As Hope raging has slowed down, we have noticed she has a much broader repertoire of attention getting behaviors.
Hope came home from school Tuesday limping. She said she hurt her foot in gym. The Dad took her to the Urgent Care and had her checked out. Nothing was bruised or swollen, but the doctor wrapped her ankle and The Dad carried her home. She was given the princess treatment that night and the next morning. The Dad even drove her to school and carried her to her classroom.
Very Young Teacher sent an email yesterday.
Today we realized something interesting… when Hope hurt her foot on Tuesday, it was her right foot. She went home limping on her right foot. Then on Wednesday when she came to school her left foot was wrapped up. Today she has walked fine around the classroom all day. Once I told her to go to nurse Sherri for meds she limped out of the classroom. I spoke to her about how on Tues she hurt her right foot and now its her left foot… she tried to explain how they both hurt and then was walked on her toes on both feet…. I just wanted to give you the heads up.
After we stopped laughing, I realized I really couldn’t call Hope’s teacher Very Young Teacher any more. After having Hope for three years, she doesn’t fall for much anymore. I will have to come up with a new blog name for her.
At X’s IEP Monday, one thing we accomplished was the initiation of a communication log. Tuesday, X came home with his communication log. It said, ” Behavior was out of control today”. No details. Hard to deal with.
X is busy writing a letter of apology and I am working on justifying an Individual Behavior Assessment.
It’s Friday and Hope’s horrendous week ended with a bang. Hope had to stay in her classroom and work while her class went ice skating because of her poor school behavior this week. One of the aides stayed with her. When the class returned, Hope’s work was nowhere to be found. Ms. V.Y. Teacher looked for it in her desk. It wasn’t there, but the desk was filled with items Hope had stolen from teachers, aides, classmates and GB over a period of time. The school is now
begging requesting our input on how to deal with Hope. They are no longer looking at us as if we are crazy. I hope this is just Christmas RADness and Hope will settle some in the new year.
Hope again raged over homework last night. She woke up this morning and immediately continued. I don’t understand how she can be that angry before she has opened her eyes. My current theory is that her “reset” button is broken. The Dad was able, after about 20 minutes, to cuddle her and settle her down. The rest of the morning was uneventful and she got on the bus without a problem. The bus gets to the school by 9 AM. By 9:40 I had an email from the teacher that Hope was having a very difficult morning and when Hope told her what was happening, she was unable to understand Hope’s explanation. I replied that is why we are going to the CSE on Monday to add individual speech to her list of services, because we also frequently find ourselves unable to figure out what Hope is trying to say. Hope hasn’t had a good week.
Today I had a CSE meeting scheduled. I was going to get Hope two more speech sessions a week. I wanted GB to get a couple more therapy sessions a week. They were both slotted for 8:1:2 classes. I figured I could get it done in under a half-hour. I spent a while sorting out which IEP goals they hadn’t met in June and reviewing the most recent testing on Hope. An email from Mrs. V.S. Chairperson sidetracked me briefly, but I did get back to my prep.
I should had known an email from Mrs.V.S. Chairperson meant trouble was brewing. I received an email from GB’s DDSO service coordinator. It said that she had spoken to GB’s teacher, and while he felt the class was an excellent fit academically, it was not meeting her social needs. This took me by surprise, seeing as I had a meeting with Mr. Teacher less than a week ago. Mr. Teacher and I chatted on FB for over 45 minutes. This is some of what he said.
There is great evidence that G.B’s fullest potential is not being fulfilled in her current setting. I feel that her social needs are not being met. The students in my class are great kids but she has trouble relating with them because of the level and quality of their social skills. They do not match hers. My problem is that I wanted to help her academically but after thinking about it and being honest with myself, I have to consider what is best for her in the long run. That’s why I have had a hard time talking about this at length with you.
The net was it is the middle of August and I have less than three weeks to find an appropriate placement for GB and one does not exist in district.
I went to the CSE today. Mrs. V.S. Chairperson was in the room, but she was packing up her stuff and didn’t say a word. The committee quickly agreed to upping the frequency of Hope’s speech therapy, as she had not met a single speech goal on her IEP last year. There was no point discussing how much counseling GB should receive when we didn’t have a placement. I have another CSE meeting Monday morning at eight to work on that. I insisted they block out two hours. This is not going to be fun.
Last year, GB was in a regular, first grade class. She was bullied, lonely, unhappy and hated school. This year GB is in a self-contained class with 7 autistic boys, ranging for one to four years older then her. This year, GB is learning, happy, and included.
I had assumed that choosing a self-contained class was giving up on inclusion. I was wrong.
