Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Feb 11, 2010.
He's getting to where he's going about 2 days a week. This has GOT to stop.
It has absolutely got to stop. Emergency IEP meeting, anyone?!
No advice....just shaking my head in disbelief.
I would push hard for an alternate placement. They clearly aren't competent enough to handle one little boy.
OK Shari, is his not going to school based on the teacher not being there, his anxiety, or the school (or a combo of all of those)? I'm guessing that it's difficult child at this point refusing to go? I say this is the time to call in the big guns. I believe his doctor needs to attend an emergency IEP meeting with the school.
Check your insurance to see if it covers the doctor going off site. My insurance did not but we really needed difficult child's therapist at the meeting when we wrote his first IEP. She allowed me to pay a little every month until it was paid off and it was sooooooo worth it. She lended an air of professional credibility and none of her suggestions or recommendations were dismissed.
Your boy will soon get to the point where he won't be going at all. Major intervention of all his supports are needed - his great Special Education teacher, his docs, his mom, the school admin, the IEP team, and anyone with funding say for the school district. He may qualify for a 1:1 now. You could really use the "crisis counselor" argument here because the LRE (guaranteed under law) for him is school, period. And the law says that supports, whether it be accoms, mods, or aides, is the deal.
I'm just wondering how he would do were he to know that there would be a special person with him all the time that could be his "safe place" at school.
Your other option would be alternative placement. Didn't you mention the principal talked to you about this a while ago?
WTH- is a nice way of putting it.
LDM has some good points. I don't think this school is doing all they can.
At this point, its hard to say why he's not going, for sure. Today, the SpEd teacher is there, but mainstream is gone, and he struggles when ANY person from that core team is gone.
Then there's the Malory issue...she's in the classroom. He did not go to school from Tuesday of last week to Wednesday of this week and the first thing out of his mouth Wednesday morning was Malory will be there and he'll get in trouble cause she makes him so mad. Part of the problem? I don't know.
And then there's the fact that the SpEd teacher can almost always handle him. He has been flying off the handle in Occupational Therapist (OT). Not sure about today, but based on timing, that may have been where he was. There are a lot of transitions for him in the morning, even tho the number of people has finally been limited. I take him to class in the morning and stay til SpEd gets there. She does 15 min with him then the para comes. They stay in mainstream for an hour or so, then he's pulled to go to SpEd for 30 min. Then Occupational Therapist (OT). Then back to mainstream with the para for 30 min, then lunch, then recess, then specials (sometimes two specials in an hour) then SpEd takes him for the entire afternoon. Pretty much, if we make it to the afternoon, we're gold.
We met with his DevPed last year. This year's SpEd teacher was part of the meeting. A NUMBER ONE PRIOROTY is DON'T LET HIM GET TICKED OFF. I don't know how to teach everyone involved how to NOT do that....I still think it boils down to that, but I don't know how to teach them to handle situations otherwise.
He currently has a 1:1 thru the day. It is one person in the am and another in the pm, but I can deal with that. I think one person all day would be better, but he didn't even make it to the para switch today, or last week, when we had to pick him up.
I know they have to prrovide him an education. I know they can't keep sending him home. But having him at school spitting on people and hitting the walls, in my humble opinion, is counterproductive to everything...if we don't get him out of there, he blows and starts hitting people, and that can't happen, either...yet something keeps pushing him to that point and that's what he ends up doing. I don't know what else to tell them to do to "fix" this. Alternative placement? Sure. Where? Currently, the SpEd coordinates her schedule with me, so while they can spout off to me that he's not the only kiddo her absense affects, he's the only kiddo that she coordinates her schedule around, and if she's doing testing anywhere else in the district, he's the only kid she returns for his time with...I'm not alone in the schema of the world of difficult child's, but we're pretty damned alone in the schema of this district and any surrounding us. They dont' have a clue what to do with him. And neither do I.
Sorry. Don't mean to be short. Just very frustrated right now.
He's suspended for tomorrow.
Cause that'll teach him not to get overwhelmed.
Suspended??? This is getting surreal.
Who is sent to help Wee when he is spitting and hitting the walls? Is the Sp Ed teacher trained to help in this situation? Or, does the principal take over? What is the school's goal at that point? Does the Sp Ed teacher try to calm him down so he can return to class or does the school go into "discipline" mode at that point?
Clearly, the school's goal should be to help him calm down and finish the day.
At my difficult child's school the autism inclusion specialist intervenes when a child completely disregulates. She helps the child calm down and, hopefully, return to class. My difficult child has had a couple of days where he could not return to the mainstream class, but was able to work one-on-one with his aide the rest of the day.
