View Full Version : More issues with my 1st Grader


manismom
09-24-12, 02:22 PM
I apologize in advance if this post is long. I have a hard time getting all the details that I feel are relevant in a short post.

I recently posted about my 1st grade daughter, her 1st spelling test, and my anxieties about the test and the teacher. I think it was called "Talk me down" or something like that. I also apologize for repeating myself between the posts, but I felt that the new issues are different enough to merit a new thread.

My daughter has been in "Special Education" since she was about 14 months old. She had great difficulty controlling her muscle movements. She was floppy and had low muscle tone and was at least a little delayed at all of her milestones. She also had some pretty severe sensory issues. All of the early intervention dealt with trying to help her get up to speed on gross and fine motor skills. As she got older, impulsivity, fidgety-ness, and distractibility started to be the bigger problems for her.

She had a wonderful kindergarten teacher who told me a few times that my daughter "changed her life". She came in with a positive attitude, every day, and always did her best. Her teacher told both me and my daughter, all the time, that she loved her. And my daughter was READING by the end of the year.

The "problems" began as soon as we found out her 1st grade teacher. When the other moms asked about teacher assigments, around 8 out of 10 moms said something along the lines of "good luck! You'll need it" They described her as being someone who highly valued conformity, said she was not very compassionate, that she was an extremely effective teacher in terms of getting information into the kids' heads, but clueless about children's emotional lives and about the parent/child relationship. One of the things that I heard over and over was "She likes children who behave".

Oh crap.

Knowing how high-keyed some of the parents in our school can be, I have tried very hard to give her the benefit of the doubt. But it has been REALLY HARD. I keep thinking that when SO MANY parents say the same thing, maybe the are correct. And the teacher has not really done anything to make me feel any better. I attempted to meet with her before school began so I could talk to her about my daughter's speciasl needs, and while she was not rude, she was neither friendly nor accomodating. I ended up having to write a LONG email to her, which is less than ideal considering how easy it is to misconstrue the tone of an e-mail.

The first 2 weeks went fine. Apparently, she stayed in her seat and raised her hand before answering questions, and didn't get too fridgety. Things at home were just OK. My daughter was EXHAUSTED by the time she got home and she still had homework to do. She also started to get kind of rude, mouthy, and sullen. Very unusual for her. If I ticked her off, she would either just shut down and not say anything or she would start crying and tell me that I hurt her feelings.

Then, she started to have accidents at school. I will not pretend that she is 100% potty trained. She still has accidents ALL THE TIME, but RARELY at school because it is such a structured environment. I sent a change of clothes to school with her at the begining of the year and it sat unused in her backpack for almost 3 weeks. Then she had back to back days where she had 2 accidents at school.

The first time it happened, she was already in her "emergency clothes" and was waiting in line for the school bus to go home. The teacher said that she didn't know what to do (all of this through e-mail) because it was so late in the day, so she had her board the bus and the teacher and bus driver put down some layers of paper towels for her to sit on. In front of all the other kids on the bus. I'm not sure what I would have done in her situation, but I know that I would have done my best to preserve the child's dignity.

The next day, also at the very end of the day, she had a 2nd accident (again, she was already in her "emergency clothes"). Instead of bringing clothes to school for her to change into, I just picked her up and took her to the doctor to make sure that she didn't have a medical issue causing all this. She had a little rash that came from sitting in urine wet clothes, but no infection or anything like that.

Last Friday (3 days ago) I got an email from the teacher that my daughter was blurting out answers in class in a loud voice, having trouble keeping her seat and desk still, getting up from her chair, "being off task more than on task", and having trouble following routines that she had seemed to have down pat. In other words, the exact behavior that I had tried to tell her about and the reason that we give her stimulant medicine.

My response was a long, detailed email with suggestions for keeping her in her chair (including some things that are in her IEP) and for modifying her behavior. I explained that one of the most difficult aspects of teaching my daughter is that her behavior is "consistently inconsistent". I suggested that she choose the behavior that is most disturbing to her and use a "sticker chart" to POSITIVELY reinforce the behavior. If she raises her hand and uses her "inside voice" to answer a question, she gets a sticker. As I said, it was LONG and it was DETAILED and it had the suggestions that we have had success with in the past.

The teacher responded that she thought my daughter might be acting up because "the work was getting harder". But the biggest problem that I saw was that she essentially shot down my suggestion for using behavior charts because "With our [school-wide behavior system], there are already so many positive reinforcement incentives in place, I would rather not add anything else to the mix in the classroom until we are out of other options, for the sake of effectiveness at this point in the year." (That's an exact quote from her email)

She offered no suggestions for how she would handle the behavior in the classroom (this is a teacher who was known for yelling at her KINDERGARTEN students). And from what I am reading above, she does NOT want to offer incentives for positive behavior, which pretty much only leaves 2 options. Ignore the behavior, which means that my daughter gets away with the unacceptable behavior and that she is likely to fall behind because she is not on task. Or PUNISH the behavior which is caused by her disability.

I didn't trust myself to respond to the teacher's email. I talked to my daughter about the teacher's expectations in class and said that the teacher asked me to talk to her about raising her hand and staying in her chair. I understand that the teacher wants the kids to raise their hands, but I was so flipping happy to hear that she KNEW THE ANSWER and was TRYING TO PARTICIPATE in class, that I didn't have the heart to mention that she needed to be quieter. She's in 1st GRADE for crying out loud and is EXCITED that she knows the answer. And as for keeping her desk and chair still, they have not been using her "wiggle seat" cushion, which is part of her IEP, so have no right to even ask this of her.

