Moving forward....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by LittleDudesMom, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's really hard to beleive that when I came to this site my difficult child was in 2nd grade flipping desks, threatening to stab himself with scissors in the back of the classroom, full classroom-clearing raging, and in a dark depression. I was at a total loss.

    As I sat in his IEP meeting today, I hear from his 8th grade teachers, his 1:1, the assistant principal, and his case worker what he needs for high school. I hear only positives from the teachers. His English teacher said that the only thing that makes difficult child "different" from the next student, is that he shuts down. She said that she, and the other teachers, have learned that this doesn't mean that he's not listening, just that he's not responding. They have learned this means back off, give him time, he will return. He has never been disrespectful or inappropriate.

    His case worker and his 1:1 tell me he is a very different child from the one he was when he entered this middle school in 6th grade. His social interactions have improved and broadened. He is not as angry or anxious as he was. He has had no interventions this school year.

    We have extended his 1:1 to be in the building, not the classroom, next year until December. With all the funding restraints, once he's gone it would be almost impossible to get him back given difficult child's current levels. It was decided to keep him in place until the next 1:1 review in December and Mr. S. told us during the meeting that he would stay with difficult child next year until needed. What an exceptional gift! His is such a great mentor and role model.

    The IEP gives him the accomodations/mods he needs for his Written Expression Disorder, as well as a "pass" for time outs or quiet space without consequence. I was very pleased.

    I then proceeded to meet with the librarian about the book fair and then headed to meet the principal of the high school he wants to attend. I liked her a lot. She is quite young for the principal job at an urban high school, but she seems no nonsense, firm, and fair. I really think this would be a good fit for difficult child. Naturally, she can't say that he's accepted, but I feel it is going to work out. I was one of the first to log on and request out of zone variance when it opened, and she has 50 openings.

    I don't want this to get too long, but I want to say that difficult child has a huge part in this positive post. He has worked hard. I never saw this day 7 years ago. He was on many medications, weekly therapy, 1/2 day school, no social interactions at all, tearing up classrooms, exasperating teachers, befuddling administration, and just about killing me (emotionally not physically). So many supports were put in place over the years at home and school to try and give him a chance to improve the future.

    But the biggest part in all of this has been him. He, even very young, had an above maturity level understanding of the issues he dealt with. Remember the story I've told before of him at 4 getting in the car after a particularly bad day in preschool. I told him I just didn't understand why we had behavior issues every single day. From his car seat he told me, "It's like I have a propeller inside me, when it goes fast I'm bad, when it goes slow I'm good."

    His ability to modulate that inner propeller makes my heart warm. Will he always be in control? No. Does he have a short fuse? Yes. Are his social interactions at age level? No. Is he "different"? Yes. But he's a gift.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Sharon.

    Tears. Just tears. Happy tears.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Wow...what a great post!
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Sharon, what insight. I'm blown away.
  5. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    awesome! sounds like a very productive and positive meeting--its so much nicer to hear the good things rather than the bad.

    you said: We have extended his 1:1 to be in the building, not the classroom, next year until December.

    sharon--would you mind elaborating on this plan, *if* you know what its going to look like? i'm taking it to mean that your dude will be in oh, say, algebra class, but his aide will be hanging out in another the intent that dude can and will know when he needs the aide? or is it dependent on a teacher identifying the need?

    i think thats a very interesting plan and would love to hear more about how its planned on paper and then how its being effectively implemented. i love the whole idea of it. i'd love to eventually trial a fade with my difficult children aide, but like you, know its not a service to give up lightly--just in case :)
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have goosebumps and tears reading this. Thank you so much for sharing:)
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Certainly. Here's how the plan has been working and will work in the future.

    The whole tapering plan began in November with an incident log. His 1:1 kept a log to record any times difficult child required his intervention. Along with this log, his 1:1 began to leave the classroom for 15 or 20 minutes. As time went by, he would leave for 1/2 the class.

    The plan was to meet in Jan/Feb and address further tapering and the incident log in order to write his transition plan into the IEP for high school. As we move forward, his 1:1 will spend less and less time in the classroom and just be present "as an eye on difficult child" during transition times and eat at the staff table in the lunchroom.

