need insight re: school placement

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by knicole, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. knicole

    knicole Guest

    Hello all! Im new to this site and really needing some advise/insight. My son is 10 yrs old, and has a diagnosis of ADHD, ODD, and Anxiety. He has been receiving special education with seperate classroom services under the emotional disabilities label since the 1st grade (he's now 5th) He was doing really well, until the end of last school year where he began to have some issues which have carried over into this year, resulting in 7 suspensions already this school year. The majority of his meltdowns have been triggered by school work that he believes is too difficult for him. He is intelligent enough to do it, but for some reason he freaks out before even trying. He also has many meltdowns over what he believes are injustices, if someone says that he did something that he didnt do or if someone else doesnt follow the rules. To make a long story short, we are probably at a point where we need to explore the avenue of changing his placement to an environment thats better suited for him. There is a specific school close to where I live that is specialized in special education and disabilitioes, so thats probably where he'll go. Im just not really sure what all of the options are, and I really have no clue of whats going to be best for him, Can you please share your experinces with me???? thx
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    This is SOOOO like my difficult child only for him it just started this year. In his case, the work this year is so much harder and requires higher thinking skills than last year that his anxiety kicks into high gear whenever anyone gives him any kind of work to do at school. He is also intelligent and is perfectly capable of doing it but he finds is so much harder than all the previous years. He was totally mainstreamed last year with some SpEd support (50 min/wk). We have had to up his time to 35% of the day SpEd and 65% mainstream with some support in the classroom. Does your difficult child take any medications for his anxiety? If he does, does he have a prn? Are his assignments modified in any way? My difficult child only has to do enough of an assignment to show the teacher he understands what has been taught, then he is done for full credit. Sometimes he only has to do 1 or 2 problems/sentences/whatever. That has seemed to help for the most part. He still has issues with the rules stuff though. I am having him evaluated for an Autism Spectrum Disorder among other things. Has your son ever been evaluated by a neuropsychiatrist? If not, that would be my first step. Does he receive any kind of therapy? That is another thing that should be happening to get to the bottom of what is causing the meltdowns. What is the school doing to help? My difficult child has only had 2 suspensions this year because they are sometimes willing to try other things that sometimes help. More information about your son, his medications, his exact behaviors, etc would be very helpful for us to give you better advice. I would highly recommend you read the Ross Greene books The Explosive Child and Lost At School. I have found both to be very helpful at home and am trying to get the school to give it a try also.
  3. knicole

    knicole Guest

    My son is on seroquel xr, lexapro and guanfacine. No prn. He was doing really well, until the end of last school year. Then this school year, has been hell. Today, he had a 2 hour long (2 hrs from he time I arrived) meltdown amd security was called due to his physical aggression. He was kicking, spitting at, smacking and biting anyone who came close enough. They were about 5 minutes from taking him to the hospital, but I had my husband come up to the school and assist with getting him home. He is now out of school until we can have yet another meeting. Im guessing that change of placement is not an option now, but will be required.

    He did have a neuro-psyc evaluation about 3 years ago. His findings were ODD, and ADHD. He also suspected a mood disorder. Some of his assigments are modified whereas he gets to pick 3 or 4 problems to do on a math sheet. but the teacher has been trying to stay on point with the 5th grade cirriculum, so I think thats just entirely too much for him. He currently goes to therapy 1x every 2wks to do an anger management type program. He also gets home based social skills therapy.

