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twinplets
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12 May 2011, 11:50 am

My son was evaluated the end of last year (2nd grade). We received the report a few days after school was out. We had his first IEP the week before classes started. We didn't recieved any IEP documents prior to our meeting. After this past year actually under an IEP, I have come to the conclusion the district has all kinds of specialists. Austism, behavioiral, and psychologists that are very impressive and know their stuff. They made all these recommendations on how to handle a child with autism. When I heard this, I actually felt positive about this year. His teacher was to be a teacher that had been in special ed last year, but was now getting a regular classroom. What I have found this year, is that the school actually knows nothing. My son's teacher has no special ed background. (which would have been fine, but we were led to believe she did and this would be a positive for him this year.) She switched school disctricts and was only in the special ed room last year, waiting until they had a room for her in one of the grades. In his IEP meeting last year they said they saw no reason he couldn't follow the normal code of conduct. We agreed. My problem is how arbitrary the code of conduct is even followed teacher to teacher. The discipline is waring, 5 minutes of think track, 10 minutes of think track, 15 minutes of think track, redirect, principal's office. He was given 2 speech therapy sessions each week to work on pragmatics. He was also put in the every morning social skills group in the resource room. Here are some of the issues my son has had this year.

1. Got his first redirect a couple of months into the school year. He was walking in line from specials to the classroom. The girl in front of him gave someone in the cafeteria a high five. She made a comment about how hard the slap was. A few seconds later, my son has decided he too wanted to give her a high five and see if she thought his was hard too. However, the moment had passed. He also missed when he did it, and hit the girl's wrist. She ran to the teacher to tell on him for hitting her because she didn't know what he was doing. My son said he didn't hit her because in his mind hitting is when you are angry as that is what we have told him not to do. Even after the teacher got all the facts, she still gave him a redirect. When I got the redirect form in his folder for me to sign, it said his infraction wasn't hitting, as I would have expected, but for lying. I was angry and wrote a note that he hadn't lied and sent it back in. I also spoke to the teacher by phone, she said she would make sure she told the resource teacher who does social skills about it, so they could work on it. A few weeks later, I spoke with the resource teacher, she had no idea the event had taken place.

2. Also, it was written in his IEP for him to have close proximity to the teacher during all transition times and in the hall. Most of the times he has gotten into trouble this year I have found out it was in line and he was buried between people. Apparently he went through a small phase of thinking it was funny to pull the hood of the jacket of the kid in front of him. Even with this happening, she still never put him at front with her like we said in the IEP.

2. My son has had a thing about his desk being touched since the middle of 2nd grade. We talked about this in the IEP meeting. I guess his teacher was asleep because she calls me in Nov. asking me why he is so bugged about his desk being touched. At the time, my son felt the need to touch the other's child's desk back. He had to do it. He did the same in 2nd grade. I tried to find many solutions. My son loves to draw cartoons, so I thought maybe he could bring in a special notebook and draw himself touching their desk. He was on board and willing to try it. She let him him do it one day, took it away and put it in a basket and said it was too distracting. I also don't understand why elementary teachers have to change the desks around so much. I know of at least 6 different configurations she has done in her classroom this year. Every time I have gone in, my son's desk has been someplace new and not at all according to the placement guidelines we asked for in the IEP. If AS kids like routine, wouldn't it make sense to keep their desks in one place?

3. My son gets an ISS for half a day a few months ago. I get a call from the principal telling me he kicked another student, so they gave him ISS. I was very worried because my son doesn't lash out at people physically, he is usually just very mouthy, so I couldn't figure out why he would kick someone. When he got home it took a rephrasing my question a couple of different ways, but I finally got a detailed story out of him. Apparently, one of the other teachers needed to do something for awhile, so her class came into my son's teacher's class. (I can't even imagine as the classes are already crowded with stuff with just one class.) I guess this girl was from the other class and at some point accidentally bumped my son's desk. He told me since she didn't have anything of her's in the room for him to touch, he HAD to do something back, so he kicked her (not hard.) I am not saying he should have done this, but not one person at that school asked him why he did it. They talked a big talk about social autopsies in our IEP and the only person trying to piece info together from incidents at school and break them down for him is me. We had Open House that night and I went to the resource roon. I popped my head in and spoke to the special ed teacher there. I told her why my son did it. All she said was "We wondered why he would do it." I was annoyed and told her I was thinking of asking for a BIP. She got all nervous and said that she didn't think we needed to go that far and that she was going to talk to an "interim person" that was one step away from the district's behavioural specialists and get some idea on how to help him. What they then did was have the other kids that go to social skills group touch his desk during the first few minutes of social group to try to get him to tolerate it. They did it for about 2-3 weeks, then stopped. He says it still bothers him. It also irritates me that the Vice Principal came out to talk to me the day after the ISS and told me he brushed my son's desk on purpose and asked him why he didn't get angry and kick him. He said my son said because you are the Vice Principal. Bascially, he feels if my son can control it one time with him , he can all day long with students brushing by continuously.

