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Smelena
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18 Mar 2008, 3:23 pm

jaleb wrote:
OMG!! !! !

Does he have a schedule at school??? As to what to do on what day?? Poor kid, how traumatic that must have been. :cry:


He has a schedule which I have discussed a million times with the classroom teacher.

I have e-mailed her copies a few times this week.

I have discussed with his classroom teacher several times that he is frequently confused about where to go. He gets so stressed he can't get it together to read his timetable.

Regular mix-ups after school occur - I have discussed this a million times with his teacher.

In his IEP (which is being ignored) he is supposed to have teacher aide support at the beginning and end of the day to organise his belongings. This teacher aide is supposed to be helping to train him to improve his organisation skills.

In the past, both my 7 and 9 year old sons have mixed up their after school schedule. They've turned up to after school care when they were supposed to get the bus. Or they've gone on the bas when they were supposed to go to after school care. On these occasions other parents have been at the bus stop and phoned me.

This latest mix-up after school was the most serious.

Last year during our IEP meeting the school advised me that the IEP was a legal document and if they didn't follow it I should ring them to 'kick their butt'. This was said jokingly by last year's SEC teacher (he was fantastic). I was also told that if the IEP wasn't followed there was a complaint process I could go through.

I don't want to waste my time complaining - I want to get on with raising my kids and having fun.

But it's beyond a joke now - the lack of support is seriously impacting on my sons' mental health, our family life, and their safety.

Anyway, off to the school again to complain again.


Helen



Smelena
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18 Mar 2008, 7:59 pm

I have a meeting with the Principal tomorrow to discuss my formal complaint.

I'll keep you posted.

Helen



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18 Mar 2008, 9:07 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
I am sorry to read all the frustrations you have had to go through. It is a very good letter, and a sad read. It sounds like this teacher is totally focused on acedemics, without understanding how so many things interact with our children. Sure, they seem to do well acedemically, they are smart. But they also run a real danger of getting so frustrated they start retreating inside themselves and tuning it all out.

I believe our special education teacher deals with more than 14 children. Someone good at their job would handle it without any issues. 30 years experience or not, she is not the right support person for your unique children.


I think a major part of the problem might very well be her "experience." Older Special Ed teachers were not given any training or education in the necessity of integrating social and emotional needs into academics, it was all focused on getting kids to their best possible academic performance. This was because, at that time, there was little understanding of the importance of social and emotional development in integration with academics, and, consequently, no training and education on such matters. They were also not educated or training in AS, many learning disabilities, or a lot of other conditions that are now common knowledge and well-known.

This is why I believe younger Special Ed teachers are often better for kids nowadays, as much as I hate to say something like that considering my own parents are retired teachers. But they admit all of this and say they could have done a much better job with many students that they now know had to have had AS or LD or what have you. There was just no knowledge or training. I realize there are some older SE teachers for which this isn't true and some younger ones who might as well be older ones. But, for the most part, I'd rather my AS son have younger, more modern SE teachers. The only ones I've ever had trouble with all throughout his schooling (he's in high school now) have been the older teachers. Every single time. I cringe inwardly whenever he has a teacher older than early forties.

I remember my own experience when my severe learning disability (with what we now know as also AS and autistic overlapping tendencies) was finally diagnosed in high school, after years of suffering. The younger teachers were much easier to deal with, but the older ones didn't even want to hear it and refused to even listen to any of the school psychologist's explanations. The same was true of college, with older and younger professors. The pain of that has never gone away, even now, in my forties.


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18 Mar 2008, 9:37 pm

My son has had a mixture of old and young and new and experienced. I'd say about a combined number of 11 teachers (regular and special ed). Age hasn't been the big discriminating factor, but willingness and integrity is. I've had some really stubborn and ignorant young teachers. I've had had teachers that have been around since special ed started and are very flexible.
The best special ed teacher and advocate for my son didn't even fully believe he was autistic. But that didn't stop her from giving him the best she could and fighting for him when he graduated from her program. She was older and used to stereotypically autistic students. Pop was a really different case for her and yet, she worked really hard.

One very young teacher refused to read my son's IEP, if she had, she would have immediately realized that he wasn't in the right program and had been placed in the wrong class. Instead, we had to go over her head and the principal threatened to go to the superintendent of the district to get him in the right class.



Smelena
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19 Mar 2008, 9:22 pm

The meeting went really well this morning.