Her dad and I talked about it and decided that I would send an email to the teacher that said "Let's see how things go this week. If she is still having the behavior issues, we would like to schedule a conference to chat about it in person" Casual and non-confrontational.

But I feel like I sent my daughter to school today with no "plan of attack". There is only so much we can do from home. I can talk to her, but I don't expect that she will remember in the heat of the moment. I plan to go to the school this week to listen outside the door and make sure my daughter isn't getting yelled at.

Anyone have any suggestions we can share with the teacher that don't involve behavior charts? I'm pretty chapped that she is not willing to do this since, from all reports and our experience, it is the intervention that works BEST for our daughter. But I'm willing to try anything so long as it doesn't hurt my daughter.

mommytriz
09-24-12, 03:03 PM
Sorry your daughter lost the teacher lottery this year. My daughter lost that lottery for both grade one and two. Both teachers just kept telling me day after day about my daughters behaviour and no matter how many times I gave suggestions they couldn't be bothered. They just wanted a cookie cutter robo child. My daughter is definitely NOT that.

My daughters usually did not too bad the first weeks and then she just couldn't hold it together any longer. She got extremely stressed in that "hostile" environment. I mean hostile in the sense that the entire day was so hard for her to deal with( both medicated and not).

You may not get anywhere going in to the meeting trying to be non confrontational. If she is blatantly not following things set out in her IEP, then inform her your going to have to let the principal know so that he can become involved. Even ask when your setting up the appt. that you'd like him to be present. I'm sure she'll not want that, but it might show her your really serious about getting some action. I spent a lot of time in my daughters class last year and she was always behaved when I was there. Seems like when I was gone she was suddenly the tasmanian devil and everyone else behaved like angels ( this was not the case anytime I observed). I came to not trust her views on my daughter or how she treated my daughter when I wasn't there. On two occasions I came to p/u and my daughter was flipping her desk over in frustration and the teacher was ignoring her untill I walked in. Then she hurredly started to explain the problem, It was always something minor that could have been dealt with easily if the teacher bothered to take the time to treat my daughter with any bit of care.

My only option to safe guard my daughters well being was to leave the school. The teachers had absolutely no ability to deal with an ADHD child. They believe that once medicated they will be "just like everyone else". She would ask my daughter often "Did you take your medicine today" Totally inappropriate. The problem is the school systems complete inability to adapt and face the fact that some kids just aren't cut out to spend 6 hours sitting in a desk.

Good luck in your meeting, I hope you can get through to her.

Perhaps grab onto the comment about "the work is getting to hard" and ask to see it. Perhaps it is and for a while she could give her something a little simpler ( to build confidence)or perhaps your daughter CAN do the work, just the volume is overwhelming so she could give your daughter less questions. Same work, just less. I know that is very common, especially if she also has gross motor issues. I found that when I helped out in class many of the worksheets were confusing, even to me.

Ask if after the whole class has started, she check in quickly with your daughter to ensure she understood the questions and what is expected of her.

If you think she could handle it without playing with it, get a kitchen timer ( dollar store one) and tape it to her desk. Have the teacher set it to 5 or ten minutes and tell your daugher to work till it goes off. this helps my daughter at home because otherwise she "feels" like she has been doing something forever.

Lunacie
09-24-12, 03:54 PM
If things are not better by the end of the week - I agree that you need to call

a meeting with the teacher, the principal, and anyone else involved in the IEP.

They have to follow the IEP, it's the law. If the teacher can't or won't do that,

the principal needs to place your daughter with a different teacher.

The sooner in the school year this gets sorted out, the better. Good luck.


PS, like you say, your daughter is only in the first grade. She cannot tell the

teacher what she needs, you have to advocate for her.

manismom
09-24-12, 04:43 PM
Thanks so much for your suggestions!

I do want to go through the "proper" chain of command on this and feel like, first Husband and I will talk to the teacher one-on-one to see what happens. Husband feels like I am over-reacting to this a little, so I want to be CERTAIN that I am not taking things out of context, since that does go both ways with e-mail. Maybe I misunderstood??

And, who knows? Maybe I can educate her and help her be a better teacher. And better person.

But I'm glad to know that my feeling that I do not want to play the "wait and see" game. I feel that, if this is not the right classroom for her, we need to get her into the right classroom as soon as we can.

I've asked her to keep me up to date on the behavior issues. Daily would be preferable because even as an adult, if you tell me I did something wrong LAST WEEK, I may or may not remember what I did, that I did it, or why I did it. (of course, I have my own ADHD issues)

I'd say that if she refuses to help develop a mutually acceptable PLAN for modifying my daughter's behavior at the meeting, then it's time to have a meeting with the principal and call an IEP meeting to make sure that her behavioral goals are still appropriate.

The thing that is really getting under my skin is that we had my daughter's most recent IEP in February. That's pretty near the end of school in my district. At that time, I talked to the principal about being conscientious about the teacher whe chose for my daughter. She got a little defensive and ASSURED me that she would choose an appropriate teacher.

