What a morning! The IEP ball is rolling...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The silver lining to difficult child 2 bringing the Swiss Army knife to school last month is that he's finally going to get the IEP he's probably needed for the past six years!

    On Wednesday night I got a call from the principal asking me to come to a meeting early Friday (today) morning to finally meet the district Threat Assessment Team (two gentlemen) who'd already met with difficult child a few weeks ago regarding the knife incident, and to discuss what the plan of action would be to get difficult child the supports he needs.

    I was a little surprised to walk in the conference room and find NINE other people there! Once the shock wore off and I settled into my chair, I realized they all really did need to be there: difficult child's two teachers, the principal, assistant principal, RSP coordinator, speech therapist, school psychologist, and the two district guys. The meeting ran about 90 minutes.

    They had me review difficult child's history, medications, and where he's at today. Then his teachers gave some feedback on how he's doing in the classroom -- still lots of nervousness and hands fidgeting with things. Still struggling with writing and over focusing on the actual letters or numbers (going back over them and making them darker), taking a really long time to get things down on paper, sometimes talking too much and at inappropriate times, and still picking at himself at times. They said they've been using another student's aide to assist difficult child as needed (he's never had an aide before, but could certainly use the support).

    He is still having problems with kids teasing and bullying (now the younger 1st grade brother of one of the kids has started attacking him), but I know the school is working hard to address these issues. I'm going to insist on a staff in-service training on bullying prevention and intervention when we get to the nuts and bolts of his IEP.

    Then the district guys gave their feedback from the meeting with difficult child. They were very impressed with him and said he was engaging, very articulate, understood the issues, was calm, focused, centered, and seemed like a pretty bright kid with a good heart who just did a dumb thing by bringing the knife to school. No one can detect any premeditation or malintent on his part at all. And if they hadn't known his history, they never would have guessed that he was having the problems he has. That was a huge relief to hear!

    The plan is to consult with our psychiatrist and therapist to get direction on which assessment tools would be appropriate for difficult child -- they want to be sure they look at all the right areas so that the appropriate supports can be identified and implemented. I signed release forms so they can talk to these folks.

    Speech will work with him on his verbal skills for handling social situations (which is where he's really having the biggest problem as far as the school is concerned).

    RSP will help figure out his classroom needs -- whether that's an aide, assistive technology devices, modified assignments, etc. This is all new to me, so I'm learning things by the minute here.

    The school psychiatric will meet with him weekly and will also be implementing the assessment tests in coordination with whatever feedback she gets from the therapist and psychiatrist. From these test results the staff will then start to build the IEP.

    The district team was concerned that difficult child has personalized this victim identity and now sees himself in that role -- as if that's who he IS. That could explain why he is doing things that seem to be in anticipation of someone attacking him -- in a recent incident, a boy started to say something to difficult child, and difficult child said that his mind just finished the boy's sentence and he immediately reacted as if the boy had actually said what difficult child imagined! (I just learned this from him last night and without my even mentioning it, the vp brought it up during the meeting this morning). So he's all set to escalate a situation in his mind before something even happens. Not good.

    He's on his third week of Lamictal now and starting to take it every day. In two more weeks he'll take two tabs a day. I felt that in the past two weeks, I was seeing LESS reactivity and hearing that he was reacting better to teasing or harassment because he was telling me that he would go to the teacher/adult in charge instead of taking matters into his own hands when his avoidance techniques weren't working. But based on what he said about finishing people's sentences in his mind, I'm wondering about what's really going on here.

    The school psychiatric mentioned that he has some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) traits, especially at the Aspergers end because of his rigidity and his failure to read social cues well (but that's also an ADHD issue). I don't really care what they call him -- as long as they are accurate in their assessments and he gets the support he needs to do better than he is now.

    I'm glad I brought my binder with difficult child's various reports, 504 plans, report cards, disciplinary paperwork, homework samples -- comments were made to the effect of wow, you're really organized (ha! not really) but if nothing else, it showed everyone that I've been paying attention! They know he's under the care of multiple mental health professionals and has been for nearly seven years. So I think they saw that we're doing the best that we can from the family side of things, and that helps my own anxiety!

    While part of me is frustrated that it's taken so long to get here, I am grateful for where we've finally arrived. I know many people on this board have had to fight much harder and longer for their difficult child's.

    Thanks for bearing with my therapeutic brain dump! I'll keep ya posted!
  2. Calista

    Calista New Member

    I'm so glad to you getting such positive results. I find it unbelievable that it didn't happen until the school district became in danger of liability. Oh well, if looking out for themselves gets your difficult child the help he needs and deserves then more power to 'em!
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad the ball is rolling, but so sorry it took this to get it there. Sounds like they want to help.

    Does he type on the computer? Express his thoughts there?

    If he does, or can learn to, ask them to provide him with an Alphasmart. We had great luck with one for about this age with difficult child.

    Just in case you are not aware, they are a super-durable computer he carries with him. All assignments can be/should be typed on them. We didn't have a math function, or no one understood it. But it let my difficult child express himself with much more depth and in a more timely fashion. Assignments can be printed, maybe by now even emailed. When we had it, no program could be added, and there was no internet access (a bonus for my lil' hacker!)

    They run around $200, I think Stella Johnson just bought one for her difficult child. But most school district's already have them. At least that is what I was told.


  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, Calista :)

    Susiestar --

    He has trouble typing, too. Can't seem to get the fingers to stay in the right places and prefers to "hunt and peck", which is even slower than his already labored handwriting.

    The teacher mentioned looking into the Alphasmart back in October, but nothing's happened yet. When we get to the point where the IEP is being drafted, I will bring up the subject again, so thanks for reminding me!