The saga of the IEP continues...we parted with no agreement and...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The Special Education teacher is very young and has no kids and by the end of the meeting I wanted to choke her and I knew she wanted to choke me

    To name just a few things that happened, the Psychologist, who I really liked, said that my daughter has SEVERE ADD. He said she couldn't do the TOVA test at all and is severely impaired by ADD. I want to add that until this time, the school did not really believe she even HAS ADD because she is inattentive. Psychologist feels she has trouble in school largely because of her inability to focus, even though she sometimes appears to be focusing. He said she was borderline for an IEP. Really, the guy was cool.

    The Special Education teacher (back to her) insisted Jumper has no learning disabilities. I disagree, but I didn't care. She already qualified for a 504 (IDEA) under the Civil Rights Act. It's not as good as an IEP, but I called Civil Rights and they said it is indeed a legal document and we can take the school to court if they don't implement it. With that knowledge, we are ok with the IDEA as long as they agree to a particular intervention regarding her testing. Will get to that later. But all of you who have 504's and they aren't being implemented, you can force the issue legally. And you should. Ok, next:

    Special Education teacher ticked me off first when she suggested that Jumper, who is getting all A's and B's on her regular homework, but has flunked every single test in every single subject might be cheating to get those A's and B's on her homework. Now, you HAVE to know Jumper. She tells me everything, even things she does wrong, such as talking back to teachers because "she didn't show respect for me" or more commonly "she made my friend cry." She will voluntarily tell me these things.I asked her later. after the meeting, if she cheated on her homework and she started crying and said, "No! You see me doing my homework, don't you? Why do they always think these things about me?" And it's true.

    Back to the meeting: I asked SPT if she had any knowledge of Jumper cheating. She said "No, but it goes on in the grade." I told her to get back on topic because it's not relevant now and I'd talk to Jumper. Which, as you see, I did. And she doesn't. Although none of you know her, Jumper is not that kind of kid. She would tell me if she cheated. She'd say, "Yes, I do and I have to in order to pass." Moving on...

    Another issue came up in the meeting. Speicial Ed Teacher has told my daughter things like, "There are ten teachers in the school who never want to talk to your mother again." When Jumper told me this, I laughed. It's probably true. Still I told her, in front of the Special Education Director, that she needs to stop acting like Jumper's friend and talking to her that way to her. I told her that I know it's true, but that it's inappropriate to make comments like that to Jumper. She has said other things too. The Special Education Director looked shocked and turned white. I guess she really crossed the line there. He asked her about it and she turned whiter than him. continues...

    Special Education Teacher and I disagreed on what we should do to help Jumper be able to pass her tests and show the knowledge that we know she has. Her IQ is average. She can do homework (and IS doing all her homework) but can not pass one stinkin' test in any subject because she can't remember details. I said that we should do what they have done since she's been in second grade and let her read her notes while taking the test. If they don't want to let her do that anymore, I said she would need an alternative testing method such as all multiple choice, which she can handle. She can not do essay questions. She can not organize her thoughts on paper and forgets details without prompting. It's not on purpose. And no matter how long she studies, she can't answer any essay questions. She is also struggling in Algebra. She has trouble remembering all the formulas without her notes.

    We left the meeting with no agreement. Special Education Teacher wanted her to use one 3X5 card for her tests and Jumper tried already and she still failed the tests. I have no idea what they are going to do, but Special Education Director is eager to bring this to a close because he knows hub and I haven contacted the Dept. of Civil Rights and that they are involved. I don't know what he is going to say Monday, which is when he promised to have a 504 written up, or if hub and I will accept it or fight on. It depends on how helpful it is to Jumper. We want her to be able to pass her tests. As of the meeting, her teachers were blaming HER for not passing the tests and it is not her fault. I would gladly homeschool now except that she loves the school and adores all her many friends and she desperately wants to stay. That's not an option. She'd be miserable and lonely.

    So we have no agreement, but are happy that we learned not to jump at any crumb they will feed us. We care about one person, Jumper, and we're going to take our time before agreeing to anything.

