Friday, May 18, 2012

SCL, State, School, and Sam

I should be able to finish this up today.  I'm plowing through a massive to-do list - hoping to get it all done before Ben's SCL worker and the new foster kids arrive late this afternoon.  Then - next week - ugh!  I don't even want to think about that, all I have to get done in preparation for going away, camping, Memorial Day weekend, getting David's birthday stuff all ready, and caring for an additional child!

On Ben's SCL worker: this is kind of a cool thing.  We started SCL (Supported Community Living) services last fall.  It's something sp. needs individuals qualify for on the state's ID waiver - people come into the home and teach practical life skills to the sp. needs person.  Well, we had one worker that I really liked (other than the fact that she reeked of cigarette smoke ever time she came in the house!) but she lost her job in Dec.  Then, we got a new worker in January or Feb.  I was a little less sure of her, but she abruptly quit on us in early March because she disagreed with goals that Ben's case manager and I had decided on.  She thought Ben needed more social goals.  Yes, that's important, but I saw that as more of something that is naturally integrated into the other goals we have for him.  Plus, there was disagreement over where she could and could not take him on SCL time.  Nice lady, but it just wasn't working out.  So, anyway, she quit and our case manager had called and asked if I knew anyone who might be willing to become Ben's worker.  Immediately, the face of a college student from church popped into my mind, but I tried to push it away.  I didn't want to put him in a difficult position in case he just didn't want to do.  He's a bit of a shy young man and I didn't want him to agree to help Ben just to please me.

But, I did ask him and to my surprise, he was agreeable.  He went and did the required training and was subsequently hired by one of the area SCL/respite providers.  His mother told me she thought this was a wonderful opportunity for her son, which made me feel better about imposing on him!  So anyway, we finally got all the paperwork and training out of the way and David came out to our house for the first time last week.  He's working on teaching Ben safety skills and grocery shopping and money abilities.  He's also going to be providing respite care for Ben.  Respite is more of a "fun" time, SCL is educational.  My concern is that David will actually earn enough to make his invested time worthwhile.  He assured me that as long as his gas his covered, he's not worried about actually earning money at this.  I just think it's going to be so marvelous for Ben to spend time with a Christian young man, who is not his brother - someone that he can model himself after.  So, perhaps God flashed David's face in my mind for a reason!

We went up to Ames yesterday for Ben's bocce ball tournament.  His team got a gold medal!  Some year I would love to stay up in Ames the whole entire time that the state meet is going on.  From what I hear, it's an amazing three days for all the athletes.  They get to stay in the dorms and they have all kinds of different activities for the athletes to do when they're not competing.  I've even been told they have a dance for them.  Not sure how I feel about that, though.  I know it would be perfectly innocent for the mentally impaired, but dances are something we've tried to avoid with the boys.  But anyway, that's a worry for another day!  We go up bright and early tomorrow morning (we have to be there by 8:30 and it's an hour away - ugh) for Ben and Will's unified relay race.  Then, we'll head back, run a few errands out at Jordan Creek (all 6 children in tow) and then go to 4 different graduation open houses!  Sure hope my van holds up to all that running around!

They have actual medal ceremonies for all the athletes where they stand on a platform and special music is played.  Their names are announced, one by one, as the medals are placed around their necks.  Ben, however, was much more interested in the guy holding the microphone than he was in getting a gold medal!

Next year at this time we'll be neck-deep in Will's graduation.  I'm hoping to get his open house out of the way earlier in May, though, before his actual graduation ceremony.  Will's plans are becoming a bit more solidified as he gets closer to graduation.  He's spent some time with the guidance counselor at the high school, which has been helpful.  Next semester he is taking psychology for college credit and speech.  Speech is not a credit class but it's kind of hard to take that when you're home schooled!  I guess it is a graduation requirement for all Iowa high schools and most colleges expect their incoming students to have already taken it.  Same thing with Health, now, too, which bothers me.  I'm very picky about what Ben is allowed to sit in in Health Class (no sex ed teachings and I'm bothered a bit by all the drug and anti-bullying talks, but I let them slide).  Then, second semester, he's planning to take Composition I, which is also for credit and he may be taking a 7am computer graphics class.  That last one is something he just found out about today.  Not sure if it is a credit class or not.  We need Will to plan on getting a job after football is over, so I hope he doesn't load himself up too much, academically.  That sounds kind of odd coming from a parent, doesn't it?

The school offers both Art and Industrial Tech (Shop) to 7th graders so David is going to be taking those next school year.  I guess we're becoming more and more hybrid homeschoolers all the time.  Every year at the conference there is always some speaker who warns parents against this very thing.  I can see exercising caution, esp. depending on your child's temperament.  And I'd have a real problem being in an HSAP because I don't want education choices for my children dictated to me, even if I'm the one doing the teaching. But I don't see any wisdom in making it a blanket rule.  I know when we started homeschooling I didn't want anything to do with the public school because we had had such a rotten experience with Ben's kindergarten year (and I was still rather offended that they told me in an IEP meeting that they doubted that I had the skills necessary to educate him at home) but the boys are older now and I'm a lot more comfortable in my homeschooling skin than I was back then.  Really, being a homeschool parent is more about making educational choices for your children rather than teaching them absolutely everything they need to know at home.  With so many choices out there, why limit yourself?

Ben's IEP meeting was last Friday.  Did I already mention that?  Anyway, it went really, really well.  I don't even dread those things anymore.  In a weird twist, there are currently NO special needs students making the leap from the elementary school to the middle school this next year.  Now, I suppose that could change if someone moved into the district or something.  But anyway, they are having all 3 of the 8th grade boys in Ben's room move up to high school with their full-time aides.  That doesn't usually happen.  There is some talk about having them switch aides though, which concerns me a bit.  However, had things happened normally, Ben would have lost his all together, so I can't complain too much.  Ben will have two new teachers in the special ed. room in high school,  But his middle school teacher will be moving up, too, since he needs something to do all day and there won't be any middle schoolers for him to work with.  So, I am practically giddy about all this!  Ben's taking it all in stride.  He's so adaptable (never, ever though I'd say that about my autistic son!).

Sam injured himself last Sunday night at church.  He decided it would be a good idea to climb a light pole that is anchored in concrete.  He came in, all scraped and bloody.  I took that in stride - getting skinned knees is pretty much a daily occurrence with this kid.  I worked on bandaging him up when Sam lifted up his shirt.  He had this HUGE cut/scrape going all the way from his rib cage to past his belly button - probably a good 8".  Oh man, I about lost my lunch, it looked so bad!  He looked like he had been in a combat zone by the time I got done bandaging him.  He healed up quickly, though, and after the first couple of days, I didn't even need to cover his stomach anymore.  So now he has all these dirty spots from the tape that was holding the big bandages in place.  There is a switch box on the light pole and he caught the corner of that with his front.  I want to say "I bet he never climbs that thing again!" but that might be presumptuous, knowing this kid.  I am still amazed that he has gotten to be this old but has not had to be stitched yet.  We've done a few ER trips with him, but not with anything split open.  Well, there was that time he fell through the tarp into the basement and should have had spot stitched or glued...thank you, incompetent Knoxville Hospital ER staff!  That's why we go up to Children's now when the boys need to be seen.

Ok, well, this housework is not getting done while I'm on the computer, so I am getting off here.  More later!

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