Need some advice....

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by helpmehelphim, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    Please help me brainstorm. My difficult child is in middle school (6th grade). We moved here last summer and so it's a new district for us. He had an IEP in the last district that was written for gifted studies. During the year as we saw him start to struggle, we met with the school psychologist and added his anxiety diagnosis to it for certain strategies to help him cope. They were terrible at follow through and I was not a knowledgeable advocate. I mean I called meetings, had testing done and fought for his rights (including taking a letter from his psychiatrist to the administration which informed them of the possible ramifications and impact of ignoring the IEP). But he suffered a lot in the process.

    We are in the new school. He doesn't have an IEP. But again, the gifted program wanted to test both twins because due to records. They tested a couple of weeks ago. My son has never had trouble with grades. He has trouble with executive functioning, anxiety and social skills. It's the anxiety the social skills that have been the biggest challenges for him in that he says what others only think or repeats things that have been said to him that he thought was funny but isn't to anyone else or is said in an inappropriate time. Anyway, I'm just trying to give some background.

    I met with all teachers at the beginning of the year actually before school started to ease anxiety. We went through the school, met teachers, figured out the locker, etc. I met the teachers alone too. I explained everything about the anxiety and EF stuff. I stressed that I felt I had let him drown before in that I expected him to have skills that he doesn't have and hasn't learned (even if everyone else has learned them...not matter, he hasn't). I told them how we were working on those skills and we parted with them assuring me that they had not intention of letting him drown either (almost seeming offended).

    Well here we are and as I said, my son has been tested for gifted studies again, has A's and B's and is failing Science. He has a straight F. I saw his grade was a C and he explained a couple of things that really had to do with- classroom procedure (EF stuff) and I sent the teacher an email asking if we could talk. I didn't hear back. His progress though has been sent him and I see that due to his lab worksheets (done in class) not being handed in, he is failing. So, he goes in and they have lab almost daily (he loves it! It's his favorite! The teacher says he could teach the class, he's got so much knowledge) and they fill out sheets with results and cleanup and then turn sheets into the lab box or they get the teacher to check them off with-o putting them in the box. He says the teacher checks it so he doesn't turn it in.

    I have a conference set for Thursday morning early. They work as a team at this school, so I will meet with all of them. He's missing some work in every class (which he does but it doesn't get where it needs to be). I'm glad to talk to all of them.

    But here's the catch. I have been discussing homeschooling with him. I have been researching it extensively and I feel I can homeschool (there are many groups's rich with 3 universities, etc.) and find ways to teach him the skills he's missing or teach coping skills to compensate and then he can back into public school if he wants to. I believe I can address the social issues too with different groups of homeschoolers.

    I am afraid of what this is doing to his self esteem. He's being bullied and becoming very attractive to others who don't feel like they fit in. I just don't see how the school can address his issues. Not that it is the school's responsibility but moreso the message of failing due to procedure (his work is 100%) justs throws him. He says "why try? No matter what I do, it's not right." I just don't feel like we can afford to stay on this particular route without expecting the same or worse. He learns differently (his F is about learning procedure).

    I am going to Boston this weekend for a conference put on by the Foundation for Children Behavioral Challenges. It's based on the Explosive Child and Dr. Greene and his partner are teaching CPS in breakouts as well as other professionals teaching other breakouts dealing with these issues. Then I have an appointment with- my son to see Dr. Greene at his office. I went ahead and scheduled this conference with- the teachers to gather more information for this meeting with- Dr. Greene so that I can lay it all out for help. I'm not trying to talk the teachers into or out of anything more trying to get their observations from the beginning of the year in the school setting.

    Thank you for continuing to read this..sorry for the length. Is there anything different you would be doing? Should I be doing something more? I plan on starting the homeschooling after the Christmas break. I'm afraid it's disruptive to just pull him out and I'm trying to make contacts and get all my ducks in a row (which is easier than I thought). Like I said, I don't think this has to be permanent. He loves learning. It is his thing.

