A different school battle

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by InsaneCdn, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This plays off of the "Taking the school battle too hard " thread... but I didn't think this question belonged on that thread.

    What do you do in the reverse situation?
    Where the school district would absolutely love it if you would just take this kid out of their hair and do it all yourself? To the point that you don't get any cooperation... accommodations are listed but not followed (the law has no teeth here on this one), or are disputed or misinterpretted... Where in spite of an IEP, the kid keeps getting extreme consequences for behavior - when the behavior is caused by the school not accommodating.

    Their take is that they are responsible to provide "reasonable and practical" accommodations, and what he needs are neither? (like... for example... a "safe home base"... they say, "even the Aspie kids don't need that in high school")

    We could probably have homeschooled for most of elementary... but in HS, the problem isn't getting the basics (english, math, science, etc.)... the problem is that this kid needs the "extras" that are only found in a comprehensive HS... commercial cooking, photography, wood-working, band, etc. Due to his disability, evening activities are absolutely not an option - life shuts down at 6 pm.

    How on earth do you get around this one?

    We're trying - but I'm totally "discounted" by the system, for various reasons (including my inability to make my child mindlessly fit in to the "common culture" and "normal expectations"... because he really doesn't have any problems except a bad attitude).

    There are absolutely NO advocates available here, in any way shape or form - not available, and not allowed. School is a "closed system". There is no ombudsman, and what little appeals mechanism exists, is simply more teachers wearing different hats and supporting the "system". There is no legal support for accommodations, no mechanism to challenge rulings by the school. But home-schooling would be even worse... because I'd have a kid at home all day, with literally nothing to do. I can't teach woodworking and mechanics and photography - and even if I had the knowledge and the skills, we don't have the finances to buy all the equipment.

    Any really creative ideas out there? Just wondering.

    If not - just treat this like a vent. Because its not likely that anything is going to change in time to make a difference for THIS kid. But I'm still fighting, because otherwise we'll be in the same position 20 or 30 years from now... with the grandkids. And I really don't intend to fight the same battle for another generation.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    We had much the same problem with Wee, and maybe, just maybe, after 5 years of fighting with school district, we might have made a dent. Might.

    But, I brought in advocates, created a paper trail, reminded them of their obligations under federal and state law, and implied legal action if nothing changed (I didn't actually threaten it; I did start writing everything down and handing them copies; making them sign for the copies; mailing things certified mail, putting in writing anyting that wasn't held to the "T" and sending that (if they were supposed to give me a report my 3pm and I didn't have it by then, I wrote a letter and handed it to the super's secretary and asked her to sign and time stamp it, etc)...just made it clear that I was setting my stage), They responded by bringing in the district's attorney, and that was the best thing that has happened so far. He did more for us than that district has in the past 5 years. He told the school basically to do what they are required under law. I didn't get everything I wanted, but we finally have a workable document, and they have finally decided I am not goinig away.

    Prior to this, their response was to just send Wee home. Over and over. And shorten his day. One of their proposals was only allow him to attend school 2 hours a day.

    The whole process was insanely slow, but there is only one school here and I don't really want to move, so I wanted to push, but not so hard as to completely **** them off.

    We are a long ways from thru the mess, but last year was a half-way decent year, largely due to the luck of having a sped teacher come in that knew how to handle Wee. And then bringing in a consultant to do an FBA who basically told them to do the things we'd been telling them for years.

    As to how to hold them accountable? I'm not absolutely certain, but I think I am going to put a few "cardinal rules of Wee" in writing this year and make sure everyone has a copy. And then if someone breaks one of those rules again, and then charges him with assault again, we might at least have a bit of leverage to use. I don't know. Still working on that one.
     
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    ICD- I think in some cases that is exactly the school district's intent. Shari and her kiddo are a perfect example, in my humble opinion. I think to have a chance at changing stuff, it takes persistence and documentation and persistence and the willingness to take your concerns to the next level and more persistence and documentation. It's incredibly difficult.

    My school district failed to provide a 1:1 nurse for Boo for over a quarter of the school year during my fight for LRE. Nurse was in IEP. No nurse? No school. Kept getting calls from truant officer, asking me if I knew where my son was, and was he planning on dropping out. Yes, I knew exactly where my quadriplegic visually impaired son was, and he'd *love* to come to school, but unfortunately sped dir from Hades felt that following IEP was optional when parents were pushing for compliance with IDEA.

