Thursday, December 3, 2009

Poor Little Sick Disabled Girl

I’ve warned Ashley’s teachers. Amy, Ashley’s intervener, has warned Ashley’s teacher. Yet they still fall for Ashley’s manipulation.

Yes, Ashley is very cute. Yes, that sweet smile will melt your heart and make you want to do anything you can to keep the smiles coming. Yes, your heart melts when she leans in to kiss your cheek and sign “I love you.” And yes, she knows exactly what effect she has on people.

Ashley wasn’t in the mood to go to school yesterday. It was a gloomy, rainy morning and she preferred to stay curled up on the couch next to me. But, when the bus arrived, her cute self had to get up and get on the bus. You see, I am somewhat immune to her antics. But the staff at this new school is not, and they are not heeding our warnings.

Ashley acted tired when she got to school. She kept putting her head down on the desk. When her well-meaning aide and teachers asked her what was wrong, she signed that her head hurt and her throat hurt. “Poor thing”, they thought and immediately carted her off to the clinic. They told the school nurse that Ashley just wasn’t acting like her normal cheery self. They, and the school nurse, decided she must be sick and then decided to call me to come and pick her up.

She had no fever. She wasn’t vomiting. She had no diarrhea. But because she just wasn’t “being herself”, she was allowed to lie down in the quiet, dark nurse’s office, and immediately she took a nap.

I arrived to get her. I woke her up, and the first thing I saw was her sly smile. Then came the giggle. She knew she had won – I was there and I was taking her home. (Once the decision is made by the school nurse that a child needs to go home, the decision will not be reversed.) It was amazing how much better she seemed as we walked to the car. And her good spirits continued through the afternoon and evening.

Ashley knows how to manipulate. Just because she has disabilities, it does not mean she is stupid. She is a teenager, and somehow very soon, her teachers and aides need to understand what she is doing.

Somehow I need to help them learn how to unwrap themselves from her little finger!

Today I am thankful that the rain has stopped and the sun is out. We haven't seen the sun much recently.


loonyhiker said...

Yes, I'm a teacher who has fallen for that too. My student with down syndrome used to be passive agressive and I would find excuses for him (maybe he didn't understand, maybe he got confused) until his mom really helped me get tough with him. When I found out my own daughters were going home "sick" because grandma was picking them up and not telling me about it, we had to put a stop to it. If they came home sick, there was no TV, had to stay in bed, no fun stuff. It only took one time to cure this constant sickness! Maybe you could ask the teacher to call you first before sending her to the nurse? Once my students knew I would do that, it stopped a lot of the "sickness."

jwg said...

I do hope things were arranged so home was incredibly boring!

Ashley's Mom said...

looneyhiker, great idea! I'll see if the teacher will agree to call me first.

jwg, in the words of Sarah Palin, 'you betcha'!

Queenbuv3 said...

Our kids really are smart when they want something!! My son who appears to be severly impaired from the outside can be quite sneaky and manipulative when he really wants something. Those moments reassure me that although he is challenged in many ways he is also quite bright in other ways.

I have had a couple situations like this when Stephen "doesn't seem like himself" according to his teacher and then he perks right up on the ride home!

Michelle Morgan-Coole said...

We had the same thing happen twice this year already (new school for the Blue Jay too). Letès get real people ... you donèt send this kid home the first time she says she doesnèt feel well. Generally that means that something happened in class that she didnèt like but she doesnèt want to or isnèt able to share the details. It might take some time to tease it out but eventually you will figure it out (especially if she picks a different body part everytime you ask her where sheès sick). And if she really is sick ... you can see it in her face. Of course, it helps if you actually know her first.

My apologies for the goofy punctuation marks ... I have been relegated to the kidsè computer while mine is in getting serviced. Letès just say that this one has issues!

Deana said...

Max always tries his sneaky ways with his new therapists. This year we've had quite a few OT's, and we're finally with one that seems to be staying. His favorite trick is to "go to sleep". He looks like that frog on the cartoon, goes completely floppy and won't respond to anything...that is until the therapist is ready to leave. Then he wakes up and is ready to play!!! He's done this since he was just a few months old. So we have to tell his therapists that he is playing possum and he squints one eye open and laughs. What a stinker!!!

Cinda said...

Even though a big inconvenience for you, a very clear demonstration of communication skills! As a special ed prof and "queen of transition" in Washington State...does your daughter have a good transition plan on her IEP? Great post! Thanks, Cinda

Ashley's Mom said...

Cinda, transition plan? Ha ha, Nope. Don't have one of those yet....We live in a VERY challenging school district. In fact, when Ashley started high school this year, I decided to essentially give up. I now view school as a social experience for her, and hopefully a positive one, and I do her education with homeschooling each night and on the weekends.

I can't begin to tell you how I have had to fight over the years, and I'm finally worn down.

Here's an example - in school (9th grade) Ashley is working on coloring ladybug pictures. At home, she is using a computer based curriculum and is currently working on women's rights and world geography. She gets to make a 'fun' activity choice after she does her work at home. Yesterday she chose jazz musicians....

mommy~dearest said...

Girl- my 8 year old is manipulative as all heck. I can just imagine what he'll be capable of as a teenager.

Ashley's Mom said...

mommydearest, I think our kids learn very early that they can get away with a lot in the name of their disabilities. I can't tell you how many times people have looked at me like I was the meanest person in the world for disciplining Ashley. I don't mean spanking or anything physical, just being stern and not letting her get away with stuff.

I can just read their minds, "How can she be so mean to tha poor child?"

Marla said...

Oh my. This brings back memories of when I did not want to go to school. ;)