4. My son got another redirect last week. The teacher had made him a island (finally after we had talked about it in Nov., she actually does it in March.). His desk however is shoved against the wall, with his back away from the front of the room. If they do anything on the projector or the board, he has to turn around to see. I never knew he had been arranged this way until I went in for Field Day a few weeks ago, but she had a substitute there that day (which has been the case most of the times my husband or I have gone up there.), so I didn't get to speak to her about it. I guess her solution for my son being able to see the board was to make him move to the guided reading table anytime they did something where he needed to see. On this day, he grumbled and complained about it, so she gave him redirect. He had still been on OK at this point. he had not moved his clip at all that day. I asked him if he yelled at her. He said no, but that he did grumble and was grumpy about it because he is tired of having to move from his desk each time they watch something. I asked him why he went to redirect then, instead of think track first. He said he thinks his teacher is tired of "messing with him." This stuff happens frequently. They have a clip change system and it frustrates him as he doesn't understand it. They have explained to him that touching someone is serious, so he go straight to redirect for that, but then they will bump him down several levels at a time for other infractions as well. Which really bothers him and he sees as unfair. He doesn't understand how he can go from being on ok straight to 10 minutes of think track, bypassing the warning and 5 minute marks. Sometimes he will argue about it, which gets him into more trouble. It is so random and arbitrary, I don't even understand it.

5. At the start of May, they are giving out extra 15 minutes of recess on Friday to everyone who doesn't pull their clip more than two times all week. My son has stated that he knows he can't make it . He really wants that recess, but he absolutely feels like he can never be successful meeting their expectations. He didn't pull his clip on Monday, so I was all excited and told him one day down. One Tuesday, he didn't pull his clip in class. I acted all excited again, but he told me it didn't matter because he had already lost the extra recess. It started to sprinkle during recess on Tuesday, so they had to have it indoors. They went to one of the 3rd grade recess teachers rooms. They watched a movie and then she decided to read them a book, so she made them all gather on the floor. (When are the kids old enough not to have to do this anymore? My son always get into trouble being shoved into a group on the floor.) Anyway, this time apparently he wasn't sitting criss cross applesauce and this teacher kept telling him to. He told me he saw her out of the corner of his eye, but that he didn't realize she was talking to him, so he didn't do anything, she got irritated and told him she was taking away his extra recess. I asked him if he was even sitting on the floor. He said he was and showed me how he was sitting. He had his knees bent and his feet on the ground in front of him. But because it wasn't criss cross applesauce, he lost extra recess. When he was telling me about this instance, I found out from his twin something else this same recess teacher had done another time. My AS son has learned acceptable boundaries with everyone. However, he does tend to be all over his NT twin at times. I have only witnessed this at home and I tell my son he can tell his brother to back off, but he only does sometimes. He is very patient with him. I guess one recess my AS son was all over his twin. This teacher saw it and gave my AS son 40 minutes of think track (Think track is walking in this circle instead of getting to play.) However, recess is only 30 minutes. I don't know who figured it out, but for some reason someone must have said something to her and my AS son was allowed to play games in a room after recess to make up for the excessive think track. I found out about this yesterday and only because his twin knew about it and told me.

6. My son's teacher and the special ed teacher were suppose to set up a reward system for him to get him to fade out certain behaviours. From what I have seen this year, they do it inconsistently and he rarely, almost never, achieves any extra reading time(which was what his reward was to be.) They have also changed the system three times. The last time was just this month. Really, with a few weeks left of school? I don't understand the system at this point. My son just came home last week and told of a new point system for him. I think this could help my son, but he needs a concrete plan from the beginning and they must be consistent. Also, he was to get 3 small breaks throughout the day to go to the resource room and read in quiet or let off some steam. In Nov. I realize he isn't getting that, so I talk to the teacher about it. She wanted to make it something he earned, at which time I said no, it was in his IEP, and he isn't earning it. From that point on , he gets the breaks, but it is is at scheduled times (which is fine), but he is completely required to notice the time and take the break on his own. If they are busy and he doesn't notice until 15 minutes later, too bad, he doesn't get the break according to his teacher. She will not help him remeber at all.

