My son and a new school.

It’s been said that education is an essential and major part of our life and the level we accomplish determines the type of success we achieve. For most of us school is a place where we learn and find a home away from home and we develop friendships and focus on our studies. In my school days the only time I missed a day was when I was sick. I never had difficulties in the schools I attended or in my classes and I never had the experience of being suspended. I was a quiet kid but I managed to achieve success and make some friends along the way.

For my son school has been a challenge but not from the perspective of academics as he is very bright. The challenge is social and behavioral. Ever since he was a toddler attending school he needed a pretty extensive support system to address his special needs as an autistic child with a seizure disorder. We have been trying to help our son get through these emotional challenges he encounters and find the necessary support system that will allow him to overcome them and to flourish. He needs continual encouragement and mentoring that will help him develop self confidence and a sense of self worth. He has a kind and caring side that needs to be recognized and further developed so he can shine and be known for how he really is.

All kids from time to time have tantrums and act out but it seems our son has them more frequently and this has resulted in many disruptions in his schooling experience and it has led to several suspensions through the years leading to frequent absences that have contributed to his losing out on learning, his gradual loss of self esteem and his inability to have normal socialization with his peers. We have been very concerned about the predicament they have put him in as a student without a school and felt the schools he attended were not helping him and decided to take the easy way out when they suspended him.

The last school he was attending tried to provide him an education and keep him in the classroom and the school but the meltdowns our son encountered were too much for the school to handle and they were not equipped to help him through them so they took the action of a permanent suspension which was for 5 months starting in late November 2010 around Thanksgiving break and it lasted through Spring break, April 2011 until the Easter holiday. His former school did provide a teacher to come to the house for a 2 hour lesson, 5 days a week. This was the minimum education he was receiving for that period he was out of school and it was not always consistent. During that period his former school was also working on helping place our son in a suitable school environment.

We had several meetings with his former school trying to find the right school setting for our son and the school that was highly regarded and recommended was the James E Allen Middle School and High School which is a BOCES school that caters to special needs and handicapped children. The school learned of our son’s situation and they were open to admitting him where other schools were not. We were impressed with the school and the learning environment and the philosophy and we were confident that they would be able to help our son where the other schools were not so we decided to accept the school as our son’s next school. We are very concerned for our son’s education and we want him to feel comfortable and happy in the school he attends and we feel that James E. Allen will help him to get to that point.

His very first day of school at James E Allen was Tuesday, April 26 which he said felt like the start of a new school year. He is now adjusting to being in a new school with new teachers in a new location trying to make new friends and trying to do his best while containing his emotions. I am very sympathetic to my son for all the challenges he faces and I am trying my best to encourage him and help him to believe in himself and to find his strengths. Since he seems to enjoy math and writing I feel he should focus on doing his best in these areas as well as science, music and art. I believe in my son and know he can do well in school and deal with the social barriers most autistic children face because he has so much potential and he is deep down a wonderful young boy with a very kind and caring heart.    

As a parent with hopes and dreams for their child I stand by my son with my wife and we fully expect our son to overcome his difficulties and to flourish in the right school and we are confident that James E. Allen Middle/High School will allow him such an opportunity.

Good Luck Matty, We love you and we know you will find your way and we will always be there to help you and guide you as will your teachers. Enjoy your new school!

Edward D. Iannielli III

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