Sunday, March 30, 2008

C'mon, join the fun.

Idea and image credit to momologue:



Seeing that April is Autism Awareness month, I will try to focus my blog on just that. Awareness.

Join me?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Booby prize.

Ahhh...the wonders of little boys.
The wonders of developmentally delayed 6 year old little boys.
The wonders of developmentally delayed 6 year old Autistic little boys, who perseverate...
...on the word "boobies".

A few days ago, Jaysen barged in on me taking a bath, to go to the bathroom. This is nothing all too unusual. This time, however, when he finished peeing, he turned around and started to giggle.

"What are you laughing about?"
"Heh heh...boobies."
"Jaysen, get out of the bathroom."
"Heh heh heh...boobies, boobies, boobies."
"Get OUT!"
"Booooo-beeeees!" (running out of the bathroom)

I can only assume he picked this up at school, as I have never referred to them as boobies, they've always been breasts (when you nursed a baby with another one in-home, these things come up).

So now we have the "Boobie Predicament".
Most kids go through this kind of potty talk around age 4 or so. Being that Jaysen is who he is, he finds poop, farts, burps, butts, stinky feet, and now boobies...hysterical.

I tried to ignore it, but this kid doesn't let things go.
He's even doing the "nudge-the-boob-with- the-elbow" trick, except he's less than slick and perseverates while he's attempting it.
I tried to explain that breasts are "private parts" and you cannot touch anyone else's private parts- ever.
I especially tried to drive home the fact that he cannot talk or act like that at school, and I can only hope he gets it. I can just imagine the "suspension for sexual assault" that could result. I need to think of a way to make it hit home that I'm serious- he cannot do this stuff at school.

Last night when I put him to bed?
"Goodnight, Sweetheart."
"Goodnight boobies."
"Jaysen, I don't like you saying that."
"Goodnight boobies, and inna morning, I gonna say 'good morning boobies'."
(For the record, he did not.)

*Ugh*

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Well smack my ass and call me Sunshine.

Hey- here's a joke for ya.

Q: What does a teacher do at a parent teacher conference?
A: Nothing!
Hahahaaa...isn't that a hoot?!?

Yes, last night was parent teacher conference night. It's funny, because I found it odd that Jaysen's teacher would send home a form stating that she wanted to hold a conference with me, but he's never in her classroom.

I bit, and checked the box that reciprocated my desire to conference with her.

As my scheduled time approached, I reviewed my list of questions I had for Ms.GenEd. Mr.Sub and I had agreed previously to meet after my conference with Ms.GenEd. Ms.GenEd called me in the room. To my surprise, I was met by not only Mr.Sub, Ms.Music,Ms.Speech, and Mr.Gym. Needless to say, I was a bit confused since I had just had an update from Ms.Speech and Music last week.

I asked Ms.GenEd if I could meet with her separately, I didn't want to take up all of her time, and there were some things I needed to discuss with her. She, of course, said "no, we'll do it like this".

The conference began with updates on how Jaysen is doing in Music, and the other teachers began talking amongst themselves about what avenues to try, what works for them, how he reacts to this or that...I was not aware that this was a team meeting. In my opinion, they should have scheduled a more appropriate time to discuss these things, not cut into my conference time. Whatever.

So I turned to Ms.GenEd and asked her about Jaysen's seating arrangement. Remember, the table in the corner of the room? She told me he was assigned by the team, to sit there. I asked why, to which she replied "so he could escape quickly if needed". Oh? "Would that be a quicker escape than that desk...say... right there?" and I pointed to a kid's desk right next to the door.

She became dismissive, jumped up and announced that she had another parent waiting. I told her that was fine, but I still wanted to talk with her and that I would wait. She said she was booked up for the whole night. I said that was okay, and I would be willing to wait if she could spare 15 minutes once all of her conferences were finished. She told me "no, not tonight".

(Did I mention that I am considering nominating her for Teacher of the Year?)

What kind of teacher initiates a parent teacher conference, then refuses to conference with the parent?!?

Ugh.

I did get to meet with Mr.Sub after that whole time-wasting-ordeal. He had some really positive things to say, and also some really frustrating things. When he focuses, Jaysen is doing fantastic. He is working circles around the other kids, and Mr.Sub has to find work to keep him occupied and on task. The problem is, being Mr.Sub, and not Mr.Teacher, he is under Ms.GenEd's direction. Mr.Sub informed me that he has the ability to take Jaysen farther in his education, but can't because Ms.GenEd won't provide him with farther assignment. So, he keeps Jaysen busy with rote work, stuff that he has already mastered, and worksheets that he's done before. Mr.Sub stated that this is frustrating to him, because if the other kids were producing the same amount of work, they'd be in 5th grade.

