Visit Jeremiah              Middle School and High School

    Written by his mom

 Middle School:

The Special Needs teacher was first inspired, then became discouraged. "I have to constantly keep him on task." she said. "He is very distracted. Jeremiah needs to gain some independence and I don’t see that." She stopped his challenges and adaptive devices. Jeremiah’s new class was with behavior kids who constantly teased him.

 They gave him preschool work, a pencil and paper. With brain damage and cerebral palsy, it was difficult for Jeremiah to transfer thought-to pencil, pencil to paper. Without help he was unable to accomplish. "He interrupts class many times with topics that are irrelevant." notes the para.  

 Jeremiah had no follow through work with the right tools, at his level of learning since he had entered Middle School. They told us this school could meet Jeremiah’s needs. He had come there with his adaptive devices. Yet, word processor, slanted board, level of work, adaptation for classes, one on one help and field trips - were gone. I heard time and time again "We simply do not have the resources."

After 8 years of school, Jeremiah was still counting pennies. He used a calculator for Math accomplishing 2 problems. Sometimes he copied a sentence in a Journal. In Science he watered a plant. Jeremiah had no help or buddy help – they tried to make him independent ONLY. He was pushed beyond his capacity and was loosing motivation. He could not do enough to please them. He sat with a paper and pencil with work that I felt insulted his intelligence: Daddy rides in a car. The duck says quack.

  They gave him preschool work, a pencil and paper. With brain damage and cerebral palsy, it was difficult for Jeremiah to transfer thought-to pencil, pencil to paper. Without help he was unable to accomplish. "He interrupts class many times with topics that are irrelevant." notes the para. 

I stopped working with Jeremiah at home. It was too much for him along with the pressures at school. In 8th Grade – the teacher stated in front of other teachers and us "Jeremiah had regressed." She said he would sit and say, "What am I doing?" In the halls he would say ‘Where am I going?" I told her… , "That's Great, he has become more conscious. He knows he doesn’t know. Now we can teach him. Now he can let us know where to start." She said, "I don’t think so." Jeremiah had a severe problem of keeping on task. They didn't know how to teach him. And neither did I. 

 It was hard to go to work each day, knowing nothing was being corrected or improved. I called the Brain Injury Group. I told them of my problem; Jeremiah with a pencil and paper accomplishing nothing. I told them I had been part of it, but could no longer. I felt I had sacrificed Jeremiah’s learning. The Brain Injury Group told me, "It absolutely is child abuse. Get him out of that school."  

My husband and I scheduled a meeting with the School Board. We called ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) and the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) for public school to assist us. We hoped they could educate the teachers. We also wanted to retain Jeremiah in 8th grade. We were told-if we retained Jeremiah, which was against their advice; he would have to stay in that school. The TBI stated: "At his age and his condition, he can’t learn anyway. Because he has no frontal lopes, he will never be able to function in our world. Academics is a waste of time."

At this time, an awakening. Jeremiah could learn, he could read, type & spell. He could come up with ideas, look up words in the Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Atlas.

I thought--- "I do not want to hear what Jeremiah will never do. I’ve heard enough. These are lies and have been. I hear talk about a future they can not see, Repeating only what has been in the past. I need to use the possibilities now, to create a better future." I thought it was wrong to deny Jeremiah. Refusing him what had been recommended. Refusing him an education.

I began writing an Academic Program at the repeat of 8th grade in 1997. Finally, I learned to work with the teachers and together we found a way. I sent a paper a day to each of Jeremiah’s classes so he had something that he could do. It went much faster than any other paper work and he could do it independently. Several other students in his regular classrooms used "Jeremiah’s Circles". With surprising results.

"Jeremiah's Circles" Academic Therapy was a Unique Use of Multiple Choice for Comprehension. It was fun, fast, and easy. It Activated his confidence, memory, recall & choice. I selected Algebra, Physical Science, American History, Language Arts, Reading, Spanish and Land Animals. There was over a 1,000 pages given each year for 3 consecutive years.

