Help with school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jules71, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Hi All,
    It's been awhile since I last posted. I need some help with the school and some advice.

    A little background:
    -difficult child has had an IEP for his ADHD/ODD since Kindergarten
    -Executive functioning deficits and visual processing problems were added from our independent evaluation last year
    -He is in 7th grade this year (new school since it's jr high - same district since K)
    -In his IEP he is supposed to get help in the areas of social/emotional/behavioral and organization.
    -In the jr high setting he gets his Special Education in one class period each day called Study Skills, but it is supposed to also be individualized based on his IEP.
    -His main issues at school are task initiation, sustained mental effort on bigger projects/assignments, task completion, organization, and behavior. The behavior problems are usually impulsive type stuff or reacting impulsively to someone/something.
    -He has been disciplined 5 times this school year (ISS, suspension, detention).

    The school flat out does NOT like me. The reason is because I say what I think, call them out when they are not doing what they should be, and because I will not go away.

    Every time I send an email that calls attention to something on their end, my son usually gets in trouble the next day. I don't know if it is coincidence or what, but it feels like they are getting back at me by punishing him.

    I get emails from teachers (including his sped teacher) saying things like:
    He is not motivated to do his work
    He refuses to do his work
    He is unwilling to do his work
    I can't help him unless he helps me help him

    They don't seem to have any understanding of ADHD and exec func problems. How can I get them to understand or request they get training?

    Also with the behavior problems, when are they going to understand that suspending him is not going to teach him how to behave differently next time? Like today, he moved someone out of the doorway that he needed to get thru - so he got ISS. When I asked him why he put his hands on someone he said "so I could get thru the door". He didn't do it to hurt them, or to be mean, or to bully, etc. He saw them as an obstacle that needed to be moved. I know that it is wrong, but suspending him will not teach him these things. I'm frustrated. He did it with a teacher nearby too. He didn't think it was something that would get him in trouble.

    I feel like I have PTSD and every time the phone rings, I freak out.

    Bottom line is they are looking at my child thru the wrong lenses. If he doesn't understand something or needs extra help they automatically jump to 'defiance'. If he does something impulsive, they automatically jump to bad intent. I'm tired of him being treated poorly by his educators. Is there anyway to turn this around? My gut tells me no.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You won't get them to take special classes for your son's benefit. What you need is to go back for another IEP WITH A FREE SCHOOL ADVOCATE and a plan. If the school personnel don't like you, and they didn't like me either, you are just going to be ignored or feel picked on and maybe you ARE being picked on. You can not fight this battle without outside side and I used an advocate. We met, had goals set, and the school district top to bottom treated us very well in our next IEP meeting with the Advocate beside us. First of all, an Advocate knows the players, knows all the state laws, and can take the district to court. Ours had won a few cases in court and nobody wanted to mess with her so we basically got what we wanted for our kids, nobody dared get picked on, and my two children were treated like royalty.

    A parent can not make a school district's people do anything. They need the motivation of the Dept. of Public Education knowing that they are dropping the ball. I have no idea why, but some parents think going to the Superintendant of the school district helps. It' doesn't. These are all people holding hands, on the same page. They are right. You are just a nutty parent, making excuses for a bad kid. The Dept. of Public Education is over all the school districts in your state and can hold investigations and withhold state money based on whether or not they like what they see. When the Dept. of Public Education and it's advocates tell the districts to jump, they ask, "How high?" Call your Dept. of Public Education and ask for the Special Needs Director or whoever is in charge of special needs children in the state. Then ask for the advocate in your area and get to know that person well. Maybe the Dept. Head of Slpecial Needs has additional leverage and/or suggestions. We got LOTS of help and it really lit a fire under the school districts backside.

    I think I've mentioned this before to you, but maybe not. If you do it yourself, nothing will change. You have got to involve other people who have power over the school district. You don't. Call the Dept. of Public Education in your state first thing tomorrow morning and get the ball rolling and meet your advocate. Doing the same thing over and over again, gets ya the same results. Try this. It's very effective. It is the only way to stop the bleeding.

    Good luck!
  3. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks MWM. We did get an advocate thru PAVE but they don't have any power. I think I need the WA Dept of Ed Ombudsman. I usually get what I want in the iep, etc. but having them do it is a completely different thing. I have considered typing up formal complaints each time. I have contacted the superintendent too and was able to get one thing dropped because it took over a month for the school to send me the discipline referral.