    Not surprisingly, when I caved into their demands for placement in a totally segregated facility, we never had a nursing issue again.

    Again, I think you have to weigh the safety of kid, emotional/physical toll of fighting the battle thru to the end, versus your chance of actually getting appropriate services. If you're in the fight to the end, there has to be someone who has accountability (either in district or further up the food chain in dept of education for province and/or country) for ensuring that appropriate services are provided.
     
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Not true. my son and pretty much every other kid in the school with an IEP has that option.
    Is there such a school 'reasonably' close by that you could transfer him to, and by transfer, I mean via IEP. Distance is usually a big problem, but it might be worth it. We have several charter schools that may be more suitable for my girls both academically and enrichment-wise, but neither they nor I wish to invest the time in travel right now.

    Sadly, if the IEP is not held up as a legal document, then there is not much you can do - UNLESS you find an attorney willing to fight that battle. Sadly I find such attorneys exist only in alternate universes. When husband had a LEGITIMATE case we could not find an attorney to represent him because it was just too difficult, and yet the fool who spilled coffee in his own lap, had no problem. What's the point of an IEP that won't be followed and can't be taken to court? Have you read any of the fine print in the supporting paperwork that accompanies an IEP? Here in the US it's about 18 pages of "rights of disabled students" Is there any appeals process for the consequences of behavior? If so, appeal each and every time.

    ((((HUGS))))
     
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Insane, I don't know what to tell you. It sounds like your system in Canada is so much different than ours. Because all of our "stuff" is in the law, legal consequences can follow infractions and if that happens, the school can lose funding as well as pay all the legal costs to resolve the problem. My school district pushed HARD to have difficult child go somewhere else. They spent 6 months of last year telling me (and trying to set the stage) that difficult child needs to be in a therapeutic school. psychiatrist, county social worker, autism specialist and I all said no. Message finally got through so the push became towards a different PUBLIC school. I went higher up and informed the higher up that I was NOt having my difficult child go to a different school just because certain staff wanted him gone. After that the whole tone of everything changed and I got almost everything I wanted because they finally realized how far I was willing to go.

    I have no idea how things work in Canada so guess I can't give you much help. {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}}
     
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you have documentation on this, what happens if you go above the school district? Canada is so different than the US that i don't know if it would help.

    Do you have an alternative qualification type thing like the GED here in the US? If he get that early can he go on to technical school, college, whatever that might work better for him?
     
  7. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Don't know what province you are in but here are some links that you might want to check out. I don't think you have any resort except to get an attorney and sue them at this point. But perhaps going up the ladder within your district would help. All the way to your government representatives in parliament. If it's the same there as here, getting a personal or phone appointment with your representative's staff (that specialize in this area) and telling them about your difficulties may be a very efficient and effective use of your time. Taking your child along can also be very helpful.

    http://www.lawhelpontario.org/legal-help-for-children/

    http://specialeducationadvocate.angelfire.com/

    http://reachability.org/

    http://www.cec.sped.org/
     
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sure - lots of options. But not available... as in, until you turn 16, you are legally required to be "in school" - as in, attending "full-time equivalent" (as much as you are able for, if medical reduction in school day is necessary) or "100% home-schooled". After that, you can't take adult ed unless you have been out of school - in ALL formats - for at least one full year. So, he'd have to waste two whole years accomplishing almost nothing, to then be able to start again. That's destructive, too.

    Here, there IS an official chain of command, and we are told who to contact etc. But in reality, everything is done to support the principal of the school - and no one except the principal has any control over what happens in the classroom. There are all sorts of resources to influence and advise, but that only works if the teacher and principal are on-side.

    There are no other schools to transfer to - as in, all the other schools do not have the hands-on options - just the comp. HS. So, anything else means he has to take 5 academic courses per day. Which he can't handle. Everyone agrees he can't handle it. The disagreement is on the reason. school district says "he's got an attitude, he isn't trying, he isn't willing to put in effort, he's just pushing you (parents) around to get what he wants". WE say, he's learned to be like that, because his real needs are not being met, and in fact most teachers work against him either through ignorance or deliberately.

    We don't have charter schools OR private schools either, that could fill the gap.

