need help with situation

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by babybear, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. babybear

    babybear New Member

    I really need some advice on where to go with this situation. I am going to try to split it up so that you can get the whole story

    This is a letter I wrote to my dad (who was a spec. ed. teacher in this school district for 30 years) to explain the situation.

    Hi Dad!
    As promised, here is the short version of what is happening with difficult child.

    At her IEP meeting last spring difficult child was signed up for the reach program for social and communications skills. I can give you more info on that if you'd like. When a child is placed in the reach program she is also assigned a social worker. difficult child already had one, who I really liked, but she got assigned a different one. We met once in August and I never heard from her again.

    She has been doing really well this year in every way except in the classroom. Her main problem is doing her work in class. She is learning the material and doing all her homework. In school though, she is very oppositional to doing the work sheets etc. I have given the teacher and her support team all the info I can about her diagnosis and what supports are reccommended. I dont really think that traditional classroom is the best environment for her to learn in but the neuropsychologist who did her evaluation was very adamant that she needed the socialization of the school environment.

    difficult child has come up with many excuses for not doing her work in class. She's too cold; the seats are too hard; the other students are too loud; etc. I asked that I be told what she is saying so that I can take away those reasons by sending in a sweater or a chair pad. In November I started getting notes that difficult child looks tired or seems tired. None ever said that she was using this as an excuse to not do her work.

    Here is where the communication problems really start to blow up. I think that xxxx, her case manager from the reach program, is sort of the "designated" person to communicate with me. I don't think that she is doing that, but I don't know if it's on purpose or if she just doesn't do it well. I have kept records of every e-mail she has sent since November just because they felt wrong to me. Corinne has seen them and feels there is a problem too.

    Ok, Now for the meeting from &#$*&

    Thursday morning we had a meeting to establish the reach programs "treatment goals" . It felt more like an intervention. Basically, I told them that difficult child is getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, going to bed at 9:30 and is often asleep by 9:45. Not 5 seconds later I'm getting told to try hot baths with lavender oil to help her get to sleep and to try melatonin??? It's like talking to difficult child when she's stuck on an idea. I have to say that i'm quite proud of myself for not completely losing my cool! Now the social worker was also at this meeting. The one we haven't seen since August, remember. She had a family support plan for me to sign.Obviously, she based all of it on information from the reach program worker as most of it was just wrong. I am going to attach a copy of my "corrected" version that I sent her today so that you can get an idea of how bad it was. The areas highlighted in grey are what was on the original plan. My comments are below each section in the white areas.

    Anyway, that is most of the story so far. I am working to fix things so that at least people are listening to my input without me having to be the pushy, overbearing parent. Any advice would be appreciated! I skipped a bunch of details, so feel free to ask questions.

    So, how was YOUR week?

    Love you!!
  2. babybear

    babybear New Member

    my respose to meeting... was received today.
    My comments are in red

    Family support plan- corrected for inaccurate information
    FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT: Mental Health Symptoms & Needs
    difficult child continues to struggle with her disabilities. This has been compounded by her inability to get sufficient sleep. She displays anger, oppositional behavior and refusing to do her work in school. difficult child is taking her medication as prescribed, and works with a PCA out of school to manage her behaviors.
    difficult children “inability to get sufficient sleep” is not an established fact, but an opinion based on incomplete and/or outdated information.
    2) difficult children main academic concern is refusing to do her work in class. She has completed all homework assignments given this year. This has not happened in any previous school years.
    3) difficult child has been off all medication since June 2006, as reported to all support staff by her mother. She has shown HUGE improvement in her ability and desire to socialize since that time. Also, her academic abilities have increased and current problems are the same as all 5 previous school years when she was taking medication.

    FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT: Family Issues & Relationships
    difficult child and her mother live alone. difficult child spends most of her after school time with her PCA. Mom works until late usually, so their time together is later in the evening. difficult child often appears to not have enough sleep.

    GOAL: difficult child will get at least 8 hours of sleep every school night.


    Mom does not work late. Mom has not, in fact, worked past 5:30 pm since the day difficult child started preschool.
    2) difficult child gets between 8 and 8.5 hours of sleep ,on average, per school night. She has managed to do this consistently since mid-January. Mom is starting a detailed log of difficult children sleep habits starting March 1rst.
    3) difficult children sleep cycle can be rather easily thrown out of whack due to illness or long breaks. We handle these instances according to her doctors advice.

    FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT: Self Care & Independent Living Capacity
    difficult child has come to school tired and unkempt. She states she has not brushed her teeth or her hair. She is often listless. difficult child needs assistance in establishing a morning routine that allows her the time and help she needs to get ready for her day.

    GOAL: difficult child will be appropriately groomed and rested.
    difficult child does not leave the house “unkempt”. She is bathed and dressed in clean, appropriate clothes.
    2) difficult child is awake, alert and generally pretty chipper in the mornings before school. She also gets herself out of bed after being awakened. This has never occurred before this year. Mom had to physically remove her from the bed and physically bring her to breakfast.

    FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT: Education (Special needs/vocational planning)
    difficult child is on an IEP to address her behavioral and learning disabilities. She continues to struggle in school, and mom has requested a functional behavioral assessment be completed by the district.

    GOAL: difficult child will be successful in school.

