Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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Up to my neck in Special Education...

...and soundly cursing the public school district that's making me do it. You would not believe how incredibly close my poor head is to bursting, what with all the Federal Laws, State Laws, Administrative Rules, disability designations, ad nauseum, I'm absorbing.

I swear, just to be able to effectively advocate for a disabled child, one has to know all about:

...Primary and Secondary disabilities; Education rules, regulations, and common practices; bizarre acronyms like MMSEA, IDEA 2004, IDEIA, FBA, BIP, IEP, MET, EI, OHI, ADHD, HOs, SROs, FAPE, PLAAF, ISD, 34 CFR, 20 USC, and the like; common behavior modification techniques, avoidance/resistance behavior in anxiety-prone emotionally impaired children; strategies for remediation of Written Expression Impairment; Burdens of Proof; Denial of FAPE; goals & objectives; best practice methodologies...

See why my poor head is so full? And we just found out that they have scheduled the IEP (Individualized Educational Program) meeting for next week. And Mel just found a MET (Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team) report that she forgot about - which throws my strategy for dealing with them right back to square one.

So I have the weekend to plan an effective strategy for dealing with entrenched "educational professionals" who aren't too very happy with me - and trying to convince them that they have to do something DIFFERENT with this kid. Seriously, I had the Director of Student Services YELLING at me on the phone on Monday, telling me that they have "done everything" they could to teach this kid, but he "just doesn't want to learn." In fact, she got downright snotty and stooped to saying, "Look, I don't think you're HEARING me, we can't teach him if we can't get him to want to learn." Gee, lady, with an attitude like yours, I don't think *I'd* want to learn there either!! Sheesh!

Hence, here I sit, pondering how I'm going to attempt to appear even remotely knowledgeable in front of a bunch of smug, self-righteous "professionals." Especially when all I seem to be able to find on modification of avoidance/resistant behavior is either books or articles on sites that require memberships. I've found a couple of things about Writing Disabilities and Dysgraphia, but not very in-depth. I've found the ONE PAGE on Special Education at the ISD (Intermediate School District) website, and that didn't exactly make me thrilled with the almost complete dearth of services at THAT level.

There is a lot written at the State and Federal level about how these programs have to be tailored to the individual needs of the disabled student; how his IEP has to have educational benefit that, in this state, maximizes his potential, but very little that tells me what to do when they say they can't do that. I can, of course, file a due process complaint and claim a denial of the kid's FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), but the Burden of Proof is for the claimant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, not just a reasonable doubt. Poopie. I like the reasonable doubt one, but I guess everyone would be demanding the sun, moon and stars if that were the case.

For example, I can tell these people until I'm blue in the face that they need to address his avoidance/resistant behaviors and work with his anxiety toward his education "providers," and teach him how to write using whatever kind of strategy they went to school to learn, but it sure isn't gonna make 'em do it, is it? Not any more than they can make this poor kid do HIS work, since he sees that he derives no benefit (immediate gratification) from doing so. Emotional impairment is a VERY tricky business. And I thought ADD was multi-faceted?? Whew!

This poor boy has a whole RAFT of behaviors that have done him nothing but harm and, in the process of correcting the ones that bother the OTHER students, the school staff has just effectively reinforced the avoidance. One of his goals was "student will improve his handwriting on assignments," and one of the strategies that he was supposed to use to do that was "ask for help" from the teacher. After being told repeatedly that he needs to be quiet, does anyone really think this kid is gonna ASK anyone for help? Hell, no! He'd sooner fail the class - which he did, in several of them. Repeatedly, in some cases.

The kid is a lot like Pavlov's silly dog. He relies almost completely on instant gratification, fears instant negative reinforcement and pays little attention to future consequences... cuz, you see, that's down the road and it might NOT happen, even if it's happened every week for two months. Example: he was supposed to remember to bring a progress report to his caseload teacher for a signature at the end of the week, and she was supposed to give him a candy bar... he's a real chow hound. Anyway, she stopped the candy bars, so he stopped the reports. The kicker? His mother made his use of the internet and WarCraft on the weekends conditional on him bringing home that damn report. How many times, after the candy bars dried up, do you think he neglected to bring home that report and lost his internet?? About THREE months in a row. Every single week, the same thing. What does THAT say about avoidance behavior, instant gratification, immediacy, emotional impairment and staff reluctance to see the "big picture??" Oh yeah, and did I mention that he's NINETEEN?

Eh, time to decompress for a little while... maybe I'll finally bite and find out why my name keeps popping up on that damn meme. *switches to imanewme's journal* But I'm not going to make any promises as to WHEN I'll get around to posting my version of it, 'k? Unless I get a major case of brain freeze tomorrow and need the break, of course! What, me? ADD?? Yuppers! Darn straight!

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