Saturday, February 9, 2008

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Mr.Sub has brought some highs and lows to Jaysen's programming at school. On one hand, he's been pretty fantastical with Jaysen- he understands that Jaysen does things that a typical kid may not do, doesn't take Jaysen's behavior personally, has been able to pick up on when he is overloaded, sees the potential that Jaysen has, and is trying to get to know him.

On the other hand, Mr.Sub is still a gen.ed teacher. He realizes that when Jaysen does perform, he usually outperforms the whole class. He has to find things for him to do, just to keep him busy because Jaysen is working circles around the rest of the class when he does work. Since he is a gen.ed teacher, he has literally been thrown into a classroom without any instruction. He had no idea that a sensory area had been constructed for Jaysen to use, he has no idea where Jaysen's extra clothing is (if Jaysen's pants get snowy at recess, he has to change them), he has no idea how to fill out the daily communication sheets or ABC charts when an incident does happen. An example is, he mentioned to me that "even when Jaysen earns 'all 5 stickers', we don't always have time to use the computer." I told him nicely that he had to make the time because this is part of Jaysen's behavior plan. It's imperative to follow through, especially on the reward part.

But like I said, he's not malicious- he just really doesn't know, because nobody "bothered" to tell him. He's also "figuring it all out" on his own, and he's not happy. He's figured out that the role they want him to play is to get Jaysen out of the school. He has seen how they treat him, and has seen their lack of focus, and he's not happy. But therein lies the problem- does one take advocating for their student over their job? His sp.ed teacher did just that, and look where it landed her.

I submitted a complaint letter to the Special Ed. department, stating my dissatisfaction with how this school year has been handled thus far, and put in a request that Mr.Sub attend training for Autism. When I spoke with him, he told me that he's been reading up on as much as he could find, and he feels that training would benefit him as well. I also asked that he be given the lead role in Jaysen's education for the rest of the year. If his teacher has not treated him fairly by now, I can't see that things would change. I also added that I wished to schedule a time to discuss moving Jaysen to a more supportive environment for next year.

Putting two and two together- Jaysen's sp.ed teacher will not be returning to school. Ever. So now, my sp.ed son is left without a sp.ed teacher. Isn't that conducive to an "appropriate education"? That's what I thought too. The principal has flat out lied to me regarding her whereabouts, and there's nothing I despise more than a liar. I can't see returning my son to a school that is led by a liar, in a school which is supposed to be serving my child, but has left him in the dust.

Where would I send him? I have no idea just yet. I have to research schools, but how do I know the same crap won't happen again in the upcoming year? Jaysen did beautifully last year with a supportive principal leading the school. This new principal doesn't know her ass from a hole on the wall. I just can't believe the other parents are believing the loads of crap spewing from her mouth. She's very good at being convincing...and conniving.

There was a meeting with the classroom parents before school on Friday. At the meeting, the parents brought up their concern that disability awareness wasn't done early enough. The school should have made an effort to educate the class about disabilities early in the year. The principal said that she looked into a "Disability Bus" that comes around to present an assembly for schools regarding what it's like to have a disability. You have to wait your turn though, it's not something you can just order. She also said that a presentation to the class was not done at the beginning of the year because I had not consented to it.

I couldn't keep quiet any longer. I raised my hand, and explained that if she wanted to be proactive, there are things you can order. There are books, presentations, games, etc. regarding disabilities, online, that all you have to do is click on the button to order them. I then turned to the parents and told them that I did offer to come in and inservice about Autism back in November. There was a low grumble amongst the parents, and they questioned the principal why I was never taken up on the offer. Not surprisingly, she "couldn't remember that conversation", so I said I would forward her the e-mail from back in November (which I did).

I've had it. I've had it with a principal that can't take any accountability, and tries to pawn off her procrastination on everyone else. I'm not taking this anymore. I'm considering calling a meeting with any parents that are interested, to show them just what it is that I've been going through to get acceptable services for Jaysen. This is not my issue, and I'm not going to let my son suffer because the parents have been led to believe the school is sterling and I'm the one who's lacking.

I'm not the type of person who welcomes everyone and their momma into our business, but this is affecting how these parent's kids are interacting with mine. If I have to put our dirty laundry out there, I will. Maybe they will see the negligence of the school and help me stop this mistreatment.

The saga continues...


Casdok said...