I'm tired ... will post details about the meeting later.

But I'm confident now that things will be done.

If not, I'm confident I will be looking at changing schools. One of our neighbours has a son who is Autistic who goes to a different Primary School. The parents report they have a couple of excellent Special Ed teachers.

Helen



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20 Mar 2008, 2:45 am

Smelena wrote:
[To teacher] :
Today 7 year old son was supposed to go to after school care. He told me he was confused about where to go this afternoon so he asked you. You advised him it was bus day. 7 year old son got the bus home (his brother went to after school care as per their usual Tuesday schedule). I got a phone call from after school care at 3:30 saying 7 year old son had not arrived. I was at work so phoned my neighbour to go check at the bus stop. No other parents had picked up their children at the bus stop that day. Daniel had got off the bus and was stressed that no-one was there. When my neighbour found him, he was walking in the middle of the road up a hill. It is a curved road and traffic comes flying down the hill. My neighbour said 7 year old son was upset. 7 year old son told my neighbour he was going to go to one of the houses and tell the people there to drive him home. We don't know the people in this house.
That reminds me of the time my mother had to drive me at short notice to the county hospital at lunchtime. She left messages with the head and my teacher at the school to tell my little sister to stay at school for lunch, and not go home.

She was not told.

I will never never forget arriving back home from the hospital around 2 o'clock and seeing my little sister sitting on the front door step crying because she thought we were all dead. She had walked home as if she had been with me, a little puzzled that I wasn't there. She had found all the doors locked, had gone round the back and looked at the kitchen clock through the window to check that it was the usual time, and she had waited. And she had decided that we must all have died.

:(



Last edited by ouinon on 20 Mar 2008, 6:29 am, edited 3 times in total.

AussieBoy
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20 Mar 2008, 6:11 am

Whoops - my 9 year old son (AussieBoy) was logged in. I'll re-post under my name.

Helen / Smelena



Smelena
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20 Mar 2008, 6:14 am

I had the meeting this morning with the Principal and Vice Principal. I love the Principal - she has only taken over the role 3 weeks ago. The previous Principal was weak. The new Principal was a Vice Principal last year and she was excellent. If any of the teachers stepped out of line she was in there fighting for my sons.

(The Principal has a daughter with ADHD and says she understands all the crap I go through.)

I got to talk first. I said I was extremely disappointed that the huge gains we made last year with the previous, excellent Special Ed have all disappeared and the boys have reverted to former behaviours. They are displaying violence towards each other and me, cannot get themselves dressed or breakfasted in the morning like they used to, are having frequent meltdowns etc

With the gains we made last year, they were having meltdowns maybe 1/fortnight and they weren't too bad. ALso, they were getting more independent and organised with dressing, feeding and bathing themselves.

I told them the Special Ed teacher lacked skills/knowledge into Asperger's children. I told her she had the flawed idea that because my children are not disruptive in class, that they don't need support. I said that the children need support with ongoing learning of skills in emotion management; learning organisation skills; and breaks from the sensory overload.

I told them the classroom teachers also had the flawed idea that non-disruptive children don't need support. I stated that my children internalise their anxiety and sensory overload and let it out at home.

I told them that basic management of Asperger's is this: When you've got it right (as we did last year with former fantastic Special Ed teacher) you know you are providing the correct support. You do not withdraw the support.

With withdrawl of support, the boys are really suffering. I am back having to dress them for school, closely supervise meals. I stated that I now consider it will be a luxury when the boys can dress themselves again.

The boys have been transferred to another new special ed teacher who starts in 4 weeks time.

Even so, I was not prepared to forget about the poor management by their current Special Ed teacher. I stated certain conditions needed to be met, or I would go on to the next step in the ladder with a formal complaint. I have the IEP, a legal document, which is not being followed. I have copies of all the e-mails I sent and received. I am in a strong position to build a case.

However, I do not want to waste my valuable time and energy pursuing a formal complaint to the Education Department. I stated I want the current special ed teacher to undergo further training in Asperger's. I also wanted the Principal to spend time with her outlining what has happened with our family. I want her to know how wrong she got it, and the suffering my sons are experiencing. (I don't want to meet with her because I'll probably beat her up )

The Principal agreed she would discuss with the Special Ed teacher the impact her poor management has had on our family. The school will pay for our sons' psychologist to come out and give inservice training to staff, including the Special Ed teacher and classroom teachers.

