A Child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) -My Day At School
A Typical FAS Child
I Have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
©LaDena Campbell 2012 aka justateacher
Hi! I’m Jacob. I am five. I am in kindergarten. When my mommy was pregnant with me she decided that she didn’t want me. She drank alcohol and used drugs – including cocaine – so she could kill me while I was still in her tummy. All that alcohol and drugs made me have fetal alcohol syndrome. This makes it hard for me to sit still and concentrate on things. My brain works different from the brains of most kids do. All of this makes it really hard for me to learn. Sometimes when I learn something I forget it the next day – sometimes even later that day I forget what I learned this morning. I am lucky that I have a new mommy and daddy now. They take real good care of me and my sisters!
I am going to tell you about my day at school!
I get to ride the bus to school because mommy and daddy have to go to work in the morning. When the bus gets to school, my special teacher, Mrs. Campbell, comes to get me. Sometimes I get lost when I try to get to my classroom on my own. Sometimes I try to sneak into breakfast because it looks fun and I forget that I am supposed to go to my classroom.
When I get in my classroom, I am supposed to do the bell work on my table. It is always hard for me. Today it is a worksheet that I am supposed to cut of the squares with pictures. Then I am supposed to glue them on the squares with letters that match the pictures. This is really hard for me. My little hands don’t work very well and it is really hard to cut the squares out. I can’t always remember what the pictures are called or what sound or letter they start with. I ask my classroom teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, for help. She is nice and patient and doesn’t mind explaining things to me again and again. She helps me cut. Sometimes she lets my friend Christopher help me. He always knows what the pictures are and what letter they start with. He tries really hard not to give me the answers, but sometimes he gets so frustrated with me that he just tells me the answer. He is my best friend!
At ten o’clock our class goes to the bathroom. We don’t have a bathroom in our classroom like the other kindergarten classes, so we go down the hall. Sometimes I forget that I am not supposed to play around in the bathroom and splash in the water. One time I was trying to find out where the water in the urinal was coming from and I started splashing in the water. I didn’t know that it was dirty and that the other kids didn’t like being splashed with that water. I had to wash my hands really good and had to sit in time out. I didn’t like that. But a few days later I forgot and I did it again.
After we go to the bathroom, I go to Mrs. Campbell’s class. I like Mrs. Campbell. She understands me. She knows how hard I have to work to do things that are easy for other kids. She has folders with games that are easy for me. I get to match colors and numbers and letters. I forget what the names are for those things but it easy just to match them up. I also get to do puzzles that have letters and numbers and stuff. The pieces can only go in one place, so they are easy for me. I have a chart on my desk in my quiet spot. When I finish a puzzle or a folder, Mrs. Campbell puts a sticker on the chart. When I fill up the chart I get to choose a treat. This morning I got five M&M’s. One day I got a bouncy ball. The treats are fun!
At ten thirty Mrs. Campbell makes me put on my smart pack. My smart pack is a little backpack with heavy books in it. I like the way it feels on my shoulders and back. It feels like someone is squeezing me and I like that. Then we walk down the hall to pick up the other kids in my reading group. There are six of us all together. We go back to the room and sit at the horseshoe table. I get to sit right next to Mrs. Campbell. She helps me remember to sit quiet and work and not bother my friends. We get to read and color and write our names. We practice letters and sounds and sometimes even words! But this is all like the worksheets in Mrs. Reynolds’ room. Sometimes I remember and sometimes I don’t. On the days that I forget, I get mad at myself. I want to learn like everyone else. The kids in my group have trouble remembering sometimes, too, but not as many times as I do. One of the boys laughs at me when I forget. Mrs. Campbell makes him say “I’m sorry” but it still makes me mad. Sometimes I throw my papers and pencils around the room. Sometimes I even hit the other kid. Then I have to sit in time out. I have to think about what I did. But sometimes I forget what I did and why I am in time out, so I just play. Mrs. Campbell doesn’t like it when I forget, but she understands it.
At eleven thirty it is recess time. I like going out to recess. I get to run and run and run. I like to play on the monkey bars and in the sandbox. Sometimes I play tag with my friends. Sometimes I get mad at kids on the playground and I push them or hit them or throw sand at them. The playground ladies don’t like it when I do that so they take me in to Mrs. Campbell’s room and I have to sit in time out again. But sometimes I don’t hurt other kids. The playground ladies are really proud of me when I don’t get in trouble. I like it, too!