    As far aas the behaviors go, they usually start with just defiance or argueing. Then itr turns to verbal aggression. Then it will escalate to physical aggression or destruction of property. Usually there are certain levels, and you can calm him down and redirect him until a certain point but once he reaches a certain level, there is no bringing him down.I just really have no clue what to do anymore. Do I let them take him to the hospital next time?? Do I keep fighting them not to? I am just vsuper overwhelmed right now
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    What was the meltdown about? How did it start? How did it progress? What were everyone's responses to him that may have escalated it? You need to be a detective to figure out ALL the details. It REALLY helps to find out exactly what situations start the meltdowns and what kinds of things escalate them. Through talking to the teachers is how we came to the conclusion that difficult child needed shorter assignments (he was doing full work) and sometimes having someone else do the writing for him. He was refusing to write anything so being told he had to write ANYTHING caused a meltdown. Their usual responses to "MAKE" him do it only made matters worse. That is the typical SD response to the ODD diagnosis. What setting level is he in at school? Is he in mainstream classes or does he have a para working with him or does he go to a SpEd room to work at all? I think you need to request a new IEP evaluation as soon as possible. Obviously, things have changed. I would also be on the phone to the psychiatrist ASAP to get advice. Maybe he does need to be in a phospital for a full evaluation. My difficult child had a neuropsychologist done that was WAY off base. That report stated that difficult child doesn't have ANY problems except being uncooperative and that I need parenting class. I am still looking for another one for another opinion. That evaluation was TOTAL bs. I would recommend you do the same.

    If his rages are that bad, I would have him hospitalized for evaluation. It may be the only way to avoid a change in placement right now. You need to be proactive and show them you are doing whatever it takes for your son and that any decisions regarding school placement can wait until you have more appropriate psychiatric services in place. I would request a new IEP evaluation in writing immediately.

    Hope that helps. Get the books "The Explosive Child" and "Lost at School" by Dr. Ross Greene!! They are going to end up being your "bibles" with difficult child.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi knicole,

    If ever there was a time when you needed to be clear-headed, calm, and steady - it is now. Change of placement is a major move and one you need to be absolutely sure is in your son's best interest.

    If I were a betting woman, I would bet good money that there is something else going on with your son. It is vital that a correct diagnosis be persued in order to begin to treat these symptoms and behaviors that are interrupting everyone's lives - but most of all his ability to learn and socialize.

    Now, they can't just suspend your boy indefinitely saying, "he can't come back until we meet".

    It is in most kids best interest to stay in mainstream school. I think pursuing a 1:1 crisis counselor/aide/para for your son while at school would be a great alternative to a change of placement. It is clear that your son can do the work. In my ever-so-humble opinion, you son probably looks at a page full of work and feels overwhelmed. That feeling of being overwhelmed gets the anxiety going, which begins to build and turn into frustration, which in turn becomes anger and aggression when questioned or he feels his space is being invaded. It also appears he is suffering from "difficult child entitlement" issues, a common malady among our kids!

    If he were assigned a 1:1, that person will get to know our son, recognize the visible signs of his building distress and then step in. He can take your son out of the classroom for a walk in the halls, a calming visit to the library, etc., thus removing your son from what he found frustrating and preventing a meltdown. The benefit of a 1:1 is imense in cases such as these. It allows the teacher to focus her attention on the classroom and not one child. It allows the child in question to have a personal alli and support system which can go such a long way with our kids. Mentoring and modeling behavior are often the outcomes. And, most importantly, a 1:1 is a support that will allow a difficult child to remain in the LRE (least restrictive environment) which is what the law calls for.

    knicole, my son was where your son is a number of years ago. The attitude and behaviors you describe mirror my son's issues. Although my son was not diagnosis'd with an mood issues, his adhd and anxiety were through the roof!

    Please take some time to read the archives here that will help you know how to proceed. This is a major change in your son's life.

    I would resist any change of placement until a real working diagnosis is given. The umbrella of ODD just doesn't cut it. There is more.

    I would also pursue the supports that will allow your son to stay where he is.

    Lost in School is a fabulous book and I second the recommendation of reading it. I also recommend you purchasing a copy for your school's IEP team!!!!!!!!

  6. knicole

    knicole Guest

    Thank you both so much for your advice! I have requested a 1:1 but the Special Education director has informed me that they "dont do that anymore" and they just dont have the money for that. And as far as yesterdays suspension, they have given him an option to go to an alternative school for 3 hours a day, which consists of nothing but highschool students. He would just be sitting in the back doing school work for the entire 3 hours. We arttempted to go to this school before, and it set of a major meltdown so I refuse to try again. They offer this alternative so that his absence doesnt count as a suspension, but only as an absence. I know, this is bs too.