Of all the comments I have heard about the teachers at this school, I never heard anything worse that "She's not a very touchy-feely, snuggly kind of person, but she's a GREAT teacher". Except for the teacher that my daughter has this year. I have heard terrible things about her. Things that could / should have gotten her fired. And THIS is the teacher that the principal carefully chose for my daughter?

Is it possible to put something in her IEP about how her teacher is chosen and whether we can have a say in it?

Ms. Mango
09-24-12, 05:49 PM
It's time to get someone from the special ed department involved. They are the resource people for the teaching staff, they should be helping the teacher implement the IEP. Of course your thoughts on things like the sticker chart should be given consideration, but the teacher being dismissive towards you. Give the special ed folks a heads up about the difficulty your DD is having, tell them what you've suggested (and had shot down) and ask if they can come up with an effective solution.

Also, let them know that items specified in the IEP, like the cushion, are not in DD's classroom--as far as you know. I don't know how it works in your district, but in ours the special ed department is responsible for making sure those items get to the appropriate classroom.

manismom
09-25-12, 02:00 PM
Ms. Mango -

Thanks! I will contact her SPED teachers today. I talked to my daughter this morning about her "wiggle seat" and she told me that they are NOT using it. As far as I can remember, it's in her IEP, so it needs to be in place. They may have been trying to see if she could go without it for some reason, but it's time for her to get it back. And I wasn't thinking that they may offer some suggestions that I didn't think about. She sees them 4 out of 5 days that she is at school. The only reason that it isn't 5/5 is because they use one day to do all their admin stuff like IEPs.

I will keep you guys up to date on what happens.

manismom
09-26-12, 02:55 PM
Well, her SPED teacher told me that they haven't been using the "wiggle seat" because "She hasn't needed it". Are you kidding me???? Somewhere around 1/2 the time we've been back in school, she has had trouble staying in her seat and keeping her seat and desk still and "She didn't seem to need it"?????

She went on to say that "I think some of the work is pretty hard for her and it gets overwhelming or frustrating especially at times when she is working independently."

OH. NO. YOU. DIDN'T.

My daughter was given an IQ test as she was transitioning from preschool to kindergarten and it showed an IQ of around 90. There was the added caveat that it was her "functional IQ" meaning that her actual IQ is HIGHER, but her disability prevents her from showing that. A score of 100 is considered "average".

So the concepts that they are teaching one month into First Grade are "too difficult" for someone with an average IQ?

Remember, this is from her Special Education teacher (and the person in charge of SPED at her school) who should KNOW BETTER.

Let me tell you, Mommy almost went "Super-fly TNT" on that ignorant lady.

Yes, my daughter has some pretty serious issues with Executive Function. But she is NOT mentally retarded (gee, I really HATE that phrase). She has trouble SHOWING WHAT SHE KNOWS.

It's one thing to swap her teacher for another teacher, but her SPED teacher will be her SPED teacher for as long as she is employed at this school and she is treating my daughter as if she were mentally retarded.

I am beside myself with FURY and GRIEF right now. And really trying to decide what I want to do.

I have serious doubts about whether I can home school her because of my own issues with ADHD, but I don't see how I can continue to send her to these people who have so little faith in her and virtually no understanding of her true disability.

mommytriz
09-26-12, 03:36 PM
Wow, I am so sorry your going through all this. It shouldn't be this hard. I know it is though because you are living my last two years at regular school. I have been there where your crying with frustration and feeling helpless to get your daughter the help she needs.

Please understand that when they say "the work is too hard" ( I heard this as well with my 8 year old daughter who has also tested out at an 11 or 12 y/o level in reasoning/understanding) this isn't a sign of lack of intelligence. She may have a LD. My daughter is smart as a tack, it's always been evident, but she cannot grasp reading at a grade level. It's not lack of intelligence. It's a learning difference. She needs to be taught differently. Public schools don't have that capability. I teach her at home with many methods I research online. I spend my days figuring out lessons for her after school. It is short bits focussed to target her weaknesses. Each week is a different theme. I make it fun. She responds well to that. I do active games to learn sightwords. Colour code sounds in words to help her visualize and remember.

She left that school. I didn't trust them with her. She is too amazing a person for them to crush daily over the same issues. There was one SPED teacher there who I loved. He was great with her & understood her, but he only had 1/2 an hour a day with her & 4 other struggling kids. It wasn't enough. Her brother and sister remained there. For them ( regular learners) it is just fine. For her it was torture. They refused to accept when I gave them info. about her eye dysfunction. They repeatedly gave her tasks I had told them she physically was not able to do & was in therapy for. They refused to offer her and IEP, they continued to tell me she had GAD. When they were the CAUSE of her anxiety.

Sorry I don't have too much in the way of inspiration for you. I gave up on the school and chose a different path.

manismom
09-26-12, 04:09 PM
Mommytriz -

I honestly don't know if she has been tested for LDs. Since she was in preschool the last time they did any formal testing, can they even test for LDs when they can't yet read?

When I work with her at home on homework, she seems to understand the concepts that they are trying to teach, but she seems to need one-on-one attention to know what she is supposed to do to fill in the worksheets to show her answers.

Her reading is still a little shaky, but she understands how to sound out words with short vowel sounds and up to 4 - 5 letters. She is still in First grade (and only 1 month into the school year), so I'm not sure how far along she SHOULD be at this point.

