no relevant ed program in area--what to do?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101 Archives' started by pepperidge, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    Does anyone have any ideas what I should ask for in my next IEp meeting transitioning to middle school?

    I have a 5th grader who hates school, shuts down when work is hard. He has ex functioning difficulties, is very bright, is a highly visual learner and thus has receptive language issues. He is very mechanical. My school district is very small. This year they have provided him an aide in two subjects, which he hates, because it stigmatizes him and because the aides force him to concentrate on work he doesn't want to do anyway. I feel like the school has tried to provide traditional services, but they don't really address his needs.

    I am thinking more and more that he needs a completely different style of education, much more experiential, maybe some kind of vocational. This is a kid who loves laerning about irrigation systems etc. There are no private schools in the area except religious one, and there is one program modeled on the outward bound experiential curriculum in the next town, but it is closed to out of district placements because it is oversubscribed.

    The middle school program in the district is pretty traditional. Just getting him aides doesn't seem to address the tendency he has to shut down when work is hard and his complete lack of interest in/motivation to do "traditional school." there is a regional behavioral program, but I don't think that really addresses his issues which are not linked to reward/consequences.

    I fear that as he gets into middle school, he will get increasingly depressed by his "inability/unwillingness" to the work and we will be back to suicidal issues.

    Right now I think he is pretty well medicated, maybe some rome for finetuning but I don't think it will really address the education issues.

    I have posted before,a nd Martie has been kind enough to share her experiences. At this point, I simply don't know what I could ask my school district to provide.

    Any thoughts?

    A very frustrated warrior mom.
  2. OTE

    OTE Guest

    First I'd suggest that you think about a time limit for the commute to school. One hour each way? Then search your state dept of education website for the list of licensed Special Education schools. Go through that list. Call every public school district Special Education office within that time range. Ask what they have that might work for your son. You'll probably find only a couple of options at best. Go look at those options.

    Call your SD Special Education and ask what they recommend and what schools they know that you might be able to look at.

    When you've got all the school options narrowed down if a clear preference doesn't emerge then go back to your SD and ask them to work out a totally different environment for him. If you find one you like ask them if they'll consider paying for it. If not then you need to look at their suggestion and point out why you think that option won't work.

    Fighting them to pay for the school you like, if you have to do it, is a whole other story.
  3. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Ote--good suggestion. Other than the one school I identified (which is 45 min away).. there are only about 3 other districts within an hour. no private schools (except traditional religious). We live in a very rural area. So I am not sure there is much out there. The school district may want to send him to the behavioral program.

    homeschooling is an option I guess, but one that I am reluctant to embrace.

    How to deal with the school district to get a very different form of education? I dunno, but will start tomorrow.
  4. OTE

    OTE Guest

    For one thing, since your child is totally visual they should be presenting everything to him visually to eliminate the problem of him not understanding something and getting frustrated about it. If the mainstream teachers aren't doing this for every lesson then he should be in "resource room" (or whatever they call it in middle sch in your area) for at least one period a day to get the visual input on what he's having difficulty with.

    Don't know how to say this to you.....what you identify as his learning issues are common to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are totally visual and absolutely concrete thinkers. They are typically fully invested in one obscure area whether it's trains or irrigation systems. They enjoy concrete puzzles like how to arrange the pipes to get the water where you want it. They see the world as black and white, right or wrong, I can do it or I can't. There are no gray areas such as maybe I could do it if I tried. There are no alternative teaching methods to them. What I'm suggesting is that while your child doesn't have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis he certainly has "flavors" of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). So I'd suggest that you investigate what they do with high functioning middle school Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids.

    If I'm right that his shutting down is due to his drawing a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) like conclusion that he will never do that work you're fighting a losing battle. You need to attack it from the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) therapy viewpoint of expanding the concrete right or wrong thinking. And I'd have to suggest you look for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) therapist to work on this with him.
  5. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    OTE makes some very good suggestions.

    I could never get a "different" education in public school for my ex-difficult child. In the end, he graduated from a private h.s. after private egbs and private "regular" boarding school.

    It still annoys me that knowing the law as I do, I couldn't force the sd to provide an appropriate education for him. The difference is I live north of Chicago with a lot of private school options other than traditional academic or traditional religious.

    I KNOW how this is supposed to work but that does not get your difficult child what he needs. That they provided aides suggests to me that they are not totally ill-intentioned. Your best leverage might be that the aides are a tacit acknowledgement that he has very special needs.

    If you can locate an appropriate program that is commutable, then you can apply pressure to get his IEP redesigned so that it can only be reasonably delivered in that school.

    I strongly endorse your concern about going to middle school. It has been a bad situation for several boys on the board--mostly those with issues such as your son's.

    Keep us posted.