    Beginning after spring break, difficult child will sit down with his 1:1 and his case worker to begin a pass system. difficult child will be given a pass that he can flash or show a teacher and then go to a quiet or safe place - nurse's office, media center, guidance office to see his counselor. If he wants to sit quietly on the couch and not talk, go to the media center and look at book, have his case worker page his 1:1, whatever. He will understand, and so will the teachers, that there are no negative consequences for using the pass. The wording "no negative consequences" was important to get in the IEP.

    Next year, his 1:1 will probably meet difficult child the first day to say hello and give him a boost, but the pass sytem will be in place when he goes to high school and the 1:1 will remain in the building and available. The wording that was very important in the IEP was that the level of 1:1 was student driven - in other words, not teacher, not administration, but by the need of difficult child.

    So, that's how the plan is working now and the plan in place for the future.

    Hope this information can help you when your boys are ready to begin the tapering process.

    Just for information purposes (and I had posted this last month but not sure you saw it), his 1:1 felt difficult child was ready to go on to high school without him. difficult child said he would be sad because he liked Mr. S and would miss him, but he wanted to go to high school alone. I felt like Mr. S knew him best at school and difficult child needed to have some say. His case worker however was the one who suggested keeping him on until the next contract renewal in December as just a physical presence in the building should difficult child have a need with new challenges are stresses that might present in high school. Fortunately, his 1:1 said today he would follow him along.

  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Wow. That is so cool. I love the fact that he is so self aware, that has to be very helpful.
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks to those of you that responded! It is this board that gave me the strength and the information to fight the fight!

  10. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Pass the kleenex, Sharon. This is teamwork at it's very finest, with difficult child being a full and participating member of the team. I'm really quite blown away at the thought and consideration that has gone into his IEP and supports. This is how it's *supposed* to work, and you, difficult child, and the rest of the team have my total admiration.

    Of course, I'm tickled beyond words to hear of difficult child's continuing growth and progress. Really quite a success story, Sharon.
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Aww, thanks Sue. It wasn't until I started writing this update on the IEP meeting that I really started thinking back on the last almost 8 years. I needed a kleenex too! Sometimes when you are "in the middle it" it's hard to get the proper perspective.

  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    What a great update! You made my day!
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks for sharing.

    I pray in 7 years I'm posting something similar. But not holding my breath, either.
  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm in tears here ~ this is just an awesome update. The entire team has helped lil dude move forward & learn & as Sue said, this is how it's supposed to work.

    You should be a very proud mum - you certainly are one very awesome warrior mom.
  15. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    What a wonderful update! So heartwarming and gives hope.

    So proud for you and difficult child.
  16. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This post gave me a big smile :) Kudos to difficult child, and YOU for being a great advocate and Warrior Mom.
  17. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    thanks sharon...

    VERY impressive plan...i'm inspired and in awe of both of you. i'm especially liking the data keeping--i think we need to incorporate a "log" too...i printed out your post for future inspiration :)

    job well done!
  18. Thanks for the heartwarming encouragement LittleDudesMom!

  19. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    LDM, wonderful news about where he is headed due to what he achieved. It's very positive and heartwarming.
    Now, he is a good guy who is working hard but from Day 1 you have spent hours spending time, socializing,teaching and talking. I remember you telling us that at night you would just sit in his room or he would sit on your bed and just talk about the day. What a wonderful thing the gift of time is for a child. I'm not sure even the best of mother's could be disciplined enough to deal with behavior all day then just make a safe time where he is accepted and loved. You have done an exceptional job from where I sit.

    Secondly, the fact that you have a school district that is by far, the most responsive school district and team oriented staff, that I have ever seen or heard of. I'm sure the fact that you are involved helps. There was nothing the school wouldn't do to insure your difficult child's success. I never hear you mention a negative experience with those who wanted difficult child to succeed. They should be role models.

    Thirdly, you give your son the gift of laughter. I don't know anything that is more healing for the soul and a relationship than a shared laugh.

    This is really a huge success story. Enjoy the moment, savor it. The memory will always be embedded as a high point in your parenting life.

    Congratulations and many high fives to difficult child.
  20. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm going to look through my paperwork because there was a log they use in the guidance office for the teacher's or the 1:1's to use. It's a weekly log, by day (1 page is 1 week). I think I took one a couple meetings ago and put it in my general info file - when I get some time over the next couple days I will check for you.