And I have to almost constantly re-direct her back to her work. She gets side tracked (Me: Spell "Sit". Her: Sit, I tell the dog to sit. I love the dog, where is she? What was I supposed to be doing again?)

I think there may be some auditory processing issues going on as well because she was having some difficulty with hearing the difference between the "ts" ending (as in "sits") and the "x" ending (as in "six"), but STILL only missed 1 word on her spelling test!!!!

I'm so glad your daughter has a wonderful Mom like you who recognizes that she's an amazing person in spite of her difficulties.

I feel the same way about my daughter. This little girl has the most beautiful, kind, generous soul of anyone I have ever met. I worry about her all the time, but she hs this way of winning people over. I have heard over and over again from people involved with her "She changed my life".

She works SO HARD and, up until about a week or so ago, she does it CHEERFULLY. She starts every day with a smile and an eagerness to learn about the world that I have never seen before. I don't want this crap-tastic school to crush that spirit because she has trouble filling out a stupid worksheet that makes exactly zero difference in the great grand scheme of her life.

Does your daughter go to a different school now or do you teach her at home?

brandon_g
09-26-12, 06:17 PM
Hi,
I am a sophomore in hihh school (private school that is) and even I know that teacher is a (excuse this offensive word) IDIOT... what kind of teacher doesnt follow IEP's. You should have the school princepal take action... and if he doesnt than contact child study team... (in charge of IEP's and such) and get them involved. EVERY KID IS ENTITLED TO A PROPER EDUCATION. Action must be taken (fast).

Good luck

manismom
09-26-12, 06:33 PM
Brandon,

Thanks so much for your post! It took me some time to come up with a word that was nicer than "idiot", but yeah, she is one.

They have to get the wiggle seat back from the OT, who took it with her last year. Need to talk to them about it to make sure it's not going to happen that way again. If I don't just change schools altogether.

mommytriz
09-26-12, 06:38 PM
My daughter is now going to a new school in our district. It has no classrooms, no walls or desks. It is completely outdoor, environmental learning being offered in conjunction with a local university. They learn through hands on, in context with their world, in a way that makes sense. To my daughter, doing pointless worksheets just does not make sense. However, give her a magnifying glass, a container and a river, tell her to find different forms of invertebrates , then compare and classify the different ones kids found. She's all over that. She is more calm and thoughtful and not stressed out. There is only discovery and learning now. Learning a new way to look at and explore the world.

I am still doing all the home learning things I mentioned previously to support her academic advancement at her pace, but her new school has re inforced to me that creating a love of learning is more important than creating someone who can get an A on a spelling test or sit quietly in their chair for an hour at a time and keep quiet.

Lunacie
09-26-12, 06:39 PM
Okay, following the chain of command you've found that the first link is weak!

If the teacher is complaining about things that the IEP is supposed to address
but she's not using the IEP - then it's time to move on to the next link in the
chain of command.

If she told you that working independently is causing problems for your daughter
but didn't offer any ideas on how to address that - then it's time to move on
to the next link in the chain of command.

Please speak to whoever is the next link in the chain of command very soon.

Tomorrow would be good.

Ms. Mango
09-26-12, 08:37 PM
This has been disheartening.

I was hoping the SPED person could help you but I guess not. Totally agree with Lunacie, keep moving up the chain until you find someone competent.

Rebelyell
09-26-12, 09:38 PM
I cannot believe its been 20 years nearly since I left high school and the degree of incompetency and lack of understanding with teachers is still just as bad or even worse at an all time high of ignorance

Kasi
09-27-12, 02:01 AM
I hate to tell you, but some of the SPED teachers/Disability department counselors were some of the worst offenders when it came to treating me like a complete idiot. They still are.

I've gotten a shocked look and "Wow, you speak extremely clearly/intelligently for someone who's deaf!" I tend to have to stop myself from giving a "Are you f**king kidding me?" look, grit my teeth and say "Thank you." That's not even one of the worst things I've ever gotten either.

They will often also try to get you to take a few things off of your accommodations list and occasionally be very pushy about it. It also happens often around 'budget cuts' time, so beware of that and prepare to smile tightly at them and tell them it's not negotiable because it works for your child.

If it's a public school, you can go to the principal and demand that their teacher choice is unacceptable to you and the teacher's methods are making your child worse not only in school, but at home. It seems like you're early enough in the year that it should be easy enough to switch. Also talk to the PTA if you have an active one. They can be terrifying once they've decided to gather behind one particular topic to deal with. There's nothing like a group of mothers who feel protective and have done research that would do a PhD proud.

Speaking of the outdoor school that mommytriz mentions, there's a method of schooling called Montessori, which tends to do more hands on work, more outdoor activities and play. I've heard through some other deaf or people with LDs, that it tends to work better for them, because it's more visual, interactive and hands on, rather than annoying repetitive worksheets. Funnily enough, a lot of the teachers seem to also have more of a grasp of LDs and how to work with/around them, than a lot of SPED teachers whose job it is to know about it. Look into it if you can.

I'm sorry if this is more ranty than anything you can use, but it hit a nerve and I truly hope you find something that works for your daughter!

mommytriz
09-27-12, 01:21 PM
Speaking of the outdoor school that mommytriz mentions, there's a method of schooling called Montessori, which tends to do more hands on work, more outdoor activities and play.