  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Sd's tend to forget that IEP = Individual Education Plan. That doesn't mean take a student from one predesigned placement and stick them into another.

    The Court has defined an IEP as "[458 U.S. 176 (1982)]

    Required that the program that was developed would be "individualized," "personalized," "tailored," and "specially designed" to meet the "unique needs" of that one child.

    "The purpose of the IEP is to tailor the education to the child; not tailor the child to the education. If the child could fit into the school’s without assistance, special education would not be necessary." [House Report 105-95 at p. 104]

    That was in 1982, I believe. Hasn't changed much as far as I can tell, but might be worth using it if push comes to shove.
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Thanks very much for your input.

    On the Asperger's thing, it was ruled out in his neuropsychologist evaluation. HIs therapist also doesn't see it, and reading up about it, he doesn't really fit the profile. His obsessions as I call them aren't so much the exhasutive knowledge things as a real proclivity towards mechnical how things work. His psychiatrist mentioned that he thought he was a visual spatial person with auditory sequential issues. Reading up on that, it seems to fit him pretty well. and then throw in the bipolar like aspects -- which overlap to some extent with some of the autistic features-- and it is a real mix of issues.

    I am so concerned about this I had a special meeting with his therapist tonight to discuss what she thought about school. If we can't get into the program in the neighboring school district (which I think my school district would support but the neighboring one would decline since the program is already oversubscribed) then I think we will go for a mixture of attending one or two classes (maybe his favorite subject), trying to get an in home tutor for some part of the day, and trying to arrange for some of neighbors to give him some lessons in welding, heavy machinery, etc kinds of areas, so at least he has something fun and interesting to look forward to. The hardest thing will be to get the school to pay for the in home tutor.

    His therapist and I kind of came to the view that he is a case of arrested emotional development-- he still has huge separation anxiety (in addition overall anxiety), the self absoption one sees in a young child, this whole toilet talk fascination thing, much happier playing with younger kids etc. I guess my stance with the school will be to talk about how hard the separation anxiety issue is for him, that he needs a reduced day at school, and that they need to provide homebound tutoring. Any thoughts on that? Just providing him with aides this year hasn't made a huge impact on his availability for learning.

    The IEP planning meeting for next year probably won't take place for a few weeks.
    Thanks again.
  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Kids are all different so one can't generalize but reduced day probably kept my ex-difficult child in public school for two extra years (7th and 8th grades) Sixth grade just about did him in (beginning of middle school)

    I think ANYTHING is fair game for an IEP. by the way, you are in a good position to ask for this--it was one of the easier things I did: I got his treating psychiatrist to write a letter indicating full-day attendance would damge his mental health, worsen his depression, etc. it was all true and the shrink was quite agreeable about writing it. The school immediately released him from full day attendance. Only thing that was done quickly.

    Otherwise, I don't know what to suggest--maybe part-time attendance and a homebound tutor would work --or at least for a while--nothing stays the same forever. I could play off the "favorite" and "least favorite" parts of the day. Does your son have anything he would like to go to school for or is it all bad at this point?

  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If you do go for the reduced school day and the remainder home-schooled, try and get the school district to pay for an on-line school (National Keystone, Switched-On Schoolhouse, etc.). YOu'd need to do some research to see which one would work best for him but at some they get real grades from real teachers, just everything is done over the internet.

    This is my back-pocket option for Tigger if he can't make it through...
  10. OTE

    OTE Guest

    My concern about doing homebound would be the opportunity to improve social skills. I understand that those may not be at grade level. But they also won't improve without some kind of social input from peers.

    Your last post brings up some more Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) issues. My suggestion is not that you worry about a diagnosis but that you look at what the SD and surrounding SDs are doing for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) middle schoolers. One doesn't need to have a diagnosis to participate in a class that would be helpful. There just may be a social skills class for high functioning Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, a small gym class, a small reading group or whatever. Doesn't hurt to ask.
  11. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Ote and others,

    good points. I will inquire about PPD groups. He was in a social skills group last year at school.

    Today I am even considering bagging the whole formal education process for six months, and finding something else for him to do. I would love for him to be an "apprentice" to some of the outdoor ed programs we have around here, or something like that. The goal would be to see if we can lessen all the oppositionality surrounding education. But teh downside might be that he might decide that he likes not having school and it might be tough to reintroduce formal learning.

    I share the concerns about socialization. But at this point he is seeking out only very marginal kids. I'd like to get him hooked up with some positive role models in the community--adults whom he might be able to develop a good relationship with. Other kids would be great, but realistically I don't see it happening. He doesn't do anything easily identifiable that keeps him from having friends--I can send him places and not worry about appropriate behavior, but he doesn't seem to be able to connect very well to kids his own age.

    Thanks agian