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)
Some nights I just want to chuck the risperdal, vitamin D, multivitamins, probiotics, fish oil, geodon, adderall, colace, NAC, tenex (gotta crush that one of course), and last week benadryl (but no more albuterol because I was told maybe THAT caused more aggression) (Fred was sick- he’s fine now, but every time he gets a cold he gets R.A.D.) ………..out the window and just tell the kids to go to bed. There are families out there who don’t have pharmacy hour between exercise time and bedtime– amazing.
risperdal—– WAS working well for Fred. Until now. He’s now at the highest dosage and he’s been suspended from school 5 days out of the past 6 weeks. Emergency IEP meeting—- I asked for a 1:1 aide. Denied because “he has more good days than bad”. I asked that they stop suspending him because you can’t suspend impulse control into a kid with autism. Denied. I asked for another FBA– got THAT rolling.
Vitamin D—- Wilma is low. Duh, we’re in Ohio. Why is Fred not low?
Geodon— working fairly well— she’s having a good year. Today I was told at her anal manometry that they’ve not usually done manometries on kids on such strong anti-psychotics. yeah, ok.
Adderall— working super well—- she always does homework nicely, and always sits through class well, needing just a few breaks per day.
Tenex— just added it for the finger picking and forehead picking…… she gets one pimple and spreads it into a little colony by picking and picking. Fun times. Tried tenex before and it did nothing, but that was years ago.
Is it possible that the twins have stayed on the same meds for a while? Fred is on Risperdal and it’s working fairly well! Wilma is on adderral and geodon (and all the poop meds— enemas, metamucil, colace, probiotics, etc) and….. it’s working fairly well! Is it possible that Fred has had ONE toilet accident in the past many months (not counting night-time)? Is it possible that Wilma (only so far through great scheduling and enema timing, etc) only has one accident every few weeks or so? Is it possible that Fred is down to biting once a month? Is it possible that Wilma is down to massive tantrumming once a week? Is it possible that Wilma’s whining and impatience doesn’t bother me so much anymore BECAUSE things are so much easier in general?
And the BIG ONE—- -because the Jewish camps aren’t affordable (as if I could afford two camp tuitions AND two one on one aides) and the special needs camps aren’t affordable (the past four summers we sent them to the ONE affordable special needs camp on this side of town and it got worse and worse each summer—- AND they tripled their price— so now it’s babysitting, not camp— AND too expensive)——– I’m doing CAMP MOMMY and it’s going halfway decently?????
So far we’ve done playgrounds, science center, out to lunch, out to ice cream, spraypark, mall, chuck e cheese… and we built a swingset (they helped me drill!). cooking, baking— Wilma thinks challah dough is a great sensory activity. gonna put up a basketball hoop next week and then we’re getting either a trampoline or a pool (Wilma keeps changing her mind). later in the summer we’re doing piano lessons, and we’re keeping up the limudei kodesh tutoring. We’re down to 3 ABA sessions a week and up to 2 speech therapy sessions a week. Most of my work I’m doing after they’re in bed (and still making decent money, amazingly), but for a few hours a week they come with me to my local sm client and they play with the ipad and read while I work. On the docket still to do…… bowling, library, playground world, and lots of the area playgrounds. We’ve played a few games, read a bunch of books, done some coloring/painting/etc— and so far in the past 15 days have watched ONE dvd— my daughter is NOT good at sitting and watching, lol. TRYING to get them to ride bikes with training wheels, but our gross motor skills are kinda rocky and that’s definitely a non preferred activity (double meltdown fodder). They DO like their scooters though. Here’s a funny—– one twin got a TONNNNNN of summer homework and the other twin got none. So unfair— that’s the icky thing about them being in different schools.
And the zoo. how the HECK did I forget the zoo? and I’m getting braces again so soft food for mommy will be a theme— lol.
I hire help, I utilize my hubby who is off all summer (hello, I’m the only income all summer— you will play with kids when I wanna work, k?) and SOMEHOW, so far so….. GOOD?!?!
BARUCH HASHEM for ABA (6 hours a week for Wilma these days— still waiting priority on the waiver wait list for Fred) and the right meds…… and for these monsters getting older and more mature!
Also? Also? Wilma can walk a mile with no stroller now! HA HA HA HA!!! Every family walk does NOT involve her flopping down and refusing to move! (as long as SHE picks the route). Bye bye hypotonia— you don’t rule our lives anymore! I might sell the fancy expensive special needs stroller soon!