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View Full Version : Requesting a One-on-One aide


Luv Bunnies
04-24-2007, 06:24 PM
My 11 year old has Asperger's and has been in mainstream classes since kindergarten. His success has varied over the years. He does pretty well academically (reading and verbal skills are great, math is more of a problem). His classroom behavior is very uneven. Some days he will do all of his work, control his outbursts and be just fine. Other days, he will refuse to do any work, blurt out comments during class and generally complain a lot.

Next year, he will be starting the middle school program at his school (it's a K-8 so at least he doesn't have to change schools). I am very concerned that he will have trouble adapting to the routine - switching classes all day, changing clothes for P.E., etc.). His current teacher is also concerned and we have decided that I should ask for a one-on-one aide for next year. I also have agreement from his private psychologist, psychiatrist and the resource teacher at his school. The problem will be convicing the administration to approve an aide for him.

I really feel that it will be necessary for him to be successful. Everyone on his IEP team agrees that a special ed class would be far too restrictive for him and that he definitely belongs in the mainstream. However, we all feel that he needs the extra level of support than an aide would provide.

I'm looking for experiences from other who have requested one-on-one aides for their kids. Was it hard to convince the administrators? Did you have to resort to legal help? What helped you to be successful? I work for the same school district in the special ed department (classroom aide for preschool). I know the director and I know his history of being very tight with extra services. The parents who moan, complain and threaten lawsuits are the ones whose kids get the extra help. I think it's terrible that it has to be that way and I don't want to become one of those parents, but I really want my son to get what he needs to be successful. I'd appreciate any advice on this subject!!! Thanks!

hookedup
04-24-2007, 07:01 PM
I was curious if you have ever requested for him to have an aide as part of his IEP? Were you denied?
In CA it is state law that an aide must be provided whether it is for behavioral management or in assistance in performing educational tasks. In CA this is not part of the "designated or related services" area of the IEP, but may be characterized under "supplementary aid and service" as part of the school's duty to provide education to the pupil to the maximum extent appropriate with non-disabled peers.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!!! :)

mommyandmore
04-24-2007, 07:27 PM
I teach in a special ed class and I have requested 1:1 aides for kids for all kinds of reasons- sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Does he have a special ed teacher? If you have a good relationship with her, you might just try talking to her "off the record" about the best things to say at the meeting- every district is different. If there are safety concerns, we almost always can get an aide- so if he has ever run off or hit someone, use that. Another thing that works sometimes is to ask for "additional assistance" to help during this transition period- with the plan to meet back at the end of September and re-evaluate. Your child might surprise you and do just fine! Sometimes we can get 1:1 aides for toilet training (older kids- they are 9-12 years old in my class and sometimes just working on toilettraining) when we have a definite time limit on the additional help. If there is a history of him having difficulty with transitions between actictivities, you could say something about fearing him regressing or not making progress on academic goals and his behavior interfering with his ability to access the curriculum- those are big buzz words in my district. Be sure NOT to say that the aide will "help him do better" or anything like that- schools only have to provide an "adequate" education, not the best possible one and they will use that! Maybe his teacher could describe particular times of the day that are difficult for him and the type of support that could be helpful to mitigate the impact of his disability on his classroom behavior- something like "small group work in math class is very stressful for X and he often becomes verbally abusive to students and staff. Additional aide support is needed to develop a visual schedule of tasks to be done during group work, provide cues to X and promote self-monitering of his behavior and to intervene in difficult situations and encourage X to access his calming strategies including accompanying him to a quiet area set aside for this purpose." That's just an example, but lots of specifics are the way to go! Again, be willing to really look at what times/activities are problematic for your child- he may not need a 1:1 assistant all day and the district may be more willing to hire someone for fewer hours (so they don't have to pay benefits, etc). Lots of studies have been done that show that 1:1 aides impede the social development of children and can create "learned helplessness" so in some ways it is a good thing that districts are careful about how they use them. However, they can also be a lifesaver for children and the difference between being able to participate and learn in regular education or not- so it is worth fighting for if it is something your child needs.
Hope that helps- if I think of anything else, I'll let you know.

Forevryoung
04-24-2007, 09:16 PM
I totally agree with MommyandMore, they are probably going to try and find other alternatives/solutions than a 1:1, whether appropriate or not.

If I were you, I would try to brainstorm your sons needs in the classroom, the services that the 1:1 can provide, and the alternatives that they may bring up and the reasons why those aren't adequate solutions. That way you are prepared with a back up why a 1:1 is the only adequate solution.

I hope that your son is recieving language therapy in both 1:1 sessions and group sessions to work on social skills. If not, it would be something I would address as well. Appropriate social skills are going to be increasingly important in middle school.

I know of schools that use a resource room teacher as a "co teacher" in several classrooms- that way they can put children with needs into the class and the teacher has additional support with providing 1:1 to the students. It's another solution that might already be in place.

Have you figured out what is triggering the uneven behavior besides acting like a typical kid? That might be something to look into, if a pattern exists (related to the actual classwork, sleep pattern, med times, diet, stimulation, location in the classroom...) Even if it can't be eliminated, maybe there would be a way to change the outside environment to make things better.

good luck!

Luv Bunnies
04-24-2007, 09:46 PM
Wow! Thanks to the above posters for the great advice! I haven't asked for an aide for him before because he hasn't seemed to need one. Being in one class all day minimized the transitions and having one teacher provided him with lots of consistency. For middle school, however, the teachers and I are concerned about the transitions and more demanding work that will be required of him. I have thought about asking for the aide on a temporary basis to get him through the first few months or even having him share an aide with one or two other kids who also might be in need of such support. The resourse teacher cautioned me not to say that we're willing to accept less than a full-time aide for him. That way if they offer it on a part time or temporary basis, we can accept it. If we ask for less, we may have to settle for even less.

We've been working the behavioral angle for years. He's been seeing a psychologist every few weeks. The sessions have helped some in giving us strategies to use at school and at home. But, it comes down to him not always being willing to do non-preferred tasks (schoolwork, homework, etc.). He's also taking Zoloft to help with his anxiety and we think we've found the dose that works best.

Again, thanks for all of the great advice. I knew I came to the right place to ask for help!:)

JulieWent
04-25-2007, 07:15 PM
If your IEP team has agreed that he needs a 1:1 aide, how is it possible that admin could refuse? IEP is a legally binding document. The district has to provide the services or find somewhere else that can and pay. Or has your LEA refused to sign on to putting it in the IEP?

Julie

Luv Bunnies
04-25-2007, 10:55 PM
If your IEP team has agreed that he needs a 1:1 aide, how is it possible that admin could refuse? IEP is a legally binding document. The district has to provide the services or find somewhere else that can and pay. Or has your LEA refused to sign on to putting it in the IEP?

Julie

We haven't had the IEP meeting yet. I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row before we have the meeting in May. Your question is exactly what I'm not sure of. If the IEP team agrees that he needs a 1:1, does that automatically mean he'll get it? Or does the Special Ed Director have the right to review the document and approve or disapprove the services?

Another development, I just heard from a friend who works as a middle school 1:1 aide in the district that they're laying off most of the 1:1s at the middle school level. She's not sure why, but she got a pink slip for next year. I'll have to ask around for more info. on that one!