My daughter went to a montessori preschool and the teachers there loved, loved, loved her. She was inquisitive and kept busy at the tasks she liked to do. She was never a behaviour issue or disturbed anybody else. She followed the routine, sat at carpet, cleaned up her stations after she was done. We always new she was "different" than many of the other kids, but never would have guessed ADHD till grades K, 1 & 2 were such a nightmare. I totally think the teachers at her pre school were just so amazing and caring compared to the teachers at public school that they had better control of a room of 3 and 4 year olds than the teachers in higher grades can manage.

manismom
09-27-12, 03:07 PM
Lunacie and Ms. Mango - They say that they are going to start using her wiggle seat, but have to get it back from the OT. Do you think I should go ahead and schedule a meeting with the principal or give them until next week to get the wiggle seat back and see how things go? Should I just report to the principal that they weren't following her IEP? I've misplaced my copy of the IEP and am waiting for the SPED teacher to send a new copy, but I know that they are at least following certain parts of the IEP, like inclusion, pull-outs for speech & ot, and modified testing, but I don't know about the rest.

Rebelyell - With some people it's immeasurably better. At least we have inclusion and stuff like that so my daughter isn't stuck in a dingy basement classroom doing craft projects all day (my ex-boyfriend told me about HIS resource experience). But for some people, its worse. They hear all this stuff on the news about how ADHD can be cured with a "simple" diet change/vitamin supplement/set of excersizes or they hear that we are just giving our kids speed or turning them into zombies so they behave.

Both my mother and mother-in-law said, in seperate conversations, "Whatever you do, don't give her drugs". What??? I'm not lighting the crack pipe for her!!! I'm TRYING to make sure that she has the proper balance of brain chemicals!!

All they hear is the sensationalist stuff on the news media. My mom knows that she is taking stimulants. My mother-in-law doesn't and I don't want to tell her. She's a controlling, sometimes irrational person, and I just don't want to hear the backlash.

manismom
09-27-12, 03:34 PM
I somehow missed the last 2 posts.

I did look at a Montessori school in our town before my daughters entered school and it kinda scared me.

I love the concept of Montessori education, but this school didn't seem like my little Tasmanian Devil would fit in. All the kids were so QUIET and STILL. And here comes my little one, grabbing EVERYTHING she could get her hands on. We used to call her "the octopus" because she HAD to touch and grab things to experience them.

When they started talking about how all their supplies were "faced" (as in all faced the same way with the labels pointing in the same direction) I kinda started to back away slowly. Then they started talking about how because everything was so calm, it made the kids calmer. Hermmm. Not sure how I feel about that one. It can't hurt, and probably helps, but being in a calm, quiet place is NOT going to instantly turn her into a calm quiet child.

Then there's the financial issue. It was expensive. Very expensive.

When I think about it now, she might do OK there since she has matured and mellowed quite a bit in the past 3 years, but not sure how we would swing the financial aspect.

Luvmybully
09-27-12, 03:44 PM
When my daughter was in 1st grade she was NOT! expected to sit in her chair, or on the floor for group times. The teachers KNEW she couldn't do it, and set her up for success by giving her her own standing space in the back of the classroom for group times, and they allowed her to stand at her table/desk. She had IEP goals to gradually increase her seated time, which she was able to meet. She NEVER got into trouble for not being able to be still, and as a result she liked school, and was able to perform much better academically.

They set her up for success, and it worked beautifully! The teacher would send her on an 'errand' to another classroom when she knew my daughter had had enough. She was reading at 4 years old, so when the class broke into groups, my daughter ran one and taught her classmates to read. They never expected her to act/perform just like the typical 1st grader.

It makes me SO MAD when I hear of kids like your daughter who have UNREALISTIC for THEM expectations they are being held to! It doesn't matter what every other kid can do, it only matters what SHE can do, and a positive, non-punitive environment is so important at this early stage in her education! This is a critical time for kids to learn to like school, be comfortable there, and gain confidence that they will be OK and can handle being there!

I totally agree with everyone who suggests you be on those teachers RELENTLESSLY. You are NOT overreacting, you are your daughter's best advocate.

If the school still balks at giving your daughter what she needs, then I highly recommend looking into a special ed advocate. Your daughter is a unique individual with special needs. What the school has in place for their general reward system is IRRELEVANT to what they are REQUIRED to do to help your daughter.

Sorry, I know I am writing a bit choppy, I have a cold and am fuzzy headed. But it really does make me so mad when teacher's fail so miserably such a young child!

Ms. Mango
09-27-12, 03:53 PM
Any chance you can stick your head into the classroom and let the teacher know that the cushion will be made available for your DD? Then let her know you'd like some feedback about how it's working after a few days.

That should give you some time to get a copy of the IEP and ask the SPED teacher about those items you're not sure are being implemented.

They (teacher/SPED teacher) need to be more active instead of reactive. If they try x and x doesn't work then move on to y. We never know what will work with DS is the classroom, but everyone is willing to try and modify strategies to make him successful. That's what's lacking here. It's so easy to set the bar low and say that's the best she can do (even if it's not true) because then they're off the hook in terms of putting forth any additional effort. Hold their feet to the fire.

