Upset & concerned about Liam

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Upset & concerned about Liam
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Tue, 09-23-2003 - 12:43am
I used the angry Icon because they didn't offer a baffled one, and the face looks more like I feel.

Over the last few weeks I've noticed Liam has become a bit of a terror and quite hard to handle. I thought it must just be at home, as he keeps getting A's in conduct. So, I've been chalking it up to him still needing to adjust in school. I noticed every time I'd go get Liam at school, his teacher would have him up and out of his seat before I got in the classroom. (she is a sub as his real teacher is on maternity leave, but this is what she does with all the kids-the seat thing). But last Tuesday, he didn't bring home his vocabulary/spelling words, so I went into the class to check his backpack and get them if they weren't there. Liam never has trouble with the vocab words, but can't get more then 6 out of 10 spelling words. (Usually he gets around 4). They are all well above his reading level and I don't think he ever hears what the teacher is saying. So he will write Shik for Ship.

Anyway they weren't there. No big surprise. I think he has a lot of executive function deficits. So, the TA said she would get them from his chair bag. She went over to the timeout desk and got his folders. I had his folder that goes home, so I looked at his conduct grade. It was an A. So I asked why he was sitting in the timeout desk. I was told that is his seat!

Sure enough, his name was taped to the desk. It was pushed up to the teacher's desk. This was well out of sight of the blackboard. I re-explained that due to his processing issues, this was a very bad place for him to be sitting. He could not see the teachers face. Nor did I feel he was in a good place to hear her voice during times she would use the blackboard. And, I said, if he isn't being bad, then why isn't he sitting at his table. I was told that he is distracting the other kids. He wants to talk and play with them, so whenever the teacher isn't looking, he will throw spitballs, or an eraser or do something along those lines. But, because he doesn't get in trouble for these things, it isn't fair to the other kids that he sit with them.

At that point I said it isn't fair to me or him that he not get in trouble. To that they said they didn't feel it was appropriate to hold him accountable for these things. To this, a little pissy, I said if they would read the handouts I gave them on CAPD, they would see it wasn't that he couldn't understand stuff like that, but didn't always get things said to him verbally due to noise in the environment and his slow processing speed. This brought up that they didn't have any of the handouts I had given to the secretary to copy. At this point, I got distracted. I had to get the copy from the nurse and get them new copies. (The school secretary is a ditz).

Well, then Friday I saw his resource teacher in the hall. I asked her how he did. She said, in front of all the other kids being picked up to go home and moms, "Liam has these behaviors. They aren't his fault. He is going to need a very rigid and strong behavior modification program to fix them." I thought, well she's brave, but great. So I asked how we could get that going? She explained to me that his school couldn't do it, but that she'd been looking around at all the other programs in the county to see what would work for Liam. Honestly, I still didn't get it. But as she went on I did. She was telling me of all the programs for kids who were autistic.

So, very nicely, I thought, I re-explained to her that, although Liam may have some traits that made him "look" autistic, the psychologist had already said that they were caused by his CAPD, ADD, and SID. Therefor he wouldn't get into those programs. He will actually be lucky to get an IEP. At this point she asked me when I was going to get the written results from the psychologist. (Still lots of people walking around us, but I'm into this so I keep going.) I said Wednesday. She said, very gently, sometimes we as parents have to prepare ourselves for disappointments, and when they come we need to put our misplaced fears aside and accept that our children are who they are. Because once we do that it frees us up to actually help them. And, that the school had tried some things that usually are very effective with kids like him, but they just weren't working. But, don't worry. They love my son, so they were going to support me and help me come up with what was best.

I may have gotten some of the wording wrong, but you get the idea. At this point, I just said "I think if Liam needs to be someplace else, then Eve (the principal) needs to be the person I talk to about this". Grabbed my son and left.