What a nightmare. Hope the saga doent continue for much longer.
Ive been training the trainers today in autism, and boy do they need it.

cmdhdpeterson5 said...

What state do you live in?

Terri said...

This stinks. I think getting to know and be involved with a bunch of the other parents is a great idea. When my daughter was in kindergarten it was the other neighbors that got her on the regular bus (commenting over coffee about the cost of a special run just for her, about the fact that she will always get to school late and that she would be all alone motivated everyone.)

There are people who carry it to extremes, but there is a lot of sharing you can do--even about struggles or concerns--before it gets to the point where you're airing dirty laundry (It is great that you are conscious of that though, some folks do carry it that far.) Make as many allies as you can--you should definitely NOT have to do this alone!!!!!!

Marla said...

Woah. Sometimes situations get so bad that is best to look for a new school and begin again. I hope this is not the case but it sounds bleak.

The teacher working one to one with your son sounds great. I hope that can develop into something even more positive in this situation.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Argh! And I thought the principal at my son's school made me angry -- I think yours is making me angrier!

misha_k said...

This makes me feel so bad knowing my son has the services he needs at school. It also makes me incredibly angry knowing you're going through such B.S. It's ridiculous that you have to go through this at all. It shouldn't have even come to this.

I'd hate to see Jaysen have to switch schools but with the way the situation is going I can understand why you're thinking about it.

Some people do not deserve to teach or shouldn't be in charge of a school. Is there a state education department you can file a complaint with? You and Jaysen deserve so much better than this.

mommy~dearest said...

Misha, don't ever feel bad that you son is receiving the appropriate services! That is absolutely wonderful!

It is ridiculous that anyone has to go through any of this for their child. He's six years old!

My advocate is adding in some legal jargon to my complaint letter- I'll be sending it to the Superintendent, FERPA office, the ISD and the State Board of Education, once it's completed.

What a nightmare. The sad thing is, that this is still better than the school district we came from.

cmdhdpeterson5, we're in the lovely frigid state of Michigan.

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

How disguisting that you should have to put up with this!
I really really hope something gets sorted out - for both Jaysen and you... it's just so unfair... and such shocking management on behalf of the school..

Sabrina said...

Have you approached the school board asking about a new special ed teacher? I don't see how they could do that!! Hope you have better news soon!!

LAA and Family said...

Wow, I give you a lot of credit for fighting the school for what you want. I honestly did not want to go through it all, especially when in the long run I really wanted to teach my child at home anyways. Even so, I am trying to keep in contact with other parents and with what is going on at the school in our area. For those that want to make use of that resource, they deserve something worthwhile!

Your son's substitute teacher sounds like a good guy. I'm sure he is in a very difficult position. I hope he can hang in there and get the training he needs. It sounds like he really wants it. I think it's especially good for our little guys to have some male teachers and aids. My son's in-home helper is a guy and I feel very fortunate to have his help. He's very interested in autism and in trying to relate to my son.

Angela said...

I have not one but TWO girls with AS. And I have ridden the emotional roller coaster of having to deal with "professionals" through my daughters' school.

I'm still not totally satesfied with the progression being made with my youngest. My oldest got excellent support services when she started school, but my youngest is met with one unforeseen hurdle after another. Last year alone, she's had 4 different aid changes during the year and her teacher was gone the latter part of the year due to maternity leave. Because of the instability, I feel it has irreversibly caused issues for this year. And while she is seen by the special ed teacher several hours a week along with speech and OT, I feel that it isn't enough. My daughter is supposed to have an aid on hand all day everyday. How is this possible when it is (a) a charter school filled with other special needs children and (b) there is only one aid. Do they think I'm stupid?

Overall, the school isn't bad. It is small, the teachers and most of the other students know the girls are autistic, which helps. They are mainstreamed as much as possible, but seriously... how much smoke do these educators blow up our asses?

I sit up at night in the dark crying and wishing that my girls will have some sort of shred of "normalcy". There is no way that any of these educators can even begin to comprehend this unless they have walked in our shoes. Our responsibility to our children is 24/7. Their's gets checked at the door when they leave for the day. I think it would serve them best to get a little bit of humility and actually think of what WE as parents have to do day in and day out to secure the best hope and future for our children. They are only a piece of the puzzle. When they don't do what they are PAID to do as educators, they are failing our children.

I feel your pain, though. *sigh*