    Trust me, though, this is exhausting. It's alarming how little the school will do if not pushed. I wonder how meeker parents handle these meetings or if they just agree to anything in order to stop the intimidation of the school employees. I think sometimes they forget that we pay their salaries (sigh). Ok, vent over. Sorry if I sounded overly angry.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    ditto ditto and ditto

    hang in there. i am still frequently appalled at what these people do.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Notes are not allowed on tests for my difficult child either. In lieu of that, I INSISTED that modifications in testing format be changed. They reluctantly agreed to have ALL test and quizzes be multiple choice, matching, or fill-in the blank with a word bank. difficult child's scores on tests have increased drastically. Keep fighting. Having modified tests like this still tests her knowledge without her having to worry about the recall of details and them worrying about "cheating". My prayers go out to you both. You are being a great advocate for Jumper. Keep it up and don't settle for less.
  4. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Keep up the good fight!
  5. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Have you thought about having a scribe to take down her essays?

    Is she on any medications? My oldest boy was ADD, inattentive (which is less common in boys, but it went with his extremely mild Asperger's) and took Adderall from 4h grade on. It helped him a great deal. There are other medications now as he is 20 but Adderall worked for him.

    I don't even want to get started on my fights with the schools; our sped dept is actually pretty decent.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thank you all. Actually, they are fighting interventions on the tests and that's what we won't give into. I like the idea of all multiple choice tests. She would pass them if they did that. That is going to be our fight.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Stay strong!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Use of a scribe wouldn't work. We have looked into that in great detail, because it is the option our Dept of Ed prefers when we ask for use of computer in special provisions. But to be able to use a scribe, you have to practice with one and be BETTER than average at composing your thoughts and ideas.
    An aside - have you tried teaching her how to mind-map? It is a way of organising thoughts on paper, even when the ADD stops you being able to hold more than one thought in your head at a time. It was the saving grace for difficult child 1, who was totally unable to write anything all through school, until he learned this.

    Back to Jumper - you know how much I love home schooling and really recommend it. But I do not recommend it here and now for Jumper. If you have to, yes, but I agree with you - she lovers school, she is not a behaviour problem at school, her problems is with assessment methods and tis will be a problem anywhere.

    If they will bend on the notes issue to let her use one index card, then they should have bent sufficiently to allow her any amount of notes. Alternatively, they need to find another method of assessing her ability.

    As for the accusation of cheating - you know we went through that this year with difficult child 3's English teacher. I would suggest next time, don't question Jumper yourself, but ask the teacher to do so, in your presence. That way the teacher sees her unedited and unprepared reaction.

    Have a look at the work she scored well in - was it time limited or not? Was she able to make it personally relevant or not? It all has a strong bearing on it.

    I have to rush off now, but I will be back.

  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Jumper would do well in multiple choice tests. She has no ability to map things in her mind so that's out. When I say I know she has LDs, I do know it. The school doesn't know it, but we do. Actually, they DID have her with an IEP for Learning Disability (LD) until the other school she went to for one year discharged her from services. So now she only qualifies for a 504, but that's ok.

    My daughter will never be ok with homeschooling. Ever. Her strongest point is her great socialization skills. She is a very popular leader in school to the point where if she does talk out of turn and stick up for herself or her friends (which she will do) the teachers are afraid the other kids will copy her. Also, homeschooling here is not only expensive if you get your own curriculum but there are only a limited amount of students who can utilize the public schools online. Hub and I are poor teachers as neither of us went to college...half the work she does is beyond what we ever had. But the main issue is that we did try it, got no school help, and the kids were bored and restless even with the homeschooling group and field trips. The k ids tended to be "different" and Jumper is a very typical teen. She has a ton of compassion for "different" kids because of Sonic and his autistic spectrum disorder. But she doesn't want to hang with kids who don't like malls, rock music, boys, clothes, etc. and the kids in this area's homeschool groups were mainly kids with disabilities whose parents had taken t hem out of school for that reason. Jumper also wants to play sports at school and go to all the social events. It just isn't an option and will never be. She is by far the most social child I ever had and is willing to struggle in school rather than leave it. Even Sonic likes school. In the US, I'll bet homeschooling is a lot different than in Australia. If Jumper was eager to do it, I'd find a way, but she would consider it a big punishment and it could lead to behavior problems. Plus she is strong willed and probably would not cooperate until we put her back in school.

