Archive for February, 2010

And the draft is here!

After asking in an email to our long-suffering consultant teacher, I got a draft copy of the IEP today. I don’t know if this was a good thing on their part or a bad thing. Good, because it gives me time to go through it, bad, because it gives me a full week to go through it!

Doug saw me run with the white envelope to the “IEP hideaway,” otherwise known as the computer desk, and rip the thing open. I did a quick flip through and noted some quick mistakes and a few other things…but quickly got down to the goals. These were the worst part of last year’s IEP, and I was absolutely expecting nothing less in the areas of academics, OT, and PT. Speech, I’m not too concerned about. There are things that need to be worked on, but it’s not a big deal to me. I guess I’m just more confident in the ability of the SLP to write goals. Weird, huh?

I guess my fear with this year’s goals is that after last year’s “will identify the alphabet” goal and the horribly dropped ball in the OT department as well as the inflexibility of the PT department is that we’ll get another IEP like the horror story that was last year’s. I can’t take that.

The entirety here is that I have a quasi decent IEP. There are a few tweaks, yes, but overall, it’s not so bad.

Are there the usual BS goals? Totally. Where are they?

The OT department.

Prime example (and this is a REAL goal. No, I’m not kidding or lying. I can’t make this crap up.): “Isaac will color within a specific area for a minimum of 10 minutes.”

Yes, you all read that right. A coloring goal. I was most unimpressed.

The sad thing about this is when the last batch of OT mess hit the fan, I specifically said something to the tune of the fact that I didn’t want one coloring goal, because it was garbage and that training coloring is POINTLESS. I’m giving the OT a bit to explain herself, but I’m not expecting a satisfactory explanation.

We’ll have to see where we go from here. I’m cautiously optimistic.

The speech person gave me a call tonight, while I was in the midst of writing this…and enlightened me on a small fact-that the team thinks I don’t trust them to do their jobs.

Umm..isn’t that a given? After the bad IEP last year, and the fact that we’ve got regression with OT skills, you really expect me to just implicitly trust you and sit back and let this go? Nope.

I explained to the Speech person that I trusted most of the team, but mainly had a problem with OT and PT. They really need to earn my trust back. Otherwise, it’ll be business as usual…

but again, I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ll see. We’ll see.


February 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm 2 comments

Itch, itch, wheeze, wheeze

I am a huge walking medical nightmare. I swear. I spent a lot of time explaining to doctors that since I was adopted, I have NONE of my medical history, so asking me if my parents are healthy is kind of a moot point. So, since I have no knowledge, we’ve been extra careful with Isaac and even waited until he was 2 to introduce peanuts/peanut butter.

So, it’s almost no surprise to me that my body has begun to do the “revolt” thing. But what has happened over the last 3 days totally takes the cake in that department. Now, my body and I are officially at war.

Sunday night, I was laying on the couch, watching the Olympics (most likely hockey) and I was eating peanuts in the shell. Isaac and I were cracking them and eating them. Hey-we both like them and it’s good fine motor work.

I started to get a smidge itchy, wheezy and tingly lips. I didn’t really pay much attention to it all because I thought it was just my asthma kicking up. No biggie. Grab 2 benadryl and head to bed. Totally not a big deal.

I wrote the entire experience off until Tuesday.

Isaac had one of his classic pre-dawn wake up calls and we were laying on the couch. I figure if he’s going to wake me up, we’re going to do some work. He had asked for some peanuts and I made him work for them. I set him to cracking them and putting them in a bowl, where we both began eating them. Quickly, I began to feel tingly, wheezy and then whammo-the hives and itchies started.

I finally put two and two together and grabbed a few benadryl and my inhailer and set out to call the doc’s office when they opened in an hour or so. In that time, I was thinking more and more and more that this was the peanuts. I hadn’t eaten anything else, I hadn’t done anything else…no wrong detergent or anything…so, what else could it be?

SOOO, we all narrowed it down to peanuts. YIKES.

The sad thing is that when I talked to the doc and nurse, they’re all positive that allergies can develop later in life and this is nothing out of hte ordinary.

crap. I figured I’d at least get “well, we think it may be something else…” But NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Sunflower butter, here I come.

February 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm 1 comment

What’s the deal with this IEP flip out?

So, yes, I’m twitching about this IEP. I wish I didn’t have to. Seriously. BUT, I just want to explain WHY I’m twitching. This hasn’t just been an overnight “Oh, my sweet Lord, here comes an IEP, let’s get all hot and bothered about it,” but has been a cool run up of debacles, missed chances and excruciatingly painful non-access to the core curriculum.