Last night, GB’s school had their annual talent show. GB was so excited and insisted on going. “All my friends are in it”, she insisted over and over. So her Dad took her. GB came home glowing. Her Dad came home amazed. Children of all ages smiled and said hello, stopped to talk to her, and sat near her. During the show, GB was able to tell him what the next act was, who was in it and how she knew them.
My GB is part of her school.
Took both GB and Hope to see the psychiatrist this morning. The shrink was really pleased with GB. Her thinking was clear, she was engaged, and she was willing to talk about anything. Then it was Hope’s turn. Hope immediately told the doctor she was “tupid” and she hated her. The doctor told Hope that “hate” was not a word she allowed in her office and Hope immediately told her that she hated the therapist, too and everyone else in the office. The psychiatrist decided this wasn’t a good time to schedule the TOVA (yet another behavior screening instrument). She also decided she would rather not increase Hope’s med, as we are better off with the behaviors (and the feelings behind them) being out in the open.
After the 3 hours to and from the shrinks and our appointments, I took Hope to school. I spoke with the principal and left a hand written message for the Special Education Director about Fridays bus incident. I have decided I have to deal with the incident because if I am not sure GB will be safe, I will end up driving her both ways and that will add another hour to the day. I am now writing a letter to the school board, which I hope to get into the mail (sign, returned receipt required) this afternoon.
This afternoon, GB and I go to see the family doctor. Her appetite has been unchecked through three medication changes.There are a couple of metabolic disorders the doctors mentioned when she was an infant that we never saw a need to check out and nobody ever mentioned it again. I am thinking that maybe I missed something.
Our school district is long out of snow days and is shortening the remaining school holidays as we go. Last night they posted that schools would be open this morning and the kids would be bused back home after two hours. It hardly seems worth the energy to have someone get them to the bus so that they can get off the bus two and a half hours later. Mind you, the snow hasn’t even started yet. Schools rely on the weatherman being right; go figure.
Today Hope officially turned 5. Of course she wanted to bring cupcakes (pink, purple, light blue Han*na Mon*tana cupcakes) into school this morning. It is also the day they have Halloween Parties and a costume parade. Rather then put them on the bus, I choose to drive them to school. I made sure to arrive before the other children entered the building so that I would have a couple of minutes to touch base with her teacher, Ms. VY Teacher. Ms VY Teacher really didn’t want to talk to me and made that very clear. The three teaching assistants in the room couldn’t wait to tell me how wonderful Hope is and that they could just eat her up. I told them it is very important that proper boundaries were used with Hope. They assured me nobody minds cuddling Hope, she is just a baby. Sigh. I gave them (and Ms. VY Teacher) my RAD handout again, and went to find the Chairperson of the CSE. We were suppose to complete Hope’s IEP my the middle of October and I haven’t heard from her. Emails go unanswered, phone calls are not returned. Mrs. Chairperson was hanging out in a meeting room and I politely suggested we go back to her office and discus the difficulties we were having with our communication. I reminded her we were suppose to meet in the middle of October to complete Hope’s IEP. Mrs. Chairperson said that had been impossible, since none of the evals (speech, OT, and PT) were completed yet. Sigh. I told her that was not acceptable, they needed to be done and I wanted Hope’s meeting scheduled ASAP. We agreed on Monday, November 8th at 10:30. She assured me the evals would be in hand and ready to go for the meeting. I reminded her I needed copies of all evals AT LEAST 3 days before the meeting. Sigh. My school district uses IEP Direct to write their IEPs. It is a point and click program for writing IEPs that I have also used in the past. I told Mrs. Chairperson that the most important goal, right now, for Hope, was learning personal boundaries. Mrs. Chairperson said that wasn’t a possible goal for Hope and I told her to look under the social/emotional category. I am afraid Hope’s school year is going to involve a lot of personal attention from me. It is hard- she really is cute.
Today was my first individual parent- teacher meeting for GB. Her teacher is actually someone who taught in the same district at the same time as I did and we had been in trainings together. He is a natural with special needs kids. I asked about academic levels. GB is working in a 2.2 reader (second half of second grade). She is not in a regular math curriculum- she is way ahead in some areas and totally lost in others, so Mr. Teacher is doing an individualized program with her, trying to build on strengths and fill in holes. OT and Speech are as a class, 2 days a week, and individual 1 day a week. GB is described as happy and thriving. After seven weeks of school, Mr. Teacher knows GB better than 1st grade’s Mrs. Teacher knew GB at the end of last year. It is truly a blessing to have an appropriate educational setting for GB. Now it is time to work on getting one for Hope.