    When you have a kid who gets 90s consistently in hands-on classes, and struggles to pull a 50 in english and math because of a dozen missed issues starting in grade 1... there are no easy answers.

    If he was severely disabled, they would be far more responsive - because the labels and the needs would be obvious. But every diagnosis except one is "atypical", and for many other issues, he "fails to meet diagnostic cut-offs" so doesn't even get the diagnosis. (The one solid diagnosis is ADHD combined, with severe executive functioning issues - but that's only about 25% of his problem)

    I've tried going to the people we are "supposed to call" - and we are NOT allowed to write. It MUST be done by phone - obviously, so there is no paper trail. I'm not prepared to take it to the media... because there aren't enough supports around us. The school district would make sure we got tarred and feathered and driven out of town - and that's on top of the damage that would be done by making the extent of his disabilities public. Even the Ministry of Education is not prepared to get involved... all of that authority resides solely with the school district - the ministry just writes the curriculum requirements etc., delivery is up to the school district.

    IEPs have NO legal standing whatsoever. They won't even start working on next year's IEP until September, we won't meet until October... and then it will get reviewed once, in April or May.

    If we were to pull him and home school, he would lose 100% of access to all hands-on classes - and we'd have as many or more problems, in both the short and long runs. The school district knows that. So... they "don't have to do anything because we don't have anywhere else to go".

    It would probably help if I had the class, grace and brains of someone like Marg... but I'm not a people person, so I probably step on toes more than absolutely necessary... and when I don't? difficult child goes straight downhill.
     
  9. seriously

    seriously New Member

    So has he had a neuropsychologist evaluation? Speech/language evaluation? Does his academic testing show deficiencies?

    I don't see how they can stop you from writing - just because they tell you that doesn't mean you can't do it and have it delivered certified mail or the Canadian equivalent.

    Do you have anyone go with you to the IEP meetings? If you don't have a family member or friend you think has "people" skills or experience negotiating things, maybe you could ask someone in the neighborhood who is a retired professional or your minister or someone who has run their own company. You want someone who is used to negotiate things in a setting that requires professional conduct no matter how heated the disagreement. Even if this person doesn't know a thing about your son or the school, if you coach them ahead of time that what you need is someone to sit back, listen and provide some objective outsider's input about the various positions and proposals - it will tip the balance and put the school district/principal on the defensive if this person calmly says "well, it seems to me ..." If you like, you can always step out of the room to talk with this person rather than have them speak up without consulting you first.

    Have you networked with other parents of Special Education kids to find out what they have found helpful?

    If I were you I would propose that they agree to a short term placement with the accommodations/supports you feel would be most helpful. Ask them for 2 or 3 months. Make it seem like their refusing would simply be unreasonable of them. What do they have to lose after all? Get it in writing and agree to a new meeting date right then.

    It can't hurt to try this approach and might help break the deadlock and adversarial positions that appear to be entrenched.
     
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Insane--

    Long story short....I homeschool my easy child but not my difficult child.

    The reason? I knew that DS was not going to get the level of services he deserved. He did have an IEP for most of elementary school....and then when he was ready to transition to middle school - the IEP was dropped....class sizes were increased...the odds of DS getting ANY support were nil. So for us, homeschooling made sense.

    And no - he does not get access to school-based "hands on" programs.

    BUT - he does get access to all kinds of "hands on" programs outside of the school. Art classes. Science labs. Field Trips. Sports. You would be surprised at the things available to homeschool kids. We find that when you are willing to bring your homeschooled child to a program outside of peak 'afterschool hours' (4 to 7 pm) most places are willing to offer you something special - even at a discounted price!

    For example, a bowling alley here is offering a discount for homeschoolers to come and bowl on Thursday mornings.

    Music teachers give discounted lessons if you can come in the morning.

    Same with art teachers.

    Maybe if you knew you could get some "hands on" enrichment for him....the decision to homeschool or not would be easier?
     
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's very sweet of you, but I don't think the local school would say I have good people skills!

    They do seem to be pushing you hard to pull him out, and that is wrong. Short of the calling up the chain of command I suggested, pointing out that they are ignoring the IEP (so what is the value of an IEP if it cannot be enforced?) or going to the media, I'm not sure how you can help your son.

