Friday, December 7, 2007

Here we go again + Hiatus.

Well- I was really hoping it wasn't coming to this, but it appears there is a severe lack of communication with Jaysen's school.

For weeks now, I have been requesting communication as to how his days were going, to which I've only been told "Oh, he's doing fine. A little tired, but fine."

Apparently things are not fine.

My son told me last night:
"The 'bad teacher' (ironically, the Autism Consultant) put me in the kindergarten. She put Baby Shakespeare (tape) on the shelf behind the books. She wouldn't let go of my arms like this (demonstrates a "basket hold" restraint), and I cry."

"Ms. B (principal) wouldn't let go of my pencil."
I asked why Ms. B wanted to hold onto his pencil-
"I playing with it like this (stims)."

I am pissed. I am way beyond the realms of frustration. I am seething.

First of all, if this "Autism Consultant" was worth a shit, she would know that Jaysen's behavior would escalate if she took his tape away, especially if she put it out of his sight. She would also know that "stimming" is, among other things, a coping strategy for him in times of anxiety. Interrupting his stim is going to cause his anxiety to rise as well.

His behavior escalated to the point that the Autism Consultant felt it necessary to apply a "basket hold" type physical restraint. The kicker? I was not contacted at all regarding any of this. I had no idea that Jaysen's behavior was even an issue, and I sure as hell had no idea that it "required" physical restraint, until he told me last night. That's saying a lot, considering Jaysen's language issues.

My child does not feel safe in his own classroom. This is absolutely unacceptable.

When I tried to ask his teacher this morning about it, she refused to give me eye contact, and said very coldly, "I have to greet my students. I'm too upset." Bitch, I don't care about your emotional status. I care why my son was restrained without my knowledge yesterday. I just walked away, and fired off an e-mail to practically everybody in the district.

All of his other classes are great! Reports of his hard work, how far he's come, and he's a pleasure. Except in his home class. Gee, what does that tell me?

So- I am probably going to take a (hopefully) brief hiatus from The Quirk Factor here. I've fought a school system before (the crappy school in our old district-see post here), and it looks like it's headed that way again. Those of you who have battled a district before, know the time and energy it sucks out of you. It's not fun. Personally, I'd rather have a root canal. This time though, the gloves are off.

I will be checking my e-mail frequently, so if you do have powerful advocacy tips you'd like to share, I greatly appreciate them. Wish me luck, and I will try to update.

While maintaining my best professional front-
...they're about to meet Momzilla.


Maddy said...

Yes it seems as if your attention is needed elsewhere. Don't envy you that one, one little bit.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Marla said...

The best book I have ever read on the subject is From Emotions to Advocacy by Pam and Pete Wright. You can get it on Amazon. I have read the book a million times and followed a lot of what it tells you to do. Managing to get services for my child and helped a lot of other people get one to one aides and other services.

Is basket hold mentioned in his IEP? This is a concern.

I struggled with my daughter's schools...all of them...telling me daily, "She is great. All is fine." Then BOOM! Everything would go wrong and we would be in your situation. I try to stay as emotionless as possible when dealing with the school. I go at it from more of a business like perspective and have everything written and documented. I had a very detailed IEP and went to the school and observed my daughter in her classes often. I also dropped in a lot when I knew she had OT or PT and stuff to make sure she was getting the services. You would be amazed how often she was never getting services or they were cancelled and I was told she had them. I wish I could say I had a great experience. Every school we went to advocating was a full time job.

Even when I was livid though I went in smiling and always said, "I just want to be sure Maizie's needs are being met." I kissed butt a lot because that is how I would learn more about what was going on. It was so tiring. That is one reason we homeschool now instead.

Hang in there. I hope you seriously consider the book. They have a great website too.

shelle said...

I'd suggest contacting an advocate from CAUSE (Citizen's for the Alliance for Special Education). That is at least what they call it in MI. The first 2 months of the school year I was doing all the advocating on my own and it was really starting to take it's toll on me and my marriage.

My special ed supervisor suggested the name of an advocate to take some of this off my shoulders. And it really helped. So far, truthfully, she's hard to get a hold of, and she does more talking than listening, but she's a wealth of info. She cracks me up and knows all the legal stuff from a parent's perspective; whereas, I just know it as an educator.

Meeting with her helped put my husband and I on the same team and make me feel less alone. She's constantly telling me, "don't play all your cards at once." And that helps. I'm so excited to tell all these specialists what they are doing wrong and they seem to think I'm neurotic. I haven't won yet, and I don't know if I will, but my advocate has helped.

I will no longer go to meetings without her or my husband. Personally, the school staff doesn't see "anything" wrong with Daniel, but the "honeymoon period" the school has been experiencing is wearing off. Danny's hitting himself in the head when frustrated and laughing liking a maniac on the bus in the morning while instigating all the kids to yell and be loud. I guess the bus problems have been going on 2-3 weeks, and the bus driver just thought to tell me. He's likes Daniel and doesn't want to see him "in the system." You'd think step 1 would be to talk to the parents, but it's not! It's send to a letter and put your kid on probation! Ugh!

Hang in there! I've read your posts. You can do this! Get someone to back you up, an advocate. Someone with a clear set of eyes to help. Another perspective will help you see what you are missing.


Casdok said...

Yes how frustrating. Good luck!

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

I really feel for you... best of luck with it all!

mommy~dearest said...

Thank you all for your support-

Marla- I will look into the book, it sounds like it may help- I am considering a para. There is no mention of any behavior intervention in his IEP, especially not any form of physical restraint.

Michelle- I have worked with CAUSE in the past, and am working with them again. I had a wonderful advocate, Deb, before. This time, I'm hooked up wit Laura, and she seems to be fine, but I don't seem to have that connection that I had with Deb. If you get a moment, please e-mail me -There's strength in numbers, and I'm curious as to which district you are working with?

Tonight is my work Holiday Party, so my sister is watching the kids, and I'm going to forget about my worries just for one night. Whoo hoo!


Ashley's Mom said...

I've been where you are so many times. Please keep me posted, and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I've been to due process once and won, and am probably heading there again very soon.


Val said...

As long as you're going up against the district, ask if there are any chances of getting any music therapy in his daily school life as well.

Music therapy is non-invasive, interactive and has shown in my studies to be very helpful for those on the spectrum.

Just another thought . . . :)

GFCF Mommy said...

Hope you are feeling better soon, then that you can enjoy the holidays a bit. After that, go get 'em Momzilla! I know you will be successful.


dgibbs said...

Oh my, that breaks my heart! Basket hold for stimming with a pencil?! I know you must be seething!

I wish you the best of luck. I haven't hit these problems yet, I pray I never do.