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Old 01-10-2011, 01:13 PM   #1
DVCisME
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Question School Meeting re aide

Hi! I have an important meeting tomorrow for my son. He is in first grade in an inclusion classroom, however the 2nd teacher leaves at 11 before lunch recess and specials. My son has aspergers. I have been struggling with the school and this meeting is my last step before mediation.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me? I do have the doctors recommendations and some examples of how he has been hurt during recess (once with 11 stitches). Their favorite line is, "you don't want him stigmatized".
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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I don't have much advice but wanted to give you some support. I too have a 2nd grader with Asperger's. It's so hard with some districts. I hope there are some people on your team that really want to figure out ways to help your son. One thing that could help the process is to listen to what they say. Example: You ask for an aide at recess and specials. They say: You don't want him stigmatized. Consider it. You don't want him stigmatized. I would put it back out there. How could the aide facilitate things without stigmatizing him. So my son's aide isn't there just for him. She's presented as a classroom aide. She knows all the children and doesn't stick to my son like glue. (That's important). I would also suggest that they come up with some solutions to help your son. Maybe having a social worker, psychologist, special ed teacher work with a group of children at lunch time or recess.

Anyway I just wanted to say good luck. I'll be thinking of you!!

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Old 01-10-2011, 03:08 PM   #3
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Fucus on what his needs are (both acedemic and fuctional) and how a paraprofessional (never refer to them as an aid even if the school does) will allow him to be maintained in the least restrictive enviroment and without it he will not be able to get his needs met in the current enviroment. Anyone at the table will who understands IDEA will know what you are saying and that they have little choice unless they want to be in obvious violation of IDEA.

The stigmism thing is completely false and used as an excuse not to spend the $. First within 1 hour of your child begining the school year every child in his class new he was different so having a para willl not change that, plus a good para floats and support the other 5+ identified children and the 5 unidentified children in the class with special needs.

I absolutly blast anyone at my son's IEP meeting who says such a silly thing and let them know that when they pretend he is not different they send a clear message that there is something "wrong" since no one will address it openly.

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Old 01-10-2011, 08:24 PM   #4
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Ironically, someone just forwarded this to me today. Hope it can help:

http://www.edlawcenter.org/ELCPublic...tion_Guide.pdf
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:02 PM   #5
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That link in one of the better ones I have seen (it is a little dated in laungage and the concepts of fuctional perfomance statements and functional curricular progress) but is still a good resource.

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Old 01-10-2011, 10:15 PM   #6
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I do hope you were exaggerating when you said you "blast" anyone at an IEP meeting. That is the quickest way to turn the people who are supporting your child against you. You may be angry at the school, or the situation, but it is never an excuse for rudeness.

But for the OP, it is possible that what your son needs is not necessarily a person dedicated to him, but you're asking that an extra pair of adult eyes be in the vicinity should anything happen. I know the needs of children with Aspergers can vary, but it is possible that he doesn't need a full time aide. Contrary to popular belief, the initial refusal by the school is not always a matter of money. I am working with a student now who is a completely different (more independent and no issues) child in school as compared to the child the mom describes at home. Not saying this applies to you, but I take issue with the advice on the board that suggests you should start on the defensive or by being aggressive.

Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:42 PM   #7
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I am no expert, but my advice is to not sign anything you dont agree with. I was always signing papers which I thought was acknowledging my presence and input. Finally fed up with what they were saying I refused to sign. 2 weeks later they came back to me and said because I refused to sign the papers my son would have to be seen by their Doctor's. I said fine and I am glad I did because his findings confirmed my thoughts and then the school had to follow them. I found with my school district you had to be pushy and demanding or they did nothing but delay and put you off as long as they could.
Now my sister is fighting with them because they built a new school with 3 playgrounds and not one of them is handicap accessible even though this school is where they send all the "disabled" kids. My nephew is in a wheelchair and has to sit and watch the other kids play!
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:38 AM   #8
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You can "blast someone" factually and intellectually without being "rude". An IEP meeting is not about social relationships it is about meeting the needs of the child. If you are lucky enough to have a knowledgeable team that focuses on that goal then that is the best situation and you can all "be friends", but if the process proven to be more challenging (since the OP is talking about mediation, I am assuming this is the case) then yes you do have to be direct and instructive to those who say and use incorrect premises in an attempt to avoid doing what is necessary and required to meet the needs of the child. Unfortunately there is often a bureaucratic mentality in the meeting and in the end you have to make it harder for the school to not do the right thing than to create and implement an IEP which will allow the child to receiv what is needed for FAPE. One person putting forth incorrect information or inaccurate regulatory standard can contaminate the whole team so it needs to be dealt with directly and strongly when it occurs.
I will note that I advise parents to be a "generous" to the classroom staff in your presentation to them, since most often they have the least knowledge (about IDEA requirements) and grossly inadequate support and the greatest challenge in implementing so they have reason to be concerned what is going into the IEP and their ability to fully implement, so I focus on asking them "what do you need to meet this child's needs" and often list items that do not currently exist in their environment, but are used in more restrictive environments. Most teachers have no Idea that these support and accommodative structure are available I their classroom. I have found that this makes real allies and not just "superficial friend" among the IEP team.

