Advice and Thank you!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mama2abc, May 24, 2012.

  1. mama2abc

    mama2abc New Member

    First of all, I want to say thank you to all of you that were so welcoming to me on this message board. I haven't popped on in a few weeks but, I have wanted to so many times! Many of you on this board and others in our lives had suggested we get our son re-tested for possible aspergers. We met with an autism/aspergers specialist here in our area and her initial diagnosis after meeting with my husband and I was that he may have high-functioning autsim. She met with our son this week and he absolutely connected with her (which is strange because he doesn't connect easily with people like he did with her!). We are going to proceed with some play therapy and meeting with this therapist for a awhile. I think it may take at least one more(?) meeting to confirm her diagnosis. Such a blessing to know and move forward with appropriate treatment and support.

    Here is where I need some advice/support...
    With the new diagnosis, I decided to be proactive and contact our school counselor to let her know the new diagnosis and see what (if anything) can be done for our son moving into Jr High.
    (((A little background... this is his first year on a 504 and quite honestly, I don't think its done too much for him. I do not hold the teacher responsible because there is only so much a laid-back teacher can do with 30+ kids in his class. There is only 3 weeks of school left and then my son is sent off to jr high)))
    Long story short, the counselor has been making me feel like I am inconveniencing her, the teacher, and the jr high counselor. ugh. I asked to set-up a meeting to discuss possible changes to his 504 and see what else we can implement into his learning experience. I completely respect that we are at the end of the school year and everyone is "shutting down". But, my son's gift doesn't shut down and moving into jr high is HUGE for any kid!

    SOOOOOO... I would love to hear your experiences, thoughts, advice on how to proceed with the school and what steps I can take to advocate for my son because they won't. This is all so new to us and we are still learning what this new diagnosis means so any advice would be welcomed.

    Thank you, new friends!
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    This is why we talk about donning :warriorsmiley: (warrior armor). Shake off what they are making you feel and do what you need to do. Easier said than done, and it takes practice, but you'll get there.

    I would more concentrate on the jr high counselor and the transition there. Schedule appointment(s) for the very beginning of the year - first week or two. the problem is that structure in jr high is so different from elementary that it's impossible to predict what the big issues are going to be. My son went into major sensory overload especially switching classes. He dreamed of having a portable cubicle that he could walk around with. The coping/calming/venting strategies that he was specifically taught in elementary were not allowed or acceptable in jr High. The difficulties also sent him into depression. It was very difficult but we managed to get through it all and get him functioning and even excelling. He still needs supports and he needs me to be a helicopter mom, but it's good.

    So anyway, my advice it to become an Aspie. No, not really, but when you are dealing with these ppl, sometimes it's beneficial to act like one. Only listen to what they say and what services/accommodations they actually provide. Stop listening to their inflections, tones and body language - it more often than not makes you second guess your warrior mom mission.
  3. mama2abc

    mama2abc New Member

    Keista...thank you! Thankfully my husband is much better at ignoring the tones, body language and such. I'm bringing him into the fight because I doubt they will deal with him the way they do with me! When someone tells you that the teacher knows my son better than I just makes the Mama Bear come out and growl. I want to focus on the services/accommodations and understand what is available for my son but, I am finding it difficult to discover what those are. They talk a big game of "partnering" with us but, they have not proven that at all. She mentioned that I could just wait until next year and figure it out then (hello, pass the buck). I am tired of my son just barely getting by because of lazy administrators.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Keista is a wise warrior!

    I'd think it might be time to ask for an IEP. Not worth having this team start it so we can help you draft the request if you'd like and you can send it in this summer so that the days start counting on day ONE of school (there is a mandated time to respond and then to evaluate). My sister recently used her ineffective 504 plan as documented evidence that he needed further support.

    If you submit your request in summer and then on day one check on the status, again in writing, then you can be on the top of the list.

    I'd also meet with the middle school counselor regarding the 504 because that is still in place and let them know that from ding dong day one you will expect them to really support him. DO they have any days before full school starts for the incoming kids? Ours had a week and since we had an IEP the case manager also had each of her students come in before school to practice lockers and walk their schedules, meet teachers with her etc. She showed them where they could go to chill out and showed them the sensory room (seems like a life time ago and I am sitting here wondering how it all went so badly for us, but it did start really well!)

    The main thing is to put things in writing and to send them registered mail. By the time the beginning of the year is on, you will have more data to share. An Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis can really help. There are "related services" that are often presumed needed with that diagnosis and in many places (not all as we know here) things can start jumping fast with several supports being offered.

    You might ask who the autism specialist is for the middle school. (dont say why so they dont reroute you...just say you have a child on the spectrum if they ask and you were TOLD to call, LOL). Then, give that person a call and get some advice and ask what she can do and what she thinks you can do to get the ball rolling. The more contacts you make the more your name will be recognized and on their minds. It is quite true that getting the "in the trenches" people involved can really help. Sometimes it can help you sort through the administrative muck.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Since you only have to deal with that counselor for 3 more weeks and she wants to pass the buck anyway, set up a meeting with the jr high principal, SpEd director, and counselor soon. Let them know you realize that things are winding down but that you have questions about jr high regarding your son. Skip this counselor. If she wants to attend, let her otherwise, meet without her. Find out from them what the differences are from them. Make a list of things your son struggles with (academics, behavior, social skills) and ask them, hypothetically, what kinds of things they can offer to help. Let them know you just want information for now. Let them know what does work and find out if those things can continue. Get the ball rolling with the new staff and leave the current out of it for now since that's the way they want it anyway.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Definitely agree that you need an IEP. Nothing else is legal and you need to be taken seriously.

    You may need to find a parent advocate as schools can be difficult to deal with during the IEP process.

    I would also skip the counselor and the regular education teacher. Get that testisng going.
  7. mama2abc

    mama2abc New Member

    Great advice Everyone! You've definitely given me some places to start.

    The elementary counselor mentioned that she's the "holder" of the 504? I don't know what that means but, I'm assuming since her name is on it she has to be involved?
  8. Mama2 - My son was very nervous when he started high school. He was afraid of getting lost going to classes, etc. Before school started we went to the school and pretended getting off the bus, finding his locker, opened the locker, got books, walked to first class, etc. through the full routine of his day. We did that several times to make sure he felt comfortable with knowing what his routine would be like moving from class to class. Another option might be to get him excused from class a couple of minutes early to avoid the crowds of kids in the halls which might be overwhelming.

    Another thing I told my son to do was to be nice to everyone but to not pick a group of friends for a while. Watch and see what the kids are like because you can't always tell right away - then when you've found a good group of kids make them you're core group. One thing he had a hard time with was the social endearments kids use nowadays - greeting each other by calling each other foul names doesn't happen in homeschool circles so that was a huge adjustment for him! LOL. He still doesn't like it and it's one of the reasons most of his friends are girls.

    I would go straight to the Jr. High with his diagnosis and set up an appointment with the Special Education department and any guidance counsellor he might have as well (as others have said). I would do this now before school gets out so a plan can be formulated for him and his needs can be met from the beginning of next year. This would include an IEP - I wouldn't think twice about getting this in place - whether he ends up needing it or not it is a very valuable thing to have. As they get older their needs change and so can the IEP (if it's in place).

    best of luck!!
  9. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    My son is going into jr. high as well. We are having an IEP meeting right before school starts and I'm having to bring an advocate.