7. At last year's IEP the special ed teacher did not write up any goals. She said most of her goals would be the same as the speech therapy teacher and she would just piggy back off of those. We niavely agreed. She called me several weeks ago to set up his IEP for May 4th. I said that we could attend, so she sent me paperwork home with my son, which I signed saying we would attend and returned it. I then emailed her asking for the IEP paperwork before the meeting, so we would have time to formulate any questions before the meeting. The next day, the meeting has to be canceled because she says some of the district people can't make it. I wait about a week and never hear about any rescheduling, so I get annoyed and email her about it and CC the principal. She then emails me back and asks about May17th. I said we would be there. She then says she will get me a copy of her goals by the end of the week. That was last week and I have never heard from her again. I haven't gotten any goals or paperwork. I know they had everything planned before we entered. They did add stuff we asked for, but they had most of it done before we went into that meeting. Aren't we suppose to get that prior to the meeting? There is a Wright's Law conference in my area, but not until Oct. I plan on going, but that won't help me next week.

I'm sorry this is long, and there are other smaller instances that have happened. I just hate that overall, while the disctrict specialists talk about autism and give all these great recommendations, the school refuses to implement it. Any behaviour management they provide for him is all punitive and negative. Should I ask for a real behaviour plan for him? The district has parent classes once a month on different topics for special ed. I went one month and they had the autism spcialists there. I spoke with one after the class and told her about the desk touching and my son. I mentioned I wished they would help the teacher with this issue as it has been going on for so long. She said they can't help unless the special ed or regular teacher asks them to come in and help. It seems like the school doesn't want to admit they don't know what they are doing and are never going to ask for any district help. . If I ask for a behaviour plan, will that force the autism and behavioir specialists to get involved? Does anyone ahve any suggestions on what I need to be asking for in his IEP for next year?



squirrelflight-77
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12 May 2011, 12:20 pm

No help here but I do sympathize with you on this one.. sounds like they are defeating the purpose more than doing anything to help him succeed there.



Bauhauswife
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12 May 2011, 12:34 pm

twinplets wrote:
Also, he was to get 3 small breaks throughout the day to go to the resource room and read in quiet or let off some steam. In Nov. I realize he isn't getting that, so I talk to the teacher about it. She wanted to make it something he earned, at which time I said no, it was in his IEP, and he isn't earning it.




Good for you!! :cheers:

Definitely get the BIP.

As far as the touching the desk issue, you may need to work on that with him, and see if you can get him to cope with it in a different way. You understand why he kicked the girl, and the school may even understand, but that girl and her parents don't understand and they probably don;t care about your son's issue with his desk being touched. All they know is that your son kicked their daughter without just cause.

Did I mention getting that BIP? Yeah,, you may want to do that. :lol:



just_julie
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12 May 2011, 1:00 pm

Geez - This situation is outrageous! It sounds to me like you have a VERY inexperienced teacher who is really inconsistent and has NO idea how to deal with kids on the spectrum. Consistency is really important, and the first thing I would demand is a teacher (for the new school year since this one is so far gone) who has many years of experience and who has deal with kids on the specturm SUCCESSFULLY or at least kids w/ADHD - who often have similiair issues. Some school districts have to be threatened with a law suit before they get it. Unfortunately, they almost need to be afraid of you. And that VICE PRINCIPAL! ouch! I think the whole idea of touching his desk, knowning that it bothers him, just to see what he would do is SICK. I think the idea of having kids touch his desk so "he'll get used to it" is archain and ineffective. I think it's pretty clear they haven't paid a bit of attention to his IEP or anything you've said all year. If a behavior plan is your only way to tie them up and force them (and at this point, it's going to take a great deal of backing them into a corner) to deal with your son appropriately, then go for it. I'd also insist on an aid being in the classroom since obviously the teacher can not do her job effectively with so many kids in the class. They are required by law to offer the LRE or least restrictive environment to your son, and if you thrown around "denail of FAPE" (free appropriate public education), they should get the idea. I would probably set up a meeting with the principal and express all of your concerns BEFORE the meeting and tell her that you want to see those documents BEFORE the meeting. Let this person know that you are frustrated and you've started to wonder if you're going to have to seek outside recourse if they can not offer your son FAPE, which includes an experienced teacher who is consistent and fair to your son. I'd probably also insist that the VP apologize for his childish behavior, but that's just me. I've found that sometimes you have to be a complete b**** to make sure that your child is taken care of. Don't mess with mama bear!
One last thing, if you have time, you should volunteer at the school. Make yourself know and seen. It's unfortunate, but the more involved you are, the more attention your son will get. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
You might also want to consider having his twin in the same room next year. I can understand why you would want them to be in different classes, but your son could use the extra support, and you'd also have a built in spy - and the teacher might think twice about their actions knowing this.



twinplets
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12 May 2011, 1:26 pm

We are thinking about having his twin in the same class. It has its benefits, but it also has drawbacks. They were together in preschool, but I separated them in Kindy due to competition between them at that time. They actually don't play togather that often at recess. My NT son is a very Type A, put a lot of pressure on himself type of kid. His teachers the last two years call him honest Abe as he thinks he is always in trouble. (He is never in trouble and got the Principal's award last year.) I don't want comparisions made in the classroom. Plus, my NT son is already fielding questions about why his brother is so "weird". It bothers him and he hates to see his twin in trouble. I think it bothers him more than his brother.