I’m all sorts of disenchanted with this school district and the services it provides special needs kids. What’s the use of being in a “good” district when you can’t get a solid, quality education for your child? It just doesn’t make sense.

Here’s what’s happened…
I’ve spent the entire school year fighting to get information on Isaac. He’s on Adderol, and I really NEED information about how he’s surviving his day, so we know if we need to change dosing times or what have you. After the Vyvanse issue (depressed kid-it wasn’t pretty), we need to be very on alert. It took nearly 2 months to get them to realize that I wasn’t kidding. I needed this information and I was going to get it one way or another. They finally instituted a “notebook” and it was so disgustingly subjective. We’d get a note saying his day was “not well” and no explanation. We couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. We didn’t know when to speak to him regarding his behavior, or reward him for good behavior.

We would also constantly get notes from his PT about how awful he was for her. Umm..we warned them. We also told them how to get him to be compliant for PT, and the PT poo-poo’d us. Well, fine. Then don’t complain.

Then, came the entire crowning glory of everything. We were asked to let them run the consequences of poor behavior at school and not even give him any consequences at home.

WHAT? You’re kidding me right?

Nope. They weren’t kidding. They wanted us to lay off.

Wanna hear what ticks me off about all of this? If we really had laid off, they would have been the first ones complaining regarding the lack of follow through at home. They would have lamented the fact that there was no home support.

Then, when I registered Isaac for hockey, I emailed the PT to see if he needed to wear AFOs with skates. I got back a huge diatribe about how bad an idea this was-to put him in hockey and how awful it would be for him, because he wouldn’t be able to negotiate with a stick and puck. She only relented after I sent back a quite curt, pointed email with the fact that this was a LEARN TO SKATE FOR HOCKEY program and that it was developmentally appropriate, and please answer the question-AFOs or not?

I had meetings and meetings and emails and phone calls, and all of that. I thought things were ok for a bit. Isaac was having good days, things were going well, people were doing their jobs. I could finally relax and know he was getting the best stuff he could get.

Then, in January, the final straw hit.

I had been noticing that the aide was doing tons of writing for him. Writing in his sight word books, his stories, ect. I was a bit concerned, but wasn’t really too sure. I figured I’d give it a bit and then maybe ask a polite question, as I had questioned the goals for OT from the start.

Then, a worksheet came home with a date on it of mid January. It was work that Isaac had been doing competently (if not excellently) in Pre-K over at his old school with his old OT, Pam in JULY.

This is when I fully and totally hit the roof. I fired off a polite, but pointed email to the OT and a less polite and no less pointed email to the consultant teacher and waited for responses. The OT was canned, and evasive. It was the largest cop out email I’ve read in a long time. She even CC’d the consultant teacher on her response. I also got a mail back from the consultant teacher explaining some things, angering me even further with their lack of pushing Isaac to give him full access to the core curriculum (which is required by federal law)

A list of suggestions from the OT followed the next day for things we can do at home to increase fine motor skills. This was a complete and total insult, as we do all of the things on the list. This is not what we asked for as follow through for home. We asked for actual work, letters, numbers, ect. We got a list.

Yeah. Nice.

Knowing that Isaac was no closer to writing (short of an I and a circle and some intersecting lines), I demanded a plan be put in place for him to write more, do more and possibly make a plan for at least the beginning of first grade for written responses. I made it clear that he could NOT have someone scribe for him at all times and it was unacceptable anyway. I suggested a keyboard or something (I can teach him how to type-he knows all of his letters…as evidenced by the fact that it was a goal for him and he achieved it by, oh, OCTOBER…told them…) that would allow him to do his own responding. I also made it clear that the lack of writing and pencil control at this point in the year was quite unacceptable, and we can’t follow through at home if nothing is being done at school.

The consultant teacher said she’d work on that with the OT, and everyone else. Ok. I’ll let that ride for now. She’s usually pretty good at this stuff.

Then, at the latest PTA meeting, I asked the principal when I could place requests in for next year. I’m concerned about peer grouping, ect. Plus, there’s one teacher I want him to avoid, because I KNOW the two of them won’t get along and it will be MISERABLE. I can’t do miserable.

When I asked her about when requests have to be in, she snapped at me “Isaac will be in the coteaching classroom because he has an IEP!”

umm…so, since when does that matter? They use a consultant/push in model. Does it really matter what room he’s in?

And the PE teacher can’t seem to do without his aide (who he only has half time) because she won’t redirect him to the activity by herself, which his hockey coaches can do just fine with 3x the number of kids!

