Thursday, February 18, 2016

Heading to an appointment with the local elementary school tomorrow. I'm hoping that all my ducks are in a row. This is our second time attempting to place our youngest son in the local public school. Our little man is 8 years old. He attended the school for Kindergarten. He had an  IEP, (Individualized Education Plan) for the entire time he attended public school. I pulled him out of the public school when the school officials tried to discontinue his IEP.

Little man is special. He has a few mental health diagnosis's. First and foremost he has Autism Spectrum Disorder. He's very high functioning and really only displays characteristics on occasion. Although as he ages those characteristics are getting more pronounced than they used to be. He hyper focuses on certain things, rockets, forts and spears are the 3 big ones right now. He likes to run and dance and isn't afraid to "bust a move" in some random place for anyone to see. He also likes to bang his head and spin. 

Anyway, back to the whole school thing. When little man was 6, I put him in school. I made sure to prepare the school by having him tested for learning disabilities and sharing with them his multiple diagnosis' and his many behavior issues. I was able to get him an IEP with a few provisions in place to help him cope with the rigors of school. He did well in Kindergarten. Other than his daily raging after getting off of the school bus and the morning fits getting on the school bus, he did well in school. We suffered for that at home. It's my personal theory that he worked so hard to maintain good behavior at school for 7 hours that he lost it when he finally got off the bus and was in a comfortable environment. The school characterized this as an "at home issue" and questioned my parenting. I was not happy! By the third IEP meeting I had learned that the provisions that I thought were in place were not really in place. His "quiet space" in the classroom was instead a supervised walk in the school hallway. There wasn't anything in place to help him with the hyper activity. As a result he visited the nurse frequently with assorted bumps and bruises obtained in the classroom while "running around." The school officials failed to recognize his anxiety as well. He went to the nurse even more frequently for headaches and stomaches. They never did put two and two together. At the final IEP meeting the entire cast of characters at the meeting, except for myself, decided that an IEP was no longer needed for little man. I refused to sign off on that and removed little man from school that same afternoon.

Fast forward a year and a half. Little man's been at home with his brother, sister and myself. He's been doing well. He is reading after struggling for over a year trying to get the hang of it. He is writing although I'm certain he has dysgraphia. The problem is it's a daily battle! The first year we had a lot of down time. We struggled to get a schedule together that worked for everyone, especially little man. His outbursts took up much of our school day and then some. His learning issues started to rear their ugly heads this school year. We brought in an ABA therapist. Best decision I've made for him! Despite the almost daily therapy doing school work is still a struggle. 

Little Man's Daily school schedule.
He updates this daily with the subjects I have listed for him
on my planner. He gets points for doing the things on the
(shown to the left)

Checklist of things he must do to earn points
while completing each school subject. 

With the help of the therapist we've implemented a visual schedule that gives little man some flexibility in his school day. That, used in conjunction with the schedule I have for his schoolwork has helped us to stay relatively on track for the school year. However it's still a daily battle. By the time I finish school with little man I have almost no time to do work with my 12 year old or to help my 17 year old senior with his final course work for high school. I most definitely don't have time for anything I need to get done. 4 PM rolls around and I'm mentally drained. It's exhausting. For this reason we have decided to give public school another try.
Binder with Language Arts and Math done by
little man this school year. 

I am meeting with some of the staff at the school tomorrow because I've requested testing for little man. Apparently this is not a normal thing for a parent to request. Who knew! In order for the school to determine where he needs testing or what he needs testing for I am bringing samples of his school work from September 2015 to yesterday. I've got his therapy progress binders and also his goals worksheet. I've also got his psychological evaluations, which the school pretty much disregarded two years ago and I've got new information from his new doctors. Hmmmm, what am I missing? Nothing I hope! Wish me luck because I'm freaking out! 

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