High School:

Jeremiah is progressing at school. Jeremiah at age 19, was in 12th grade and attending North High School in Denver, CO. He was in Special Education "Adaptive Functional Academics." Some how we had missed the severe to profound class they were going to put him in. The school gave him little to write, saving his energy for learning.

Grade 9, 10, and 11 he had his own paraprofessional, which helped him stay focused and on task. In 12th grade, Jeremiah was working more independently. He was helping other children learn. He attended some regular classes like Spanish, Astronomy and Art. He walked in the halls, rode the elevator, went to the lunch room and picked out his own food. His teacher was very pleased with his progress and was promoting more independence. Jeremiah was growing up and making many friends at school.

Reading and Comprehension had progressed remarkably. Jeremiah enjoyed typing and going out into the community. He’s a very social guy, who enjoys everyone he meets. His teacher remarked that, "Jeremiah is our Social Director for St. Elizabeth’s Retirement Center." Everyone who meets Jeremiah knows of his interest in cars. In fact he is an expert on all makes and models, pursuing the subject passionately with anyone who listens. "What kind of car do you have?"-"How old is it?"-"What color is it?"

His ability to converse about a variety of subjects was improving, but he still needed to be reminded. Compliments to adults and children were still over bearing sometimes. His loud outburst of enthusiasm and squeals had lessened. Grabbing people and not releasing them was still a concern.

Jeremiah was participating at home. At home he was more helpful, deciding and trying new things independently. Jeremiah liked to search the Internet, his favorite being Automobile Web Sites. He can now pick out his own clothes for school. He is willing to help in the kitchen, sets the table and stacks the dishes. Age 19 he was learning to relax, watching TV with the family and eating ice cream. These are things I didn’t think he would ever do. He had developed interests and desires in many things.

Jeremiah and I both exercise. He is working on better body control, balance and strengthening his back. Jeremiah wore a back brace for three years for scoliosis, which didn’t help much. We were very lucky to get a Physical Therapist dedicated in keeping him away from an operation. We were also very lucky to have an Occupational Therapist. He is working with dressing, grooming, proper behavior and strengthening fine motor nerves. Jeremiah also participates in a Special Needs Swimming Program.

We are still concerned with eyesight. Sometimes he doesn’t seem to see things. Other times he sees things he never saw before – like the stars in the sky. Now----outside he doesn’t want to walk without someone’s hand. Every little crack or uneven sidewalk or grass frightens him. He says, "I just don’t trust it. I need help. Look how it slants down." Stairs, even with rails seem frightening to him. If you don’t hold his hand going down, he bends way down trying to see the steps. He becomes very shaky.

  This September, Jeremiah was approved for an Assistant Guide Dog. My husband and I are very excited about this. This may mean, Jeremiah will be able to go outside in the back yard, or maybe walk down the sidewalk by himself.

 Jeremiah still needs Help. Jeremiah can dress, putting on his pants, shoes and socks---but is still inconsistent with staying on any task and needs help and reminders. It is tricky for him to use scissors, glue or tape. Eating is still a problem, he would much rather talk. He needs help spreading butter with a knife and cutting. He needs help getting in and out of the tub, combing his hair, brushing his teeth and sometimes with bathroom wiping.

Jeremiah lives in and out of two worlds. "The real world," he lives in a house with his mom & dad, 1 dog, 2 cats, and goes to school. In this world, Jeremiah has his collection of cars and collection of many, many magazines about cars. He spends most of his time reading and listening to his music CDs. The other world he calls "The play & pretend world." In this world, Jeremiah owns and manages a Recycling Company, also owns an apartment house. He repairs & sells many of his cars and trucks. He has been remodeling his apartment house hiring roofers, carpenters and painters. He plans to retire from his "Play and pretend job" at the end of this year. He informs me he will get a real job when he graduates from High School.

My husband and I are so pleased with Jeremiah’s continuous progress.

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