had just brought in a N.P. (Nurse Practitioner). The scheduler said she couldn’t schedule us with the NP because our insurance wouldn’t cover it. When she said that, I replied, “I’m not going to limit our care to what my insurance will or will not cover. If we have to pay out-of-pocket, we will.”

I overheard a woman the other day talking about how her daughter’s insurance “kicked her out of the hospital.” I’m not going to get all preachy about this, but her insurance did NOT kick her out of the hospital. The discharge planning department didn’t have enough medical necessity from the doctor to report to her insurance the need for her continued stay unless she wish to stay and pay out of pocket for the bed. Just FYI.

OK, need to get this published before my internet crashes again. Plus I need to research 504 Plans and IEPs. Why do I always feel that the more information I have, the more time I feel I have wasted on being ignorant?