Unfortunately 90% of IEP work for kid who on the spectrum and in the general education environment is highly adversarial, due to the lack of knowledge and unwillingness to expend required resources by the schools and districts, that is just the reality today. In the end you get a lot more appreciation and respect from the implementing members of the IEP team if you are a strong advocate for your child's needs and focus on supporting the classroom environment.

Yes I agree being intentionally rude and angry has no place an is of little benefit an IEP meeting, but if people find it rude to tell them that they are incorrect, lack the knowledge they need, or are just not meeting the need of the child then that is OK.

FAPE is a right, not something that you go begging for, or are asking as a favor from "friends". It is about meeting the child needs, not the dynamics of the IEP team, and if the school members of the IEP do not fully complete their responsibilities because they do not like the presentation of the parent, then they are violating IDEA and putting their own social needs ahead of the child's needs.

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Old 01-11-2011, 07:47 AM   #9
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I have to agree with bookwormde. I have to even put a little force behind them classifying my son as autistic. They wanted it other health impaired. This is also the second time I am bringing the recommendations from the doctor up with no avail. They are currently doing my son a disservice. I cannot believe how hard it is for them to be on the same page.

My meeting is at 10. I will update when I come home. Thank you all for your support.
And that link was great! Added it to my favorites
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:09 AM   #10
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Good luck, and remember do not sign any IEP mods at the meeting (take it home an review it) and if you do not get all your child's needs met ask for another meeting at the end.

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Old 01-11-2011, 09:52 AM   #11
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I don't disagree with anything you said, but you also appeared to dial down your aggressive terms. FAPE is a right, but LRE is a goal as well, so schools do have to weigh the options. I can see both sides. I was not suggesting that IEPs were social events, I was mentioning that civility will get you a lot farther than rude demands. In my opinion, rants do not equal intellectualism. Parties most certainly will disagree, but an angry parent who does not listen to the school, and an angry school that does not listen to the parent is setting themselves up for failure.

As for the OHI vs. Autism debate, I think you would be better served looking for the service you want, not the label. We have kids who have been diagnosed with Aut/ADHD, and the school may feel that the inattentive, impulsive behaviors are more of an impact than the social interaction/communication delays. The label helps to guide the IEP but having a diagnosis does not always mean the child fits that category academically.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:42 AM   #12
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The meeting was awful. They stated that hey do not accept the diagnosis. They want him to be seen by one of their people. Which is fine by me but nothing available until April.
They are not willing to do a functional behavior analysis. Stated that they did not see my concerns, due to the fact he is not sent to the principal. Said that they will not even consider a support during recess/lunch. They stated thnaht they thing the bus is his only problem and I should drive him to school.
I am trying to find an advocate now.
Thank you again for all the help and support.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:25 PM   #13
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Do you have any kind of IEP in place right now? What steps have been taken up until now with the school? What kinds of meeting and evaluations? What people (titles, experience, etc) have been present at the meetings? I guess I was under the impression from your first post that you already have an IEP in place but that either it's insufficient or not being followed but with your most recent post it now sounds more like what little the school was doing wasn't actually documented but rather just kind of doing what they saw as necessary at the moment. Can you please clarify the history and current state of things? I'd love to be able to offer suggestions but right now I know anything I suggest could be way in left field because I have an inaccurate understanding of what's going on.

I happen to agree the the actual classification (autism vs OHI) isn't all that important since each child on the spectrum has unique needs and the IEP needs to be written to the needs and not the diagnosis. DD12's officially listed at OHI based on a letter from a neurologist stating that she has Asperger Syndrome. Her IEP details her specific needs.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:03 PM   #14
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I had assumed that you child had an educational classification allready for Autism. By you last post I am guessing that he does not. If this is the case print our the information on the link above and read it. you should be requesting in writing to the special education director of your district a full IDEA evaluation for Autism/Aspergers, and give your permission for this evaluation (so the 60-90 day clock starts) and that you are prepared to attend the meeting where the team decides what evaluation are appropriate and useful.

Most of NJ is acually reasonably compliant, it sounds like you are in one of the "bad areas"

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Old 01-11-2011, 03:09 PM   #15
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Disneypups,
Same terms, but I gave a lot more detail since your perception did not match the reality of how this is handled. Yes I did mean "blast" them since not being adequately trained and knowledgeable when you are part of an IEP tem is inexcusable since it is very damaging to the child.
And you are correct, it is about determining and meeting needs not about a diagnosis or classification
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