    PLAN: An FBA will be completed and the recommendations of that assessment will be incorporated into her IEP. difficult child will follow the goals and objectives of her IEP.
    Mom will review the FBA and recommendations and discuss them with the appropriate people.
    FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT: Social Recreational (social functioning and recreational options)
    difficult child is not currently participating in any recreational activities.

    1) difficult child participates in many social and recreational activities on a regular basis. See attached list.
    2) difficult children PCA and her mother will start a detailed log of these activities if necessary.
    3) difficult child needs particular social skill training in the steps needed to maintain a and grow a friendship. Mom was told that this was the express purpose of the reach program at the last IEP meeting. She has been with the reach program since June 2006 and they are just now starting on social skills?


    difficult child has not made huge progress in the last 6 months. She continues to be oppositional and refusing to do her work is an everyday occurrence for her at school. She has improved her social skills and some of her negative behaviors are diminished.
    I can’t disagree with this more. She has made incredible progress, visible to anyone who has known her for more than this past school year. Whose opinion is this and why? What factual basis does it have?
  3. babybear

    babybear New Member

    and finally the email I got today from the reach program/ctss.

    what is the best way to respond??

    difficult child was upset today when she arrived, she expressed some frustrations
    with- not having her school bag - she went to the Occupational Therapist (OT) room with- staff to have
    some time to express this frustration & prepare herself for the day,
    she then found out that she was unable to attend a party with- her team due
    to not having her homework completed as expected over a length of time.
    difficult child was emotionally upset when she arrived to group yet was able to
    process her choices which brought the consequence of not being able to
    attend the team party & was fine when she left us.

    I did rec'v your review on the family support plan - I see that this is
    addressed for social worker yet feel that I need to respond to the review
    on our part which states that the "express purpose of the reach program
    is to work on social skills" which is something that **** & I have
    stated is only a PART of the skills that we work on with- our students - we
    have also worked on anger management & communication skills during this
    school year alone with- difficult child, she wouldn't be successful with- social skills
    with- out the learned skills from our communication sessions. Please note
    that we are only reporting what we see & hear from difficult child - we are giving
    weekly goals according to difficult child's needs in order to assist her in being
    more successful in all settings, our goal is to assist difficult child in her
    ability to achieve & be successful in school & life in general.

    difficult child has been reporting to us this week that you have been picking her
    up earlier, around 8 or earlier this week from the PCA's, she has said
    that she prefers that extra time with- you & did have some AWESOME days
    this week in school - yesterday she had ALL 5s on her point card that she
    gets from us & was rewarded / praised for her hard work thru the day!!!
    (YEA difficult child)
  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Who does the Social Worker work for? The school district, CPS, ?
  5. babybear

    babybear New Member

    The sw works for the county, in childrens mental health division.
    Ironically, her original sw was in the dev. disabity division and she was switched AFTER getting the asperger diagnosis.

    The case manager from the reach program is the one causing me problems. She gives her title as "ctss practitioner". She is employed by a private company which contracts to provide mental health services to the school. Her attitude basically is that "it usually is the parents"( yes, she really said that to me!)

    So my goal now is to give her a little more rope to hang herself with and get her the heck out of there. The program is a good idea at least,but she's got to go!!

    Oh, and thank you so much for slogging through that novel!
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I hate to mention this, but none of the above is an FBA. In an FBA, each behavioral problem/incident is analyzed for the immediate antecedent condition, the hypothesized function of the behavior for the child and the current outcome.

    E.g., difficult child gets to school without school bag; (antecedent) difficult child has meltdown (behavior); difficult child is unable to control acting out when frustrated and needs to reduce tension (hypothesized function); therefore, cannot attend party (current consequence).

    The above comes off your example but not exactly. It shows why all their comments about your work schedule, etc. are purely biased and what they are doing is not an FBA at all. The only way a parent can be a part of an FBA is if the parent is at the school, i.e., school refusing child is clinging to her mother and crying in the hallway. Otherwise, FBAs are not about parents.

    What is then done with an FBA depends upon the point of intervention, i.e., difficult child could always bring her school bag. However, even is she does that, frustration happens, so when difficult child is frustrated, the goal would be to discharge tension without having a meltdown. That means difficult child needs a REPLACEMENT BEHAVIOR for the meltdown which would then be positively reinforced (instead of the old behavior being punished.) This is PBS (Positive Behavioral Support)

    I do not always agree with behavioral approaches, but at least I know how to set them up competently, which is more than can be said for the personnel involved here.

    I know this is very hard advice to swallow, but try to stop defending yourself. Simply say--I get home at 5:30 and let it go. If they make a "plan" based on some other time, then they are working with faulty data. Correct their data but do not defend yourself. Also, keep saying to them, "this is not about me, it about helping difficult child do ______"

  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    It’s stereotyping. It’s too often how they are educated, trained and the reinforcing culture they are exposed to on a daily basis. Even this day and time, it’s a very common opinion within the mental health profession and school environments.

    A study done by Dr. Alessi, Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University was very revealing in this regard.

    "Please note that I am only reporting what I see, hear or read from the school district and difficult child, and correcting misinformation in hopes of helping facilitating development of appropriate goals for my daughter."

    Ditto keeping the focus on difficult child.