After recess, we go to lunch. I have to sit at a table by myself. At my table I am not supposed to talk or play around. I am just supposed to eat. Sometimes I forget and I yell and I play. Sometimes I throw my food. Mrs. Allen, the principal, doesn’t like it when I forget. She calls Mrs. Campbell and then I have to take my food and go sit in time out to eat. But sometimes I can sit still and not play and I just eat my food. If I do this for a while, I will get to sit at the table with my friends. I hope I can do that soon.
When lunch is over we go back to Mrs. Reynolds class. It is time for us to rest. We are supposed to lie on our towels and be quiet. Some kids even fall asleep. It is hard for me to be still, so I have a bean bag to lie down in. I also get to listen to music on my headphones. The music helps me to keep calm and this is one time that I can be really still. I really like my music.
I don’t like the time after rest time. Except on Wednesdays. This time is when our class goes to what they call “specials.” I don’t think that it is anything special. Some days we go to art. Other days we go to music or PE. And other days we go to library or computer lab. I don’t like any of those – except music! In art, the teacher doesn’t understand why I can’t do what the other kids can do. She gets mad at me when I scribble on the pictures or smash the clay. She calls Mrs. Campbell to come and get me. Mrs. Campbell tells her that I should be able to have art and that she should give me something that I can do.
In computer lab, I don’t know what I am supposed to do. I get mad and pound the keys on the keyboard. But the computer teacher is nice. She comes to me and helps me play the games. She finds games that are easy for me to play and that I can learn from. She thinks I try hard and tells me that she is proud of me.
Mr. Fleming is my music teacher. He has been at our school the longest of any teacher. He wants kids to always be good in his class. He usually gets upset when kids have trouble with sitting and doing the work. But when Mrs. Campbell told him that I had trouble with all of that, he said nice things to me. He wants to help me be good and he doesn’t get mad at me when I can’t be quiet and can’t sit still. He gives me special jobs like playing on the instruments or pushing the button on the music player. He has one instrument that he just lets me hold when I am having a really tough time. It is wooden and has some beads in it that make music when you shake it. I like holding that instrument. When Mr. Fleming has trouble with me he always tells Mrs. Campbell so that they can work together to help me.
My two PE teachers like me, too. They want to help me. They give me extra jobs to do, like running laps or doing extra push ups. Some days we play dancing games and they laugh when I dance because I really like to shake it! I can even sometimes win when I play that game! I like going to PE. I usually don’t get in trouble even when I can’t do the games and activities like the other kids. The teachers show me ways that I can do those things a little differently that helps me do it. They never have to talk to Mrs. Campbell!
When specials are done it is my favorite time of the day. I go to Mrs. Campbell’s class and I am the only kid in there. We work on all kinds of things. We work on counting and the letters. We work on ways that help me to stay out of trouble. We read stories about kids like me and how they take care of their problems. There are even stories about me! One helps me remember to not hurt my friends and one helps me remember how to act on the bus.
My favorite part of the day is when I get to take my walk. Mrs. Campbell makes me wear my smart pack when we walk. It helps me to stay focused. When we walk, I look for letters or numbers that I know. Sometimes Mrs. Campbell puts letters or numbers or words on papers that she puts up in the halls. Sometimes when we walk, I get to visit the nurse and the office ladies. Sometimes I get to show them my sticker chart that is full or a worksheet that I did just right. When I go in the office, I get stickers or candy. Sometimes one of the ladies turns on her elephant that plays songs and I dance. I used to be scared to go to the nurse’s office until I found out that she doesn’t give shots!
When we are done with our walk it is time to get ready to go home. My daddy picks me up every day. Mrs. Campbell always tells him the good things I do during the day. She sometimes gives him notes that tell him when I have trouble, but Daddy and Mrs. Campbell don’t talk about it in front of me. Daddy always tells me he is proud of me and that he loves me. He tells me we are going home to see mommy and my sisters. I give Mrs. Campbell a hug and a high five and then I go home with Daddy.
The next day we do all of things again.
It is hard to have FAS, but I am glad that the people at my school help me so much. I have good friends that want to help me and I have good teachers that know how to teach me.
I hope that you like my story. I hope it helped you learn a little about special kids and how to help them out.
© 2012 LaDena Campbell
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