My Agenda Going to the CSE Tomorrow

I make it a point to have a written agenda going into a CSE and bring enough copies for everyone. This is what I came up with for GB’s meeting tomorrow.

Agenda for GB’s Program Review, 12/5/12

She is spending 80 – 90 minutes a night.
She is unable to complete it independently.
Every night, there is something she has not learned yet.

Last year was Touch Math, this year Saxon (Grade 4).
GB can add/subtract with regrouping and round numbers.
GB is very weak in numeracy, patterns, fractions, and is     struggling with concept of multiplication.
On a typical Saxon Hw sheet, GB can only complete 1 or 2 groups     of problems, out of six.
Math is being taught to the class as a whole.
GB scored a low 1 in Math on the state assessment last spring.

GB typically can read between 50% and 75% of the words on the     spelling list.
She is unable to complete the first exercise of each unit.     (analogies,     opposites, definitions)
She is not getting the RTI reading she had last year.
GB scored a low 1 in ELA on the state assessment last spring.

Her anxiety is through the ceiling. She worries about not being able to complete the pattern and losing recess, not being able to complete the Hw and losing recess. The Hw time each night is not allowing her enough “down” time.
Not being allowed to go to the school store because Hw is not completed is not acceptable. My email asking for clarification of this incident went unanswered.

We would like GB to have as normal an experience as she can handle.
For example, typical fourth graders do not need to bring ice cream and school store money in a sealed, labeled envelope. GB is capable of managing this on her own and we would like her to have the opportunity to do so.

Any good thoughts or prayers you can spare would be appreciated.

Happy Versus Educated: Part II


The comments on my last post left me much to think about. Thank you to each person who took the time to share their thoughts. I realized my first post was incomplete. There are children who have special needs and are being educated and are happy. This is not the situation I find myself in. However, I should have stated that this decision is not one that  all parents of children with special needs face.

I have a meeting tomorrow with Hope’s school, but it is not consuming my energy. Hope has been as volatile and hard to contain at school as she has been at home. In true RAD form, she has been trying to triangulate between us and her school. This is one of those periodic check in meetings to try and contain the manipulative behavior.

Wednesday the CSE is for GB. GB’s situation is different. GB is never a problem for the school and always works hard. I expected this to be an easy year. Even though she changed schools, she brought her teacher, aides, and support services from the old school. The new school is the neighborhood school, with all the social opportunities that implies. The only note of warning in the background was GB’s state test scores from last spring. They were as low as they could be. The committee assured me that the tests did not really measure what was learned. Having been in the education field for so many years, I knew the one thing these tests were good for was to predict who would be able to pass the exams in high school and earn a diploma. When I said that out loud, nobody could disagree with me.

This year GB’ teacher  has structured things differently. GB is still in a class with seven other students, two aides, and Mr. Teacher. This year, all eight students are doing Saxon fourth grade math. It replaced the Touch Math GB used the previous two years. Saxon has a spiraling curriculum, which means that they cover a little bit of everything each year, each year going into more detail. At the moment, they are doing two step patterns, place value, fractions and multiplication with regrouping. GB struggles with simple repeating patterns, does not understand that for fractions to work, the pieces have to be the same size, and was working on multiplication facts with Touch Math. Since the class is doing math as a group, GB is lost much of the time. The whole group is working on fourth grade spelling. GB comes home with spelling exercises where she can read less than half the words on the list. Homework is taking eighty minutes a night, when GB is cooperative and focused. GB’s anxiety level is through the roof.

GB is a fourth grader this year, but the aides still require ice cream money and school store money to come in a labeled, sealed envelope- a requirement none of the other fourth grades have and one she doesn’t need.

CSE meetings only go well when I can tell them exactly what I want and why. I have no answers going into this meeting. I only know they better be expecting Mama Bear.

CSE Addeneum

Thursday afternoon, I received the following email from the Director of Special Education.