I was so mad, it took me a few hours to calm down. Even after all I said about the PhD telling me that Liam actually doesn't "think' like an autistic person, they don't believe me! To compound matters, they have totally confused him about consequences. I asked him why he was picking on the other kids. He told me he is allowed to be bad! That he doesn't get in trouble for it because he is special. So when he is extra good, he gets to go to the prize box, but nothing happens if he is bad. So he doesn't have to do anything if he doesn't want to.

Well, all I can figure is they have started some sort of modification program that doesn't include consequences. It is not working! Not at all. Today he came home with a stack of work. On the front it had a note. "Liam refused to work. Stomped his worksheets, then sat on them". Guess what his conduct grade was! An A! My dh called me (I had class). we agreed no TV. Liam was livid. Liam said we had no right to punish him, and it wasn't fair to take away his A.

He has a point. How am I going to play second fiddle to the school? Also, this is a private school, so I am paying for this crap.

Dh says I can't pull him out of school. He thinks we need to give them one more chance and see what they do when they get everything in writing. Oh, but this is hard. Dh says if i pull him out, it will be three weeks with him under the table at the new school.

They haven't bothered to read any of the 411 on the diagnosis' I have given them, yet they are willing to treat him like he has something they have no proof that he has. Now, this is only positively reinforcing bad behaviors. And, still, I am in "denial".

Do you think if I could get him an Asperger's Dx they'd ignore it and treat him like he has CAPD and ADD?

Sio

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 5:39am
Wow.......I just dumbfounded. What the ~BLEEP~ are they thinking? I guess they will have to wait and read the PhD's report themselves. They must not know you at all, huh? I mean geez, when you came here with what the PhD had said you seemed almost dissapointed that he wasn't goin to get an AS dx. Sigh, they sound like they are the ones who need a check up.

I can see where both you and your DH are coming from on whether to pull Liam out of school or not. I know I certainly wouldn't want my kid in a school that didn't listen to me. And I especially wouldn't want them in a school that reinforced bad behaviors. BUT, the transition *will* be hard for Liam so you do want to make sure and make every possible effort to make this private school work.

I suppose if I were in your situation I would wait two weeks, just until after everyone at the school has had a chance to read what the PhD has said and has had time to make a few adjustments. As soon as you get the papers go make photo copies right away. Hand each person at the school a copy yourself, don't have the ditzy sec do it. make sure they understand what it is you are handing them and that it is imparitive tht they read it THAT NIGHT. If by Friday of next week they are still halloobobing about autism THEN pull Liam, but don't do it until you have made sure his program is in place at the new school. Insist on meeting the Principle, the RSP, the ST, and who ever else Liam will probably be dealing with. Make sure they know you AND what you expect of them.

On a side note....even if Liam did have autism it still wouldn't be right for them to allow him to act that way in class. Infact, it is vitally important that kids with autism NOT be allowed to act out like that. There ARE things that we as parents of autistics must accept, but spitballs and earaser throwing are NOT on the list! I don't know why they think autistics can't controll themselves at all. It's stimming, tics, and meltdown reactions they can't control, and even then our kids can be taught to master SOME control. SHEESH. Eva has a bitting stim that used to cause her to chew on just about everything. She mastered her stim enough that she now only chews on her favorite doll. Before that she would even chewon her sister.....not aceptable. She did time-outs for it just like normal kids, autism and all, until we were able to enforce enough behavioral modification to make a difference. Bad behavior is just bad behavior. Obviously this school doesn't know the difference between that and stims.

I hope you get everything straightened out, both for your sake and especially for Liam's. We'll be right here for you to vent to if you need us, Sweety.

Peace,

Candes (who's offering up some more e-chocolates and a stiff cup of java.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 9:05am
Candes, Thanks. I just appreciate your support so much. I keep posting on this board because I know you all understand how frustrating it can be to have your child treated inappropriately and misunderstood.

Today it got even worse. Liam woke up and decided he would watch TV. When I said no, he looked me in the eye, and he said, "If you are going to take my TV away, then you are going to have this consequence:" And he peed on me!

