Sounds like a good group to talk to
I learned more about what the group will be about today.
It will be! Mostly the parents have to be reminded they are still the best advocates for their child and have to get involved. If there are questions, they have to ask and ask specifically as they can.
Yes I agree, while I agree that schools are better special education and emotionally disturbed children, the parents know their children best and have to persistent and ask many questions
And once the child is placed, the teacher is the first person to go to. There are some parents who raise hell with the school board before they ever talk to the teacher or principal or special ed. services.
Kat's first school experience was in a birth to 5 program. She was in the ed/bd class, but they had blind, disabled, and deaf kids in her school. It was an excellent setup.
Yeah go to the teacher first, the teacher is in the trenches and with the child everyday
Yeah I can see that for Kat back then, now a days they try to separate children into categories of special education (e.g. physical vs. emotional issues)
They did have a separate setup. One of the great things at that school, particularly for the blind, deaf, and physically disabled kids, was that they had a couple rooms set up like a living room and bedroom so they could teach these kids how to be as independent as possible at home.
That is very nice, that can definitely be very effective
Here they apparently start school at 3 if disabled, which is pretty standard. As I said, I don't know how PA does things, and programs can vary a lot from district to district and state to state.
They can definitely vary and you can ask questions as well and involve some audience participation too, that is what I used to do when I used to give lectures and training presentation to different states.
That's especially needed since I don't know the particulars about here. One of the things I want to talk about, and as positively as possible, is what to do when the district wants to send the child in district when there is a better placement out of district.
Also, a lot of ED kids have various learning disabilities, and how to fight for the best placement. When Kat switched from the birth to 5 program to first grade, I didn't fight hard enough, and the consequences were horrible.
Well those are good questions to pose to the group and have they answer it and increase the group cohesiveness by helping them support each other to figure it out
There was a 19 point difference in her verbal vs. nonverbal scores on placement tests, so the district wanted to put her in a learning disabilities class in district, when I and her teachers/school counselor, and therapist wanted her in an ED placement.
I also want to make sure it's as positive as possible. Can't make the school the enemy if there is an issue.
I also am not sure how far to go with how bad things can turn out in the wrong placement.
Yeah definitely, just point out to seek resources and become well informed about the disorder and the services that are given in the school district, this will help them
Well instead give them warning signs to look for on what may not be a good fit placement for their child
Do not call them bad placements, but not good fit placements, this will go over better
and also the special ed. directors are really under a lot of pressure to save the district money. They need to know that so they know why the person may fight so hard for a less expensive placement.
Testing can also vary from state to state, but I really would prefer an expert handle that issue.
Yeah I would say get testing from someone who is a school psychologist, not a counselor, but that can be expensive. But that is just from my professional standpoint
Most schools these days do have school psychologists for testing, but for instance, NJ didn't have a separate test for kids who have learning disabilities, i.e., one that showed the testing difference when there was a huge verbal test compared to the same test which relied more on visual things. She tested with an I.Q. of 80 in NJ (cognitively challenged) when she tested with 104 to 108 depending on the test when they took away the strong language components.
I don't know what PA does about that.
I also have to remind them that if they scream and yell and raise hell, they'll be looked at as a lunatic more than a concerned parent :)
Yeah that can happen, but good school psychologists should be able to detect the difference in scores between verbal and performance subtests, that is the first sign of a learning disorder
Haha, I think they probably know that by now :)
NJ, I have to say, was one of her best placements. They sent her immediately to a private school for emotional disorders rather than risk her failing in a less restrictive class.
That is very good of them, some states have excellent services and others not so much
Yep, in TX, she was in a class for ED kids. The small issue that came up was that Kat was wondering why she was being punished having to eat lunch by herself in the classroom. The teacher saw that she had a dissociative disorder, and she thought that meant she didn't like associating with other kids, so the teacher thought she'd be more comfortable not in the cafeteria. :)
It didn't matter much in the long haul, because shortly after that, she was hospitalized and went to school at the hospital.
Hmmm that is interesting logic by the teacher. Well I am glad that Kat got the treatment that she needed
I don't want to put either the school or parents down, but one issue that some parents had as well was threatening to sue the district with the smallest issues that came up.
