Newbie - Need HELP Preparing for School Mtg

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by bystander, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. bystander

    bystander New Member

    Hi everyone - I'm new to the boards. I posted the other day on the general board with my dilemma. Thanks in advance for bearing with me - it's long; please read with care.

    To put it in a nutshell? Basically my son (6 and in 1st) is a shadow-syndrome kid (Asperger's). He was evaluation'd at 3 1/2 and we were not provided with any Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis (the only diagnosis we got was Hypotonia - low tone). He has been in therapy though - occupational & speech; mainly for Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) issues, every other week since he was 4 1/2. He's done nothing but progress - to the point that he is being dropped before summer schedules are made for the therapists.

    He's NEVER been a behavior problem, and never needed services from schools (we did all therapy privately because he didn't qualify). Like any kid, he has tested us quite a bit at home - but no out-of-round tantrumming, etc. etc. Academically, he's working at about a mid-way 3rd grade level (has always been almost 2 years ahead in academics since age 3). His comprehension skills are age-appropriate and beyond; and he has no trouble with non-verbal communication skills.

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    Cutting to the chase ... My son attends a public charter school (like a magnet school). Increasingly throughout the year, I've come to know that this school has a reputation for attracting atypical children. At least 1/2 of his classmates have some form of diagnosis - or should have. His class is run Montessori-style, and it can be VERY loud and disorganized in there (I volunteer once a week).

    DS has made a boy-friend who has a Jekyl and Hyde type personality. A VERY impulsive - and at times violent kid.

    According to the school; my son has been having increasing behavior issues in class. He outbursts, when other kids are arguing or being too loug; he also (according to the teacher) acts the victim. Apparently, he also tries to "take over" the class (he did this at age 4 and I remember the teacher saying - he needs more challenging academics).

    I would also mention that one of DS' classmates came down with cancer mid-year, and this has deeply affected him as well. In fact the child came back to visit last week. The poor kid had put on that chemo-weight and lost most of his hair. Most kids seemed to take it in stride, but it really upset my DS. He had a really rough day in school that particular day.

    We're not new parents - we have 2 grown kids. We've done everything we can with him, but nothing seems to help. And unfortunately, this school's priority isn't at ALL discipline - to put it nicely. DS' therapists believe it is the type of atmosphere at school that is setting him off - and they think he belongs in a more structred and traditional setting.

    The teacher knows that he has had sensory issues and that he was in therapy. When his teacher has approached me about DS' behavior, I've told her that this particular school is the only place we've ever gotten a complaint about DS' behavior; so it must be something in the classroom or the dynamics of the kids (duh) that's setting him off. I've also told her that I have been fully candid with her about his issues and that if there were more going on - I'd certainly tell her. A couple of weeks ago, she started taking the tac with me that his "problems" have to be beyond that. I am hearing, actually, what sounds like a list of symptoms from ODD.

    Anyway, the teacher has scheduled a meeting to talk to me and husband with her, the Principal, and the "Learning Consultant" - nice-nice for what I believe is the resident Psychologist. My son's language teacher, whom he actually had in K at another school last year, said she thinks that because the LC is going to be a part of the meeting that they're probably going to try to move us toward testing and a label.

    You know, if my son had started exhibiting behavior issues in other areas I would seriously consider a re-evaluation. However? I think they are reading too much into my son's behavior. It seems simple to us, his therapists, his language teacher ... this atmosphere is not for him. He's on over-load for a few different reasons.

    <span style="color: #FF6666">MY QUESTION TO YOU GUYS IS THIS</span>: Please tell me what I should be wary of. Are there any buzz-words or phrases we should look for that would sound an alarm? What should we sign/not sign? Also - the Trimester report cars will be coming out this weekend. Our meeting is for the 17th.

    ANY COMMENTS/QUESTIONS/SUGGESTIONS truly appreciated!!!
     
  2. babybear

    babybear New Member

    Hopefully someone will be along for more specific advice soon.

    All I can say is a good advocate is priceless. I wish I had brought one to our last meeting. It is amazing how differently I am being treated now because I requested another meeting and mentioned I would be bringing someone with! I dont think it necessarily needs to be a professional. Just having someone there and writing down who said what would help.
     
  3. bystander

    bystander New Member

    Thanks so much for responding. husband won't be interested in an advocate - at least at first. I think we'll have to see how the meeting goes. I'm not even 100% sure they're going to come at us with testing/labels. If a second meeting is necessary - we may very well do such a thing. I'd likely want to bring one of his therapists with me.
     
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I can't advise you on the school part -- I'm sure Martie and/or Sheila will be around to do that -- but I will tell you that many kids on the Autism Spectrum (Aspergers is considered on the Spectrum) have anxiety as part of their complex of symptoms. It sounds as if sensory issues plus anxiety may be fueling his oppositional behavior (and don't let anyone give him an ODD diagnosis -- it doesn't stand alone and oppositional behaviors generally subside once the underlying causes -- like anxiety -- are addressed). Your son may need therapeutic interventions and/or medications to cope with his anxiety. In case you hadn't considered this possibility, I just wanted to mention it. Good luck with the school.
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    If you do much reading in this forum it won't take you long to pick up that not all school districts approach problems in a reasonable manner. Too often, inappropriate behaviors exhibited by the child are met with inappropriate reactions by the school district which, in turn, triggers escalation of the child. So, I find it refreshing that the school district is perhaps taking a proactive approach.

    I'd go to the meeting with an open mind. It could be that they want to explore moving difficult child to more typical structured classroom environment. It could be just a brainstorming sessions. It could be they want to recommend RTI. http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cdynamic%2CQaCorner%2C8%2C It's the norm rather than the exception for a child with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) to have co-existing conditions -- perhaps they are seeing something there. Lots of possibilities.

    One thing I'd be surprise at is if they would request permission to to do a full evaluation under IDEA to determine IEP eligibility because most sds prefer to try RTI measures first (even when it's clear the student needs more than RTI.) With that said, if permission is requested I would strongly, strongly urge you to accept.

    Parents do not have to accept offers of evaluation or IEPs. However, in instances where FAPE is offered but declined, the parent leaves the school district with no choice but to hold the student to the same Student Code of Conduct other students must adhere to. A parent with a child with behavior problems can expect repeated punitive punishments, in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, and lots of telephone calls to "come pick up your child," etc., even when they know the behavior is because they "can't" rather than "won't."

    Let us know how it goes.
     
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