    Any input? Any cover this base or that base? Even, hey you're crazy! It's all ok. I need to hear it. Thank you!!!

    P.S. And thank you for past time and help too. It's invaluable!
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    How lucky that you will get to meet Dr. Greene in person. Thank him for me LOL--he saved my sanity and my kid's too.

    If you are set on homeschooling, then whatI have to say is irrelevant. If not, or if difficult child comes back to public school, make sure he is protected by an IEP. Zero tolerance is getting worse and he sounds like the sort of child who might be set up to repeat something that could be taken out of context and used against him. Without an IEP, he could be suspended or expelled. With one, and a determined parent, he cannot be.

    I considered homeschooling when my difficult child was younger than yours--in part because he was being bullied. I didn't do it because "everyone" said it would make his immaturity and anxiety worse and he was already too dependent upon me. However, we will never know if that is true because I didn't do it. Also, it sounds as though you have really good resources for homeshcooling that were not available to me 12 to 15 years ago.

    Please let us know how the meeting at the schools goes. When you get back, I'd love to hear about the conference and Dr. Greene.

  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    It sounds as if you have everything under control.

    I'll be watching for an update.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I think you're right in that you don't want to continue. You either need to go the whole nine yards with the school and get an IEP in place so he has supports and training in the areas where he struggles or make a different plan. With an IEP the school can do things about increasing teacher involvement to make sure assignments are in but it won't happen without the IEP.

    I think the place to pose your self esteem question would be to a group of adults with similar issues as your son. I expect you'll hear opinions supporting both options.
  5. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    Martie- thanks so much for your response. He had the IEP last year and I just didn't see that it helped much. It seemed like it presented different problems in that I was there trying to get it followed (usually due to a problem the teacher was having because it wasn't being followed) and that embarassed him. It made him "different" in his eyes. This could have been due to my approaches or the fact that his 5th grade teacher said things to him in front of other kids about his anxiety, etc. and/or a combination of both.

    I hear you saying though, no matter, he needs protection. I will make sure that happens in this school if he stays and if he doesn't, then when he goes back (because I just think he would go back...I think once he's strengthened some of these skills, he'll feel better about it) I'll make sure one is in place.

    Sheila- Thanks for the encouragement. I wish I felt the same or maybe, I look forward to feeling the same way you describe. :smile:

    SRL- Thanks for your thoughts. You are right that they don't seem to get involved with-o an IEP. I hoped that speaking with each of them beforehand, meeting with the specials director, etc. would help but as I can see, it didn't. And his anxiety just skyrockets when he is treated any differently so for instance, he gets bullied in the locker room at gym time, I could try and get him out of PE, but he won't do it. I can try and make sure that a male PE teacher is in the locker room, but the adminstration won't always do it. I didn't do a good enough job at helping with his anxiety when he was younger like you did with your son and now it's much, much harder.

    Thanks to you all. I really appreciate your help and thoughts.
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Are you not in a different school district than last year?

    If so, an IEP could be a different sort of experience. Also, never mentioning it should be PART OF the IEP for an anxious kid in my opinion. Teachers should not be making comnets in front of other students obviously but if it needs to be in writing, do it.

    My ex-difficult child never went to s Special Education class but I wanted that protection in place. It is much more important now that when my son was in middle school 8 years ago--my that's sounding like he's really old and I guess he is.

    The times they are a changin'...... and not for the better in terms of keeping kids in school.

  7. ihunt

    ihunt New Member

    If you're interested in Homeschooling there are lots of avenues. There are public schools online. My daughter attends a public school called Arizona Virtual Academy. It's free and it's all done on the computer at home. There are teachers and events that students get together for. It's an avenue you can definately look into -- especially if he does well but suffers with the logistics of school. You control the assignments and the time he spends at school and the order of classes taken.

    It's an option.