GBsMom~ It was brought to my attention after yesterday’s CSE program review for GB that you may have been audio recording with your phone. This is not a problem. I just ask that you let me know in the future so that I can also have the appropriate tools  available to also do an audio recording. If this was not the case, I hope you understand that a member of the team was  only concerned that we were not being given the same opportunity.
I wasn’t recording anything. GB’s CSE was quick and pleasant. Everybody who spoke added to the overall atmosphere of “Gee, isn’t great how well GB is doing”. The only one who didn’t was the school psychologist. He didn’t say anything at all. After emailing the Director of Special Education that I had not and was curious as to who came up with such a paranoid idea, she sent me this email:
GBsMom~Thanks for getting back to me on this issue. I was so glad to hear how well GB is doing this year!
Director of Special Education
I am sitting here shaking my head. There are “issues” even when CSE meeting are uneventful. Such is life.

Sometimes, It Is the Little Things

With two CSE meetings and therapy, I wasn’t expecting much from today. While waiting with GB for the bus this morning, I noticed a blue sky, with sunshine and light cotton candy clouds. The air was cool, but not cold. The silence before Hope and Joe came down was soothing.

Hope’s CSE didn’t go very well. I let The Dad run it and only contributed data on medication. Mary Poppins was there and the SPOA worker was there. Mary Poppins started her unicorns and rainbow crap and I worked on my breathing. I looked up and Mrs VY Teacher caught my eye and mouthed “Hope has her number”. None of what I wanted was approved, but I knew before the meeting that it wouldn’t happen unless I got involved. I didn’t.

GB’s CSE meeting was 30 minutes later and five miles away. It was a different world. I did not let Mary Poppins come and when the chairperson looked at Joe and I and asked who was running this meeting, I said I was. GB is doing well. They approved 45 minutes a day with the reading specialist, the OT had a sensory diet all set up. GB had shared with all of them how difficult it was living with Hope and the therapist suggested adding another weekly counseling session to her program. Homework was straightened out, as were testing modifications. GB is doing well and everybody was delighted.

I went to EMDR right after GB’s meeting.  It wasn’t fun, but it seemed to go quickly. MK wanted to start Halloween early. I went to the dollar store with her to add a little to our decorations and GB helped MK put them up. Hope and Mali helped MK make our first Halloween  dessert of the year. The Dad took GB to gymnastics and the open house at her school tonight.

The sun is setting and everything is quiet. It is still warm enough to sit on the deck with a cup of hot tea. Sometimes it is the little things.

Therapy Update

On Tuesday, I spent 25 minutes talking with the girls therapist without either of them present. The therapist was pleased with how well grounded in reality GB is at this time. The therapist prescribed TLC when GB starts to get overwhelmed and suggested I never leave GB alone with Hope (Duh).

Hope is struggling and while the therapist was pleased Hope and I will get bonding time this weekend, she is more interested in how Hope reacts when it is just me and nobody to triangulate. We see the psychiatrist Monday and the therapist and I are both confident that the Abilify, while helping, does not keep Hope stable enough that we can work on her issues.

Besides the door alarm, we now have a lock box for all medication.

The girls both have CSE meetings on Monday afternoon. GB’s should be quick and easy. Hope’s will probably not come up with an appropriate IEP and will have to be tabled. Reading up on Wrightlaw’s Smart IEP goals.

Things I Didn’t Know

  • There was a court ruling that said “teacher observation” is an inadequate way to determine whether a goal has been met or not.
  • There has to be a well defined, easily accessible (for parents) method of determining necessity of an Extended Year Program. Regression is not the only criteria they can use to determine eligibility.
  • There have been requirements for adequate teacher training since 2004. This includes training particular to your child’s disability(ies).
  • IDEA 2004  raises the quality of  FAPE. NCLB actually did accomplish something.
  • I didn’t know you had to save up Mojo before an important meeting. I smiled sweetly Friday. I will spend the  next 4 weeks, until we reconvene, lining up my ducks.

Hope’s CSE

We had a CSE for Hope this morning. It was the first one for Hope without Mrs. V.S. Chairperson. Everybody was prepared with the materials needed. The speech therapist went over the speech eval done on Hope over the summer. She provided detailed information and well formulated goals for Hope’s IEP. Hope teacher discussed where Hope was in the process of learning to read and said right now, Hope requires her one on one involvement to read. Nobody at the meeting seemed aware of district standards to be promoted to first grade. Mrs. Director will find out before we meet again.

I have 6 week programs reviews scheduled for both girls, back to back. I can’t believe how smoothly this year is progressing. Not at all the black sinkhole of energy it was last year. Thank you, God! I really appreciate it!