Next year is even more difficult because he will have two main teachers, as well as his specials teachers. They give them one teacher for Math and Science and another for English and Reading. I know one of the 4th grade Math/Science teachers. We go to church with her. She just returned to teaching last year after taking off for kids. She is about my age. 39/40. She is a wonder with kids. She is a very hands on type of teacher. I only live a few blocks away from the school and pass it anytime I leave the neighborhood. She is always doing something outside. One day she was teaching them about energy with a football. I think he would enjoy her class and she knows him from church. She has sat behind us at church and told us about a niece who has AS and how she has now graduated and done very well. The problem is everyone wants in her class. She plays DJ at school dances and is just the most fun teacher ever. I have no idea about the other 4th grade teachers as of now.

I do volunteer at the school. They know me! I have five kids there. Twins and Triplets. The Principal says I always remind her of her Mom as she was one of six kids. I volunteer there. I was room Mom for my AS son's class last year, but wanted my NT son to get a trun, so I did his class this year. I also go on field trips, do environmental day, etc. I am not on the PTA board and go everyday to the school though. I know all those Moms and they have asked me, but I find the fundraising and other stuff irritating.

I think my biggest mistake is being too nice. These are really nice people. I have 5 kids there and want to play nice, but I am very irritated and am pretty much convinced I am going to have to have my face up the teacher's behind next year. Also, I don't think the special ed teacher really has any special ed training. Just as his teacher this year was a regular teacher waiting for a classroom, I suspect we have another instance of this. Maybe a few short inservice days, but overall she seems clueless, but she doesn't want to get the district specialists involved.

Also, I get that no matter why, he kicked another student. I didn't get angry about the ISS. My issues is that the teacher has shot down every solution I thought of to try all school year, offers nothing in return and then the resource teacher decided to teach him to tolerate it for 3 weeks and then lets it go. This has been going on with him for over a year. Last year, they couldn't help because he wasn't a special ed student. This year he is under an IEP, we heard about all these wonderful tools to help him and that is the best they can come up with?



psychohist
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12 May 2011, 2:37 pm

twinplets wrote:
Does anyone ahve any suggestions on what I need to be asking for in his IEP for next year?

It sounds from your post like the school basically ignored the IEP this year. It sounds to me like the main thing it would be beneficial to change is to make sure the IEP is something the school can and will achieve.



twinplets
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12 May 2011, 2:54 pm

Yes, I have realized I played too nice this year. It was such a relief to get him diagnosed and all last year they said they couldn't help him because he wasn't under the special education umbrella. When our report from the district had pages of recommendations in his report and they made several in his IEP, I thought it would be a lot easier. Plus, te disctrict offers all these great parent education classes and even a support group. I thought they had their at together. Like I said, I was niave on the school's ability to implement any of it.



psychohist
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12 May 2011, 3:21 pm

duplicate post



Last edited by psychohist on 12 May 2011, 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

psychohist
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12 May 2011, 3:22 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean you necessarily had to be less than nice about it. More persistence might help, but maybe there are also ways to set things up so it will be easier for the school to implement them. There has to be a way to get your child the resource room breaks without his having to remember or its being too much of a burden on the teacher.

If you don't decide to put both twins in the same class, maybe you can get the school to put your spectrum child with the more kid friendly teacher, and your neurotypical child with the other teacher, since you're going to have one child in each class anyway. That's something the school ought to be able to accommodate without any extra effort on their part. Maybe you can get some control over which reading/english teacher he gets, too. That's the kind of thing I'm thinking of - things that will help your son, but that don't take effort that the school will be reluctant to expend.



twinplets
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12 May 2011, 4:08 pm

For what it is worth. I think more of the problem is with our actual elementary school than the district. They are wonderful, as long as your kid is typical. Otherwise, forget it. My friend recently had her daughter diagnosed with dyslexia. She too goes to our elementary school. Prior, she was happy at our school. Now, after only a couple of months, she is ready to ask for a transfer. That is how much she hates the dyslexia teacher. She says she is a waste of time. We have a very good school district. Our city has made news article lists as one of the fastest growing suburbs in the country. Our school system is why people who transfer here choose our suburb in the metroplex. We have 5 high schools currently and all but 1 were built in the last 12 years. The high school athletics are very pampered. Each of the high school's football teams have a 60 yard , air conditioned/heated, indoor training field. That is just to practice on. Even the high school bands each have their own very nice, painted in each school colors, 18 wheeler to haul equipment around. Now the district is worried because the state has a shortfall and wants to cut funding, which would hurt our district a lot due to how fast our city is growing. We have to build new schools almost every year. So far, some of the proposed cuts is to special ed personnel, but nothing was mentioned about athletics. Gag! My friend knows someone ho works at the high school we feed into. She told her, unfortunately the parents who come in and know their stuff get more. I don't plan on being mean, but I don't want to be niave either.