    As I said in the other thread - the important thing here, is what is the best overall for the child? And the extracurricular stuff would be good, but it seems to me you have to let that go in order for him to have a chance of learning the academic stuff he needs, in home. With the problems with English, for example, it sounds like he did not get to do the groundwork when he was younger. He may not have been receptive, he may not have understood it or he may have (for whatever reason) missed those classes. But in a home environment you are better placed to give him the individual remedial lessons. DVDs are good. Working with him will be good.

    Another thing you could try - pull him out short-term, tell the school it is a very unsatisfactory short-term solution but one you feel forced into (ie you are not doing this willingly but under protest and coercion by their failure to meet his needs despite repeated requests in writing for them to comply with the IEP). In the meantime, work on your members of parliament to strengthen the laws so the IEP can be made legally enforceable. Let the education authorities know of your moves at every step - let them see you lobby and let them worry about the long-term implications of your efforts, and that perhaps it would look a whole lot better for them to step up and do their job, and not have to be forced into it by legislation.

    Using the media to publicise the cause and recruit others to the cause can produce a groundswell of public opinion that can galvanise action.

    You don't have to be an expert. You will become an expert. But you do have to keep persisting. And in the meantime, your child needs an education.

    If you have the strength to persist, then go for it. It also sends a strong message to your child, that he IS worth all this effort.

    if you don't feel you have the strength, don't bite off more than you can chew. But you may find it easier than you think. Because you can't be the only parent out there fighting this battle. Find others (and publicity in the papers will do that for you) and suddenly you have an active support network.

    But always - think of the child, and the best overall options for him. It would be ideal if he could have the extracurricular stuff, but schools can find a way to weasel out of that too. Mainstream is no guarantee. difficult child 1 was in the school band, played drums. We spent money on sticks, practice pad etc as requested, we did everything, got him to school for rehearsals. The following year he was dropped. No reason given other than "we're giving another boy a turn." But the other boy stayed in the position a year later, there was no turn taking happening. No, we could only conclude they had found their own way to get rid of difficult child 1.

    What they are doing is dirty pool, unfair play and to keep letting them do it is doing damage to you and to the child. Who says the IEP is not legally enforceable, by the way? The school? I would investigate this, because I suspect somewhere in your country's legislation, there is a law that covers this. Human rights. Anti-discrimination. Access to education. In loco parentis (the school is reponsible for the child's welfare when there is a legal requirement for the child to be in school until a certain age; it brings implied responsibility to the school to ensure the child is not experiencing discrimination and is being given fair access to the same resources as others).

    Again, ask your local MP to help you fight this. Point out that there are votes in this, a lot of other parents suffer the same battles but don't know who to ask for help. And your MP is honour-bound to help you. He IS your elected parliamentary representative, therefore YOUR servant.

    If you do nothing else, try the MP. And put everything in writing. Emails do count as putting it in writing. Keep copies, keep a diary of who you talk to and when, plus what was said. I usually have a text file on the computer open and I type, as I talk on the phone. It is a valuable resource if later on the person I spoke to claims they never said something, or has no recollection of our call. I provide minutes! It scares people into compliance!

    Marg
     
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Marg: You just don't know how bad my people skills are!

    The critical classes he needs are not "extra-curricular"... although some would argue that band class would or could be.
    He needs pre-trades training. To do that, you need extremely expensive equipment, and specialized skills to teach it. Commercial cooking. CNC machining. Electronics/robotics.
    The laws are written such that you either have to be over 17 (and out of school for more than a year), OR "in an approved school under the control of certified instructors" to have access to this stuff. Even if a local firm wanted to take him on as an apprentice, they can't. But even if they could, he doesn't know yet which one(s) he can do and which one(s) he'd like to do... The only way for a young teen to figure out which trade is going to work for him, is to be in "school".

    SOME music is available during the day... like piano, or violin. But he can't play those (disability). He CAN play band instruments (brass, woodwind, etc.). You can't get band lessons during the day. And all the community bands don't start practicing until 7pm. So, unless he's in school, he loses all access to music. And he's musically talented, so to give up music is a big thing.

    He can't do art (disability, again). Most of the home-school enrichment programs available are all academic-based... that is, they do a great job of supporting things like science (field trips, lab access etc.), but no support for non-academics other than arts... from painting to drama - sports, trades, music, etc. are "parent responsibility". Phys ed is supported by other systems (there's access to facilities during the day).