    And yep, you nailed it. They think I am a nutty parent making excuses for a bad kid. Shame on them!
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Actually I just looked it up and they are a neutral party for non legal matters - so I am not sure if that is who we need. I wish I could find and afford an education attorney.
  5. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Jules71, I wish you luck and your doing great. I really hope he is able to get the extra help he needs, and not the continuous issues from the teachers. Sorry I cant be much help, here to support you and agree with Midwest.
  6. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks Confused! I appreciate it.
  7. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    I understand with our kids when they are actually doing well- they still get blamed or looked down upon, hang in there. Im thinking of you both! Your welcome :)
  8. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Well he was very sullen this morning walking into school. This is two steps back for a kid who already HATES going to school.
  9. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    I feel like I know your son! What many teachers and most admistrators don't get is that if the kiddo could do it, they would it. Most kids don't want to struggle to do their work in school, be thought of as a pain in the butt, ostracized by their peers, and have to fight through their difficulties ever single day. My poor grandson is being prescribed yet another drug as of yesterday because he has trouble doing his work and blows up out of frustration. His anxiety issues? Not being addressed. His sleep issues? No, not those either. His social skills deficits? No. His problems getting along with his father? Just give him another drug so his father, his new wife, and five other children in the house don't have to deal with his explosions. I'm sorry, I just wandered off into a rant.

    It's very hard to hold school districts' feet to the fire to implement IEPs and the squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say, but also negativity drawn upon the parents and child. I'm a Special Education teacher with 15 years of sitting in hundreds of IEPs and the ones where there are advocates present make us all sit up straighter and pay more attention. When everyone is polite, respectful, and even goes as far as to express their appreciation of the work we do with their child (if we deserve it), we will kill ourselves to do everything we can for the child and family. Unfortunately, the district can have an unskilled staff and then you just have to raise hell to get what you need. If that is your situation, I'm so sorry.

    Kind thoughts going out to you and your boy. I know how you feel. And boy, we know that dread when the phone rings and you know it's from the school. I send positive emails to my families when something nice happened during my time with their child. hang tough, Warrior Mom.
  10. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    All I can say right now is THANK YOU. I am in a puddle of tears.
  11. Hi Jules, I was reading through your thread and I'm wondering if there is a different department you should contact who would have some clout and whose services are free. I used to work for a disability rights organization in our state that was specifically for education. It was government funded and every state has one. Ours took school districts to court. I checked on their resources webpage and found this link for your state. If that's not what you're looking for, let me know and I'll call my former employer and try to find what organization in your state does this.

    I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. It is so hard. I used to have the PTSD reaction when the phone rang, too. Our Difficult Child is doing much better now, but we had a really rough time the first 12 years of his life.
  12. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    Jules71, I had a lot of difficulty getting an IEP for my son. When I did the Sped teacher told us it was behavioral too. She told my son he'd better straighten up or he'd land in jail...he did land in jail, but that wasn't her place to tell him. He also has executive functioning issues among other things.

    My experience has been the teachers for the most part care but the administration doesn't. However just because they care doesn't mean they have time to take training on every diagnosis out there. Plus there isn't the funding to send every teacher for that kind of training, so you have to make them want to learn more. Sometimes you have to be a little sneaky or nicely manipulative to get them to read information that's helpful. I have some good literature on executive functioning. (see links at bottom of message)

    First I emailed it to all the teachers with a comment about how wonderful they are and how hard they work at teaching my son. Then told them how someone gave you something that made so much sense I just had to share it with them....Then I made copies for each of the teachers and admin staff and passed it out to them during one of the IEP meetings and reviewed the parts I highlighted in advance during the meeting. Captive audience.

    The main point is from page 3 of the ebook- executive function 101, that defines what Executive function is, what it's used for and list's examples. in my opinion the most important example is the ability to "Ask for help or seek more information when we need it".

    Point out that if our kids can't ask for help then get in trouble for doing wrong, they are going to be frustrated and act out. There is no which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg type thing happening...frustration leads to acting out, not the other way around. Function Around the Clock.pdf
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Jules... I know you've been through the whole evaluation thing, but... that combo of diagnoses leaves me wondering... Social skills deficits are very typical of people on the autism spectrum. If they are handing a spectrumish kid with punishment... it can be both a short-term and long-term disaster. Punishment does not work for these kids... AT ALL.

    He isn't choosing to be "mean" or "rude" or "disrespectful". I'm guessing he really "doesn't get it". There is a huge difference.

    And yes, even with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis, it's hard to get the right help from school, but without it, it's much worse.
  14. Mominator

    Mominator Member

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say that if I were you, I'd start a spread sheet of the dates of your emails and the dates your son gets into trouble. I would send an email to the entire team. I don't just email the sped teacher or the principal, I email them as a team. And I would tell them that you are suspicious of a pattern and are now actively keeping track. I would remind them in the email that punishing a child with a disability for the actions of the parent is against the law. If your suspicions prove to be correct, you will file legal action.

    I'll bet you he won't get into so much trouble because they are going to actively work at proving you wrong.