Things sure went to hell really fast with the Boys & Girls Club situation this week. Last week Little Squirrel got a referral for simply not being able to follow directions. Yeah, she has autism! Get with the program.
The complaint against Little Squirrel by the staff member was this:
It says they have had to consistently talk to Little Squirrel about following directions and that they view her failure to follow directions as "defiance."
"Little Squirrel does not listen no matter how many times we talk to her, she chooses to ignore directions or ignore us if we're talking to her and this happens every day she is in our rotations."
REALLY??? And it didn't occur to you idiots to ask the Director or Little Squirrel's parent if maybe there is some underlying reason other than "defiance" for why she seems to be ignoring you???
She has autism! That's kind of what they do! Where have you been and why are you working with children at all???
So because of this "referral" Little Squirrel had to sign a behavior contract that she didn't understand with wording like this:
What did I do that got me in trouble?
Did I get what I wanted?
Could I have gotten what I wanted another way?
This is how I will solve the problem next time.
And the best part:
"I understand my actions were unacceptable and I thought carefully about my actions while filling out this sheet. By signing this sheet, I know that I must change how I respond in the future in order to remain a member at the Boys and Girls Club." Then member signature.
Then the parents' part:
"I have read through what my child did today at the Boys and Girls Club. By signing this paper, I acknowledge that because of the offense, my child has been placed on probation. I understand that this matter has been dealt with and resolved by all parties involved. I am aware of the situation and I must have my child return this form to the club to continue attending." Parent signature.
I had to sign that so she could go back! That's like saying, "I'm sorry my child is autistic and can't act like the others.She'll try not to be autistic anymore."
I did talk to the Director and various staff members and her diagnosis is plainly stated on her application, but my communication efforts were only met with blank looks or I was told, No we don't have any training about autism here and we don't have the staffing to give any special attention.
So being on probation meant that Little Squirrel was restricted from some of her favorite activities like computer lab, and having to go into rooms she dislikes, like the games room and gym, because those rooms are WAY too loud. The games room has the foos ball and air hockey and carpet ball tables going at a deafening roar, with kids shrieking and stuff flying everywhere. And in the gym they are always playing DODGE BALL. No surprise all this set off a behavior storm and ultimately led to her totally losing it in the gym. Some boys were playing rough and accidentally knocked her down and she got so mad and tried to choke one of them. She's never done anything violent before so this was different. I feel she was pushed to her limit by being forced to be out of her element in the gym and just having her sensory limits maxed out by the gym and games room on a daily basis when she never would choose those rooms on her own.
After the choking, I got the call at work that I had to come pick her up right then. Right where I was sitting at my desk. At my new job. And I don't have any backup childcare or support. The staff member who called me was completely cold and strict on the phone. From my observation all summer, the compassion level of the entire staff there rates at about a big, fat, zero.
She was given another referral and another behavior contract and their rule is 2 referrals you're suspended for one day.
I could see where this was going and that there was no point trying to reason with them or sending her back only to get more referrals for "ignoring" them or who knows what worse now since the choking. So I spent the rest of the afternoon on the phone and racing around trying to find last minute daycare for the last few weeks of summer.
I did find daycare. It's $180/week. There goes my plans to be rich.
And it's less than ideal. They do weekly field trips and the one this week is to the movies! Just hearing the word "autism" they flat out refused to take Little Squirrel on the field trip for fear she wouldn't be able to "sit still and listen " (like the other kids will!?) and told me she couldn't come to daycare that day because they don't have staff to watch kids staying behind.
Of course I complained to their overseeing organization but didn't get anywhere. And I had to scramble for childcare again to cover this morning.
As for how Little Squirrel is adjusting, she seems to be doing okay so far. The one big incident so far was on her first day, when I called to see how she was doing, the worker told me she was doing okay except for freaking out during one of their games....
.....which was MUSICAL CHAIRS!
Oh, c'mon! Reallllllyyy?????????? Because everyone knows how much autistic kids must just LOVE to play musical chairs. About as much as dodge ball.