So, I really think the school isn't doing its job. I agree with LDM that taking your psychiatrist to your next meeting might help. Our experience was similar to LDM's. The school granted every accomodation for difficult child that our psychiatrist asked for. It really felt like we took an elephant into the room and said, "So, here he is! What are you going to do now?" They really couldn't ignore him.
Oh how frustrating. Something needs to be done. The school has to step up to the plate more. I agree with calling an emergency iep meeting. I can't remember if they did a manifestation determination for Wee or not?
I'm guessing they have done an FBA? If not one needs to be done for sure. Does he have a documented BIP? Sorry if you have already gone over this in another thread-me memory is not great these days.
Hugs to you-I know how hard susupensions are to deal with.
Sorry Shari, I had forgotten that wee had a para. It was a tad difficult for me to follow, but there are 2 paras a day (one am and one pm) and one of them is with him at all times? If that is the case, I don't really understand all the meltdowns. Don't the paras recognize the visual clues when difficult child is beginning to get aggitated/frustrated? They shoujld be removing him from the situation, a walk in the hall, etc., at the first sign. Are these paras trained to deal with the issues difficult child has? We had one 1:1 who was a joke....
You know, this is really tough Shari. As the mother of a child who used to have these kinds of meltdowns, I understand that sentiment of "Don't Let Him Get Ticked Off", but it's not really reality in a sitation where he's not the only kid around. A simple request could set him off if he's already anxious inside. Not ticking him off shouldn't be the goal as much as managing his frustration until he gets to a point where he can begin to recognize the physical signs within himself that his frustration is building. Once that happens, he can be taught coping mechanisms. This is where good therapy really comes in.
Have there been any discussions about putting him on a modified day temporarily? There are a lot of benefits in this scenario. This was one of the first steps we made with difficult child.
I'm sorry Shari, I know how difficult and stressful this can be. I didn't sleep well for a year and put on lots of pounds when I was dealing with the worst of difficult child's raging at school. The cellphone never left me and I even took it in the bathroom. I had to be ready to get up to school quickly. In the beginning, difficult child wouldn't calm until he saw me. It was scary, and frustrating, and I felt very isolated and embarrased. I'm going to keep wee on in my prayers, and you too.
Shari, wee sounds so much like Onyxx!!! She's getting better in a smaller setting, but still gets angry at the littlest things. I don't know what to say but I am sending you LOTS of hugs.
He has 2 paras. One in the am and one in the pm. He still has a ton of transitions in the am, tho. I'll post the gist of schedule at the end.
Sharon, you said it much better than I, not ticking him off is not the goal I am intending. Running intervention and teaching him to get out and cool down before its too late IS the goal. And I'm not sure they are catching it soon enough...I don't know. The other frustrating factor is that he will often hang onto things, and he might blow over next to nothing, but have been festering anger for hours.
Today, his am para said he was getting frustrated with a task and suggested they go to the office, which, in the past, has been a place to calm down. However, the past 3 months, interactions in the office have not been positive. But, he went willingly to the office and sat in the principal's chair and asked to be left alone. And this is where it gets tricky. Principal sat down at his desk and Wee started hitting the wall and the window, apparently very hard, according to the principal. The principal grabbed Wee's chair and pulled it away from the wall and window, and that's when he really lost it.
So incredibly simple for me to sit here and see the scenario, but how do you teach them to recognize it? Instead of invading Wee's space...go shoot some hoops, take a walk, throw some snowballs, DO SOMETHING WITH THAT ANGRY ENERGY.
He was on half days until January. He's been to school full days probably 8 days. Maybe. Half days really made no difference. I have asked about putting him in the resource room and pulling him out of mainstream entirely. The school is against that as they don't have a resource room staffed at all times to put him in. I'm to the point of saying "too bad; get one".
The school also planned to "process" this incident when he goes back next week and I said no. Do it tomorrow or forget it. For 3 months now, we have started the "next week with a clean slate" by "processing his poor choices" from the week before on his first day back. I can't think that's helping. Nor is the Malory situation. But I don't know any real solutions. I'm out of ideas.
I got him into his therapist tomorrow. Then we're heading to the sunshine. He's absolutely mortified that he's now missing his Valentine's party, so I'm not going to let those remnants be there for next week, either. I'll take his Valentines to school tomorrow and pick up his bag after school so he can have them this week. Next week, he won't walk in with that smacking him in the face...at least not any more obviously than is necessary. This kid hasn't been to a school party in well over a year now. Not a single one.
His schedule is...
I take him to school around 7:50am...