The Principal is excellent. She sorted out problems we had last year with a crappy classroom teacher. She spent a lot of time counselling him/training him and he actually ended up doing a reasonable job with my 9 year old son.

I was honest in the meeting and stated that I absolutely trust the school Principal and she has shown in the past that she has big ovaries and will fight for my children.

I told the Vice Principal that she has not shown the same willingness/ability to get stuck in a fight for my children. I told her she should take lessons from the Principal. I think she got my point!

I stated that I was tired of meaningless reassurances. For example I have been talking to my 7 year old son's teachers (they job share) for 2 weeks, saying I've been concerned that he's really struggling at home. They have been reassuring me that he's doing great. Yesterday the Principal went to investigate and they told her he's been having 1-2 meltdowns per day in class and is really struggling.

I told them that meaningless reassurances are condescending and harmful to optimal management of my sons.

The Principal said she would get the teachers in and discuss the importance of open and honest communication.

I stated that I can not continue to waste my time with my sons being poorly managed. I said I strongly suspect my 4 year old son also has Asperger's and I will not get him to attend the current school unless things improve dramatically.

I stated that I know of another local school that has an excellent reputation for management of Aspie/Autistic children. It will be hard changing schools in the short-term, but I cannot risk my sons' long-term welfare.

We will meet again in 2 weeks so the Principal can report what action she's taken.

In the meantime, I've withdrawn my 7 year old son for 1 week - he's going to my parent place for a holiday.

My 9 year old son is getting heaps of individual project time. They've set him projects that appeal to him and he's spending time by himself in the computer lab to work. He's been so happy about starting project time. The project time was organised last week by the Principal (she only started as the Principal last week). Within 2 hours of me letting her know about what's been happening, she'd organised it. Obviously, beyond the Special Ed teacher.

Helen



polarity
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20 Mar 2008, 6:25 am

30 years of experience applying 30 year old ideas.


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20 Mar 2008, 6:41 am

Smelena wrote:
I had the meeting this morning with the Principal and Vice Principal. The Principal has a daughter with ADHD and says she understands all the crap I go through.
I said I was extremely disappointed that the huge gains we made last year have all disappeared and the boys have reverted to former behaviours. They are displaying violence towards each other and me, cannot get themselves dressed or breakfasted in the morning like they used to, are having frequent meltdowns etc .With the gains we made last year, they were having meltdowns maybe 1/fortnight and they weren't too bad. ALso, they were getting more independent and organised with dressing, feeding and bathing themselves. I stated that my children internalise their anxiety and sensory overload and let it out at home; the boys are really suffering. I am back having to dress them for school, closely supervise meals. I stated that I now consider it will be a luxury when the boys can dress themselves again. I want her to know the suffering my sons are experiencing.
The Principal sorted out problems we had last year with a crappy classroom teacher. She spent a lot of time counselling him/training him and he actually ended up doing a reasonable job with my 9 year old son. I've been concerned that the 7 year old is really struggling . They have been reassuring me that he's doing great. Yesterday the Principal went to investigate and they told her he's been having 1-2 meltdowns per day in class and is really struggling. I stated that I can not continue to waste my time with my sons being poorly managed.
I just wonder how long you are prepared to put your sons through this because you want to change the system.
How long do you intend to keep trying before deciding that after all your energy, creativity, time and intelligence would be put to better use homeschooling?

My Dad was a huge fan of John Holt, ( "How children Fail" )and Ivan Illich, ( "Deschooling Society"), but he thought that , as a teacher , he could change the system from the inside, and in the 60s things looked hopeful. So I, who could not change the system, had to go to school....

:(



Last edited by ouinon on 20 Mar 2008, 11:21 am, edited 8 times in total.

polarity
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20 Mar 2008, 6:46 am

Sorry, posted that at the end of the first page.

I think you're doing a great job. My school's entire effort into providing help could be summed up like this: "Dyslexia? Nope."

I think my mum would probably have done the same kind of thing if we'd known about A.S. 30 years ago. Instead she's really helped me get my independance, and get support from the state that failed me back then (I'm useless at form filling/chasing people up on the phone).

