Posts filed under ‘district incompetence’
Every year, there’s SOMETHING that becomes the bane of my existence. This year, it’s OT at Isaac’s school. I just don’t understand it. There’s no reason for this drama-seriously! But, I guess they don’t seem to see it that way.
Before this drama unfolded again, I was told by a member of the team that they were getting the impression that I didn’t trust them.
No! Really! I trust parts of the team, but not others, based on performance. I was quiet for a part of the year…but now, not so much.
Isaac sees an OT assistant. Not a full out OT while he’s at school. We also take him to a private OT, because after the last set of fallout-you know, doing work in February he was doing PERFECTLY before he left Pre-k, I couldn’t take it. He needed to make progress and if they weren’t going to help him make that progress at school, I was going to take it into my own hands.
The private OT (Miss A) has not only worked on letters, but has worked on sensory regulation with Isaac-he swings while putting together puzzles, he writes letters, pulls things out of goo, uses tweezers to play Spongebob Squarepants Ants in the Pants-and works on getting his writing semi-legible, so he’s ready for first grade.
Miss M (OT aide that sees Isaac at school) asked if she could call and talk to Miss A. Ok, fine. I’m all for getting everyone on the same page. I didn’t see the use in this phone call, because based on every other conversation I’ve had with the OT department at school, they’re not going to listen, but I humored them.
Miss M called Miss A, and they had a conversation-where Miss M told Miss A that I really didn’t understand what was going on, and that Isaac didn’t need to be writing letters (even though that’s what I wanted…) because he doesn’t have the building blocks. She harped on this “building block” concept and then admitted that she didn’t try things for as long as she wanted to.
duh. I knew that. Strategies are tried for a day or two and when they don’t work right away, they are thrown out the window.
I have offically had it. This can’t go on next year. So, I called most excellent consultant teacher (after I fired off a concerned email to OT aide again!) and demanded a meeting with head OT, Special Ed admin, herself and the principal. We need to discuss what is going on and come to some concensus, because this is NOT ok. I even told Ms. B (consultant teacher) that I was so ready to pull OT and take it 100% private if we couldn’t get this settled. I don’t want to, but I will.
I just don’t understand how Isaac can do so well in private OT, but is making absolutely no progress in OT at school. They’re both pull out sessions, they both have the same resources at their disposal, and they both are the same length.
So, next week, meeting time. It should be one interesting meeting.
And while I’ve got the special ed admin in the room…I’m going to have a chat with her about the amount of services my child has missed this year due to THERAPIST absence.
Not kidding-here are the numbers:
Missed PT-17 sessions (with no make ups until I pointed this excessive number out..)
Missed OT-15 sessions (But from what I gather, he’s been doing some double OT, so I’m not complaining…)
So, could this be contributing to the lack of progress my child is making? Hrm?
Well…we’ll know soon enough.
So, I bet you’re all wondering how the meeting went and if all of my twitching was worth it…
We pretty much got what we wanted out of the district, except summer OT. I don’t understand why with Isaac’s scores that summer OT is out of the question,but it is.
The other good thing is that Isaac is at grade level in a lot of his subjects. Normally a parent would EXPECT this,but this is Isaac, and he tests like garbage and is so highly distracted that even if he knows the information, he has trouble getting it out. So, the fact that we got some decent scores in some subjects is just amazing to me.
Since I was highly concerned about the “coteaching” room next year (the school uses a consultant model of coteaching. Not sure if I like this or not….) I put in a call to Plastic Principal. She had a good 30 minute conversation with me about the time frame of Isaac being out of the classroom-there’s lots of things that he’s pulled out for-6 specific times for therapy.-and I don’t want him missing any of classroom life. Turns out my kid is the only “coteaching” kid and resource kid int he first grade. Seriously? How is this possible? Turns out the rest of the kids with special needs are in the k-2 room, and most won’t be pushing into first grade at all-they’ll be pushing into Kindergarten, because they can’t hack first grade. My kid? He can hack it.
So, interesting…very interesting.
we shall see what happens come September. Right now, my focus is getting through kindergarten in one solid piece.
So, here we go again. IEP time. Nothing fun as per usual. Let’s do an abridged version of the first two takes, shall we?