Hang up coat, lunch choice, morning work (busy work for kids til everyone is there and class starts)
SpEd teacher comes and I leave. They go thru his schedule for the day. She's there 10-15 minutes in the mainstream classroom or right outside of it.
SpEd leaves and am para takes over in mainstream. 8:15 or so.
9:30, he goes to SpEd for 30 minutes, without para.
10, he goes to Occupational Therapist (OT), again without the para.
10:30, he goes back to mainstream for recess and again has the am para.
After recess, he goes back to SpEd til lunch at 11:15, again without the para.
After lunch, they have free play til noon.
At noon, he goes to specials, which may be one or 2 classes, all with a different teacher each day. He picks up the afternoon para here.
At 1:15, he goes to the SpEd teacher and stays there til 3.
If we get til noon, he rarely has trouble from then on.
Has he been suspended for 10 days? If so and when this happens you will need to have a manifestation determination meeting and determine if his behavior is a function of his disability and if so...the team will need to consider additional supports and or alternative placements.
If they see that Wee is getting frustrated....they stop doing what is frustrating him and alter the activity or assignment. And yes..he can do something else..such as taking a walk or going into the gym and throwing a few baskets, or listening to a few minutes of music on a headphone. I know he may be missing/avoiding work when he is doing an alternative...but this is better than losing control. They don't want him getting angry and explosive yet they continue to push him when they know he is agitated. I think perhaps there should be a variety of alternatives that wee could do instead of the assigned activity when frustrated..and perhaps after he is feeling better or calmer he would go back.
I am so sorry he is struggling so much--hang in there...you are doing all you can.
That morning schedule is ridiculous! Way too many transitions for wee. I am shocked at all his moving around, changing teachers, handing off to paras, and the fact that you have to go in. He should be met at the front door by his para, period! You should not have to transition him into the day - that would be the job of the para. The para should not be pulled when wee is in Occupational Therapist (OT) or Special Education - the para should be there with wee the entire day. That way you have someone consistant who knows, from one minute to the next, what wee has been through or might be feeling.
I do remember now the 1/2 days.....it's any wonder wee has trouble in the mornings. So you are saying that the school does not have the resource room staffed the entire school day? Well, well....guess that is going to have to be your goal.
I think you might want to think about this and discuss it with the doctor. You know, at the beginning of services and supports they should be loaded. As time goes by, some of those supports and services can be weaned as dictated by the child's need, maturity, etc.
So have you seen as many meltdowns in the Special Education room or Occupational Therapist (OT) as you have seen in the eary morning, recess time, when he's mainstreamed? I know it's tough sometimes to see a pattern because they could be already aggitated when they get to their destination. But again, this is the purpose of a FBA which I believe they've done with wee.
If wee needs total resource with the exception of specials, so be it. If they can't provide these services at his current school, then an another school within the district will be the plan.
You know Shari, this is really, really sad to me. I've followed wee's situation for a few months now and the Valentines really got me. He's not able to experience the stuff a typical kid can, although I think he is totally able to, just not being given the services and supports he needs to succeed.
It makes me sad that he worked on his Valentines and can't be there to put them in his classmates bags......I went through this with difficult child too. He would be excited about something happening at school that was out of the normal 3Rs - then BOOM, meltdown or rage, removal or suspension. It's no way for a young one to get what they need to move forward.
The worst thing about this whole situation is that wee is forming opinions and ideas about school. He's also got to be feeling frustrated and depressed with himself. These kids are going to internalize more than we know.
He needs the chance to be successful. The hel* with academics, the boy needs to feel part of group and have the opportunity to laugh with his peers. Perhpas he needs to go in at lunch and spend the afternoon in specials, and then Special Education to make this happen temporarily, then make it happen.
I'm thinking Shari, that you are going to need some big guns here. I'm thinking emergency IEP meeting with doctor present as I mentioned in my previous post. Paras need to be there along with Special Education teacher and funders for the district. You might even go to the wrightslaw website, follow the link to yellow pages for kids, and find some local advocates.
You may also want to go on the school districts website and look up all the elememtary schools in your district. Go to their respective websites and look into the Special Education services. They will have staff listed and such. difficult child may need to attend a school that has resource all day.
You really need the school district, not just wee's school, to step up to the plate here. I think his principal wants to work with wee, has good intentions, but then when things get crazy ad stressful, he just has a tough time.
Shari, sorry this has been so long and disjointed.
