Holy shit I'm doing a meme! First of all, I have to apologize for the people who have actually tagged me in this, because I can't for the life of me remember who you are. I'm really sorry about that, but if you tell me I will definitely edit this post to include a link to you. In the meantime, though, for some reason I was able to remember that this meme was created by Karen at Solodialogue, who definitely didn't tag me, because she's afraid of me for some reason. I think. I don't remember. Anyway, that isn't going to stop me from participating, because that's just the way I roll....
So, here's the deal with this, according to Karen:
Each of us has loads to offer on the battlefield but what tools and services are we really all fighting for? Do we know what is available? By the way, who is paying for those special things?
So, simply put, as I tag you, and hoping that you are willing to share, there are only three things I’m looking for answers to in this meme:
I know. I know. Every child with a special need is different and requires different accommodations. Beyond that, I think we will find common ground. We may find that despite the emphasis on the differences, the school districts may be offering the same stuff to everyone. Who knows until we share?
- A list of tools (special chairs, iPad, visual schedules, gums, chewlery, squishees, headphones, whatever devices help focus and sensory issues);
- Services (Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA, TEACCH, Special Ed teaching rooms, aides during class, tutors, etc.) and how many hours per week of each your child receives;
- Your opinions of the effectiveness of (1) and (2) above.
The goal is that the next time any of us is faced with an upcoming IEP we can peruse our friends’ lists and see what may be useful to our own child.
Sounds good to me! So... here we go....
1. Nothing. Nada. There are no tools. The closest we get is that he gets to use math manipulatives. This is because we haven't had a good OT in a few years, but at our recent IEP meeting there was somebody there who seemed to actually know what she was doing, and was able to use the term "sensory diet" in a way that didn't include the cafeteria, so I'm hopeful that she may come up with some ideas. On the other hand, he'll just stim on fidgets all day long, anyway, and really what he needs is to get up and run back and forth in the hallway a few times in order to get his focus. I was going to say "get his focus back" but he practically never has focus, anyway; but I digress....
2. Services! I will list them below:
- Specialized academic instruction: 225 minutes/week (Push in and/or pull out academic support)
- Intensive Individual Services: 1200 minutes/week (IA support during academic activities and specials)
- Language and speech: 90 minutes/week (Push in and pull out as needed to total 90 minutes weekly)
- Occupational Therapy: 30 minutes/week (push into classroom or pull out, as needed)
- Adapted Physical Education: 30 minutes/week
- There are about 3 pages dedicated to testing accommodations, but I'll just tell you the good part, because the rest of it isn't important, I think: When unfocused or seems stressed, discontinue testing and work on core curriculum (This is the first time we've had this, I can't WAIT to see how this goes, because he is ALWAYS unfocused! HAHAHAHA!)
3. I think that a few years ago when he had an awesome SLP/OT (ONE person doing all awesome things. We were so lucky) he benefited a lot from the brushing and the swinging that she would do, but that hasn't been happening the past few years and I'm not really sure it would make a difference, anyway. But at our last meeting we did discuss the need for him to get up every 30 minutes or so and just run back and forth to get his physical and mental energy out, which is what they're referring to about the OT, which is push in or pull out "as needed."
As for the rest of it, like I said, he's always unfocused, and without an IA hanging over his shoulder he will never listen to the teacher or get any work done, so unless he's actually getting his "specialized academic instruction" I'm not sure he's actually learning anything, anyway.
We also have a tutor, who is not mentioned in the IEP, and whom I pay for out of pocket. I've been fighting the district to pay for tutoring forfuckingEVER, but they just won't do it. I've talked about it here before. Mostly it's just so that I don't have to do homework with him, because I simply cannot. Our awesome tutor is not only has a K-6 credential, she is an autism specialist and works as a resource teacher in another district. She works for me for shit pay because she's a single parent and needs the extra money. Oh, I'm going to give her a raise, by the way, because she was at our IEP and was AWESOME.
I think I'm getting off track. Another thing I want to mention, just because I think it's so cool, is that it also says this in our IEP: "Send home homework, but family decides what Child 1 will do for homework. If an alternative assignment worked on for homework, the assignment will be turned in with adult signature." So, basically, fuck your test prep! YES!!!!! I only wish I could get the same for Child 2.
Oh, and inspired by Top Ten Most Ridiculous Comments Heard at an IEP Meeting, here's something that was said at our meeting last week. Spoken by our district representative, who is always saying stupid things like "he'll be taking tests his whole life," in a discussion about whether or not teaching an autistic kid (with both significant language processing issues and some kind of math phobia) math word problems was wise or not, she said "word problems are a part of life." Um... hello? Autism? Word problems? Seriously???
Okay! So, I hope I did justice to this meme and that Karen will be proud and not scared of me. I will now also tag some people, and I've chosen the mom bloggers who were the first friends I made when I started blogging and whom I have somewhat fallen out of touch with as the years have gone on.
Also ..... Lynn knows why.....
- Lynn at Autism Army Mom
- Cheryl at Little Bit Quirky
- Dani at I'm Just That Way and That's Just Me
- Jessica at Four Plus an Angel
- Jennie at Anybody Want a Peanut?