    He currently receives full support in an Emotional Disabilities classroom, but the school is a mainstream school. His teachers do wonderful with him, and seem to really know him. But anyone other than them, have no clue. At the new school, he will be in an emotional disabilities classroom, but the entire school is special education as well. All staff are trained to deal with these issues, and there is also a security officer on the property to help manage any severe meltdowns easier. Ive researched the school alot, and have found only positives. I just cant help but think that this would be a much better place for him. I know that mainstream is best, but if he is so misunderstood there, and constantly being triggered and then suspended, I just cant help but think there must be something better. This is so frustarting!!!

    I contacted an advocacy agency a few weeks ago, and they dont currently have any people in my area. She did state that the CIOP/ alternative school option didnt quite sound right to her as the only option. Im going to spend the next few days trying to find another agency or someone who can go to the next meeting with me.
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I think you will find this reaction whereever you place him. There is nothing wrong in exploring all your options to give you the most clear picture of where you really want to be so if you really want to switch to this other place, visit them and ask lots of questions. How are they different? Will a change in scenery really help?

    So, he is overwhelmed with homework. My difficult child went through the same thing at the height of his anxiety. The worked looked to be so much and he would waste up to 2 - 3 hours fussing over something that took about 10 minutes top if he would have just done it.

    I would work with his sense of overwhelmness. What can help with that? Work with him to find the best time for homework. Every kid is different. I know I did not want to force my kids to do homework right after school because I believed they needed a break, however, that ended up being the best time for my difficult child - on his own he started getting his work done as soon as he arrived home. Our school has an after school homework help room where anyone can go to do their work. This is awesome because that means no text books to carry to and from school. If the student needs help with an assignment, than there is a teacher there to help.

    Then work on helping him to take one step at a time. Choose one assignments and don't think about the others. Do one thing at a time.

    I find myself these last few years getting more and more overwhelmed with what needs to be done than I ever did in the past. Like packing today - it never bothered me before, I just did it - but now I look at the whole picture and feel that it is impossible to do in the time frame I have so I shut down and things get worse as my timeline shortens and NOTHING has been done.

    My difficult child very seldom has homework and is getting A's and B's. He wants to get into a daily study hall but in this school that is only for those kids struggling. In Diva's school, I had to fight for a study hall because that was only for those who earned the priviledge by having good grades (very backwards). I solved that one by having her math done at a summer school so she could use her scheduled math time for study hall - it helped. I am not going to fight for difficult child to get into a study hall because he is not struggling.

    Talk to the school to see what they can do to help provide a time for your difficult child to do homework at school. If they say there is time at the end of the class, then investigate what the environment is. Do kids who are done talk to their friends? Is it more of a social time than a work time? Does your difficult child want to get in on the social time? What can be done to make sure he is using every minute the school provides to do the work?

    Is he comfortable in going back to the teacher and saying he doesn't understand? (My difficult child and Diva would not ask the teachers for further help).

    So, there is so much to consider. I agree with going into the archives of this site and looking at school problems to see if something will help. Also, knowing more about the diagnosis and about triggers might help us to better pinpoint more beneficial input/advise.
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Have you spoken with parents who have children at the alternate school? There are some great alternate schools and some truly horrible ones.

    Have they done a Functional Behavior Analysis at the current school? With my son, he melted down with schoolwork as well and despite his having the intelligence to do the work, testing showed that between his Occupational Therapist (OT) issues and visional perception problems he really couldn't do the work once it progressed to more advanced written things.
  9. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    The fact that they don't do that anymore and don't have the money is against the law. Federal law mandates that public schools provide services based on EACH student's needs. I would still request a new IEP evaluation ASAP. Until they modify his IEP, they only HAVE to do what is in the current IEP.

    As for the advocate, see if there is a PACER center in your area. Give them ALL the details about what is happening. Getting them involved is what finally got my difficult child what he needed. Otherwise, call your state's Department of Education and request an advocate. Those two agencies shouldn't be using the excuse that no one is currently available.

    Good Luck and keep us posted.