Saturday, June 12, 2010

All about awards

Well, school is out.  Summer fun begins.  Hot & humid weekend for it too. It's going to be 93 today & 96 tomorrow.  Got to love it.  Kids swam all day yesterday.  And helped to clean house.  We have friends coming over later this afternoon for a cookout and just chatting.  They have 3 boys so should be fun for all.  I'm still on a mission to declutter this house.  I get this way w/ every adoption.  Maybe it's that so called "nesting" instinct.  Don't know.  Just think it's b/c I can't stand the clutter or the mess.  It will do us good to streamline a few things and raise money at the same time for stuff we'll sell.

We are having a little of a rough transition period but I suspect that will get better towards the end of next week.  Go through this every year w/ our kids.  Anyhow, I attended some ceremonies last week and thought I'd share about some of the great things.  You've already heard of Nik's graduation so I'll leave him out of it.  We'll start oldest to youngest.  So, Irina is 17 years old and now officially in 10th grade.  She is labelled as OCS for high school.  It is where they learn an occupation and take that track.  The focus is less on academics.  I hate that b/c I feel they are giving up on the kids way too early.  They may not be able to get a college degree but I still feel they have a ton more potential than what the county gives them credit for.  We are struggling w/ this as parents.  And when I say give up on the kids, I am not referring to just our kids but special ed kids in general in Johnston County.  It is truly sad.  After speaking w/ other parents for years, we realize it is a tragedy in this county.  Shoot, the county doesn't even recognize dyslexia as a learning disability & that is illegal.  Takes money & lots of lawyers to fight this.  Hence, why the problem still exists here.  So, Irina is getting very little in the way of academic education.  We have decided it would be in her best interest to be homeschooled next year & for the rest of her academic career.  She also has begged us to homeschool her as her peers do not accept disabled kids as much as they should.  Lots of bullying, name calling & these kids(again, NOT just ours) can not handle it.  Since being out of school, Irina is showing less anxiety, better demeanor, less attitude, and just better all around.  So, I'll need to work on a cirriculum for her.  As for awards, I did not attend hers.  Why,?  Because she said she didn't want to go.  Instead of calling out the awards for what they are, they call them out & preface w/ saying these are for the OCS students.  Irina said everyone knows I'm special needs then &  I don't want to be embarassed mom.  I understood completely and so she didn't go.  I hate it when they single out special needs kids.  IRina received her award for language arts.  Very proud of her as that is her weakest subject.  One of her class grades was a 96 and the other class was a 100.  Not bad at all!  Irina is a highly motivated student.  I have no doubt she'll be able to hold down a job.  I just want her to learn some things academically before she does.  So, Irina is in 10th grade and homeschooled this coming year.

Next one to talk about is Max.  Max struggled this past semester as he transitioned out of self-contained & into a regular setting.  It crushed him.  Some FAS kids just can not self-regulate and in a normal classroom setting, you need to.  Max also is one who has begged to be homeschooled again.  We are seriously contemplating this for him as well.  Don't know yet.  Max is smart.  He has a very severe learning disability in math but other than that, extremely bright & artistically talented for sure.  Max did graduate from 8th grade and is now an offical high schooler!  His future is looking bright for sure.  I want to clear up on misconception I've heard people speak of in regards to children w/ FAS.  Most seem to think chidlren w/ this disorder are mentally challenged.  Fact is, 85% of children w/ FAS have normal to above normal IQ's.   This percentage has seemed to hold true at our house.  It is wonderful that Max pushed through a regular setting to graduate.  Way to go Max!  Though he had a hard year socially, I think that is about to change.  This is the biggest complaint I hear from other FAS parents as well.  The kids not quite fitting in.  They are in the middle & that makes it extremely tough.  They do not fit in w/ the "regular" crowd due to lack of social skills and judgement issues and do not fit into the category of special needs.  We are working on this area a bit w/ all our teens.

Yana.  OMG!  I couldn't believe it this year.  FINALLY, we have turned our life around.  This child we were terrified about for awhile.  Yana does have FAE, PTSD, RAD, and CAPD.  Challenging is an understatement.  She tests waters.  however, I could not be more proud this year.  Yana has become a self-motivator in regards to academics.  Writes her own stories right now.  She went from a 2nd grade level in reading to a 6th grade level in reading in ONE year!!!  That is huge.  She is now officially out of self-contained special needs setting and into a regular ed setting next year.  She will be in 8th grade next year.  She won two awards this year.  Highest average in mathematics (her strong subject) and highest average in language arts.  How about that?!  She has really matured this year in school.  Yana has friends and typical teenage attitude(working on that part still).  Academically, I am no longer worried though.  She turned it around.  She will be able to attend a college later in life I feel if she chooses to do so.  Quite the turn around.  A few years ago, this would not have been possible.  I say this to let other parents who have children w/ severe mental health disorders & post institutionalized behaviors that it IS possible for them to overcome this mess and move on w/ life. 

So, that is the teens.  Do one on the elementary kids a little later today.  I now have an 8th, 9th, and 10th grader in the house.  Yikes!!!  They may all take driver's ed this summer.  Keep you posted on that one.  Now,t hat is where I should be worried.  LOL.  Great strides were made this year.  GEtting out of a self-contained seteing is huge.  And for 2 to acheive this goal, I think shows a lot for their character.  I'm proud of all the teens' progress this year.  Future is looking bright for all.  More on the rest a little later.  Lots to do today.

Okay, wrote this on Saturday & never hit the publish post button.  Figures.  I will write about the other 3 kids later today for sure.  Justlots going on here as usual.  But good stuff.  I'm keeping the kids out of the sun today.  We've been in it a lot & it shows.  Even w/ sunscreen on all the time.  So, break from sun & chance to vaccum out the pool.  Some kids are wathcing a movie right now, some playing cards.  They're all taking turns figuring out where we are going to go on our D.C. trip next week for our adoption reunion.  We travel up Thursday, play in hotel pool and then out to dinner at the Olive Garden or Red Lobster.  Have gift cards so one or the other of those for sure.  Friday, we wake up, have breakfast at the hotel & then off to tour all day.  That is what we have to decide...what to tour exactly.  Without breaking the bank for obvious reasons.  We have a book of free stuff to do in D.C. so probably pick one of those ideas.  We'll be going out to eat Friday night as well thnks to restaurant.com gift certs.  If you've never used this site, I highly suggest it.  SAves us a TON of money.  All of us eating at a nice place to eat for about $20 for all 9 of us is never bad.  Saturday, we wake up & head to Bull Run Park for the reunion.  It has a water park that the kids will love, I'm sure.  Anyhow, trying to plan it all.  I completeed my parenting classes last night.  Waiting to be able to print out the cert that says I'm a parent.  LOL.  Mroe later today with some pictures.  

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