The CSE and Our Bottom Line

Today the girls quarterly Program Review CSE meeting finally took place. We made my before Thanksgiving deadline. Hope was my primary concern this time. My will-not-accept-no-as-an-answer position on Hope was she needed to receive more speech. They gave us more speech.


GB’s meeting was a pleasure. They were able to explain to me all of the details for her current reading program and which person is accountable for each piece of it. The reading specialist, who is the new member of the team, said she thought that GB would mainstream into third grade beautifully. I didn’t have to say anything as the rest of GB’s team told the reading specialist that GB couldn’t function in a classroom with that many  people. Everybody  commented on the big difference they have seen in GB the last 4 weeks. I took notes, and nodded at each person. Mr. Teacher told the rest of the committee about the medication change and his opinion that getting GB off Invega and Risperdal had a lot to do with it. Her current IEP did not have her social goals well spelled out. The committee took the time to spell them out and assign responsibility for overseeing them. We will meet again the end of January.


Hope’s meeting was not a pleasure. While Ms Very Young Teacher was reporting on the difficulties Hope has been having, the speech teacher interrupted several times to say that Hope’s emotional and behavioral difficulties were responsible for Hope’s difficulties making herself understood. The speech teacher also asked about mainstreaming as Hope had been mainstreamed last year. Ms. VY Teacher said Hope was starting to be comfortable enough in her class that her problems were easily apparent and she would not recommend mainstreaming until Hope developed more appropriate coping mechanisms. The therapist strongly supported her position. We spoke about the ongoing battle over home work. It was decided that we would set a timer and tell Hope she had 30 minutes to complete her homework. When the timer goes off, homework will go into her book bag. Anything not complete or incorrect will be completed at school the morning during the class’ free time. The therapist also suggested using the timer at dinner. Set it for thirty minutes and when the timer goes off, her dinner is over and the plate removed. I agreed to try it. The speech teacher reported that Hope was not progressing as fast as she should because she was a “slow starter” and for the first 10-12 minutes of every session it was as if Hope had never had speech before. Since the sessions are only 30 minutes long, that mean the first 1/3 of every session is nonproductive by the speech teacher’s own report. The speech teacher did not see the need to increase Hope’s speech sessions because she only tests with a moderate articulation disorder. The rest of the committee used her words (and my analysis) to justify increasing her speech. If I still do not see progress by the next meeting, I am going to request that either Hope be moved to GB’s speech therapist, or an outside, independent evaluation be done. Hopefully, speech 3 x a week will be enough to make some progress. I let the CSE know that Hope is being weaned off the Risperdal, with no replacement med in sight, so I expect things to get more difficult.

We are now free to enjoy the holidays. Our next scheduled battle meeting for both girls is the end of January, 2012.

Taking Care of My Girls or Fighting With the District

I met with the Director of Special Education this afternoon. I brought these notes with me.


Transportation
    
     Problem

    current aide is assigned one on one with another child
    both my children said she touched my eight year old autistic daughter
    aide got off the bus and went 50+ feet up my driveway to tell me she didn’t touch  no kid
    my daughter is afraid to ride the bus with this aide.

     Attempted remedies

    Contacted bus company who said my kid was a “fibber”
    Contacted school principal
    Contacted Director of Special Education
    Contacted Ass. Superintendent: after being given two weeks to deal with  difficulty, said he was unable to help and I should “do what I have to do”

     Immediate acceptable remedies

    Aide replaced on bus
    children moved to different route

     Systemic Remedy

    Every adult who comes in contact with my child, including bus drivers and aides, needs to be provided  with training, by professional trainers, on Fetal  Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

 

CSE Chairperson, Mrs. Very Stupid Chairperson

       Problem

    Does not follow NYS Regulations
    Presents inaccurate information as fact
    Presents her opinion as fact (ex, my daughter is not developmentally disabled, Bipolar is the diagnosis of the decade)
    Decisions are determined before CSE meeting
    Has a multiple year history of trying to deny my child her FAPE

      Attempted remedies

     Have tried working with the Director of Special Education  to work around Mrs. V. S. Chairperson. Takes many weeks and concerted effort to get my  concerns even addressed. In the mean time, my children are denied necessary services

     Immediate Acceptable Remedies

    Director of Special Education to act as Chairperson for both of my children, effective immediately.

   Systemic Remedy

   Mrs. V.S. Chairperson needs to either be trained on the regulations governing a CSE and how to run a CSE meeting or she needs to be replaced as Chairperson of CSE.

The meeting lasted 15 minutes. The Director of Special Ed agreed to chair my girls meetings. She also agreed to add individual speech to the 2 groups Hope gets weekly. She suggested that  she ride with my girls and try to solve the problem. If that doesn’t work, she suggested adding an aide just for my girls to make sure there were no further problems. I didn’t even have to hire a lawyer.

Superintendent-Go-Round, Part II

When I wrote yesterday’s post, Superintendent-Go-Round, I was waiting for the Superintendent  to call me back. He did, at 3:05. He assured me he was taking me very seriously and he would do everything in his power, but ultimately the decision was in the hands of the school board. I started thanking him for his time, getting ready to hang up, when he interrupted. He said as a show of his intent to help me, he could guarantee the bus would pick up the girls at my house today and the aide in question would not be on the bus.  He said he would get back to me today after he had time to work on the problem.  I was as polite as I could manage at that point and repeated that this had been going on a full week and I simply did not have the time or energy for any more pass-the-hat.

The bus picked the girls up at the house this morning. No brownie points for the Superintendent, though, since the IEP was amended Wednesday to require this. The aide in question was not on the bus, but there is usually a different aide in the morning. I will update when he calls back or when I hire a lawyer… which ever comes first.

Today is crazy hat day. GB had a hard time deciding which hat. She left with no hat. I guess I will be making a trip to the school today, despite all of the Superintendents help.

Only in the World of Special Ed

About a month ago, during GB’s Annual Review, the school district denied her door to door busing. I consulted a lawyer, and filed my written protest to both the Director of Special Education and the school board. Having heard nothing back, I filed a notice last week with the school district informing them I was going to the state because they were denying my child a FAPE. Mrs. Very Stupid Chairperson said “Do what you have to do”.

On Friday, we had the bus incident with GB and the aide. Yesterday, I spoke with the principal of the school, left the Director of Special Education a handwritten note, ignored Mrs. Very Stupid Chairperson, wrote a letter to the school board,  and mailed  it (signed, returned receipt required).

This morning, bright and early, the Director of Special Education called. GB starts door to transportation as soon as Friday’s incident is settled. I asked her directly what changed. She told me that she was all about negotiation and compromise. I pointed out to her she was giving me exactly what I asked for. She said that law suits were expensive and unnecessary.

I hope she still feels that way when she gets my request to add two more individual speech sessions to Hope’s IEP.