    We've been trying to work the political end here, but no one on that side seems to know where to begin to unravel the "knot"... although they do acknowledge that there are issues.

    We've negotiated SOME changes for next year. Whether its enough or not will probably depend on non-school factors, like how much success we have in cracking the depression issue before school starts, and how badly school sets him back in the first few weeks.

    Interesting definition - wasn't aware of that one... but I already know where they'd take it... they believe he is being given "fair access to the same resources as others". I'm not sure I totally disagree... the problem being, that there's LOTS of other kids that are being short-changed the same way (of course, not quite how THEY see it!)
    Here's an example (or two):
    - There are many students who's learning style is definitely not verbal-friendly - yet, there is no provision made for alternative learning formats... just "accommodations" to try to make a square peg fit in a round hole (I mean, making a non-verbal learner fit into a purely-verbal world).
    - If you have Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), you can get funding for a sound-field system... that is, for ONE system, which can go in ONE classroom, which means you can have it for ONE subject. HUH? I can see where it might not be critical in some classes, but you need it in more than ONE. (we don't even qualify for that one, its just an example)
    - There is no provision of a "home base" or "safety zone" at this level of school - they are expected to have moved beyond that "by now".

    I tried that... MY minutes and THEIR minutes are 100% different - and therefore, I am the problem.

    Seriously - thanks for the links, will be checking them out.

    Everybody - Thanks for banging this around with me. I know its still part "rant".
     
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There are ways around that too. Of course., because your minutes are unofficial, they are always the ones to take second place. But at least it alerts you to their game playing.

    What I do - I take notes say, during an IEP meeting. I then write up my official record censoring my own private notes - I avoid mentioning the need to hide circumcision scars on their necks, for example - and then I send them my notes with a letter - "Dear IEP people, thank you for meeting with me today concerning the special needs of my child. According to my notes, we agreed on the following. [list your notes]. If I have got it wrong, please let me know in writing by [give date, usually a week is enough] so that I may correct my records and ensure we are all working on the same page. If I do not hear form you in writing correcting my record of events, I will assume I have it correctly and will act accordingly. Thank you once again for working with me on this."

    Do it ASAP after the meeting. Keep your notes factual, unemotional (the public notes) and constructive where possible. Example - "Class teacher said she would endeavour to provide refuge area for difficult child when sensory stimuli become too much; he will let her know by pre-arranged code word, she will send him to veranda work area previously prepared. Class teacher also said she would notify difficult child of task changing by touching him on the shoulder and ensuring she gets eye contact before she tries to communicate with him."

    My private notes and the stuff I submit are different. I censor my own notes for public consumption. I delete "BS" references as well as other private derogatory thoughts of mine from the public record, but I keep them in my own notes so if I get a phone call from a BS expert, my notes forewarn me of the history I have with this idiot...er, person.

    Feel free to use my form letter.

    Marg
     
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Insane--

    Forgive me but, what is the nature of his disability that he cannot participate in art ???

    Art is used as therapy for all kinds of people with all kinds of disabilities. It is offered to people suffering from TBIs, to depression, to anxiety, to alzheimers, etc. Even people without hands can paint using mouthbrushes....or even their feet! There are even art programs for the blind...

    Did a band tutor really turn down your request for lessons for your son? These folks usually jump at the chance to earn a few more dollars by offering lessons. Seems like there must be someone available...?

    I'm wondering if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by this whole school thing?

    Maybe it would help to sit down and decide what is your bottom line? What are your long and short-term goals for your son?

    If your goal is to get him trained for a trade....why does that need to happen before age 17?

    Why not focus on the academic areas in which he is having difficulty. Sign him up for a few non-academic things like sports and music. Let him earn some great grades in homeschool...

    Then when he reaches age 17 - let him start learning those trades with a much better skill set in writing and math. Skills he learned at home!

    One of the things that surprised me about homeschooling, is how much my son had NOT learned in public school. We spent a lot of time this past year working on basics like handwriting, punctuation, test-taking skills, etc. And by helping him master some basics....I've seen an improvement in his skills overall.

    And I've heard the same sort of things from other homeschool families. The quality of learning at home can be just as good if not better than the public schools.

    But you know your son best...

    Hopefully, you can get the school to provide what he needs.

    Best of luck!
     
