Fred now has new meds on board— no more seroquel and we’re weaning COMPLETELY off the risperdal. His new med? Depakote. No behavior changes yet (not good ones at least) but…… NO MORE ABSENCE SEIZURES! I was on my way to the EEG merry go round but depakote saved us from THAT fun rabbit hole. They just….. went away! Ok so he still screams, bites, kicks, hits, screams, and …. yeah he SCREAMS…. but he’s usually in our world and not completely in la la land! Those seizures were scarier and scarier as he was getting older.
Fred now has a new school on board— basically, he’s been kicked out of public school. More suspensions since the last time I wrote. More IEP meetings. More frustration. More “I want to AVOID due process” in my nicely worded letters. He’s now in a small school in a small class….. which SPECIFICALLY works with kids with behavior issues. It’s not a permanent fix. The district likely won’t pay for this forever. But for at least the next year, school is going to be a-ok.
Fred now has new therapists on board. He got his waiver in July so this week we finally dropped his old ABA company for his sister’s company who hired a therapist for him who ALREADY KNOWS AND LOVES HIM! Hoooooray! Trying to get up to 8 hours a week. Currently at 4, but better than nothing!
Wilma has her cecostomy surgery scheduled. MOST days she isn’t crying from the anxiety of it and sometimes she’s even excited about an upcoming hospital stay.
Wish me luck— two weeks of winter break now, otherwise known as “can’t these people get along for 6 minutes? And when the heck am I supposed to get anything done?”
So here’s how it went down. In writing, I asked once again for a 1:1 aide and for them not to suspend him.
I got three things…..
A trial period of a 1:1 aide for 30 school days. It won’t be HIS aide, but the intervention specialist gets a second aide for all of her kids. So in all functionality, he’ll have a 1:1 all day long— he will no longer be un-shadowed in specials, lunch, recess. S/he won’t be an rBT… might not have experience with autism or behaviors….. but s/he will be a warm body willing to learn about him and his behaviors so I have to say it’s a step in the right direction. If he doesn’t get suspended again within the next 30 days, we reconvene to talk about how it worked out and then I have to fight to make it more permanent.
If he DOES get suspended again in the next 30 days, we talk about alternate placement. There is another school within the district that has more of a behavior program. Someone explain to me why any school with an autism program doesn’t also have a BEHAVIOR program? But being with other students with similar issues and teachers with experience with these issues can only help him. He’ll be likely to have fewer transitions as he can perhaps be in the behavior classroom most of the day instead of general ed and perhaps social skills and behavior interventions are done within the classroom… we didn’t get that far yet. But we’re eons away from placement in a private school. He hasn’t exhausted the district yet— just perhaps his school.
On the note of fewer transitions—- he’s currently doing fine academically being pulled for gifted ELA (English/ language arts) and gifted math. But there is lots of anxiety and screaming about gifted ELA. We might just pull him from gifted ELA— we don’t need to make the decision right this minute but I asked him if he’d like to leave gifted ELA and he said yes. His behaviors are trumping his need for advanced academic support especially in ELA which he HATES.
Let’s see how the 30 school days with additional aide support helps…. I’ll keep you posted!
Haven’t written in a while because as usual, August was pure hell. I HATE August. It’s the end of summer and all they need is to be apart from each other—- he is soooooo sick of her every August. Then they go back to school and all is right with the world. Until he gets suspended…. again. To review— he was suspended five days at the end of third grade for three separate incidents. We upped the meds again over the summer….. now he’s on the highest dosage of risperdal for his weight… PLUS we added Seroquel (with the hope that if the Seroquel gets to a good dosage we can wean down the risperdal). Nope—- seeing the psych again on Monday—- he is NOT. DOING. WELL. Mid September and he’s already been suspended for two days of fourth grade. So I wrote a letter (see below) and had an emergency meeting. Trying NOT to get to manifestation determination. Trying NOT to go to due process. Trying NOT to get him placed in an autism school. Just trying to get him more support at the school he loves. The meeting was this morning. Short on time now so I’ll post meeting results another time (I hope tomorrow)… but here’s the letter. 🙂
September 21, 2016
(Fred), a 4th grade student on an IEP at (school), was suspended 5 days at the end of third grade—2 of those days were in school suspension. He was suspended for impulse control and aggression issues— these are known issues in his ETR and IEP. Some years are better, some years are more challenging. Once again, he was suspended at the beginning of fourth grade for two days. At the end of third grade I requested and was denied a 1:1 aide for him for the safety of himself and others in the building because he has more good days than bad days. I also requested that he not be suspended anymore for issues that are clearly representative of his diagnosis. I am once again requesting the following:
- That he not be suspended for impulse control or aggression issues. We did an updated FBA— now let’s make a BIP based on the recommendations that note 8-10 things we can do with him in the building (sensory room, walk outside with his aide, write an apology letter, role play with Mrs. R what he can do instead, etc). Suspension for him is NOT A DETERRENT. He ENJOYS being suspended. His favorite thing in the world is to be home without his sister, away from the chaos of school. He is overwhelmed by all of the other students and we never know when aggression will strike. Further, I predict he will continue to act out IN ORDER TO try to get suspended again. Suspension gives the school a break from him but does NOTHING for HIM. Suspension is just showing him that school can’t deal with him when he acts up, that he’s BAD and should be kicked to the curb when his behaviors hit hard. Do we suspend a blind student for needing Braille or a student who can’t walk for needing a wheelchair? He needs more behavioral support, clearly.
- That he have a 1:1 aide who is a registered behavior technician (rBT). Mrs R and Ms. H are wonderful but they are not superglued to him 100% of every day because there are other students on their case load. Each act of aggression is proving that Fred is becoming more and more of a danger to himself and others. My understanding is that last Friday’s incident happened when Mrs. M was the only adult in the room. Clearly, it’s not safe for any teacher or therapist to be alone with a group when the group includes Fred. We cannot predict when aggression will hit. Putting a 1:1 aide on him who has experience with autism behaviors, can take data, and can be supervised by a BCBA will allow him to remain in the school he knows and loves. I don’t WANT him to move to an autism school—- he and I are very happy with (school), but he needs more support. Giving him a 1:1 aide will certainly be less expensive to the district than an alternative placement in a private school. My hope is that this necessity is temporary and after some time of 1:1 support we can scale back if his behaviors stabilize. I am concerned for the teachers, therapists, and other students in the building. I know how it feels to be “Fred-ed”, and he is getting bigger and stronger. We can not suspend impulse control into him, but we can provide much needed support for his growing needs.
Please refer back to the Social/Emotional/Behavior section of his ETR (starts on Page 12), a document compiled by the district, and see the frequently observed behaviors from the Autism Rating Scale that he has been observed/reported to engage in and how this relates to the situation and also the description of educational needs and how they relate to the situation. Clearly, the issues he is having are stemming from his diagnosis. He deserves a free and APPROPRIATE education. If he keeps getting suspended because of lacking support for his growing behaviors, how is this appropriate?
With the greatest respect for (school)’s team,
Me (Fred’s mom)