Take 1 involved getting the IEP…and noting all sorts of garbage. Also noting that there was a COLORING GOAL on the IEP. Nope. not happening, especially here. This take also involved all sorts of very controlled scream emails to darling Consultant teacher (who, may I add, should be given a medal for putting up with me this year.) and OT Aide who Isaac sees. When I got nowhere fast, I threw an email to the BIG OT. She responded to my questions with the following line:
“we don’t teach penmanship.”
Umm..what? That’s not what I asked! Seriously!
I asked about why my child was having a COLORING GOAL and why the goal that I actually liked (letter lines and formation) was dumbed down.
This resulted in me emailing darling consultant teacher and demanding that BIG OT being at the pre-IEP meeting.
See Laura tear hair out. See Laura loose sanity!
So, Monday morning rolls around. I’m tumbling out of bed with a long, long day ahead of me and the BIG OT calls me, saying she can’t be at the Tuesday meeting (I understand. I only demanded her presence on Friday.) and basically asks me what I was thinking for the goals and things. I reiterate that I am NOT happy, and review what has happened since January. (Heavy regression, nothing done. you get the idea.) and how I’m putting him in private OT, because he’s behind for HIM. Not the rest of the kindergarten world…for HIM.
Long story short…I WON! I got goals that work for what they need to do and what I want. NICE.
Take 2 happened when I got the inital draft of the IEP and sent the mail off to the consultant teacher about questions on the IEP. I got a call back from the Speech therapist who tends to run the show if you don’t keep her in check. She’s been around a while, and Isaac loves her, but she does tend to run the show.
She called me at home when the Consultant teacher forwarded her my email about concerns and questions with the IEP. She was on the phone with me rewriting parts of the IEP, and at one point, she breaks into the OT things-and I tell her that we need to find a way to get Isaac writing…and she says…
“well, that’s not in the cards. Just deal with it.”
Umm, excuse me? I’m not asking for him to write a dissertation by hand. For cripe’s sake, I type everything because I go faster this way. All I want is for him to write his NAME by June!
Oh, save me!
Take 3 came at the Pre IEP meeting yesterday. This had my jaw on the floor.
The PT, who I’m not overly fond of-I think it’s a PT thing, brought up our future trip to Shriner’s Hospital in Springfield (I’ll blog about that later. Lots of reasons, lots of explanations there…). I let them know that he would be going so that they could list any concerns they have and I can bring them to the musculoskeletal team. I also wanted to get work that we can do in the car on the hour and a half ride.
So, during the meeting, the PT says:
“so, why after all of this time, did you even THINK to make an appointment with Shriner’s?”
Umm…it was all I could do to be polite and not rip her head off. It’s not her business, just be happy that you’re being asked for input on this. SERIOUSLY!!
Blah. at least this is less eventful than last year…
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.
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.
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?
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….
Since I never saw the goals for Isaac’s IEP until it showed up in my mailbox about 3 weeks later, we had to have a few goals removed, added and changed. I was NOT going to round up a CSE/CPSE committee to do this-and the director of Special Ed said we could do it by agreement-meaning ONE FORM! I’m all for one form. I got the form, signed it, sent it back and on Friday a copy of the updated IEP and a letter appeared in my mailbox.
The letter said this:
August 24, 2009 (yes, that was the date written on the top of the letter..)
Dear Mr. and Mrs. F,
Regulations require that you be notified when the Board Of Education has reviewed the proposed changes to your child’s IEP.
On July 10, 2009, the district received your consent to the proposed amendments to the IEP without the necessity of a Committee on Preschool Special Education meeting. On behalf of the Board of Education, I am writing to inform you that the Board has formally met on August 24, 2009, and supported the proposed amendments on the IEP which you have already received.
Previously you have received a Procedural Safeguards Notice that explains your rights regarding the special education process, but if you need an additional copy, please contact our office.
If you have any questions regarding this notice, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
well, now…notice that this is all sorts of a letter from the FUTURE! If the board HAS MET in August, then am I still in July?
I swear, this is a sign of the apocalypse. Letters from the school district from over a month away. I think I’ll be putting that on my list of calls to make on Monday. There is a VERY large list of those, but this will be RIGHT up there!