Finding the words......

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by 4timmy, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    I had my difficult child's IEP meeting tonight and everything seems to boil down to ONE thing. He can't express himself with words whether it be responding to a question or writing it in a sentence. He just can't find the words. He has become increasingly introverted (I think) because of this. There has just GOT to be something that can help. I have heard of something called "Pragmatic Speech Therapy" but don't know that much about it. Of course, there is a waiting list if I want to get help for him through the county. Does anyone have any experience with this?
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I don't have any experience but maybe a small suggestion (not the answer but maybe a bit of a help along the way?).

    Google "Feelings Charts" to find a variety of different charts - many are visual - that maybe will help him by pointing out to you or giving you the words for some basic things he is going through. You can explain what each word means (some charts are for older kids, some for younger). You can help him form sentences with what he points out and have him repeat the sentences to you. I think it very important that he does repeat back to you. A simple, "yes, that is what I mean" is not going to help him feel comfortable saying the words next time.

    I would get him on that waiting list as soon as possible. You can always take him off when it is his turn if you don't think he needs the service any longer, but better on than off at this point.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like pragmatic speech therapy might be helpful. he also may have some type of auditory processing problem, etc... Has he ever been fully evaluated by a speech pathologist and audiologist? These need to be done. Why can school not provide this therapy as part of his IEP? He isn't going to have any academic progress with-o it, so it should be in his IEP that they provide it, in my opinion.

    If you don't have an advocate, contact the State Board of Ed or Dept of Ed (depends on the state as to what they call it) and they will tell you how to get a free advocate to help you. No way should this be put off except for long enough to fully evaluate him.

    This may be the piece of the puzzle needed to really ehlp him. Imagine how upset and frustrated you would be if you couldn 't communicate and the entire world kept demanding that you do so. I only know a small fraction of this. I have a brain glitch that means that I will not be able to learn another language. I can pick up a few words here and there, but efforts to learn sign language and foreign languages are futile. I worked HARD to learn a foreign language in college. Even had a roommate who tested out of a minor in the language and she ONLY spoke to me in that language for weeks at home. I never gained even a small grasp of it - in spite of 10-12 hours in the learning lab each week, doing extra exercises and being at office hours every day. That roomie was an audiology major and commented to her prof about how frustrated we both were with the issue. He begged her to have me in for testing - even gave her credit for an assignment for doing it and observing. They did some testing and discovered the glitch. He was doing research and was having to spend a fortune to find people with the problem. I have NEVER been happier with a grade than I was wtih the D I got in that spanish class - my grades were about 30% but the teacher gave me a D because my effort and the letter from the prof.

    So I can imagine how upset and angry and frustrated your difficult child feels ALL THE TIME because he cannot express anything. Have you tried using pictures to help him> Visual schedules and prompts? Combined with a feelings chart (can be in a poster or a book that stands up and gets flipped to show the current feeling) it could really help.
  4. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    Yes, this is what I keep saying he needs and they act totally clueless! The gym teacher spoke up and said that the "Autism Specialist" at the school holds regular (social) communication skills sessions with a few kids ... um duh, I also insisted they check with the Speech Therapist. The Asst. Principal is supposed to get back with me, but you are right, I need to look for an advocate because they never give me the option of waiting before I sign anything.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sweetie, they don't HAVE to give you an option of waiting. You already possess this option. You say, "I will take this home and go over it and will return it with changes or my signature. If they say you must sign now, ask why? Legally you CANNOT be forced to sign. They are pressuring you and they have no legal leg to stand on. Ask what will happen if you do NOT sign? They cannot suspend anything and cannot make you stay late for detention. you can even tell them you need to go over it with your spouse who had to be at a meeting. If they push you, tell them that the legal advice you have received is to not sign until you have gone over it as a family and if this is a problem you will contact your attorney and have him contact them.

    They do NOT want you to get an attorney involved. Cause they KNOW they can't force you to agree or sign but they want you to THINK they can. Just like they want you to think that whatever they have offered is all that they CAN offer.

    If you have already signed, no sweat. YOU are a member of the IEP team just like each of them are. YOU can call a new IEP meeting at ANY TIME. That means if they pressured you to sign the documents and you have problems with it and/or questions, you can call a new meeting the next day. Usually you can just reconvene and discuss new ideas/info, but not all districts are cooperative or even follow the law.

