Argh!!!!! Vent About School...long

Lounge By jonahsmom Updated 7 Aug 2009 , 3:37pm by Texas_Rose

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jonahsmom Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 12:38am
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Okay, so my son has a one on one associate every day, all day at school due to his autism. It enables him to be in a regular classroom and learn along with the rest of the kids his age. He did pretty well with that in kindergarten last year and ended up at the same level as far as reading, math, etc. The associate he had last year was TERRIBLE!!!!!!!! I cannot put enough exclamation points behind that and cannot make the word terrible big enough to truly express it. Autistic kids are pretty ritualistic and very rigid in their thinking. They need absolute structure. This associate called in sick quite often and even said the day before one of those call ins that she was going to call in sick tomorrow! I expressed my concern at the end of the school year that I would prefer not to have her back as the associate because of the structure he needs and I just found out that he will have the SAME ASSOCIATE!!!!!! Even his teacher last year expressed great concerns that he seemed much more relaxed on the days that he had substitute associates.

His kindergarten teacher emailed me on Tuesday to let me know that Heather had been reassigned (she shouldn't have, but has been extremely helpful in this process) to a different room. Now I'm afraid for two reasons. 1 - that she may actually be his associate this year and 2 - that she isn't set to be his associate this year and that the school dropped the ball on finding one!

I'm going to email the head of the special education department and ask her if my concerns are going to be approached with his former (current?) associate. The last week of school she wasn't even there!!!!! She called in EVERY DAY!!!!!!

Thanks for "listening." I just want to get him started on the right foot and I already feel like their effing it up.

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mkolmar Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 1:30am
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I know first hand how hard it is for an autistic child without structure in school. My sons aid was/is very good however so we were lucky. The aids job is just as important as the teachers in my opinion for an autistic child. My sons school changed some ways things were done and now he's happier and so are the other children. He's in a mainstream class also.
I'd just straight up go in and ask them. Voice your concerns if need be.
You for sure want everything to be put in place before he starts back to school. I hope you have a new and much better aid this time.

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jonahsmom Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 1:56am
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Thanks mkolmar!

I sent off an email (and a copy of the one I sent last year at the end of the year about wanting someone else) back to the director of special education. I tried to sound as patient as possible, but it sounds like you know how hard that is to do when you're concerned for your child!!!!

I'm totally hoping that she is just mistaken and forgot that she assigned some GREAT aide to Jonah this year!

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redpanda Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 2:10am
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If you discover that they do NOT have a one on one assigned or if it is the one that is unreliable, do not hesitate to request--in writing--an emergency IEP meeting to address a potential violation of his program. If he is supposed to have a one on one every day, then one that is there only some of the time is not meeting his needs, even if they are able to find a substitute each time.

Hopefully, they just have been doing a bad job of communicating with you, which is bad enough.

(I have a high school aged son on the autism spectrum, so I understand the need for consistency and predictability in one's life.)

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Texas_Rose Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 3:37pm
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Sometimes the best way to communicate with the school is to go in and talk to them in person. It helps them to put a face with the issue and also shows them that you are not one of those parents who is too busy to care what happens to your child. Also, if the person who you're dealing with is not handing things in a way that you feel is sufficient, don't hesitate to go above their heads.

I had a problem with the school nurse when my daughter was in kindergarten...poor Val kept getting hurt and they wouldn't call me. She got hit in the eye with a rock, fell in the cafeteria and hurt her neck (which couldn't have happened in the way they described because she would have had food on her clothes, and she didn't), had a lump on her knee so bad that she was limping...every time she got hurt, I would go to the nurse and ask her to call me when she treated my child. She would say, "We'll try but we're busy around here taking care of sick kids." The last straw was when Val came home with both lips split open, both knees black with bruises, running a temp of 102 and vomiting because of a concussion. She couldn't even remember her fall, which happened in the morning, or the rest of her school day. I kept her home for a week and then went in to see the principal with photos of the injuries and the paperwork from the doctor. I deliberately didn't make an appointment because I didn't want her to have any time to prepare beforehand. We managed to resolve things and Val has never gotten hurt again at school, and now the nurse calls if she even has Val in there for a scratch.

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