A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Open Source IEP

For those following along with our School Sucks Saga, I have an update for you. I'm thisclose to pulling her out altogether and homeschooling. I'm sure there's stuff I'm leaving out, but I'm typing this with a huge pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat, so bear with me. Since Little Bird is in a classroom with staff trained in Mild Cognitive Impairment, they needed a little extra help understanding a kid with sensory dysfunction, limited verbal abilities, and some social impairment. Since the district decided that the ASD program was not an appropriate fit for her, I requested that the ASD teacher come in, observe the bird in class, and teach her teachers how to teach her. Just having to type the words "teaching her teachers to teach her" is some crazy bullshit, right? Anyway, the ASD teacher went in, made some suggestions: sensory breaks, visual schedule, behavioral charts with positive reinforcement. You know, the same suggestions that I'd been making FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. Also, I got a bunch of PECS sent home from school, so I'm fairly certain that the SLP (speech/language therapist) heard ASD and thought, "bring out the PECS!" I had to go to school, find the SLP and explain to her that we don't use PECS; that while they're freaking awesome for so many reasons, they are too restrictive for Little Bird.

Each day I drop her off and pick her up wincing at what they're going to tell me. I feel like there's constantly a complaint. Hard to believe, but there were weeks when the complaints were about her behavior and how she'd get up, out of her chair. They don't understand the sensory ants in her pants. I just don't feel that they believe in her or see all the potential that I see. She's smart, fun, funny, sweet.

The girl reads at a level FAR beyond her years. Yet, this is the work that comes home from school.
While I understand that the make-up of the ASD class isn't quite in line with where she's functioning, I do believe that the teachers and support staff she'd be working with in that program could make all the difference in the world for her. So, even though I have requested a visit to that class for consideration, and been told by the school district's special education administration that it's not a god idea, and basically NO, I think I'll go ahead and formally request it again.  I don't feel there's really a good fit at all in this district.

The worst part of all this? I still get the feeling that they teachers just don't want her in their class. Wow, how could anyone, anywhere not want this amazing kid in their class? Last week I told her teacher that while I don't feel this is the right fit for her, I think it's the least wrong fit. Make sense? She seemed to disagree and suggest (again) that I look into the Moderately Cognitively Impaired program. And I'm stuck. I'm not sure if I don't believe that's not the right fit for her because it's not, or because my ego won't let me accept that my baby is moderately cognitively impaired. I'm just not clear. A couple of the reasons the teacher is pushing me that way are the better teacher to student ratio, and the fact that they work on a lot of life skills in there, like toileting. (side note: LB has accidents in class sometimes but I firmly believe it's anxiety because she's completely independent in that area at home) Whatever the reasons are, it's a shitty feeling to know your baby's teachers are trying to get rid of her.

Here's where I open source her IEP: So... IEP scheduled for Thursday. In there, I will formally request a visit to the ASD program for class transfer consideration; I'll push for more of a certification for services than just her speech and language certification. She's not certified ASD through the schools- they didn't even feel like she'd qualify because she's "so engaged and socially connected" and I didn't fight that at the time because she was getting what services I thought she'd need.

What are some of the things YOU think I should bring up in this IEP?


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