Friday, January 25, 2013

Go In With Solutions

As you may remember, our last IEP meeting- which was supposed to produce a BIP- was... well, a disaster. I had requested to get the eval info ahead of time, but the school psych wanted us to "hammer it out in the meeting" and didn't send anything, so I went in with no info. When I saw the info, I realized I still had no info. What they called "data" was nothing of the sort- and even the interpretations and notes provided were basically "variable- variable-variable"- in other words, they failed to note any pattern in Joey's behavior. Which, of course, makes no sense and is completely useless when trying to figure out how to intervene. The only thing suggested looked to me like a data collection they should have been doing in the first place, trying to learn to read Joey emotionally by checking on his well-being regularly. This isn't an intervention. There was no plan for what to do if he had another meltdown.

I have been feeling like an idiot ever since. And I didn't sign that waste of time. I need to get together a letter about why.

And as I mull that letter, I struck upon an idea I should have remembered when I went to the meeting in the first place: I need to provide solutions. I need to state what I think needs to happen, what I want an intervention to look like, what services I believe are required should there be another issue. I need to be clear that suspending him is not appropriate. That when he is so overwhelmed that he loses skills and control of his mouth and his behavior, what needs to happen to calm him, guide him, and help him. We need a clear understanding that screaming obscenities is not OK in a classroom, but we also need to be sure we are doing what is needful to not let things get that far. What are the red flags, and what can be done for each one? What should be done so that you avoid escalation?

And since no one was interested in doing that at the meeting, obviously I need to do it myself. They can then try to tell me no.


farmwifetwo said...

Before Xmas, the spec ed teacher asked me at the high school tour when I knew my eldest had had enough. Due to his IEP for social skills etc he's still one of theirs even though he's taking academic (Univ entry level courses).

I said "when the filters vanish".

She accepted that, no ifs, buts or... that's what they would look for and he'd go to the resource or guidance rooms.

Mine passes for normal. Mine just had a redo of all his psychometric/speech etc testing that came back "some audio processing still going on (before it was major) and crappy social skills". Otherwise "all normal".

If they can take that "behaviour" as a sign that things are not going well for mine and remove him from the situation to a safe place, they should be accepting it for yours.

Katie said...

Yes, unfortunately it sounds like with your district/school, you will need to come in with solutions. It seems like they aren't trained/equipped to handle students like Joey, and if they aren't trained for it, all the frustration and unfairness and anger in the world can't change it. Coming in with solutions, or ideas for solutions, might.

Why isn't the para receiving better training? Isn't she with Joey all of the time - why isn't she picking up on any of this? May be time to request a new para, if she isn't able to recognize red flags that you feel are very bright? I don't mean this antagonistically, but seriously.

Have you tried additional lawyers yet? I still think reaching out to your pediatricians office or KK for names of lawyers who excel in this field would be beneficial. These issues at school are only going to get significantly worse as Joey gets older and bigger. It is only a matter of time until somebody god forbid truly gets hurt and it does not sound like your school is taking that particularly seriously. It's unfortunate.

Joeymom said...

Ah, the Para Dance. Last year, they hired a lady with lots of fancy degree, but no autism experience. It was a DISASTER. What good are all those degrees if you aren't going to do what the teacher asks you to do? Especially if those degrees are specific for autistic kids? Just because you think social skills lessons are "silly", doesn't mean you get to skip them and check your email.

To replace her this year, they went the entire other way- they hired a young lady fresh out of college, with no experience in education or special ed at ALL. And she just appeared one Monday morning, no warning. She is doing what she can, but Joey is the first student she's ever had.

So yeah, we are working on the lawyer thing. :P

Katie said...

Clicked back on this accidentally and realized more and more that there is a lot of strange things going on. A BIP shouldn't be developed at an IEP meeting; similarly, an IEP meeting shouldn't be called to develop an BIP. Signing anything at an IEP meeting, whether the IEP attendence form or an FNR, only means that you were present, not that you agree with whatever is presented. Someone should have made that clear.

It's possible that their data shows no pattern and no trend ("variable - variable - variable"). That would just mean that whatever they're seeing at school is not the same as what you're seeing at home -- happens with almost all students.

But a good BIP should take into account all of the things you mentioned -- it should have "low" "medium" and "severe" intensity behaviors, and what the school, and who ,ideally, is going to do for each one. In other words, exactly what you said - red flags and how they will be handled, or how they will be used to avoid escalation. A good BIP should also include a section on adaptive skills being taught to address and replace the behaviors targeted in the BIP on all levels.

And perhaps most of all, legally, any BIP should have "official" monitoring taking place every ten weeks, to which you, as parent, should be invited to (however - two points to note - 1, unless it's not working (meaning data indicate an increase in the last ten weeks) it's unlikely to be more then a ten minute meeting, and 2, if you can't make it, there's no obligation on the school's end to reschedule).

I hate to say it, but I still think the lawyer's your best bet, no matter how well intentioned this school is....