I lost my cool. I just started balling. Those ugly tears you can't stop that make your body rock. He just grabbed me and started crying with me. He kept telling me he was sorry and he was just kidding. Then he put himself in time out! I didn't take him to school. I have a call to the principal.

I'm going to tell her I am having concerns about his behaviors and, after talking to his teachers and to him, I don't think it is appropriate to let him go to school until we have this dx thing resolved and we are all on the same page about our expectations about his behavior. The two weeks and passing out the report on my own is a good idea.

I didn't think what they were doing was appropriate on any level. But I don't know! The thing is, neither do they know.

This is just a nightmare. Last year it was the medications and I felt like he was being treated like a science experiment. This year he is a psychology experiment. His "needs" seem to be out the window.

I'm not just questioning if this is an inappropriate environment for him, I'm questioning if it is a safe environment as well.

I hate it for him, you are right, changing schools is not at all what he wants to do.

I'm not sure why I sounded disappointed, I was, as one would expect, relieved, on one level. Yet, I know that he struggles. Maybe I wanted a "recipe" that could make his life easier, or easier to understand. I am disappointed because I thought if AS was what was up with him, he'd have all these great services, and supports available to him. And, also, I hate that my child is being treated so inappropriately and I've let it happen.

Sio

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 10:05am
Sio,

I'm so sorry you are going through all of this. Let me say first: Stop beating yourself up. You did NOTHING wrong.

Well, Liam learned a lesson today about behaviour at your expense. I don't think he'll try that one again. It does underline that he understands that there should be a negatibve consequence for bad behaviour (putting himself in timeout that is -not what he did to you). He must be so confused by the mixed messages at home and school. The kid is screaming for structure and consistency.

Here's what I would do:

1. Distribute a packet (PhD notes, some explanations and suggestions written by you) to the approriate people in school -teacher psychoogist etc, and arrange a meeting if at all possible to formulate a plan for dealign with Liam appropriately are school.

2. At the meeting: explain AGAIN that Liam is disabled, not precious, and that the home/school inconsistency thing is causing a lot of problems.

3 Explain that you are considering pulling Liam unless things change drastically and fast.(a private school will not want to lose a paying client)

4 Formulate a plan together for dealing with behaviours going forward.

5. Set a deadline in a few weeks/months for a review of the implemented plan and a follow-up discussion.

That's what I would do. I am Wall St girl, after all. I believe in Meetings and Plans!



A final thought:

It is unfortunate that you have a child with a less obvious set of disabilities. You will be in the position of having to educate Liam's educators for a long time to come, I suspect. Formulate a plan.

I hope this thought doesn't overwhelm you too much.

-Paula

-Paula

visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 10:36am
Paula

You and dh think alike. That is his take on it too. Me, I'm just to mad to think. I feel like a category five hurricane!

This is good advice you are giving me! I am thinking of getting a lawyer.

Candes in right, though, (as always), the trust is gone. That is always a hard thing to get back.

UGH! People are entitled to their opinions, they can think they know something I don't. But to think they feel they have a right or responsibility to just "do" something to my child, without any input from me, blows my mind!

I need to calm down. I'm a very short fuse, and I don't want to take it out on him or his sister. So I am hiding in the office. Next I will clean the house. That always makes me feel better. Too bad they hate it!

Sio

So, Paula, what is coddle?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 11:17am
Yes. Trust is important.

In that case forget everything I said and follow your gut. Give your gut a few days to calm down though, just to make sure it doesn't change it's mind!


Coddle the specialty dish of my home town, Dublin.

It is a stew made up of Irish back bacon, Irish sausages, onions, carrots, hard cider, and of course; potatoes.

Most people who didn't grow up with it think it's too disgusting to even try, but I love it and have even converted DH to a 'coddle' believer. (Peter used to eat is when he was a baby, but now eats nothing but pizza. Really. I send pizza to school everyday.)

Unfortunately, good Irish "rashers" and sausages are impossible to find on LI and the good butcher in Queens burned down ecently.

