Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mama Bear on the Prowl

I am just not getting the vibes about Andy's eligibility process that I want to be getting. I feel like no one is seeing the behaviors we are concerned about. They keep insisting on testing him the morning, when he is at his brilliant best, instead of in the afternoon when he is All. Over. The. Place. And today I got smacked with, "well, kids act differently at school that at home..." No kidding! But I just spent yesterday morning explaining that when I pick up the child at noon, he is NON-FUNCTIONAL for at least twenty minutes- you cannot speak or make any noise in the car, or he completely melts down. What is he going to do after lunch in a couple of weeks? So they want something from his teacher from last year, to prove this stuff effects him at school. The teacher I've been telling them would regularly answer the question, "How is he?" with "I don't know" because she had another kid in there that was not getting OT and stuff and needed a lot more attention. To her credit, she did go in to school to fill out the last form I had sent over. And the clear statement: without this new form, he doesn't qualify for service in the eyes of the school psychologist.

What does this tell me? I have provided them with letters from a psychiatrist and his occupational therapist, both stating that this child needs support (and the OT even gave recommendation for what support would be helpful.) And they mean to the school exactly Diddly Over Squat. Somehow, this looks really familiar to me. Oh, yeah, they like to ignore my private professionals. After all, they're school folks. Until we can prove that a regular environment is inappropriate, it's appropriate.

Um... huh?

So, like, you can put a child into an inappropriate placement until it is proven inappropriate?

Well, until you are actually in the system under IDEA, the answer is apparently, "yes indeedy!"

So what do you do? Make the school deal with him for a couple of months and see if you don't end up right back at the eligibility table? Because we are very probably looking at one of the school folks fighting us, and we know what happens when school folks fight you at eligibility. Remember, consensus must be reached. I have a bad feeling that I am going to be having a long talk with a teacher who has minimal special ed training before school starts.


Niksmom said...

One word: VIDEO

Get your mom, a neighbor, friend, co-worker to come with you one afternoon and video the interactions and the behaviors. Make sure the video has a date/time stamp, too. Then provide a copy to the school along with written documentation. Request in writing that this video and documentation be made a part of his OFFICIAL school record and copy the Superintendent of the school board (or whomever the top dog is in your system). Indicate that you are providing it as demonstration of his behaviors which come out later in the day.

Then, if you need to, check with COPAA and see if they have someone in your area who can give you legal guidance.

Sending good thoughts your way. xo

sylvia said...

Ouch. In North Carolina, a lot of kids on the spectrum (who can keep it together for part of the day and fall apart at home from working so hard keeping it together at school) are losing their eligibility for many services under an autism diagnosis, but able to keep some services for social skills under the speech/language eligibility requirements. Just another last resort IDEA : )

Good Luck from EmpowerAutism!

farmwifetwo said...

"Can they put a child in a placement that is inappropriate until proven it is inappropriate"...

Yes, and they will and then they will blame it on you and your son and not themselves.

They hate private professionals here too. Yet, they refuse to do it themselves nor give unbiased results because they are part of the 'union'. The only one that tells me the truth is the OT b/c she's paid by OHIP (Health Ins) not the school board.

At the end of Gr 3, I got hit 4 days before the end of school with "your kid was bad all year". I took the weekend and wrote them a letter. Here you can contact Behavioural Supports without school consent. They hate Behavioural more than parents do. I told them they would fix it, put in appropriate social skills teaching or I would see to it was done..... Week before school started my son had 1/4 time support and 2wks in he had a proper token system in place.

Now... I have to do that all over again b/c we have a new VP this fall... I'm not "sucking up" this time... I'm going in the week before school starts with my paperwork from this summer and my expectations in writing... I've had enough.

kristi said...

At some of our IEP's, I had only one or two teachers agreeing with me and the rest were acting like I was crazy.

It took me taking my son to a pediatric neurologist before they would do autism testing at his school.

I say keep fighting, make your voice heard! Perhaps schedule a meeting with the school principal...psychologist and bring your documentation.

Club 166 said...

So, like, you can put a child into an inappropriate placement until it is proven inappropriate?

Well, actually, what they usually wait for is the (who would have thought?) big meltdown in school, which is then treated as a safety/discipline issue, and your child is suspended or expelled.

The only way we hornswaggled our team to paying any attention to our experts was to carefully choose experts who had been consulted by the special school district themself in the past. That and the lawyer at our side made it harder for them to ignore them.


Stimey said...

I am so sorry to hear this. What a nightmare for you. I hate that the schools set these kids up to fail before they give them what they need to succeed. Why do they have to ensure that his first experience in school is going to be frustrating and upsetting? I am so sorry. I am very angry for you.