My only other thought is, is it possible she needs her meds adjusted/changed? Whenever I started getting reports about DS having difficulty completing work that I knew wasn't beyond him I considered that. He has a definite pattern of behaviors when his meds aren't working.

manismom
09-27-12, 04:23 PM
Luvmybully - Thanks so much for your support. You weren't "choppy" to me. This is the kind of treatment that I had hoped my daughter would get. She DID get this kind of treatment in Kindergarten. Her teacher LOVED her and wanted her to succeed and tried everything I suggested to make sure that she did. I really wasn't prepared for this kind of "battle" and hoped I wouldn't need to do it, but looks like I better strap on my mental armor.

Ms. Mango - I can let the teacher know that she's getting her seat back, but quite frankly, I don't think it will matter. I was waiting to see if she would give me an update, good or bad, on my daugher's behavior this week and NOTHING. So she's more than willing to tell me that there is a problem (a week and a half after it started), but she doesn't seem particularly interested in doing anything about it.

As for the school-wide behavior program, I will give you a little insight. My older daughter has gotten about 30 tickets for the month they have been in school. She says that she and the rest of the class get them when the entire class is "good". There were a few other instances where some kids got some and others didn't because they did something they were supposed to do (like get homework sheets signed), but I have not heard her mention getting a ticket for something specific that SHE did (like being on task or helping another student, ANYTHING).

That system does NOTHING to address my younger daughters behavior issues in class. I am talking about maybe 30 little "attagirl's" a DAY.

And, yes, she may need a medication adjustment. We JUST went to the Neuro (in fact I haven't even filled the new scrip yet) and I had him write the prescription for the lower dose she has been on for the past couple of months because I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A PROBLEM! But it looks like we need to either fiddle with the dose or try a new med.

She's taking ~15mg of Vyvanse right now. We have been giving her 1/2 of a 30 mg capsule because the 20 mg was making her really weepy and emotional in the afternoons for about 1/2 an hour. Bumping the dose up to 30 mg made the emotional upset last for SEVERAL hours.

Knowing the kind of situation she may be in at school, I'm a bit reluctant to mess with the meds too much for fear that her behavior will deteriorate and they won't know what to do with her. But, Her neuro is open to whatever dose works for her and whatever medicine. We could easily bump up to 20 mg and see how it went.

Ms. Mango
09-27-12, 04:40 PM
I can let the teacher know that she's getting her seat back, but quite frankly, I don't think it will matter. I was waiting to see if she would give me an update, good or bad, on my daugher's behavior this week and NOTHING. So she's more than willing to tell me that there is a problem (a week and a half after it started), but she doesn't seem particularly interested in doing anything about it.

You're not just letting her know that the cushion is coming back, you're informing her that you're going to be proactive about following up on this. You're not going to let it go. It's important to you. Don't wait on her. Get on her like stink on cheese. Nicely :).

Don't up the dose if it's going to have such negative side effects. Maybe your doctor will consider a different med.

Rebelyell
09-27-12, 07:38 PM
:giggle:@ Stink on cheese comment.Hmm wiggle seat I could of used one of them in school.Years ago I asked my mom if i could bring a dirtbike seat in to school to sit on and jump up n down on when i got al antsy in the pantsies.To my dismay she said absolutey not:eyebrow:gave me the royal stink eye too dirtbike what?!!:( I guess it was the jump up an down on it like iw as on a dirtbike comment that got me shot down:lol:

manismom
09-27-12, 08:03 PM
They are going to have her seat back my next Wed.

I got a little "curt" with them this afternoon because I feel like I'm not getting feedback.

The teacher said that she didn't tell me about the behavior issues sooner because "all kids have off days and she didn't want to worry me unneccessarily (sp?)". And she said that my daughter isn't getting in trouble for the behavior because its not something that she SHOULD get in trouble for. All the right answers.

Grrr. I just don't know what to do. My gut is telling me that something is rotten here, and I'm still not happy about the "work being too difficult" comment from her SPED teacher, but I'm not sure what to do now.

brandon_g
10-02-12, 07:26 PM
Well that teacher is one I'd slap if I met her... anyway I would call a meeting with the principal, ot teacher, teacher (or any aids) and tell them stright out "I want my kids IEP being followed or I will be contacting higher authitorty personnel" maybe the threat of the child study team or people above them may get their butts following the IEP. I am truly sorry, I wish luck to both of ya.

manismom
10-03-12, 12:50 AM
She's supposed to get her wiggle seat back tomorrow. I've asked them to let me know when she gets it (for some reason, the OT had it with her and she is only at the school part time).

I'm trying to remain calllllmmmmmm about this right now. Getting crazy worked up won't do my kid any favors, much I am would like to march in there and show them what happens when they poke the bull...

I won't give this forever to resolve itself. Since we still don't have a diagnosis, I'd like to get daily updates on her behavior. I'd like to make it easy for the teacher, but I would like to know if there is any kind of pattern to what's going on. I also noticed that the things that my daughter is doing (or not doing, as the case may be) are called "pre-vocational skills" or something like that on her IEP. Things like raising her hand to ask a question, knowing her address and phone number, looking at the person to whom she is talking... there was a list of 25 skills or so.

She has other goals on her IEP for Speech, Language, etc., and they all have a section stating how they plan to reach those goals. But the Pre-vocational Skills section does not. So there is nothing in the IEP saying how they plan to help her know she needs to raise her hand to ask a question and all the other pre-vocational skills that she hasn't yet mastered.