    Do you have an advocate? If not, contact your state dept of education and ask for one - you will get one for free. If you and the school cannot come to an agreement on an iep or it is a combative environment, you can get a facilitator to help with the IEP meeting. Here is info on IEP facilitators in OH - it has a number for the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities in addition to other info about facilitation and mediation of IEPs. You have to click on the top result on this page to get to the flyer with the info: Advocate&start=0&OriginatingURL=/gd/templates/pages/ODE/ODEGoogleSearch.aspx?Page=221

    If they haven't already evaluated him for speech and for audiology, ask if you actually have to write another letter asking for it, the way you did to start the IEP process. If your letter includes something like complete testing for learning disabilities, etc... then it should be included. I believeit is if you used the form letter in the archives.

    Just remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease - if you don't get answers send another email and make another call as often as possible. Even every day if theya re not returning calls.

    You can also ask for a second opinion if you do not agree with what their expert says (there is a way that they have to pay for this - check the sp ed forum archives or ask over there), but a private assessment may be a better route if you have insurance that will cover it - often evaluations paid by schools look only at what impacts education which is NOT as broad as we might think. A private evaluation covers everything if you want it to.
  6. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    Thanks so much for the info. My difficult child's 4th grade teacher was actually the one who instigated the evaluations for an IEP. I didn't even understand exactly what it was at first. I think I was in complete denial for about 2 years. In 5th grade, I got better at it. They wanted to put difficult child in a different school where there was an ED program and I insisted that he finish out the year (there was only 3 months left in the school year). I took our therapist and his intern with me. I really felt like they accommodated him as much as they could, but all of the same rules still applied to him as they did with the other kids. He ended up being suspended 7 times that year. I'm beginning to see, even though maybe a little late, that the wool was pulled over my eyes a little.

    His IEP reads like the kind of requirements documentation I write at my job. difficult child will do this, difficult child will do that, on and on with a timeline. Then when I get the updates, he's rated on his progress. If I didn't feel so anxious and rushed through those darned meetings, I could do better at telling them what I'd like for it to say. The teacher called me a week ahead and said we need to meet next week... and it just wasn't a good week for us. I tried to get her to reschedule and she said they had a deadline to get them all in. We were all sick the day of, so I called again and tried to reschedule and she only offered to do a conference call.

    I know.... advocate. .... get one!
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    4, LISTEN TO SUSIESTAR!!! and yes, get an advocate NOW!!!
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    O. M. Freaking G.

    His IEP is a list of what HE will and won't do with NOTHING about how to help him get to that point???

    He is held to the same rules as everyone else? What about things like talking in class and not sitting still - things that he is likely to be largely UNABLE to do - ESPECIALLY if he is bored - and are DIRECT manifestations of his disability????

    Not understanding the language likely means he is CLOSE TO COMPLETELY INCAPABLE of doing almost everything they are asking of him - except that they are not asking they are DEMANDING!!!!!

    It is WAY past time for MOMMA to take an evening and a notepad and READ the sp ed archives on this forum, paying close attention to things that relate to any and all problems he has or has had in the past.

    It is INCREDIBLY likely that they have violated his rights on many many many things. Not the LEAST of which is done by not giving you WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE MEETING TEN DAYS AHEAD OF TIME. They also HAVE to adjust to reasonable meeting date changes to fit YOUR schedule. It is great if you can meet at a time that is convenient for them, but if you cannot - they cannot penalize you for this.

    Also, if you have time and issues you have questions about, check out the wrightslaw website (they write great books about sp ed law and are an awesome resource. I once cowed twelve people at an IEP meeting by bringing in my Wrightslaw book with postits sticking out and opening it to check on ONE thing. Even the district dir of sp ed stopped her koi when I asked her to give me a second and started going through my tabs. She is hugely entitled - to bully parents, based on her actions - and she was shocked that I asked the entire room to pause for a second to let me find something. She tried to say they were "past that topic" and that it was "decided" and she was told that it was NOT and we were NOT and I just needed about 60 seconds of quiet to find the info we needed to settle the issue. I don't remember what it was, and actually never quoted anything from the book because she instantly backpedaled and agreed to what I wanted.

    in my opinion the book can be magic when used properly. People who want to trample on your rights often take a step back wehn they think you have the documentation to stop them. At least here they do.

    Do your research, then go ahead and call a meeting of the IEP committee again. Take an advocate, and idea of REAL goals and accommodations and refuse refuse refuse to sign until after you have pondered it for 24-48 hours.

    You can do it!!!