I don't understand the deal with school busses. All day at school children are required to be supervised by a certain number of trained adults, to a certain number of children (a legal requirement in many countries), then at the end of the day a few dozen tired and irritable children are crammed into a confined space, where the only adult present has no trianing in looking after children, has their back to them all, and is doing a job where they can't give attention elsewhere.


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LCMom
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20 Mar 2008, 9:59 am

Thank goodness for personnel changes!

You're doing a good job. I like the idea that your son will be out for a while, good time to relax.

Battle on!



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20 Mar 2008, 11:14 am

Great job Helen! Let us know in two weeks how it is going.


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kit000003
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20 Mar 2008, 11:45 am

ouinon wrote:
I just wonder how long you are prepared to put your sons through this because you want to change the system.
How long do you intend to keep trying before deciding that after all your energy, creativity, time and intelligence would be put to better use homeschooling?

My Dad was a huge fan of John Holt, ( "How children Fail" )and Ivan Illich, ( "Deschooling Society"), but he thought that , as a teacher , he could change the system from the inside, and in the 60s things looked hopeful. So I, who could not change the system, had to go to school....

:(


I don't see this as someone wanting to change the system. She had a good system set in place the previous year, it was working and she wants it back. She wants the school to do what it said it would do. It wasn't the system that screwed it up it was one evil special ed teacher (who needs up-to-date training).

Life coping skills are taught at school, even indirectly. Desensitization to crowds. Exposure to social situations that you just don't experience in a homeschool environment. Daily encounters with other children, even if it is not the most comforting thing to an aspergian child, teach them how to act in a way that just telling us can't. Simply figuring out how to concentrate in a room full of people taking a test, ruffling papers and such, is an astounding task. School prepares an Aspergian for the bombardment of work and life crisises that come up once they have to go into the world, more so i think than it does for the NT child.



ouinon
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20 Mar 2008, 12:09 pm

kit000003 wrote:
ouinon wrote:
I just wonder how long you are prepared to put your sons through this because you want to change the system. How long will you keep trying before deciding that after all your energy, creativity, time and intelligence would be put to better use homeschooling?
I don't see this as someone wanting to change the system.

Well, that's what Smelena said she was trying to do, on my thread "Could your child stay home if s/he wanted to? ".

kit000003 wrote:
She had a good system set in place the previous year, it was working and she wants it back.
That wasn't a new system; that was people she had persuaded to take her demands seriously. The system stayed the same, which is precisely why it reverted, like her sons' behaviour, to its previous state as soon as two/three members of staff changed.

kit000003 wrote:
Life coping skills are taught at school, even indirectly.

Not always; not in my case, and in many others' too.

In my case my very own personal unique coping skills, ( my sense of myself and what I wanted, who I was, what was good for me), was removed/withdrawn/stolen from me by school.

For several years, during and after, ( mainly after), I gave a good pretence of being well-adapted as a socially successful, attractive, smoothly organised young woman, who, however, had mysteriously not lived up to her intellectual potential.

Then when I was 27 I read a book that practically forced me to think, to use my brain for something other than socialising for the first time in maybe 15 years, and this awakening provoked a massive breakdown, the loss of those friends, and of the superficial career I had begun in my false/fake life, and the sudden astonished and ecstatic rediscovery of someone/me who loved thinking and had not been able/allowed to for years ( having "spent it all" on a social carapace of impressive glossiness, involving also drink, drugs, sex, an abortion, and financial risktaking, but I was socially successful!! ! ).

:( :cry: :x :( :cry: :evil: :cry:

:? :(



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20 Mar 2008, 1:34 pm

Ouinon, I support Smelena's decision to fight the system, to believe that the principal she trusts will make it right, every bit as much as I support your choice to homeschool. Smelena clearly believes this CAN be made right, or she would be looking at other options. Homeschooling is a wonderful option, but not always the best for every family. I think we should support ALL choices. Make sure parents understand all the choices, absolutely, but some of the harsh words you used in an earlier post (accusing this parent of wasting her time) felt very inappropriate to me. Sell homeschooling, absolutely, it can be wonderful, but don't do it by being negative to something or someone else.

I do understand that the negativity comes from your own experience. That IS valuable for us parents to know. I have looked at many, MANY decisions differently after hearing the personal stories from adult Aspies themselves. But I hope you will give us time to digest and process that information in our own way, without getting frustrated that your suggestions aren't grabbed onto immediately.

I would love to read the books you have suggested sometime. I need to make a note of them.


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