Honestly, I think the only thing they have right is the fact that I’m not going to tolerate any lowball goals like I did last time. They won’t even try it…

Now do I have permission to be twitchy and flip out over this impending meeting?

February 15, 2010 at 10:57 am 2 comments

T-two weeks to IEP and I’m already twitching

I absolutely hate this time of year. Last year, we were in the throws of kindergarten transition and now, we’re in the throws of first grade stuff. Ick. The more I go through the process from the parent end, the more frustrated I get. Seriously. Besides not getting more than a few days to go through the IEP itself (I’m NOT getting it until after Feb. break..)

I just received the official notification for the March 11th IEP, and the unofficial notification of the pre-IEP conference on March 9 (that’s going to be the messy one-I’ll explain that later) and I’m twitching.

Please explain to me why the stupid, clueless, patronizing school psychologist needs to come to anything BUT a triennial review. I think if she shows up, I’ll dismiss her. Seriously. She didn’t test Isaac, she has no clue what he can and can’t do, as evidenced by her disgusting goals last year. I will NOT be playing that game again.

Also, please explain to me why the principal is going to be there (according to the invitation). I have no desire to have her there because of the last set of comments she made when I asked her about requests for next year.

Man. I’m twitching. This is already getting not pretty-I’ll explain the entire thing later. It’s just making my head spin thinking about who these fools at the district level invited to my child’s IEP without my consent. Lovely. Thank God I can bring someone with me, and I juuuuust might….

February 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm 2 comments

“Mrs. F! I swear! That WAS the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl I!!!

I had this feeling that very little would get done Friday. First, we had 8th grade teacher day, a period swap and to top it off, I was completely unprepared for the first two. 8th grade teacher day was supposed to be on Thursday. I had my plans to get new things started with the 2nd grade, and to toss some typing tests out there. Well, the 2nd grade thing? That didn’t happen. Instead, I made them a webquest that the 8th grade students teaching my class could roll with. I also figured I could use it for some of my other classes as a bonus item. Grades closed on Friday, so a good “buffer” activity between ending a huge project and starting something new is always fun.

I dove onto the computer and knocked out 10 questions regarding the Super Bowl. I covered everything from the size of a regulation football to the Super Bowl Shuffle:

Hey-they all should know about Walter Payton. And the bad rap that was the Super Bowl Shuffle.

This could only mean one thing-let the insane questions and answers flow!

The first insane item came in the form of a question…

6th grader: “Mrs. F, Is Walter Payton related to Peyton Manning?”
(that got my standard “What?!?!” response…)

The best by far was the question I placed about the halftime entertainment. I found this website with a chart-every Super Bowl, with the half time entertainment and all of the pertenent facts.

So, the question was….

“Who was the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl I?”
(correct answer: U Michigan and U Arizona Marching bands)

7th grade group 1: “Michael Jackson”
7th grade group 2: “Bon Jovi”

You’re kidding me, right? Now, if group 1 had put “the Jackson 5” I would have probably not laughed as hard, because the time frame was correct. But Bon Jovi? Really? COME ON GUYS!!!

This is why I can’t grade while drinking anything. I get answers like these…

February 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

100 days of school = 100 ___________ in a ziploc.

I swear-I think the homework that Isaac has is meant to be sweet revenge for all of the insane things I’ve assigned over the years in the name of education.

This year, by district rules, Kindergarten kids are supposed to have 15 minutes of homework a week. Our wonderful Kindergarten teacher (bless her-she does AM and PM kindergarten…) decided that their weekly sharing would be their homework. This is due to the fact that it works on public speaking, ect.

My darling child has no problem with this. We’re a far cry from 3 years ago when he said one word and would just melt down…now, we can’t get him to shut up…must be the ADHD. Yeah, that’s it…the ADHD. But, I digress…

So, we’ve been plodding along with the LAME sharing topics (my name is special because, I can, tell a joke -see? LAME!!) and I’ve been begging for a more homework like experience for Isaac. He needs to have more than his sharing, which, like Mami-he does on the fly-he gets his sharing and nails it down as he runs out the door for the bus.

Maybe he got my talent for Extemporaneous speaking-heck…it’ll serve him well if our district STILL has a speech and debate team…I did go to a tourney there once…I think I even placed…but again, I digress.

This week’s sharing has to do with the 100th day of school. I have no clue why this is such a big thing. I just don’t get it-classes are now celebrating being in school 100 days. Umm…I was always on the countdown…80 more to go! (A school year in New York is 180 days…)
But they celebrate it and do lots of things with the number 100.