No coddle for me!

-Paula

-Paula

visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com
Avatar for rissc
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 11:57am
Oh, Sio, I am so sad for you. You are not letting Liam down. Unfortunately, some school people need to straighten out their thinking before they can do any good. I'm so sorry you are going through this. I've been there with Tim and his school. I think I cried every day the entire year he was in grade one as they treated him so appallingly. You want them to do the right thing by your son and they are not. I have nothing to give other than understanding and a shoulder.

((hugs)) to you and Liam.

Larissa

Larissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 12:17pm
I have not read the replies to your post (limited computer time today) so I don't know if this was already mentioned.

First, per IDEA the school needs to do a functional behavior assessment. then the psychologist needs to write a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). This is part of IDEA and he also has a right to the LEast Restrictive Environment (LRE). If they have not tried the BIP yet they cannot say that they cannot deal with his behaviors in the class. They also cannot automatically remove him to a more restrictive environment without trying all these things first.

What state are you in?

First what you need to do is request and emergency IEP meeting. Next you need to ask for a functional assessment and a BIP which they will start and it will take about a month to complete. Put everything in writing, and keep a log of all correspondence with the schools. A paper trail is your best ally. Remember they cannot place him in that sort of setting without your permission. You can take it to mediation or due process. If they have not tried a BIP yet they will not win.

Best of luck to you and be strong. BTW I there is a website on being an parent advocate that has some great advice. It also has a nice picture of a backbone to take to your meetings with you if you need one.

http://www.tourettesyndrome.net/advocacy_tutorial.htm

Renee

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 12:36pm
OK, oops I missed some important info in your post.

First, I didn't realize he did not yet have an IEP and second I missed the part about it being a private school.

The behaviors and disabilities you mention, he should qualify for an IEP. There are 13 different categories that a child can qualify for an IEP under and they don't have to just be behind in there school work for. It is affecting his ability to be educated with his peers in the regular environment and there is no way he could go to one of those programs they mentioned without an IEP, so they must also believe he would qualify. You need to get him on an IEP before you can do a BIP. While waiting for him to be on a IEP you can ask for a 504 plan. In that they will list modifications to implement to help with the behaviors until a full IEP is in place.

Second, a private school does make things more difficult. Recently I have read where public school does not have to provide as much support to children in private school as they do in public school. (I am assuming this is a regular private school and not a school for children with special needs). Also, private schools are more limited to what they have to do for children with needs. It is a difficult decision but you may want to think about talking to your local public school about a switch there. They may have more resources to help him deal with the transition and behavioral difficulties. Transitions are hard, but it being a private and think future. Will they be able to address his needs though out the time he is at that school, or will you need to switch him at some point in the future anyway?

I am a bit confused about the situation. Is there a special education department at the private school (a resource teacher is usually a special education teacher) and how are they making the recomendations of a special county classroom if he is not on an IEP? I know you noted in your post that he wouldn't qualify.

HTH

Renee

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 1:06pm
Ladies,

Thank you sooooo much for rallying behind me! I am starting to calm down now.

the principal called me back. I tried very hard to be calm, but I ended up just giving her an ear full. She said some very hurtful things. So that got me even more upset. But they were about me and my dh. Brace yourself, this one thing she said was totally strange. She said that it would be a complete mistake to remove Liam from school at this point.

I started out very calmly saying that I had decided, due to some problems I was having with his behavior, that I did not think it was appropriate for Liam to go to school until we were all on the same page about our expectations regarding his behavior. She asked me to elaborate, so I said I felt he no longer was getting negative consequences for bad behavior and that had resulted in him believing he didn't get in trouble anymore. That, in fact, they were rewarding his bad behavior. This had turned him into a terror at home. And, although I thought it was only at home, I now realize after talking to his teachers, he was probably also a terror at school.