From an outside observer's perspective, it seems that Wee has very, very little wiggle room for being able to hold it together: a particular student in his class makes him mad, you keeping him home because sped teacher is gone and he can't cope, mainstream staff is gone and he can't cope, no one chooses him in gym class so he loses it/runs out/hits principal, staff isn't handling him like you would at home to keep him from becoming agitated, teacher corrects him in the lunch line and he overreacts, busy principal who is responsible for running the entire school invades his personal space to keep him safe and from destroying property and Wee loses it etc. Shari, I know from a parent's perspective how desperately you want everyone who comes into contact with him to be able to handle him, and how much you hope that what he encounters at school won't trip the trigger so that he can mature. But I agree with Sharon that expecting all of those who deal with Wee to constantly run interference for him and to respond in the exact right way not to tick him off isn't going to happen; to some degree, yes, it's reasonable, but it's an elementary school, not a highly controlled therapeutic setting and they are in no way equipped for the extremes. I have to wonder if continuing to send him to a school that isn't equipped staff-wise or environment-wise to provide the higher level of supports that he seems to need in order to remain stable and able to participate in school is really in his best interest. It doesn't seem fair to Wee to continue to send him back day after day to a setting where he's experienced so little sustained success in holding it together, and that likely doesn't have the resources to deal with his needs.
Personally I think that the principal did exactly the right thing in that situation. He had a student with a long history of being explosive and impulsive who was in his office banging a chair hard against the window. If he hadn't removed the chair immediately and Wee had instead broken through that window then he likely would have been faced with major safety and liability issues instead. In that situation I'm not going to stop and think what might happen if I invade this student's personal space. I'd act.
A regular elementary school needs to provide a reasonable amount of services, but the truth is they can only do so much for one student. When I read back to your post of 1/31:
and see you're at the point of "If I can't keep him from blowing, there's no point in sending him to the school staff." and Wee continues to spend time at home when he should be at school, then something needs to change if this little guy is going to stabilize and get educated. If you've done what you reasonably can as a parent in terms of not leaving any stone unturned assessment-wise, therapy and medications, and if they've done what they reasonably can under their roof, then it's time to look beyond his current building to a more therapeutic setting where his needs can be met. The longer this cycle of Wee having extremely low tolerance and impulse control and the school having to send him home, the worse it is for him in terms of short and long-term stability. As Fran says, if you keep doing what you're doing, then you'll keep getting what you're getting.
Shari, knowing that this has been a repeating cycle, and having been a teacher myself, I'm going to venture an educated guess here that the school staff already knows darn well that they can't provide what Wee needs under their roof, and that their hands are tied because if the staff formally recommends anything else in the way of services then they are responsible for funding it. If they're sending Wee home because he can't be handled at school then they aren't fulfilling their role in providing him an appropriate education and they are handing you the legal leverage you need to push for an alternative setting. If they don't have one in their district, then they need to send him to a neighboring district or create one in district. If that's not feasible, then they need to pay for a residential setting wherever that might be. It's the law--and I personally know a family who with the help of an attorney forced our district to create a program for their student. He was the only student in the program that first year, but still the district was responsible for providing for his needs. Most of the time parents need outside paid professional help to make this happen, especially in cash-strapped districts. Don't expect them to offer to send him somewhere that's going to cost them big bucks. Most districts don't even mention those options, then wait until parents make the demand with the threat or help of legal backing.
Just my opinion, but if the school has done what they reasonably can under their roof (and honestly it sounds like they've done a lot) and Wee still continues to struggle without making lasting forward progress in being able to control himself, then it's time for you as a parent to move forward and start inquiring for alternatives. On the school end of things, maybe that's backing out of mainstream, bringing in outside professional consultants, or looking for alternative settings, but to continue to rely on staff handling him so he doesn't get ticked off isn';t a feasible plan for a student who has so many triggers.
On the home side of things, how long has it been since his medications have been revisited?
If you haven't kept a written log of all the times he's been out of class, or has been sent home, now's the time to start.
Here are websites to help you find an advocate in your area:
www.nami.org (click on state/local): call your local affiliate office and talk to staff there to ask who is the best educational advcoate in your area
www.yellowpagesforkids.com (this is the wrightslaw site Sharon was referring to)
In addition to bringing in mental health professionals, I think you need to hire an advocate who knows Special Education law to get you what wee needs and deserves. The school shouldn't be able to weasle out of providing services to help him succeed.
Shari, one other thought.
Since things really are not progressing, I think it's extremely important to get a second opinion (or third or fourth . . . I know it's no laughing matter, been there done that) on what's going on with wee. in my humble opinion, you have not nailed down a clear diagnosis. Does he have an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? Does he have a mood disorder? Your signature gives conflicting information, and as a parent, I would want to know. These are very important questions because the answers absolutely determine the course of treatment. Wouldn't you want to give wee the treatment that would help him reach his potential? I think that's what all of us as parents want for our children.