I asked him if he or Ms.SpEd had any input into Jaysen's report card. He said no, and he didn't understand why. Jaysen hasn't been in Ms.GenEd's classroom, and she is not qualified to assess his progress in anything. He didn't see how she could evaluate any of his academic anything. According to Jaysen's report card, he's working consistently below grade level. Mr.Sub totally disagreed.

He also said that he didn't know what Ms.GenEd's issue was. He explained that it's not the kids in the classroom that are against Jaysen, it's her and the parents. Ms.GenEd doesn't want Jaysen in the classroom because he's "disruptive". Mr.Sub said that

I e-mailed Ms.GenEd this morning to ask her to reschedule, and e-mailed the principal and sp.ed supervisor for some explanations. We shall see.

Oh- Jaysen's previous Resource Room teacher? Officially out. She was asked for her resignation papers this morning.

I am just baffled at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
*sigh* My life...she is so exciting.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Good ideas.

The other night, something amazing happened.
The boys were scrappin'- Rylan screaming like a banshee, and Jaysen wishing him away to Never-never-land.

But that wasn't the amazing part...

Out of the blue, they started to get along. That wasn't the amazing part either.

They were having so much fun, that I couldn't help but join in (facilitated play, y'know). We played for quite awhile. When I liiked at the clock, it was past Jaysen's bedtime, and waaaaay past Rylan's.

I was contemplating how I was going to deal with this situation, so I did what any half-crazy mom would so...I asked my kid.

"Jaysen. I have a problem. Do you think you could help me solve it?"

"Sure I can."

"Okay. It's 9:30. It's past bedtime, and I have to get you and Rylan to bed. What should I do?"

(Thinking...thinking...) "Put us to bed!"

The kid...he is genius. "That's a great idea. Do you think you can watch a bedtime movie while I put Rylan to bed?"

"Yep." And he got his blanket and went to his room.

I started a movie for him, and began the baby-that-would-rather-eat-wood-than-sleep 's routine.

As Rylan was just settling in, I heard...

"Mommy, can I have some water? MOM-EEEEE, can I have some water?"

Ugh. Something was strange because Jaysen would rather-eat-wood-than-drink-water, but I took the bait.

I walked into Jaysen's room with water in hand (well, not literally in my hand) and noticed he had turned the movie off.

"Jaysen, do you want another movie while I finish putting Rylan to sleep?"

He shook his head no.

"Okay, I'll be in when I'm done with your brother."

"Okay Mommy, I love you." Awww. Too bad there was Mr. Scream-o-matic in the next room, so I couldn't fully appreciate this little moment.

Once Rylan was asleep, I peeked in on Jaysen. I'll be darned. He was asleep! This is the first time Jaysen has ever gone to sleep by himself. First time ever. Ever!

Awesome.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The verdict is in.

Remember the complaint I sent to the State Department of Education?
Well, I received a call from the Compliance Officer this afternoon. She explained to me that her investigation was primarily surrounding Jaysen's behavior plan, and whether or not the school was implementing it.

Since they have been scrambling and trying to cover their asses, they were able to show that they have been meeting weekly, tracking and reviewing data, and attempting to find the appropriate supports.

My concern that the data being collected is inaccurate because they're neglecting to document any antecedents, is apparently futile. She "can't be convinced" that they're not tracking antecedents. Umm...have you looked at the data collection sheets? Whatever.
The IEP states that a behavior plan needs to be in place, and they have proved that. She found them not in violation as they are fulfilling the IEP. She will mail out her report tomorrow. I'm trying to contain my joy.

I remarked that there are aspects of the IEP that are not being fulfilled, like his assignments being scaffolded and such. She reminded me that her focus was the behavior plan. No mention of the other complaints, just the BIP.

Wow.

Well, I certainly feel defeated, although she did give me the contact information for the Office of Civil Rights. She said she was sympathetic to my frustrations, and I would need to contact the OCR regarding the discrimination complaints I had.

School: 1
Me: 0

Monday, March 3, 2008

Unfabulous.

Well, I had my appointment to review Jaysen's records this morning. In a word? Uneventful.
I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but there was nothing in that file that I already didn't have myself.