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12 May 2011, 7:04 pm

What a perfect example of the system setting him up to fail.

What the bloody blazing hell is 'think track'? Who invented this torture option? Making an autistic kid walk in circles for 3/4 of an hour to think about what they did wrong without explaining it to them... I'm sure that a depression era Catholic school nun must have been involved here. They are relying on divine intervention to teach. I'm sorry but WTF?!

All around your school team gets a D-. At least they showed up to class but they show poor initiative, poor study and implementation skills, a poor grasp of concepts and a lack of creativity. But I'll bet their handwriting is nice. Personally, I'd send the principle to summer school - he not only showed poor judgement but he obviously didn't even pick up the book on the subject during the entire school year.

Overall, an excellent example of NT teachers struggling to teach their 'inborn instincts' without regard for the learning style or needs of their student. They are not teachers. They are not advocates - I don't care how many charity walks they participate in or how many puzzle ribbons are on their cars. A teacher is first and foremost a student, they must be willing to learn. The moment they act as if they have all the answers and start imposing them on their charges they turn into... man, there isn't even an analogy sufficent for this.

You have the right to review and amend your son's IEP at any time during the school year it is in effect. It isn't a 'once and done' deal. As you are now a victim of, getting it right the first time is highly suggested because getting all these people together repeatedly is nearly impossible in some places. I would suggest going in with an honest and unemotional review of what worked and didn't work in the past school year. Address the specific behaviors that were poorly addressed in the classroom. Copy this to all the people in the meeting beforehand if possible and email her and the principle every day before the meeting and keep requesting the preliminary IEP. Resend it from your original email so you have a clear chain dated requests. If you do not get that copy before the meeting email the district office and ask for their intervention. don't threaten them with advocates or lawyers BUT, if you can find an autism advocate in your area, use them! You cn inform them 24 hours before the meeting that you are adding your advocate to the meeting.

Basics needs for autistic students need to be met. Sorry, they don't get to say no - it's federal law. Know the law and don't be afraid to use it.

http://idea.ed.gov/explore/home

Good luck, mom! Sic 'em!



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13 May 2011, 1:01 am

Wow. It was frustrating just reading it .. and I don't even know what some of those methods mean! Must be an American strategy? I like this quote:

Quote:
You have the right to review and amend your son's IEP at any time during the school year it is in effect. I would suggest going in with an honest and unemotional review of what worked and didn't work in the past school year. Address the specific behaviors that were poorly addressed in the classroom.


Keep it positive and informative and avoid blame. No one wants to hear what mistakes they've made.Explain why a situation didn't work out (objectively) and make a concrete suggestion as to what will work instead. Use the IEP plan to your advantage. If a plan is unattainable, change it. Have them put the CHANGES in writing.

IEP suggestions,

Under the heading: Priority Goal: Behaviour (goal #1)
1) Seating arrangement:
Discuss a permanent seating area. Explain what will/won't work and why. If your son is unable to manage his discomfort with students bumping into his desk, it's unfair to put them in harms way, until he develops that skill. When safety is an issue, you'll be amazed at what teachers will agree to. Consider it a preventative measure.

2) Line-ups:
Sounds silly to add into a plan but it's another safety issue. Your son can't be pulling on student's hoodies. Push the "safety" card. They're likely to listen, especially when it's written in a document. You might also mention that if they're not following the IEP and a student gets hurt (ie: in a line-up) then you will dispute any consequence given. In the event that they do, document the situation, see if they can ammend it (take away the consequence) and contact the board if it's not corrected.

3) Brain/body Breaks:
No less than 3 per day. One in the morning, one after recess, and one after lunch. If he likes drawing cartoons, have him do that. As long as it's a brain and/or motor break though. This will lessen his frustrations/overload. Isn't there a Support Worker in the class to monitor his breaks? Maybe he can take one after the teacher has explained a new lesson. For example, after recess they have math and science, before lunch. When he's finished math and after the teacher explains the science assignment, have him go for a break then. Just an idea.

* I would add what APPROPRIATE strategies they can use when he is breaking the "hands-off" policy.. which seems to be the only rule he is getting in trouble for.