    So we are stuck with THIS (sigh). As for the work she scored well on, it's very simple...she was able to use her books. No mystery as to what she needs to do well. She forgets fast and needs prompting. It is not her fault and is not helped by extra studying.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's exactly where mind-mapping works. It helps the person put down on a sheet of paper, the thought sequence they otherwise are incapable of. You start by writing down a single word or phrase (usually the key word from a question) and take it one thought at a time, writing it down. You then connect the bits that connect, and as you draw in each line, it begins to form something more usable. It really is amazing, especially for those with really serious attention issues. You say she forgets fast - but what is written down on a sheet of paper, like a mind-map, does not. It would be an extension to her notes, to be able to use her ability plus what knowledge she can access, to reason. One thought at a time. The mind map then prompts.

  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The school will have to do that, Marg. I really have no idea how and I can't figure out most of her homework let alone mind map Nor can hub. She does her homework at school with help from available teachers. I am looking forward to seeing if we will agree when the proposal comes in.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So sorry you are dealing with all of this. I'm absolutely appalled that a teacher would say what she said about you to Jumper. Talk about completely unprofessional!!!! I hope she hears from her supervisor on that one!
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well, that's not the all of it. SHE diagnosed my daughter with I can guarantee you, my daughter will speak her mind to teachers if she feels something is unfair OR if somebody picks on her friend. She was taught to do that. But she is not oppositional in any other area of life...not at home, not in the community, not in her many friend's homes. When I saw the diagnosis, I almost laughed, just like when Special Education teacher said, "There are about ten teachers who never want to talk to your mother again." This young lady doesn't understand that ODD/CD kids don't follow ANY rules. They break the law. They shoplift. They swear at adults and can not be made to listen. Jumper can.

    Jumper got into trouble for scaring off some younger kids who were picking on her close friend's younger sister. This girl is overweight and everybody makes so much fun of her and the teachers either aren't doing anything about it or else Jumper, age age 14, doesn't feel they are doing anything about it. This child is tormented. Well, two teachers talked to Jumper about interfering in the harassment of this girl and Jumper stood up to them saying that she wouldn't have to do it if THEY stopped the harassment and that the girl has been harassed all her life and it wasn't going to happen in front of her. She pointed out that she didn't touch anybody...she just scared them off so that the child could be left alone. I guess she talked to the principal after the incident and he kind of seemed proud of her, but the two teachers who reprimmanded her, were angry that Jumper wouldn't back down and act sorry or promise not to do it again. One teacher said, "You know you CAN be intimidating." We'll deal with that too. My daugher is bi-racial and maybe this teacher thinks black kids are intimidating. My daughter has never been in a fight so she and I are not sure what they meant. Maybe I'm off-the-wall, but I was proud of Jumper too. Also, she talked back to a teacher who was staring at her when she told the class to be quiet. She said, "I wasn't talking." The teacher said, "Yes, you were." She said, "No, it wasn't me." The teacher told her to go to the office. She said, "No. I wasn't talking. I'll go in the hall, but not to the office." The teacher said, "How would you like me to call your mom?" She pulled out her cell phone. I admit this was a bit over-the-top, but I couldnt' help laughing. This teacher gets yanked around by the kids a lot and Jumper stands her ground when she feels she is right and if she would have called me, all I would have said is, "You know she has a strong sense of right and wrong. Give her a detention." The teacher did nothing but let her go out in the hall. Those are the two incidents that happened all year long that earned her ODD (rolling eyes). And they couldn't have been that bad as nobody DID give her a detention and we were never contacted.

    As an aside: Jumper was taught very young to stick up for herself even to adults. Since she was sexually abused, well, it is often adults in positions of authority who abuse the kids and destroy their trust. She was never taught she had to be respectful to people who were older than her for that reason. She is really not disrespectful 99% of the time though. She's pretty easygoing unless she feels disrespected or, even worse, if somebody goes after one of her friends or family members.