We got a note home from our darling Kindergarten teacher that for sharing this week, each student had to come in with 100 items that fit in a gallon ziploc bag. Yeah. a gallon ziploc bag. I was less than thrilled.

So, I got to thinking…what can fit in a bag….what can I get 100 of on the cheap or even free?

Some good friends of mine were coming up with AWESOME ideas-100 grains of rice, 100 pasta noodles, 100 q tips…

But hrm…we have to be different. Seriously. It’s almost a preoccupation of mine.

Last night, I decided to hit the craft store on the hunt for the 100 items. I was thinking buttons, pom poms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners…anything that was cheap and different.

I stopped in at the ‘bux I used to sling at to clear my head and see if some friends were working, and I encountered MichyMoo and Big W! NICE!

So, they asked me what was new, and I began to lament this insane 100 day project. MichyMoo who has two kids who have been through this before, laughed and knew exactly what I was talking about.

I looked at Big W on the bar and said “So, W, got 100 coffee beans?”

Now, mind you…this was sarcastic and offhanded. I did not expect him to go into the bin of coffee beans that were going to be chucked and fill a pastry bag with them!

I left with my latte, and Isaac’s 100 day project covered! WOOHOO!

I came home and met up with the boys, and counted the coffee beans as required with the shrimp. (we had to put them into bundles of 10 and count the 10 bundles by 10!) and into the ziploc they went.

I swear, this is Karmic revenge for all of the random projects that I’ve given over the years.

but we have our 100 coffee beans in the ziploc ready to go!

gotta love the awesomeness of the green apron!

February 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

The dentist drama

I will be the first to admit, I hate dentists. I hate the smell, I hate everything about dentists. I think it was my experiences with the evil pediatric dentist that was the only game in town for years. ALL of the kids in the area went there, and his bedside manner really put us off. He would yell, be forceful and pretty much scare the bejesus out of us. I didn’t want that for Isaac. So, when a friend reccommended the dentist office we take Isaac to now, I was thrilled.

The one thing I’m not so thrilled about is Isaac’s timing with injuries. Seriously! It seems as if all of his injuries to his face coincide with a dentist appointment. 6 months ago, Isaac was having a fit in the bathroom and hit his mouth on the bathroom sink. Any parent knows how the rest of that one ends up. Blood everywhere, screaming child, ect.

The next morning, we had Isaac’s six month check up. We had  cuts on the inside of the mouth and all of that mess. We didn’t do x rays because of the cuts…and we tabled them to the next visit.

Let’s fast forward to Tuesday. I sent Isaac out the door with a “we’re going to see the dentist later-that’s the plan for the day.” I went to school to pick up some stuff and there was a message in my mailbox to call the school nurse. I gave them a call and got the nurse, and she informed me that…

Isaac had fallen and hit his face on the floor, bit his lip and had cuts on his face. She couldn’t get in to his mouth to check his teeth and didn’t know if any were loose.

Can you see my jaw hitting the floor in disbelief?  I couldn’t believe that I was hearing this on the day of the dentist appointment!

So, I go home and call the dentist’s office and tell them the tale. I figured I’d give them the heads up, and considering I hadn’t seen Isaac yet, I wasn’t sure what his facial condition was. All I knew was that he wasn’t going to allow x rays-again, and I was wondering what the dentist was going to think of this kid coming in with a set of facial injuries yet again in 1 year.

They changed the appointment to an emergency, and could do a cleaning if he would allow it, because the time was there. They felt it was more important to see what the condition of the teeth were from the fall, even though they were baby teeth.

So, we get there, and Isaac played some games, and we got called back to the room. He  sat in the chair, and I finally got my first good look at his face.

the aftermath of the rug

and trust me, it looked worse the next day-and this picture does no justice to the swelling that was there. YIKES!

Isaac made himself comfortable in the dentist’s chair…
getting comfy

and even took a photo of what he was watching…
Kung Fu Panda-if you can tell what it is from the snipit..

and yes, Isaac took that photo.

Overall, it was an excellent dentist appointment. We’re going to TRY for xrays again in 6 months. Dr. J. BRIBED the snot out of my kid to get him to get his teeth cleaned, but it worked! 2 prizes and a car later, he’s getting strawberry toothpaste used on his teeth!

Thank goodness for decent pediatric dentists…who believe you when you say “I so didn’t plan this! I swear!”

And laugh when they hear the fact that you totally jinxed yourself by saying “Ok..No mouth drama today…we’ve got to go to the dentist!”

February 4, 2010 at 11:28 pm 1 comment

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