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    IC...have no idea if what I am going to tell you is going to be completely discouraging or not but I will tell it anyway. I know that the US is supposed to be good about the IEP's and all that but they failed my son miserably. Or maybe it was that both my son and the IEP failed each other...who knows.

    My son had an IEP for years but this particular year was his second try at 9th grade. In it he was supposed to have an aide attending school with him. He had been doing fairly well at least compared to past experiences but just past the start back to school after Xmas break all heck broke loose. The teacher in gym class was one of those ahole men who dont believe in mental illness and believe all kids need is a good butt whipping. He had told all the boys to sit down and there werent enough seats on the bleachers because he hadnt pulled enough out so Cory stood up at the end with his back against the wall quietly...this isnt in contest. The teacher yelled at him and then it was on. Teacher called him names...Cory called him a "cracker".

    I ended up with a phone call.

    Now...Cory's aide had quit the day before and they were trying to find him a new one and I was told Cory couldnt come back to school until he had a new one. He was expelled from school until then. I was astounded. I said, you have got to be kidding me, the coach called Cory a retard who road the short bus and all Cory did was call him a cracker...which actually wasnt bad since both of them were white! Believe me, Cory has used MUCH MUCH more colorful language in school before...lol.

    Well...Cory was 15 then and he never stepped inside a school again. They were supposed to send someone to the house to homeschool him but they never did. I never heard from them again.
     
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Extreme fine motor skills issues ... he can DO almost anything, but some things - like art, and handwriting - generate HUGE neuro-motor fatigue. Like, to the point he can't even handle the basics in life (dressing for PE). So we just don't go there.

    Anything that can be done by technology, is possible, so at home he dabbles in photography and graphic arts. But the CLASSES (both in school and private) are all based on either 100% free-hand (painting, drawing), or a mix of that and technology. (the theory around here is, kids get too much exposure to technology anyway so they need the manual skills... which probably applies to 99% of the kids, but...)

    Oh, we could get private lessons on an instrument, but that doesn't do much. You can't use that to take your music forward... for example, to become a music teacher (one of his options). No, the only music format that works for him is to play in a band. This kid is way too practically minded to ever put time and effort into learning an instrument just for the sheer joy of playing for himself - there has to be a "point", some "value" to the equation. The only day-time option for band is, school.

    Yup. Its part of the problem. But there's no easy answers.

    That's like asking why some musical genius doesn't wait until they finish high school before they start going into advanced studies. This kid is insanely brilliant when it comes to anything remotely "mechanical" - including commercial cooking where most of the work is done by machines. The only way we can convince him to even attempt anything on the academic line is to have the "trades-class" option. Everything else we ask him to do, is related back to how it helps him get where he wants to go.


    The irony is, school agrees with the GOALS. We just totally disagree on how to get there.

    Thanks for helping me think this through, DF...
     
  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Insane--

    This is EXACTLY the reason I am homeschooling DS. He also has fine-motor issues (to the point where he refuses to wear anything with buttons or zippers!) and an extremely high IQ.

    When he had his IEP in elementary school, he was getting one-on-one support for things like writing, but was also attending classes for gifted kids.

    When he was supposed to transition to middle school - not only was the IEP gone...but they had cut the gifted programming.

    Well, PPPPFFFFTTTT!

    husband and I sat down and tried to decide what was best for our son. For us - it came down to giving him the best opportunity to earn a scholarship and get into college. Was that going to happen in an overcrowded middle school with no opportunity for DS to get one-on-one attention or access to the kinds of enrichment programs at which he would excel? Yeah, right. We decided the public school was going to be in-sufficient.

    So...at the end of the day...DS is NOT getting the same education he would receive at public school. In most respects, he is getting a BETTER education.

    And those kids you are talking about who excel in music or sports? Many times, those kids are homeschooled so that parents can add more lessons and practice times to the child's day. There is no way a public school system is solely responsible for sending kids to Julliard or to the Olympics.

    Is there a local college that would offer classes your son could participate in? Many of the colleges here offer programs (at least during the summer) for younger kids to get some hands-on opportunities that aren't otherwise available.

    (by the way - I don't mean to be hassling you.... I just HATE when parents get faced with the prospect of fighting for their child to get a mediocre education. I say - screw 'em!)
     