Under the heading: Priority Goal: Social (goal #2)
This is where you can implement strategies around social skills. You mentioned he's in a social group? I'd continue that. Is there a buddy system you can utilize or create? Does he have friends he plays with at recess/lunch? Is he involved in any games/activities at recess/lunch? This is where he can transfer the skills he's learning in the social skills class.

Under the heading: Priority Goal: Academic (goal #3)
Whatever academic support he needs.


Think track for 40 minutes??? For a 3rd grader? I would have reported that. It is not acceptable at all. I would mention that in the IEP meeting as well. Discuss what a fair consequence for an AS child will be and ensure that they stick to the agreement. Have them assure to you that this 40 min tracking will not happen again. Sounds like a time-out, cool-down. If so, they should the very least go according to the minutes of his age.. which would be 9 minutes. For AS, I would reduce that further to his developmental age.

As for the goals, you are part of the TEAM. This meeting is a COLLABORATIVE meeting, which means, the goals are created with you PRESENT. Sometimes teachers like to write up a draft to bring to the table but not always so. In fact, I think that only happened once for us in 5 years. What usually happens with us, is that AT THE MEETING we create the goals together. Then when the meeting is over, the teacher or resource teacher will write up a draft copy of the IEP plan. She sends us a copy for review. If there are any changes that need to be made, I can request those changes before it becomes a plan. Sometimes parents need time to think about the goals.

Also, if you have any issues with the teacher, it's best to set up an appointment with her. Emailing, dropping by, writing notes is not assertive enough. Get her 100% attention to show how important that situation is to you. Keep in mind, (I know this first hand) teachers and parents don't mix. You'd be surprised at all of the ill-willed assumptions that are being made against the parents (on a daily basis) when it's uncalled for. The common consensus is that they are university graduates and know better than you. If your child isn't up to speed, it's because of your parenting skills. If your child has special needs, then you must be unable to manage at home. I hate to sound rude or mean but I hear it daily.. and as a "fact" rather than pure speculation. I often have to bite my tongue.



twinplets
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13 May 2011, 8:14 am

After school yesterday, I called the principal to talk to her about my son's teacher placement for next year. She had someone in her office, so I just left her a messgae. All I said is that I wanted to talk to her about something before my son's IEP next week. Well, low and behold at 7PM last night I get sent proposed goals from the special ed teacher and the speech therapist. I guess the principal must have thought that was what I wished to talk about. My husband and I have always planned on getting together and figuring out what we were happy/unhappy with about this year and sending it out to everyone. My husband is a bank examiner. He is very fact based and has experience in many uncomfortable board of director's meetings. He is very good at this stuff. We both go to these meetings. However, we have been bombarded with sickness in our home for two week. I ended up catching everything and felling like death, so we haven't gotten to do it yet, but hopefully, we'll get to it this weekend.

We plan on looking over their proposed goals this weekend and making adjustments. Here is what the special ed wrote up on my son and her proposed goals:

XXXX is a third grader and in his first year of being in the resource/content mastery program. XXXX is in social group for 20 minutes a day. XXXX expresses that he loves role playing to learn a new skill. We have been doing video modeling with XXXX with some success. He seems to enjoy writing social stories together and recording the video modeling. XXXX does get upset with others that touch him or his things. XXXX is working on calming strategies that all teachers use with him, such as squeezing the lemons (hands), taking a deep breaths, using “I” statements, and coming to the resource room to calm down. XXXX needs sensory breaks roughly every couple of hours depending on the day. Currently XXXX is jumping on a small trampoline, playing basketball, and using exercise bands to help with this. XXXX also likes to have a desensory time as well. He will usually sit on a bean bag and read quietly or cartoon draw for five minutes. XXXX will tend to rush through his work in order to read a book even if this means he has to redo the work because of errors. We are working on helping XXXX slow down and do it correctly the first time. We will be collecting data on the goals below but we will be working on anything else that XXXX may need in order for him to be successful.

In 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will be able to use “I” statements such as “I am mad at you for touching my desk.” when he is upset 3 out of 4 times every grading period.

In 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will be able to use his calming strategies (squeezing the lemons, deep breathing, getting a drink of water, and/or removing himself from the situation) when upset to calm himself down within 3 minutes 3 out of 4 times every grading period.


In 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will be able to follow a two step teacher directive with no more than one visual or verbal prompt within 30 seconds 3 out of 4 trials every grading period.

In 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will be able to complete given assignments with effort (neat handwriting and checking answers for accuracy) in 3 out of 4 observations on four consecutive days every grading period.

