Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Difference Support Makes

Last spring, we designed Joey's big IEP for the school year. IEPs here are now not school year-to-school year, but are to cover 12 months from implementation. This wasn't a big issue, as Joey had mastered his goals from his previous IEP, so he was ready for new goals and new work. So we thought hard about where we thought he could go between April and April, and wrote it up.

I admit we've had some setbacks since then. Joey's mental health deteriorated significantly. The result was a huge explosion in behaviors to communicate that deterioration, the most significant being downright dangerous. We have had to put a lot of energy into getting him settled in his new school after the disastrously inappropriate summer program. However, all those problems were rooted in poor transition planning and implementation; in other words, lack of appropriate support.

Now we are in a school with no autism specialist, no resource room, none of the things that made Joey's school experience work for him. His teachers are busting their butts trying to figure out how to help him; but that also means they are not spending all the energy on actually helping, they have to spend it on thinking, experimenting, and reinventing the wheel.

I just saw Joey's first official report card. His midterm reports were pretty good, all A's on his academic subjects (which we thought a little odd, to be honest, considering that the teachers were telling us they hadn't been able to provide him any instruction due to behavior issues).

The new C's were not the most startlingly telling thing about this report, however. It was the IEP.

When you have an IEP, part of it is a section evaluating progress towards the goal. The scores are M (mastered), SP (sufficient progress made to complete the goal on time), ES (emerging skill, but may not meet the goal on time), IP (insufficient progress to meet the goal on time), and NI (no instruction provided).

For the May and June reports, where he was in his old school with all his supports, everything was SP.

For the September and November reports, none of them are. NONE. We even have an NI. Two ES. Mostly IP.

That, my friends and readers, is the difference support makes. Remember this as you go into your IEPs, your teacher conferences (even with your non-disabled children), your meetings and plannings and everything else. Support=success. Without it?



farmwifetwo said...

I got that report card - less the A's - last year at this time. Long story very short... I'd been lied to, transitioning was horrendous at best, and new admin at the school on top.

When "classroom participation" is "N" - needs improvement. When it's been on the IEP since K, and the good teachers K and Gr 2 all worked hard at it.... Mama blew a gasket.

He's in special ed - slow learners (he's the first severe, non-verbal ASD child they've ever had), verbal, multiple LD's, low behaviour room - except for the child with Down's, watching, listening to them, you'd have no idea they were "different". Not certain sometimes if I made a mistake or not. BUT, this teacher is doing her best, this one is working hard teaching him, this one is learning all she can about autism, speech delays, Hanen programs, getting equipment etc, this room has 8 kids, 2 aides, and a Teacher - suppot.... sometimes we may not always like where we ended up, but envisioning him sitting in a corner with his EA alone in Gr 4... doesn't appeal either.

Hopefully, you can get it sorted and find appropriate supports and an appropriate placement for him.

Amanda said...

That must be really frustrating, for you, for Joey, and for the teachers. How can they justify that?
I'm going all mama-bear myself at the parent-teacher conferences next week. Mordecai's teacher writes "Good boy!" on his work as though he's a dog (and I'd rather his academic progress not be conflated with his goodness as a person anyway) and while he's flying through the math, he's failing almost every spelling test. When first approached about getting the spelling words on Friday rather than Monday, she said she couldn't do it because she works a second job (THAT pissed me off as a teacher who could NEVER make that excuse to my students as to why I could not help them), but then when I approached her again about having some sort of revisiting of the spelling words every few weeks (he's missing at least half on every test, even with homework and studying, and retains NOTHING after the tests), she said we were welcome to do that on our own if we wanted, but they don't do it there. So he's failing in spelling, feels like a failure, and learns NOTHING. Oh no she didn't!
Can you sue your district?

Joeymom said...

Yes, you can. And with a teacher like that, my butt would be in front of the principal and Sped director so fast it would make the teacher's head spin. GROWL.