    No psychiatrist or psychologist has EVER even come close to considering Jumper ODD.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We also had a teacher diagnosis ODD in difficult child 3. No professional has ever given him that diagnosis.

    It is not up to staff to diagnose. However, they can suggest it be assessed, if there are sufficient grounds. Doesn't sound like it here, though.

    When I've had problems like this, I find a way to take it to the principal. I find a way to justify its relevance tot he principal and I generally find I get a positive outcome. Even at the old, really bad school.

    Good on her for standing up for what is right. I would be taking that up with the principal - it's not right for her to be penalised for showing good citizenship.

    About the mind-mapping - difficult child 1 was taught about it by a teacher (who taught the whole class) but I also learned abut it so I could reinforce it at home. I actually use it as a writing technique - remember when you were a kid at school being told to write a story, but first you had to write a story outline? I HATED that, because an outline is always linear, and my thoughts never are. But I would have loved mind-mapping. Only it hadn't been invented back then. It's Edward de Bono stuff, marvellously simple in concept and really easy (especially if you keep it simple).

    If you still feel it's way beyond you (at least to teach it to Jumper) then certainly ask the teacher (or have it put into the IEP or 504) to teach it to her as a coping strategy to help her with her short-term memory issues (which is how we described the problem with difficult child 1). Simply say, "Someone I know has a son who had similar problems and found that when the boy was taught to mind-map, he performed much better in writing tasks. Could you please teach mind-mapping to Jumper and see if it helps? If it does help, it could make your h=job easier too. It is also a technique that could be of use to the other students."

    Seriously - do check it out for yourself, at least. It can be used to problem solve, it can be used to draft a writing task, I love it for developing story outlines, especially those complex, non-linear ones that have twist after twist after twist...

    I'll try and find some links for you.

  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    LOL, Marg. Our school is very small and the principal knows all, but he is known as Mr. Do-Nothing. We NEVER take anything up with him because he isn't a good administrator. I doubt the Superintendant, who I talk to much more often as she is right on the premises and the school is so incredibly small, even knows what brain mapping is. There is no Special Education teacher who is allowed to work with Jumper (a point we are angry about, except that Special Education teacher showed us she is kind of ditzy). I doubt she knows what it is either. This is a small town school with about 40 kids in each grade. Jumper LOVES it and it is a great school for good students. It ranks high. You get small student count with high caliber curriculum. What you don't get is great services for kids. Actually, you don't get great services for kids a (sorry, I feel kind of ditzy myself this morning). But Sonic got really good services at a nearby school...BUT he has the same Special Education Director and HE has an IEP so he could tap into those services. Jumper doesn't "qualify" for an IEP (although, of course, I think she should) so she wouldn't get the services that he does...Plus she doesn't like the kids at that school and would not enjoy it there and, yes, I do care about that. It's the rival school athletic wise and, although Jumper has a few friends there, for the most part they are known as very stuck up and they also have a big drug/sex problem in their high scholl. Even one of Sonic's friends has had a baby, and most of his friends are either from Special Education or are computer geeks. So...somehow we are going to have to work it out right here.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Some mind map links:

    I think I like the second link better, although the first one explains it better. My main 'thing' when explaining it to people who have never done it before, is to make it clear - YOU are in control, YOU decide where to draw connections and where not to. So when a template has connections and boxes, you don't always have to put something there, or have it connected. Sometimes the connections go in different places to where the template indicates. What is right, is what YOU decide. That's the beauty of it especially for a difficult child - control. YOUR mind is in control and you are controlling your own mind and making order out of its chaos. The order is on the piece of paper, the mind is still chaotic, but you've captured a quick snapshot of this word, or that concept, and written it down before you lost it. Then you connect your words or concepts, as you feel is right.

    This is a technique for anyone. Not just for SpEd. In fact, it was originally developed for gifted & talented kids as extension. difficult child 1 was taught it in an extension class. I use it a lot myself and have taught it to others in writing workshops. I even do it as a group exercise sometimes. And it was difficult child 1 (of all people, given his problems) who taught me how to do it, when he was 10 years old!