On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Thursday, March 11, 2010

too many voices ... or not enough?

when there are 10 professionals and 1 parent (although I'd argue that I know more than all of the professionals in measure of experience alone) crammed into a meeting and on speaker phone to discuss the academic needs of an emotionally and behaviorally impaired student it begs the question, are there too many voices advocating for this child, or not enough?

I'm saying too many.

and not enough listening to mom regardless of the final head count.

Was the 504/RTI meeting successful?


When all was said and done, yes the RTC added PDD-NOS to Sissy's chart. Whatevs. It might mean we won't have to convince insurance to keep her on the waiver for Resperidone because that med is FDA approved for spectral disorders in children as young as 4.

We ended up reducing the number of modifications on her 504 plan because the RTC education team (on speaker phone) said she didn't need those modifications while she was with them. It was noted that she was in a class of 6 at RTC, a facility trained to deal with EBD kids and moving directly to a gen ed class of 29 in which she very likely will need those modifications but since her most recent education documentation demonstrated success without modification, we had to eliminate them.

We added the allowance for the DBT coping skills Sissy learned at RTC that are non evasive in the classroom. Although that may present challenges regardless because those are emotional/behavioral disability therapies that will not be supplied in a general education classroom so that Sissy will have to act on her own recognizance to know when to use them and to use them appropriately. The RTC staff voiced that they had to PROMPT Sissy to use them and the gen ed teacher admitted that this was the first time she'd ever heard of DBT and didn't know how to apply it in the classroom effectively for Sissy. Now if say, Sissy qualified for EBD ...

Despite the 10 professionals in the meeting, the only 2 that needed to be on board with the unspoken secret agenda, were on board. In spades. My off the record conversations with the 504 coordinator and gen ed teacher last Friday and our ability to convincingly put our plan in action in the RTC/504 meeting without actually saying it was our plan, was successful.

In 10 words or less:
we have effectively narrowed Sissy's playing field for triangulation in the classroom in an attempt to ferret out her behaviors during the class day which will in turn demand that she get another RTI meeting that adequately measures her behavioral issues thus qualifying her for EBD IEP status.

ok, that was more than 10 words.

As it stands, she is very narrowly missing tier 3 services, which is one step down from IEP status. Her gen ed teacher and I both noting that since she's only been back for 3 days and already showing some of her quirks from before, it's only a matter of time that she's at tier 3. The 504 coordinator concluded the meeting saying that there is no limit to assessments and RTI meetings needed to get Sissy what she and her family need for academic success, hinting that we'd likely be having another meeting before the school year was out. which was quickly followed up by the IFI team member saying that Sissy was still in her honeymoon period and that they had yet to witness her documented violence ... but that they expected to see it and "here's the crisis plan for when that time comes, please sign here, here and here."

Again, if you are going to read this blog, learn from me.

You have to make your RADishes figurative playpen very small. If they can still escape and show behaviors when others aren't looking, make the playpen smaller. Keep making it smaller and smaller until they are bumping into the sides every time they turn around and either begin a course toward healing in attachment and trusting their caregivers, or acting out in front of the professionals so you can get more adequate help.

very small.
don't be afraid of how small you make it.
the nice young men in white coats aren't going to take YOU away.
Just smile glibly and say, "this is what I know is best for my child. S/he manages better with less." then quote Nancy Thomas, Gregory Keck or Dr. Katherine Leslie (who all say this, BTW).

hint: quotes are exceptionally useful in getting professionals to sit up and listen to parents because if you're sounding smart, you just might be worth listening to

hint: oh yeah, don't forget, NEVER go to a meeting with professionals looking like a harried, stressed out, tired, angry mom that gets very little sleep, an inadequate diet and pitiful exercise. Dress BETTER than them. every time. Even if it means you rip off the bra two seconds after you get to the parking lot.

acronym help:
EBD = emotional/behavioral disability
IEP = individualized education plan
DBT = dilectal behavior therapy
IFI = intensive family intervention
RTI = response to intervention, a 4 tier system that assess student need for IEP
504 = number of the ammendment to the constitution that addresses the rights of the disabled
BTW = by the way(j/k)
j/k = just kidding (j/k... again) lol


Mama Drama Times Two said...

I love what you are saying about making thier world smaller and your advice for explaining it to others & quoting the "professionals".

GB's Mom said...

Great job Jennie! You will be my role model during annual review time!

marythemom said...

"didn't need those modifications while she was with them." "class of 6 at RTC," "trained to deal with EBD kids" "demonstrated success without modification, we had to eliminate them."

No, no, no! Fine, get rid of the modifications, but ONLY if they follow the modifications that the RTC had! ..in a classroom with 6 kids and a trained behavior specialist. If they can't accomodate that, then they need to find other modifications. Our son went from RTC to a special school program for emotionally disturbed children with a 6 to 1 ratio!

Other than that, great job Mom!

Mary in TX

Meg said...

I agree with Mary. Unfortunately too even if you get the mods in the IEP some schools are bad, bad, bad about actually following them. We are currently head up a** deep in that situation. It's not easy. But I hope it all goes well for you. Some schools are great about it.