Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Project Management

I thought that when I quit my full time job two years ago, my project management skills would leave me, my meeting skills (what little I had) would leave me, my problem solving capabilities would leave me, my planning skills would leave me, my letter writing skills would vanish - POOF. Actually, thanks to having to manage IEPs, therapies, doctor appointments, and volunteering to help other parents do the same, the only things that seemed to have left me are the ability to have any control over anything, the ability to maintain a functional household, and my sanity - POOF!

My dad had foot surgery yesterday. Minor, but I still worry that he had something stuck in his foot and he is diabetic. "Diabetic" and "foot surgery," words that make me shudder when used in the same sentence. So I cut grass for dad on Saturday, did some car swapping/returning last night. Accomplished nothing at my own house really. Well nothing that hasn't already been undone.

I have an IEP meeting for Moosie today (yes, another one). So I bought cookies. They are fresh baked cookies, so that's better than nothing. Right!?!?!

We have an unscheduled IEP meeting on Friday for Bubba, thanks to a crisis(that I tried to warn them about thank-you-very-much). No cookies at that meeting. I have no sugar to offer at all.

**********************************************************

This is an example of the letters/e-mails I write. I learned years ago from Reed Martin to "build our case" (I tried to link to his site. Is it gone?) and then again from Wrightslaw to "prepare for disaster." It's a tiring way to live, but I document, document, and document some more. And although it frustrates the hell out of me, I've always been glad when the time comes (and it always does come) that I have the documentation.

[Principal],

In discussion with [Bubba], [teacher] (email), and [school counselor] (telephone), I believe the behaviors reported to us (hands-on) to be impulsive and a manifestation of [Bubba]'s disability. As discussed in his IEP meeting on XXXX XX, 2008 (also see included email "[Bubba]: IEP" dated XXXX XX, 2008), [Bubba] has a documented history of impulsive, aggressive, and/or socially inappropriate behaviors especially in times of transition and/or less structured settings. He also cycles and is inconsistent in his reactions and impulsive behaviors. This is why we were extremely frustrated with [the school]'s decision to remove [Bubba]'s behavior intervention plan from his IEP (only school staff agreed with the removal) in XXXX 2008.

[School counselor] contacted me today and stated her concern that [Bubba] appeared to be regressing over the past few weeks (I interpreted this to be in behavior and social appropriateness), that he did not appear to understand his behaviors or why he was doing them (manifestation of his disability), and that the social relationship with his peers in his regular classroom was in a poor state (what we typically see in the community setting).

I reiterated to [school counselor] about his impulsivity issues, how this behavior is what we typically see at home, and also that I had notified the teachers of reducing his medication (See email "medication/picking" dated XXXX XX, 2008; in the IEP meeting it was stated there was no positive benefit seen at school and we were only seeing negative side effects at home). I also mentioned that I was out of town a few days this week, and had alerted the teacher of this, but did not think it would effect [Bubba]. I had also mentioned to [teacher] this morning that last month was a very difficult month at home (a lot of self-aggression as well as property destruction), but we saw much improvement this month so far (at home).

In light of this turn of events, [Hubby] and I would like to reconvene [Bubba]'s IEP team, especially if suspension is imminent, as suggested in the behavior report sent home on XXXX XX, 2008. As his parents, we are concerned about these behaviors and the safety of all students involved. However, we do not want him to be suspended (in school or out of school), but would rather he receive the support he needs to prevent the behaviors from occurring and to allow [Bubba] to be successful. We are not surprised by these behaviors, and our desire continues to be to proactively support him rather than only reactively punish him. We firmly believe in discipline and consequences, but are very concerned that [the school] is setting [Bubba] up for failure (suspension) similar to what happened in Kindergarten (seclusion room) by not providing the support necessary. We are willing to meet any time to brainstorm interventions and put them in place as needed to help [Bubba] curb these hands-on behaviors and to avoid the possibility of suspension or removal from the regular classroom environment. We are also open to working with the team to determine the best dosage/type of medication to benefit [Bubba] at home and at school; however, we need detailed information to make these decisions in the best interest of everyone.

Please let us know your thoughts on these issues and how you think we should proceed. It hasn't taken a long time for [Bubba] to spiral downward in the past once a similar chain of events occurred.

Thank you for your time. I will return the signed behavior report on Monday.

Sincerely,
[ange]

3 comments:

Mrs. C said...

Hello! Thank you for your blog. It has been such a blessing reading your posts. I am NOT the only mom in Missouri with autism issues. I've found a link in your blog and used it to put a picture in mine.

I don't know what to tell you about the evil IEP people except that my older 7th/almost 8th grader is in public school and I hear ya. Though, if I had to do it over again I would probably homeschool him. Now, you know, it's difficult to change when kids are so set in their ways.

And thank you for fighting for disability rights. I'd write more except for the fact that I have a poopie diaper to change. :]

Niksmom said...

Ange, that's an excellent letter; I hope it garners the results you want/need for Bubba. And, hey, I don't blame you for no cookies for THAT meeting! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I know I've said it before, but I worry so much about your Dad. He has got to take care of himself. I understand first hand how unpleasant testing blood sugar, and figuring out all of the eating related stuff is. I know that it is no fun to take insulin shots.

But isn't like if you don't do those things that you just drop dead. You lose feet. You go blind. You have all sorts of ugly, nasty problems.

I know I don't need to say these things to you, but I get so upset.

--Nathan