Hello all.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PollyParent, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. PollyParent

    PollyParent New Member

    OK. Been lurking a while. Sort of thought I could do this on my own, but realized that some support would be nice. (Duh.)

    Thought I'd wave hi and introduce myself.

    My difficult child is a soon-to-be nine year old boy, my middle child, who's had a perfectly horrendous third grade year. We spent most of last year and part of the year before trying to get him diagnosed, but as of October he's been designated as ED by the schools, and we've been working the IEP as hard as we can.

    After looking into Early Onset Bipolar, ODD, ADD, Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Learnig Disabilities, Asperger's and Intermittent Explosivity (Along with every combination of the above, usually ruling out the remainders, and acusations of abuse in the home -- that was fun), we've landed at this time with Asperger's plus a touch of Anxiety plus a sprinkle of IE (which may be related to ADD?).

    Essentially he landed at the beginning of this year with an idiot for a teacher, one who refused to acknowledge that he had oppositional behaviors and who refused to put into practice our suggestions for him. As a result, he exploded. Then she accused him of exploding. At that time he was desginated as ED, an IEP was written up, and he was put into another classroom with a full time SPA.

    There's a lot more to the story, (he was tackled by an untrained aide; at one point two teachers and another aide picked him up at recess and dragged him through school to take him to the office; a friend told me that the librarian told students that all he needed "was a good spanking"; he developed a school phobia to the point where he was eloping two or three times a week; a diagnosing psychiatrist told me that "Children this age don't get anxiety. It's all ADD until they hit High School. Even Asperger's. It's all ADD at this age.") but the most difficult part of the equation here is that I'm a school board member for the District where my child is enrolled.

    Confidentiality regarding my son has been breached time and time again as teachers and aides talk about "that school board member's kid", yet his education is also suffering.

    By January his anxiety at not just being in the classroom, but also being in the hallway OUTSIDE of his classroom became so great that he either wandered the school or left campus if he was pressured to go back to class. In March we switched case managers, and she started addressing his school phobia by shortening his days down to one hour, and then rewarding him for everything. His days were supposed to increase until he could re-enter the classroom. Although his length of time at school increased, he never reentered the classroom to any significant level. He recently passed his third grade benchmark test with the highest score in his class (by virtue of the talents of his aide who taught him all of grade 3 in only three weeks' time), but it is clear that his IEP goals have not been met.

    Being a school board member should make my requests carry more weight, and should make my son's life a little easier in school, but so far I'm not seeing whole fields full of flowers and rainbows. It's very discouraging. (On the other hand, I have managed to get all of the staff at one grade level in one Elementary school CPI training, and I did force a change in his case manager, so I do have some sway. But yeesh, this is a hard road.)

    We're managing difficult child's behavior at home very well this year; it's the school culture that Will Not budge. Makes me crazy. (I do have the sympathetic ear of the Principal, the Superintendent and the Director of Special Education, but the worker bees who actually interact with my son are generally dimwitted.)

    Thank you all for making this forum such a great resource. I've learned a lot just by lurking and look forward to being more interactive with you all.

    PollyParent

    (In my profile is a link to my blog, where I've written a lot about my son, under the category "Kidlets".)
     
  2. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I am not a school board member, and I think that would be beneficial for you, doesn't sound like it. But much of the story sounds so familiar. Me difficult child has switched teachers every year he has been in school, except 5th grade. That was a year from you know where. I was told that year that "frankly, nobody wants him". That was the year HE wanted to be admitted to the hospital, very lost in a world of anxiety. No available beds.
    It is such a rough road. Never thought things could be so hard. The support here has helped me gain so much knowledge and to know others are going through similiar situations. All the years of school, I have had parents complain about difficult child and his behavior to school authorities. They have no clue. I have never ran into any other child through school that has the kind of issues difficult child has. This support here has really helped. So much. I think all of us could write a book on our difficult child's.
    You will find much support here, and great advice!
     
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Hello and welcome. I'm glad you decided to come out of lurk-dom and introduced yourself.

    I so hear you regarding the school culture. I've been battling that since my difficult child was in the 2nd grade. She's entering 7th grade this fall. At one point, in the 3rd grade, the guidance counselor told me, "[difficult child] doesn't have a problem, Heather. You do." Just one example (of many) of the hostile attitude toward me at the elementary school difficult child attended. It wasn't until this year (in middle school) that we got an IEP implemented and that was a battle itself.

    You'll find much support here. Again, welcome.
     