Well, that's not entirely true- I did find out that they approved bus transportation for Kindergarten last year. Wow, that would have been nice to know. I didn't even know they had considered it. Obviously, that wasn't followed through on. And there was a confidential fax from another school regarding three kids that were going to be new to special ed- obviously in Jaysen's file by mistake.

I'm wondering what they took out. None of my e-mails were in there. No notes from any meetings that they've had. When I say the file was bland...it was worse my Mom's bean soup (sorry, Mom!).

I did find it interesting that when I originally inquired about obtaining copies, I was told it was 10 cents a sheet. When I arrived I asked again, and was told 10 cents a sheet. When I asked for copies...the lady left the room. When she re-entered, I was told it was 10 cents a sheet, and an additional $18 an hour. She explained that the fee was a copy fee, and based on the lowest clerical salary.

*blink blink*

So she copied it, and charged me $15.40 for the copies, plus an additional $9.10 for the excruciatingly difficult task of standing at a copier for 30 minutes.

I thought they couldn't do that?

When I paid her the $24.50, I didn't make a scene. What I did do was have her write out a detailed receipt of what services I was charged and paid for. I know it's only $9.10, but it's another small notch on the bedpost for my case. If I'm correct.
My stinkin' advocate isn't calling me back. Argh...so frustrating.

Other than those little tidbits, the whole thing was uneventful and a bit of a letdown. I'd like to know if there is anyway to get the non-truncated records. I don't see that there would be an issue if the other student's names were blackened out, but who knows.

I should have more in a couple days. The State Board of Education Compliance Officer meets with the school on Tuesday. She's supposed to get back with me by Wednesday at the latest.

'Til then!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

*@&#!#*%#@ (censored)

Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment to review Jaysen's records. I asked to view them in their entirety, but they have to truncate them if there are any other student's names due to confidentiality. Whatever. I can only imagine what they've pulled out.

I don't exactly know what it is that I'm looking for- Nothing? Everything? Regardless, I need to have a copy of them at this point. I'm making it a goal that I get copies a couple of times a year from now on.

Things have been pretty bad lately. At the last parent meeting (I think it was Tuesday of last week), the parents were even more irate than the prior one. I couldn't believe some of the comments and questions coming out of their mouths.

Imagine sitting there and hearing:

"Isn't there any way 'this student' could be moved to another school?"

"He needs to be in a class far away from any other kids."

"Isn't there a statue of limitations or something, that says how long he can be in with the general education?"

"Don't we have any say as to where this child should be placed?"

And my personal favorite...
"When is my child going to get the 'special attention' that this child is getting?"


I thought I was going to be sick.
I had to leave the meeting early to make it to work, and I was told the parents got even more aggressive after I left.

I contacted the room mom and asked her if the parents would benefit from a meeting with me. She thought they would, and said things have gotten pretty bad. She's confirmed that it's them against me. Although I offered the meeting, I have no idea what the fuck I'm supposed to say to these people. I can't believe they're so ignorant and mean-spirited.

The Special Education Coordinator called me Friday night to tell me technically I have not started the IEE process because I didn't mention a specific evaluation that I disagreed with. Nice. I love protocol. Let's buy some more time and leave Jaysen hanging. She also said she called because she had just heard how terrible the parents were at the meeting. She used an example that if we were Black, and they wanted Jaysen out of the school, it would not be tolerated. The fact that they want him out because he has a disability, shouldn't be tolerated either. In a nutshell, I told her to screw her IEE because that's the last of my issues right now. I need the parents and their attitudes addressed- NOW. I need the treatment of my son addressed- NOW. This has gotten way out of control. She agreed, and said that the parents will be confronted.

I told her I contacted the room mom to discuss setting up a meeting with me and the parents, to show them that I'm not just "sitting around 'reaping the benefits' of having a special needs child". She highly advised me that I not do it- and if I do, to have either her or the Director of Special Education present. Her concern is that if they were that awful with the principal and assistant superintendent at the meeting, she doesn't know what they're going to do if there is no authority figure there. I explained that I have gone through her, and the Director of Sp.Ed. It's done nothing thus far. I feel like I'm being backed into a corner, and this is the only option I have yet to try. I don't know...I'll have to do some thinking. If my advocate would ever call me back, I could see if she would come with me.

I can't believe that people are actually like this! These are people who are for the most part, upper-middle class (yeah, I'm way outta my element in this city), educated, and diverse. I cannot believe that they are acting so outrageous, closed-minded, and hostile toward a six year old!

Dammit.