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hassling? You? Nah. That's the school's job.

    difficult child's career path is NOT going to be "straight to college". He won't have the maturity or skills to handle it. More likely, he'll get either journeyman's papers in something, or a tech school course like CAD/CAM or computer programming. Then, after working for a few years at jobs below his intellegence, he'll take that knowledge and go to college... engineer, or teacher, or something.

    So... for right now, the goal isn't "college entrance". He can always upgrade the handful of critical classes as an adult, if he has to. For right now, we need him to stay in school, and out of trouble (yes, at the same time). He needs to learn how to work with teachers, how to get along with other students - because he will need THOSE skills for any further education. Its also the only way to test-drive a number of accommodations in that setting, to know what would be needed at the college level.

    If he only had one academic class per day, he'd probably be pulling 90s. We've caught up on much of the learning gaps from years gone by, AND he's learning to work with some accommodations... note-taking service, technology, scribed exams, and a few other things. These are somewhat on the right track - and 100x better than we had in elementary. But, he needs some structure to his free time, and his day needs to be set up so he doesn't hit the fatigue wall.

    He LOVES shop class and enjoys band - and does well at both. Commercial cooking is up next term. We're trying to do an end-run around a phys-ed requirement (there's no way he can NOT take it... I've pounded down every door I can find) - but we have deferred it for another year - hopefully by then he'll have the maturity to not push himself to the limit.

    Overall, the ed system here isn't that bad. If you're "average", its actually quite good. If you're "highly disabled", its also quite good. If you're "certified gifted", they have some pretty neat stuff. But if you don't fit the "boxes", then they don't know what to do with you.

    We're not trying to get this kid to Julliard or the Olympics or anything else involving fame. We want "majorly well-rounded". If necessary, he should be able to home-school his own kids... including teaching THEM band (and all the shops and...) But the world is built around creating "stars". If that's where you COULD go but don't WANT to go, you're considered crazy. Really?
     
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On the art front - difficult child 3 has the same issues. The school worked with us in this (remember, we NOW have the dream school placement - correspondence, but a real school with real teachers who really work hard to help). They noted that difficult child 3 likes digital photography, seems to have a good eye. So they swapped his curriculum away from having to draw, paint or collage. Even collage was a problem, because you have to make choices - will I use this bit, or that bit? Choice can be crippling. And they switched it to photography, set him specific, ordered tasks to do. That really helped - giving him a scaffold to work with, to help him get his work done. I remember one photographic project he had to do - stand somewhere where there was something he wanted to photograph, and take lots of photos in 360 degrees. Also focus up, and down. Try to englobe yourself with photos. Then print them and assemble them. He loved that one - went to a local skate park which a local artist had decorated with mosaics. He also took close-up photos of the mosaics, which came in very handy for the community a few weeks later when some kids vandalised the mosaics. The artist used difficult child 3's photos to get the vandals to fix the damage.

    difficult child 3 likes to take close-up photos of flowers and animals. I often walk with him and point out colours, or possibilities. Of he will want to take photos of the sea, of waves washing over rocks. Which reminds me - the sea is wild today (gales) and it could be an incentive for him to get his work done - "get it done and we will drive to the beach down the road to photograph the storm."

    Photography has taken a new turn for difficult child 3 with the arrival of the 3DS hand-held thingie. It takes colour 3-D photos which difficult child 3 is now processing through the computer into monochrome, viewable by red-blue 3-D specs. So he can upload them onto a website and anyone in the world with the red-blue specs can see his 3-D photos. He took one shot (I was not there!) hanging over a cliff looking down at a sea boiling around the rocks below. Amazing shot... but he worries me sometimes. And he has taken photos of Sydney historic buildings, of statues, of trees - anything which will show a good 3-D contrast and texture. We were at the NSW Art gallery (itself an amazing historic building) and I got him to come inside briefly to look at the art work in the foyer. He seemed to prefer the abstract and modern art, because it wasn't trying to tell him what he should see, he could choose his own interpretation.

    On the drive home we go past an old brickworks with those tall chimneys. It's now a park. He snapped some photos while we were stopped at the traffic lights next to the chimneys and then he added some features (from the 3DS) to show sparks coming out of the chimneys. This is the springboard to art for him.

    He will be 18 by the time of the next local art exhibition. I'm trying to encourage him to print off some of his work to enter it in the exhibition, he will be old enough.

    Marg
     
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