Since services seem limited in your community, in your shoes, I would travel to a treatment facility to have him seen for a multi-disciplinary evaluation so you can nail down what you're dealing with. And from that would flow recommendations for treatment. If you need suggestions for where to go, please let me know.
Hang in there.
Shari... I feel your frustration to my very core, and I ache more than I can tell you for Wee. This school district has been dropping the ball for well over a year now, in my humble opinion. Yes, they've stepped up a bit more to the plate this year but... the end result really isn't that much different, from my very detached point of view. Between the bologna half days at the beginning of the year and the suspensions and days you've picked him up since he went back full time, to say nothing of the days when sped teacher isn't there so he can't go, exactly how much time has he missed? I'm guessing pretty darn close to a full month of instructional time, at the very least. The educational impact of this lost time cannot be underestimated in my humble opinion, as well as the social and self-esteem impacts.
This is just my opinion, Shari, so do with it what you will. In an ideal world, trained staff should be able to work with- Wee and should know full well what his triggers and warning signs are to avoid these meltdowns. But it's not an ideal world and realistically, I don't think anyone could consistently avoid them especially when you throw in variables like Mallory or a bad day or a sub teacher. So then you have to think about how the meltdowns are handled, and in my humble opinion removing him from school simply is not an appropriate choice on a consistent basis (there are always exceptions). Again, I think the staff has stepped it up a bit this year, but they are in way over their heads. It seems like when they've had enough, they call you and suspend him.
I thought the half day idea was horrific when they started it last year, Shari. I really got the sense that staff thought things would miraculously get better. But these behaviors do not fix themselves, and nothing proactive was done to prepare Wee or the school district to better cope with- a full school day (again, just from my perspective). It seems to me they've offered you a whopping 2 choices - half days or the current situation, neither of which offer Wee the opportunity to obtain an appropriate education in my humble opinion.
I think it's time for goals to be readjusted here, dramatically. Until Wee is able to maintain in a school setting, with intensive supports, he will not be able to learn. What the school district has tried for the last year and a half has not worked. It is time to get very assertive and demand that your son be put in an appropriate placement with appropriately trained staff. Period.
From the time my thank you hit preschool, he was a behavioral nightmare. Talking back to teachers, telling them what he would/wouldn't do, rolling around on the floor, making animal noises. By first grade he graduated to throwing books, desks, anything he could get his hands on. He got an IEP in 2nd grade, and then they started changing placements by mid 2nd grade. Sped director insisted it had to be a stepwise progression to more restrictive placements, which our school district had several alternatives. It was a very fast progression - by the end of 2nd grade he was in a therapeutic elementary school. Was he learning more? Not on paper. Were his behaviors better? Nope. Were there staff who were trained and experienced in dealing with- his outrageous behaviors? You betcha. The focus of staff and his IEP became less about academics and more about behaviors - you cannot expect anyone to educate a child who is tossing desks and rolling around on the floor. You have to address those issues and *then* you can move on to more academic stuff. It was a real shame because thank you was an incredibly gifted child, Shari. He lost so much ground during those elementary years and he's never made them up. What he did learn, he learned via osmosis I think. He's still got quite a bright mind but compared to what it could have been.... BUT, he did eventually get to the point where he could be in a classroom and for the most part not be disruptive. in my humble opinion, until you get a kid to that point, you don't have a shot at offering an education. And again in my humble opinion, it is going to take staff who have far more experience and training that what your school district is currently offering to get Wee to the point where he can benefit from a classroom.
I think it pretty much boils down to how much longer you can let this continue. I think you have more than ample evidence that the school district is not providing FAPE, just based on the amount of time he hasn't been in school. How is it going to be any different next month, next year, in 5 years? What is going to change?
You have bent over backwards to accommodate the school district, Shari. You have worked so incredibly hard to manage things within the limits that they have set up. I don't think it's inappropriate to say "enough" now. It is time for them to find or create an appropriate placement with staff who not only will work hard on trying to manage his triggers but who will also be able to appropriately deal with his meltdowns, on site.
I apologize if this is coming off harsh - the written word is a bear when it comes to conveying empathy and sympathy and support. I truly truly do have an inkling of where you're at right now - rubbed beyond raw, frustrated, stymied, and above all else worried to death about your son. I just don't get the sense that your school district is going to do much more than they're doing right now without you donning that warrior armor and holding them to their responsibilities.
I hope that you and Wee have a wonderful weekend, hon, and that you are able to get a chance to recharge yourself and him. Many gentle hugs to you.
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