I think that's important. First, it explains a bit about why the teacher hasn't really done anything. She may not have thought to do anything. Right now, she is just giving my daughter reminders. But there was never really a plan in place for how the teacher was supposed to address these skills. So I want to call an IEP meeting to address these goals.

I'm really quick to fly off the handle, so it's important that I go over all this with Husband so he can be there to back me up when I get all flustered in the meeting.

I've read through DizFriz's corner, but I would like to hear if anyone has put something like this on your kid's IEP.

Thanks for the support for my kid, everyone. It really means something, even though we'll probably never meet in person. I can at least show this to Husband and others and say "Look... Here's a kid who got this. And this kid's school does this". It shows I'm not being impractical.

Sorry if this is all ramble-ey. It's late and my meds are long gone today.

mommytriz
10-03-12, 01:34 AM
Personally, I never really liked the idea of a wiggle seat/cushion. I felt it would single my girl out even more & I was also pretty sure she'd use it as a frisbee. :lol: I like the idea off a fidget toy though. At her new outdoor school if they ever do sit, it's onthe grass and she sits and pulls out grass or plays with sticks while she listens intently. I can't believe my daughter listens intently at school, but it's like keeping her hands busy helps her alot.

The pre vocational skills might be some of the executive functioning skills that adhd'ers struggle with. Things they KNOW, but still cannot do. Your daughter may very well KNOW she must raise her hand, but still can't manage tht much forethought yet in grade 1.

manismom
10-03-12, 02:26 PM
Mommytriz - I had the same concerns about the seat (or that she would wiggle her way out of the seat and into the floor :D )

On the one hand, you cannot tell that she has a disability when you first see her. She is a BEAUTIFUL little girl. Strangers give her money and stop me on the street to tell me that she needs to be a model or in the movies. I'm not kidding!! I think that sometimes people forget how hard she has to work at everything and how hard she tries. So having the wiggle seat in class might help the teacher remember that she needs some extra help.

I was quite surprised that she didn't use it inappropriately. A fidget toy might help. Right now, she picks and scratches at her skin and I'm trying to get her to stop, but I don't want her attention on a toy when it needs to be on a book. Did you ever have a toy that your daughter could use?

I went through the pre-vocational skills checklist last night and it's got a wide variety of things on there. Things like: knows address, parents' names, and other things that have to be actually taught. Then other things like: displays age appropriate hygiene, wears clothing according to school policy; things that aren't necessarily taught. Then there are things like: arrives on time for class & returns teacher/home communication that have more to do with parent involvement. And then there are the ones that are effected by her disability like: Follows written directions without help from an adult, asks for help when needed from peers and adults, understands school behavior for success i.e. sits up, leans toward speaker, asks questions, nods, and talks to teacher.

Personally, I love the idea of the outdoor school. I first heard about that kind of school in a book called "The Homework Myth" (at least I think it was there). We don't have anything even remotely resembling that kind of school here.

Husband and I both went to typical public school (I also went to a private school for pre-k through 2nd grade). His experience was just OK. He likely has unrecognized learning disabilities that could have been addressed during school, but he made it thorough and got an undergraduate degree in college, so it can't have been all bad. My experience was awful. My 3rd grade teacher told my mother that I was not intellectually capable of handling 3rd grade material, when I taught myself to read before I was 4 years old. Moms had the school give me an IQ test and they found I had a genius level IQ. I was in gifted classes during elementary school, but after that, it was like the school forgot about all that and lumped me in with "behavior problem" kids. I HATED school. Had constant stomache aches and headaches because it was so stressful. Really a shame because I have always LOVED to learn. But by the time I got to 6th grade or so, busywork was a deal breaker. I just wouldn't do it. It made me CRAZY. So... I was a trouble maker.

I talked to Husband last night about my concerns for our daughter. I think that she NEEDS one-on-one instruction right now. When do homework with her, I have to sit at her desk and walk her through her homework, step-by-step. She can usually start doing it by herself by the 3rd or 4th problem, but still needs to be redirected when she gets distracted.

We can ask for more one-on-one instruction for her from the school, but that means she will be with the SPED teacher who thinks "the work is just hard for her". I think that's a huge cop-out and I found it really offensive. I don't want this lady spending more time with my daughter and giving her the impression that the work is just too hard for her poor widdle brain. Considering the budget crisis we are having in our school district right now, there is NO WAY I will be able to get them to approve a full time aide, which is what we think she needs, at least for this school year.

I am HUGELY uncomfortable with the idea, but online school from home with me as "parent coach" is starting to look like a viable option to me. Husband thinks it's a TERRIBLE idea. "Pay a professional to do a professional job" is what he says. I totally agree that I am WOEFULLY unprepared to be an elementary school teacher, not to mention I really question if I have the patience and motivation to spend several hours a day teaching my daughter, but I don't know what else makes sense right now.

I feel like I am already home-schooling her because she gets home and has no clue what to do with her homework, reading, etc. So I have to go through all the concepts and re-teach them. But by the time I am re-teaching, she has already been at school for 7 hours. She is really tired and her medicine is all but worn off, so I'm at a HUGE disadvantage.