She said he was, and it had come up a lot. That was why they had decided to just ignore his bad behaviors. On my part, sarcasm took over. I told her that, as a mother, I did not feel too good about sending him to a place that was doing such a good job of preparing him for an unhappy life. I asked her if she was trying to prepare him for prison. And, I thanked her for letting me be a part of that decision. So, I sort of opened the door for what I got after that.

She said she was perfectly aware that my husband thought his Kindergarten teacher was an incompetent idiot, and that she was disappointed by my total lack of appreciation for all the hard work and extra effort they had put into Liam. It was a good thing that they love Liam, and that despite his lack of supportive parents, they would continue to do all they could for him.

I corrected her in that we did not feel that way about Katie (K teacher), and I said I did in fact appreciate the extra work and time, I did not, however, agree with the idea that ignoring his bad behaviors was appropriate. I want, I told her, him to get modifications specific to his disability. I did not now, previously, or in the future, want him not to be held accountable or ignored for inappropriate or bad behavior. That was just too mixed of a message for a six year old.

At that point she got very specific, reading some of the work notes, and said, "are you sure you want Liam to loose a stick for this?" these were things like throwing away his work, or stomping on it. His conduct grade is based on the amount of sticks he has at the end of the day. I assured her I did. Then I pointed out that I could tell his teachers were getting resentful about giving him A's. She took it wrong, and I got more derogatory comments about living in a world of denial, and such. I said, I didn't blame them for their resentment, I, too was getting tired of being micromanaged by him, and this erroneous belief that he couldn't get into trouble.

I wanted to clear up the denial thing, so I reminded her that she had been quite clear in her belief that Liam had Asperger's. Then I told her about the resource teacher reiterating this point in the hall. Then, I asked her if I had ever not done, or refused anything she'd asked in relation to this topic. She agreed that I have done everything that she'd asked. I reminded her that she had agreed we would wait and see what the PhD had to say before we did anything but look at his needs. (which, i interjected, I didn't think was happening) Then she, too, got very gentle, and said she wanted me to know, when I got the final report from the PhD, she wasn't going to hold this against me. So I said I would do my best not to hold it against her either (with a lot of sarcasm).

We talked and argued some more, but the end of the conversation had me agreeing to send him to school tomorrow with the understanding that he would not get good conduct grades for bad behavior.

I just don't know that I can do that. It will be very hard to actually send him back. See, now I'm getting all pissed off again!

UGHHHHH!

Sio

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-23-2003 - 1:27pm
Renee,

We are trying to get an IEP. the public school he would be going to asked us to wait until we get the evaluation from the PhD to proceed. She gave him a lot of tests, and they didn't want to repeat them. they know her work, so they knew the test selection will be very thorough.

Actually, the PhD has already told me that Liam is one of those strange and rare cases of a child who appears to be on the autism spectrum, but isn't. For example, he has very good abstract reasoning skills and comprehension. However, if you were to see him, as a mother of a child who is autistic, you'd get a red flag. Once you actually had a conversation with him, and got to know him a bit, you'd decide it wasn't there. (at least that is what has happened with the mothers who have met him and have children who are autistic.) He does that thing were he doesn't really play with other kids, but plays alone. Also, he does a little bit of stemming and he talks sort of flat (that has gotten a lot better this year). So he "looks" Asperger's, but doesn't "think" Asperger's.

Oh, I better mention, this is opinion #3, and all three agree he isn't ASD. He has CAPD, AD/HD, and SID.

I was hoping that because his private Catholic school does have a special education resource teacher, and they have implemented a lot of things for him, that he would be able to stay there. The special ed teacher has a background in the head start program working with preschoolers. And, I don't know what the deal is with the no negative consequences. You are right, and I need to give a lot of thought to switching him to the public school. Unfortunately, the resource teachers they have there have a lot more kids to work with, and will probably get less services. But maybe they will do a better job of striving to actually meet his needs, and leave the dxing to the experts. Right now, right this minute, I'm thinking it is unsalvageable with St. Mark.

Sio

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