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! Glad you found us. Sorry to hear that school has been such a struggle. I'm actually not surprised that being a school board member has not been as helpful as one might think. I say that because my husband and I are both teachers-husband is in the same school as difficult child and he has had an absolutely horrible school year. His IEP wasn't followed until just recently and he was out of school suspended 7 1/2 days for things related to his disability. Up until this year he has had great teachers who were wonderful for him. Hopefully next year your difficult child will have a better teacher.

    We did finally get his IEP in compliance and ended the suspensions but it took a lot of work and involving the district staff from downtown. It shouldn't have to be so hard. All I can say is it takes a lot of persistence. We have a great Special Education forum on this board and it is very helpful.

    I'm glad to hear you are managing difficult child's behavior so well at home. Again welcome and hugs. You are not alone.
     
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi & welcome. Sorry to hear the battle on the school front. As a school board member, you might use your position to help all of the little difficult children out there.

    I wonder because you are on the school board if staff isn't bending over backwards to make sure that your child isn't receiving preferential treatment? Something to think about.

    Again welcome.
     
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You may want to post on the Sp. Ed board. Frankly, if this were my kid, I'd have already called The Dept. of Public Instruction. The aide should be fired and the librarian disciplined for her "spanking" comment. There is no way I'd put up with that for my child. It's outrageous. If your own school district won't do anything about how your child is being mistreated, my advice is to seek outside help (like the Dept. of Public Instruction in California). We had to do that, and things changed for my son within a day of calling them. They suddenly couldn't do enough for us. My son is still treated really well at school and I think the staff respects us for going overboard to get him help. I really sympathize with you and your boy, and I'd never put up with that. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
     
  7. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Polly Parent -

    welcome to the boards, I'm a fairly new poster but have lurked for awhile as well. I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a struggle this year.

    As a member of a school board you have opportunities to advocate for your child that most of us here don't have. It's not often that someone who is in a position of any type of authority in a school district has to go through the hoops of Special Education.

    As a school board member you should be asking the district administrators very serious questions about how much training is being provided on the front line. Biggest problem with most folks at the teacher's aide/educational assistant level is a sheer lack of education and training. Most of the aides in the district I work in get minimal to no training about the specific disabilities they are dealing with and parents and school officials expect them to understand and deal with the students effectively. What's the old saying, "you get what you pay for?" With the advent of No Child Left Behind, too many schools are focused on standardized testing and paperwork requirements and not enough on the processes needed to actually instruct students.

    Another thing to consider is to make sure the evaluation and diagnosis on it are correct - there's a big difference between services usually provided for ED and Autism (which is where Asperger's would put your son). Also, has there been an occupational therapist as part of his team? Sensory processing issues get over looked a lot in kids with Asperger's and a good Occupational Therapist (OT) can help with front line education of staff as well as giving difficult child some strategies for self calming.


    Hopefully this summer will go well and you'll have a new teacher to start off on a different foot in the fall,
    Babbs
     
  8. PollyParent

    PollyParent New Member

    Thanks for your replies.

    In terms of advocating for the rest of the kids after seeing what my own son has gone through, I feel as if I've got that one covered. (g)

    When my son was assaulted, I demanded that all the aides in the school district immediately get CPI training (which is least restrictive restraints and crisis prevention training). When the Superintendent discovered that that classroom teacher was involved in dragging my son through the library to MAKE him go to the office (which is where he had *requested* to go before the aide blocked the doorway and asked him to apologize to her before he could leave the playground), the Superintendent required all teachers at his grade level to also get the training.

    On the day they went, the Director of Special Education actually acted as the aide for five third grade children so that she could see close up what their learning environment was. That was pretty cool. (On the other hand, the training is expensive and was only required of the teachers in one grade level in one elementary school. Which makes it look as if MY kids get special treatment because the remedy wasn't applie across the board. I'm working on getting the rest of the staff trained, but the balance of the School Board doesn't want to approve the funds. Sigh.)

    So I'd say that being on the board HAS had positive effects. On the other hand, something new is going wrong every day, and I'm constantly battling to keep up with it all.

    I'll be posting to the Special Education board -- you guys have an INCREDIBLE amount of information available. What warriors you have been. (And I agree about the ED vs AS label. He was labelled ED as an early attempt to get him into Speced and to get him an aide. But now that I have the AS diagnosis, I need to have the IEP rewritten. As it stands now, they didn't fulfill the IEP requirements, so I'm cautious about that because I don't want them to rewrite and adjust everything downwards. I want them to do more.)

    Thanks for the warm welcome.

    Pollyparent
     
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