My point was that if I am going to have to teach this stuff to her anyway, I would much rather do it when she is fresh and her medicine is still working. We could work at her pace without the arbitrary deadlines. And I could focus on what she ACTUALLY knows, not what she can show on a worksheet.

I talked to Husband about how much trouble she has showing what she knows. She just got a spelling test back that had a word marked incorrect because she writes the letter "y" like a letter "t". The other word that she missed on the test, I quizzed her on, RIGHT BEFORE THE TEST, and she got it correct. Then missed it on the test. It was hard to tell from her handwriting if she spelled it correctly or not, but I KNOW that she knew it.

Husband's other big concern with home school is "socialization with other kids and people". I agree that this is something that is valuable in a school setting, but it isn't the reason we send our kids to school. There are other ways to socialize and there are millions (?) of kids all over the world that don't get the "elementary school" experience and they aren't developmentally warped.

Sigh... I don't know what to do. I don't really want to go the home-school route because I know that I am going to meet a HEAPLOAD of resistance from my family and I don't have a great deal of confidence that I will be any good at it. But I feel like we are not doing our little girl any favors by keeping to the current system.

zette93
10-03-12, 10:00 PM
Are there any hybrid homeschools in your area, where she could go 2 or 3 days a week, they provide the curriculum, and you are responsible for working with her on the other days? That sort of setup might help address your husband's and family's concerns about teaching qualification and socialization, while still giving her a lot of one on one attention.

If we end up homeschooling my DS7, this is the route I plan to try first.

Lunacie
10-04-12, 08:11 AM
Are there any hybrid homeschools in your area, where she could go 2 or 3 days a week, they provide the curriculum, and you are responsible for working with her on the other days? That sort of setup might help address your husband's and family's concerns about teaching qualification and socialization, while still giving her a lot of one on one attention.

If we end up homeschooling my DS7, this is the route I plan to try first.

Interesting idea.

Do you know if these schools are able to handle kids with ADHD or Autism?

I tried a web search for hybrid schools in our area and come up with nothing.

zette93
10-04-12, 08:52 AM
Interesting idea.

Do you know if these schools are able to handle kids with ADHD or Autism?

I tried a web search for hybrid schools in our area and come up with nothing.

That's the tricky part I'm trying to figure out. In theory the same special ed laws apply, because they are publicly funded schools, but in practice many charters try to get out of serving special needs kids. My son has a fall birthday, and we delayed kindergarten to figure out what was going on with him. When we got his ASpergers diagnosis, I enrolled him in a homeschool so we could get the IEP process started, and to start OT and speech. The school said the special Ed director would be available to handle meltdowns, but after the first one they required me to attend the on-site "enrichment" classes with him. I was told he would not be permitted in the 2 or 3 day option if we stayed there. We planned to switch to a traditional school anyway, but I have wondered if the exclusion would hold up if we went through the legal protections like due process. If we go back to a hybrid homeschool, I will seek an aide for him to be able to attend on-site classes.

manismom
10-04-12, 01:48 PM
Zette93 - we don't have a school like this that I am aware of. But... I did find another option that may be available next year for my daughter. I haven't checked into it too closely and I'm not entirely sure how it would work for her to get speech & occupational therapy from her school. It's called "The Edison School" and is supposed to be for "intelligent kids with different learning styles". THey are advertising for kids that are having a hard time learning in a traditional school setting. Right now it only serves 3 - 6 grades, but the program expands each year as they get new students and current students progress through the program. I'm really interested to talk to them and find out more about it. It appears to be a chain, so you might check in your area to see if it is available.


But a funny thing happened late yesterday afternoon. I ran into a friend of mine, whom my husband knows. She has JUST pulled her oldest daughter out of public school to teach her at home for a year. She is REALLY having a hard time with her school. In fact, the school is doing things that are blatently illegal as far as I understand the law. She asked them to assess her daughter for learning disabilities since her daughter has been newly diagnosed with ADHD. The school REFUSES, but says that they will use the results of a private evaluation, paid for by the parent, to put together an IEP.

She doesn't want to raise a big stink because her other kids will be going to school there and she doesn't want them to deal with the fallout. So she is homeschooling her daughter to see if she can get her caught up and hopes to put her back in school next year.

I talked about all that with Husband and you could see some gears starting to turn in his head. Sometimes he treats me like I'm pulling these random, crazy ideas out of thin air, when I actually do quite a bit of research. If I have an idea, it's "crazy", but if someone else presents the same idea, it's suddenly not crazy and is maybe a good idea. I swear! It's infuriating!!! But in this case, it doesn't matter. As long as he is starting to feel like something other than public school is "normal", that's the helpful part.

Kasi
10-04-12, 07:33 PM
Actually, I had fellow classmate, who was having a really difficult time with some of the other students and being around people for a full school day, had a hybrid schedule and this was a regular school though it was pretty liberal and had a lot of options. It MAY be that you're able to get this through the school you're at now. She only attended two/three times a week for a couple hours, the rest of the time, she got sent worksheets and curriculum requirements for the year. She'd study the material at home, and just come in for tests and math and science.

It had the benefit of socialization at a rate she was comfortable with, being able to study in a way she found optimal, and her parents knowing she was still 'on task' for learning the things she needed to know for her grade level.

Your best bet would probably be to talk to the SPED teachers and administration about the possibility.