She says all of these will be measured through Data and Anecdotal Notes and Through Teacher Observations. She write up how he needs these braks, but he only gets them if remembers them. Any ideas on how we can ensure he gets his breaks this year? I hate how she talks about teh video monitoring. She made a big deal about it in last year's IEP. However, the school took the resource room's video camera away the beginning of Nov. for someone else to have. She finally got one back in April. It was gone most of the year. Plus, no other teachers work on him with those calming strategies. He learns them in social group and the teachers are too busy, so they just have him start pulling his clip.

The Speech Therapists Goals are these.

Here is her write up:

XXXX is currently a third grader participating in speech therapy with an emphasis on pragmatic language. As reflected in his progress towards his goals, XXXX is able to use inference skills to identify basic emotions. He is able to identify 5 characteristics of bullies and 5 characteristics of friends. He is able to independently name the following strategies to assist in making sense in conversations with peers (space, eye contact, nod, statements of encouragement, expression). He can independently name the following strategies to assist in starting conversations with peers (prepare ahead, ask yourself what you are going to say, time it right, start with hello and watch nonverbal signals). He can identify behaviors in others that would be considered expected or unexpected with 100% accuracy. He can independently implement the following strategies to assist in making sense in conversations with peers (space, eye contact, nod, statements of encouragement, expression) by demonstrating use of strategies with 60% accuracy. We will continue to work on interrupting behavior and strategies to assist in making sense in conversations as those goals were not met. XXXX is ready to begin work on using expected and unexpected behaviors during role playing activities, and during normal classroom interactions. XXXX will benefit from work on conversational manners. His current levels are: appropriate use of turn taking - 40%; making appropriate interjections – 10%; staying on topic – 30%; making transitions – 30%

Her goals for him this year are:

Within 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will use behaviors that are expected during role playing activities in the speech classroom in 4/5 trials when probed 2 times over a 9 week period.


Within 36 instructional weeks, in the speech classroom, XXXX will recognize unexpected behaviors in himself and express ways to make those behaviors expected 4/5 trials when probed 2 times over a 9 week period.

Within 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will independently implement the following strategies to assist in making sense in conversations with peers (space, eye contact, nod, statements of encouragement, expression) 70% of the time during speech class as judged by the speech therapist, when probed 2 times in functional daily situations.

Within 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will use appropriate conversational manners (turn taking, making interjections, staying on topic and making transition) 75% of the time during speech class as judged by the speech therapist when probed 2 times over a 9 week period.

Within 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will interrupt his peers or the teacher in the speech classroom no more than one time in a 30 minute session with no cues or reminders from the speech teacher as measured over 3 consecutive speech sessions.

My main problem I can tell right away from the speech therapist's goals is that last year, she had his goals measurable with her observing him doing them on the playground or in the classroom. She didn't hit all her goals with Paul this year. So now all her goals for next year are to be measured in her speech class. This year, he only had one other student with him in his speech class. He does pretty good one on one. Plus, most of the time I asked him about speech class, he would tell me of a different teacher that actually worked with them, who was an aide. I asked him what happened to Mrs. S, who is the speech teacher and he told me she is usually typing on the computer while they have their lesson, so it doesn't seem as if the speech therapist was doing most of the classes. This is the same complaint my friend has about the dyslexia teacher.

So any comments or suggestions?



psychohist
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13 May 2011, 2:19 pm

To be honest, it sounds to me like the problem was mostly specific not just to the school, but to the classroom teacher, who didn't seem to want to understand why your son was behaving as he did.

twinplets wrote:
XXXX is a third grader and in his first year of being in the resource/content mastery program. XXXX is in social group for 20 minutes a day. XXXX expresses that he loves role playing to learn a new skill. We have been doing video modeling with XXXX with some success. He seems to enjoy writing social stories together and recording the video modeling. XXXX does get upset with others that touch him or his things. XXXX is working on calming strategies that all teachers use with him, such as squeezing the lemons (hands), taking a deep breaths, using “I” statements, and coming to the resource room to calm down. XXXX needs sensory breaks roughly every couple of hours depending on the day. Currently XXXX is jumping on a small trampoline, playing basketball, and using exercise bands to help with this. XXXX also likes to have a desensory time as well. He will usually sit on a bean bag and read quietly or cartoon draw for five minutes. XXXX will tend to rush through his work in order to read a book even if this means he has to redo the work because of errors. We are working on helping XXXX slow down and do it correctly the first time. We will be collecting data on the goals below but we will be working on anything else that XXXX may need in order for him to be successful.

Do you and your son think this is accurate? It doesn't seem too bad to me.

Quote:
In 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will be able to use “I” statements such as “I am mad at you for touching my desk.” when he is upset 3 out of 4 times every grading period.

