Where to find advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by iloveturtles, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    I am trying where to find someone to guide me and advise me through the upcoming process with the school district and the county mental health.

    The school is wanting to send difficult child to a mental health collaborative school for severely emotionally disturbed children. I am not sure if this is the right step or not.

    His MFT doesn't think so. The psychologist who runs the therapeutic camp doesn't seem to think so. Not sure where his behavioral pediatrician stands, but I don't think he thinks it is a good idea.

    I meet with the person from county mental health to start the process of the evaluation.

    By the way, when I spoke to her it didn't seem like she was going to talk to the team I have working with difficult child, only the school district people. That will be my answer right there.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If you don't feel it's the right thing to do, in your gut, don't sign. Does your child have an IEP? If so, they need to have a meeting that includes you and to take into consideration your wants and needs. I'd hold out if it were me...and get an Advocate. My friend is an aide in a ED classroom and the kids are truly scary. She has been attacked a few times and all the kids have had to clear out of the room.

    This in my opinion is why you NEED a diagnosis though. They think your child is disturbed, not disabled, because he has no label. in my opinion you need to drop this psychiatrist and try a new approach. This one hasn't worked so far...he may need interventions he's not getting.

    Good luck!
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    ILT, moving a child to a school for severely emotionally disturbed children is a HUGE move. All other alternatives and all stones turned should have been tried and proven a dismal failure before something like this is even discussed. One of the biggest pieces of ammunition would be calling on the LRE (least restorative environment) guarantee through IDEA. Is this change of placement really the best alternative? Will he be able to learn in this environment? Will he be subject to role modeling of any negative behavior? Will he have the opportunity to socialize? I believe two things - first, your son's doctor "not believing in labels" is hooey (in my humble, nonjudgemental, gentle opinion!). In order for your son to receive/qualify for the services he is legally entitled to at school, he needs a diagnosis with a clear treatment plan - whether it be therapy, medication, whatever. Second, you need someone with you, doctor, advocate, etc., if you feel the school system is going to fight you on this.

    How much time do you have before the meeting? I would imagine that this alternative school is not year-round so you can't even go and visit now to see what it's like? I would never consider moving my son anywhere unless I visited there, met the administrators and teachers he would be with.

    Let me ask you something, you say you are meeting with the people at county health to begin the evaluations...not sure exactly what you mean. Has your son been evaluated at school? Does he currently have an IEP? Are these the first evaluations for the purpose of the school he has had?

    Another question - do you believe your son is severely emotionally disturbed? Is he a constant disruption in the classroom? How many times was he suspended last year? How were his grades? Would he benefit more from a 1:1 aide?

    The real qualification for an IEP is that a child's disability has a negative impact on his ability to learn in the present school environment. Is that the case?

    This is a huge step - I would make sure I have exhausted all alternatives before this change of placement is made.

  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

  5. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    Today's meeting was to start the assessment process for AB3632 which is a California law that pays for mental health services through/with the schools, as I best understand it.

    We are a long way off from the IEP meeting that would change his current placement. My son's issues are with unstructured time - PE and playground. This year he made honor roll 3 quarters and the last quarter that was all his effort, no nagging from mom, he made a 2.5.

    I know he has issues, but I don't believe he is severely emotionally disturbed. His IEP is under Emotional Disturbance. He was suspended for in total 4 times this year with the number of days being 11, which resulted in a manifetation determination hearing concluding that his suspensions were due to his disability.

    There has been so much improvement in him over the last several years I feel this would be a backward step.

    I take him to therapy with a MFT every other week. We see a behavioral peditrician once a month for medications and etc. Plus he attends a day "camp" theraputic program for 4 weeks during the summer and 1 day a week during the school year. These are why there has been a change. Maybe the AB 3632 can help pay for this? I don't know.

    Thank you for the support.

    I truly felt that the woman doing the assessment/evaluation really got what I was saying.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If he is making improvements and with grades that high, I would fight tooth and nail against moving him to an ED school. They are not designed with acadmics in mind (with the rare exception, there is one in Chicago that has a college prep curriculum but most have kids that are below grade level and the majority of effort is spent addressing their emotional and behavioral needs).

    But with 11 days of suspension, I would want a new behavior evaluation done and an improved BIP (behavior intervention plan). Was he suspended for basically the same thing every time? Tigger was suspended almost 10 days as a 4th grader and the reason was almost always the same -- staff's inability to make him feel safe and their overreaction to his fear. New staff, no more suspensions and a very happy 5th grae Tigger.
  7. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    It has been pretty much one of a couple of reasons for the suspensions. These are the summary I can come up with for the reasons, not that I am saying the resulting action is justified.

    A) He felt insulted or threatened in some way -
    B) He was angry or frustrated -
    C) An in appropriate "horsing" around - pretending to trip someone, and it actually happening.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That list could apply to all of our difficult children when they get in trouble at school!

    I totally agree with Triple J in regards to the BIP getting close look at and perhaps some revision. Sit down and take a really good, hard look at that and think about the incidents that led to his suspensions.

    In regards to the change of placement, I'm glad to hear that meeting is a long way off. It gives you some time to get your thoughts and plans in order. With the growth and improvements you have seen, sounds like the ED school would be a really bad move. I think I would look into an aide for non-core classes, lunch and recess.

  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Do you have the write-ups from each incident? Can you walk balkwards through what happened and identify a place where the adults could have done something different that would have either prevented the situation or defused it? With Tigger, for years, I could almost always take their own report and show them where they missed the opportunity to calm him down and often where they escalated the situation. The good teachers would learn from that and handle the next crisis in a better way, often giving him the chance to calm down without incident. (course the poor teachers never take any blame for their actions, but hopefully they get weeded out before tenure:) )
  10. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Does your son have an aide at school? If not, it sounds like he could benefit from one, especially during unstructured times. This is precisely what my son's aide helps him with. But, you generally need a diagnosis to get an aide. Sometimes labels are just a means to an end with the school district. In my experience with my son's school district (which has been very accomodating and has given us more services than I ever hoped for), the school psychologist and the sp ed staff don't have the expertise to decide what services are needed until they have an "expert" provide a label and tell them what is needed.

    What looks like ED to the school could be an autism spectrum disorder or a mood disorder, neither of which warrants moving to an ED school.

    Like your psychiatrist, I hate labels, but I think a label could go a long way in protecting your son in this case.

    Good luck.
  11. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    All schools in Ca. have to provide you with a list of Parent Advocates in their district. But having said this, most of them were X SD employees and I didn't trust them even if they said the sun came up in the east, would have to go check it for myself. I had hired someone from T.A.S.K. (Team Advocates for Special Kids) in Anaheim to handle placements. Maybe you can contact them and get a referral for someone up in your end of the state.

    This is going back a few years, but had to fight tooth and nail with the SD to get my difficult child classified under AB3632-but once he was, his mental health person was a part of the IEP team. The problem with the placements in these alternative schools, day treatment centers, is that they are all in one or two classroom, various ages and disabilities, and packets of "grade appropriate" work is handed to them to do on their own, with a teacher there for help. Although I understand the "label" view by the doctor, in Ca I believe you have to have at least two diagnosis's for classification under ED. I think I would want to know what these are-if you don't know what they are how in the heck are you supposed to figure out what is the best outside placement, if any?