In 36 instructional weeks, XXXX will be able to use his calming strategies (squeezing the lemons, deep breathing, getting a drink of water, and/or removing himself from the situation) when upset to calm himself down within 3 minutes 3 out of 4 times every grading period.

I am somewhat skeptical of calming strategies for handling the desk touching thing. I don't think that, for an aspie, this is fundamentally an anger management issue. It's more of a personal space issue. Ultimately you want to prevent the anger, not have the anger happen and have to handle it.

I actually think the two approaches that have been used are reasonable. The desensitization technique could work if your son could come to see the desk as part of the communal property of school rather than as an extension of his personal space. Moving the desk to where it isn't likely to be accidentally brushed by passers would be a good solution if it didn't make it difficult for your son to see. The problem is the side effects. Maybe putting his desk against the side of the room instead of against the back of the room could work.

I wonder if you could get the special ed person to check on the desk arrangements and other solutions used in the regular classroom.

Quote:
She write up how he needs these braks, but he only gets them if remembers them. Any ideas on how we can ensure he gets his breaks this year?

I wouldn't agree to the "only if he remembers" part. He needs actually to get the breaks, unless he himself thinks he doesn't need one. Ideally, you'd get a classroom teacher who would make the time to tell him he can take the break, but if the classroom teachers are overworked, that's unreliable. Is it at all realistic for the special ed teacher can go to the classroom and get him for his breaks? Maybe that's something to ask about.

Quote:
I hate how she talks about teh video monitoring. She made a big deal about it in last year's IEP. However, the school took the resource room's video camera away the beginning of Nov. for someone else to have. She finally got one back in April. It was gone most of the year. Plus, no other teachers work on him with those calming strategies. He learns them in social group and the teachers are too busy, so they just have him start pulling his clip.

Is the video camera in the resource room, or the classroom? Could you get the classroom teachers to start informing the special ed teacher whenever they need to intervene? I'm thinking that if the special ed teacher can give him some quiet time for cooldown, that might be more effective than the torture track thing. Of course, for all I know, maybe he doesn't mind walking around in circles.

Quote:
My main problem I can tell right away from the speech therapist's goals is that last year, she had his goals measurable with her observing him doing them on the playground or in the classroom. She didn't hit all her goals with Paul this year. So now all her goals for next year are to be measured in her speech class. This year, he only had one other student with him in his speech class. He does pretty good one on one. Plus, most of the time I asked him about speech class, he would tell me of a different teacher that actually worked with them, who was an aide. I asked him what happened to Mrs. S, who is the speech teacher and he told me she is usually typing on the computer while they have their lesson, so it doesn't seem as if the speech therapist was doing most of the classes. This is the same complaint my friend has about the dyslexia teacher.

The biggest issue I see with the speech therapy goals is that they target a neurotypical communication style that may not be realistically achievable for an aspie. Eye contact, expression, and watching nonverbal signals are typically persistent aspie weak points, and things we have to work around rather than try to learn. I do think the conversational manners items are pretty good. The goal shouldn't be to get him to behave just like everyone else; it should be to get him to behave in a manner that results in acceptable interactions with everyone else, even if he ends up being seen as quirky.

For example, I'm skeptical of the expected/unexpected behavior breakdown. Can the unexpected behaviors be divided into acceptable ones ones - like unexpectedly changing the subject - and unnacceptable ones, like pulling on other peoples' hoodies, and then the focus be only on reducing the unacceptable behavior? Or does this go beyond the speech therapist's purview?

I think it's reasonable to have realistic goals, and maybe last year's goals were not realistic. The question is, what will be better for your son, getting a high rate of success in a controlled environment this year, and taking it to the classroom next year, or focusing on the rate in the classroom and accepting a lower rate this year, hoping that it will rise next year. I think if the speech therapist is only dealing with speech, then focusing on the speech class may be the right thing to do; many aspies are better, as you say, one on one, and a major coping mechanism is to try to break down more of our interactions to one on one interactions. However, if the speech therapist is supposed to deal with all interactions - like, again, the hoodies thing - then that's going to be hard to identify within the speech classroom.

Quote:
So any comments or suggestions?

The only other thing I notice is that these plans don't seem to address the most critical issues, specifically interactions in the regular classroom. Asperger isn't a deficiency that can be alleviated by tutoring; it's part of how the person is, and it inherently affects the person throughout the day. The accommodations to be used in the regular classroom are the most important part of the IEP, in my opinion. They need to be things that will actually help - as this past year's would have had they actually been implemented - and they need to be things that can actually be implemented in a regular teacher's busy schedule, which hasn't happened this past year. Don't give up on those.

And, of course, still see if you can get some control over which teachers he gets.



Teebst
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13 May 2011, 2:21 pm

Wow. Is this really what it is like dealing with the public school system?