Hmmm that will be a delicate issue to bring up and you do only have 20 minutes, so I would suggest not bringing that up and focusing on more common issues
Its just a suggestion for you ;)
That's why I'm asking. I want it to be as productive as possible.
I know, because you have limited time limit it is best to focus on the common issues that may effect all or most of the parents.
That's also why schools play their cards close to the chest with strangers like me because they don't know if I have a negative agenda in asking. I don't blame them for that at all.
The common issues is to really ask questions at IEP meetings. Work with the teachers/school, not against them if at all possible. Lots of our kids, also, can deal with a mainstream situation depending on their own issue.
I think those are good categories of issues to focus on. Also that even though things may be bad now or can get bad, there is still hope in the future. Some kids dramatically change with the right treatment.
and we need all the support we can get. Teachers, counselors, speech/language therapists if need be...working together gets the best results.
Yes I agree with that, foster communication between all the supporters that are there to help the child.
I'm also just going to have to tell them I don't have experience with parents who disagree about a placement or diagnosis.
it's not just with ED kids that it's an issue...it's also an issue with one parent calling a child "deaf" and the other "hearing impaired" or "blind vs. sight impaired." It also does take time for parents to come to grips themselves, and they need to be patient with themselves and each other.
That is good idea to discuss that for a minute or two
btw, when I was looking through Kat's school notes, they did call it a dystimic depression.
Ah, dsythymia is a more chronic depression. It can be severe, but usually does not have more extreme symptoms of a Major Depressive Disorder.
Again, I'm not going to get into the specifics of any child, especially given the topic.
Yeah I wouldnt, but definitely talk about your own child and experiences with her. Positive and negative, to give them a personal perspective.
The one issue that came up constantly (not just with Kat) when we were in IL was placement. For instance, I worked as a sign language interpreter in schools, and we had 3 kids placed in the hearing impaired classroom. All three could hear even over a telephone with no amplification. Two of them clearly had learning disabilities which impacted their learning, but the 3rd was very emotionally disturbed. He clearly heard voices and even answered them. After talking with the teachers, I asked them why he wasn't placed in an ED program since his hearing loss wasn't even in the speech range. They did place him in Kat's school and he did wonderfully, and he wasn't teased by the other kids.
So yeah definitely talk about placement and making sure it is a right fit for the child and their issues.
The one real mistake I made was when Kat was placed in the LD classroom in first grade. Besides the fact that all she did all day was pace the room repeating "Maaa-raaah" to herself, she was supposed to be a "hand-carry" from the bus to the school to make sure she went inside. They didn't do that regularly, and one day she left school with a kindergarten boy (no doubt she talked him into it) but by the time the police finally found them, they had crossed a 6-lane,XXXXX was seen on a train viaduct near a switching station, and down by a river. I didn't even find out about it until the police officer who took them back to school was done with his shift.
He came to the house asking about her, because she told him (and he believed she believed it) that "the man had a gun and wouldn't let her go." He wanted to take her to the hospital rather than school, but he took the boy to school and they took Kat with them. The school didn't even tell me about the incident because they "knew I didn't like her placement and felt I'd get too upset with them."
But then in mid-December, they also didn't make sure she got on the bus after school, and she was out wandering around. I called the bus company when she didn't get home at her time, they said she never got on the bus in the afternoon. The only reason the teachers went looking for her is because I called the school and they had a teacher's meeting. They didn't find her until almost 7:30 pm. It was dark, snowing, and her teacher found her more than 5 miles from the school, and Kat wouldn't get in her car because she didn't recognize her and wouldn't get in a car with a stranger.
That definitely did not sound like a great placement for her
That's when I told them if they didn't change her placement, I would file for a hearing. They put her in a program for ED kids (the school was great) and they kept her for the semester, but insisted she go to another school (which was also great) that was for kids who had more severe emotional problems.
Well I am glad that she got to change that was obviously better for her.
It was excellent, she did very well, and I also learned a lot more about things I could do at home to improve her situation because both her teachers and the support staff were extremely interested in helping as much as they could.
All in all, she had great school environments.
Good for her, I am glad that her school environments were so positive for her, not everyone is as lucky
I hope PA has good programs. It's also so hard for schools when their funding keeps getting cut. Like I said, I'm pro-public schools rather than against them. Most do the best they can with the resources they have.
Well you will find out if they have good programs from the parents
And in both NJ and IL, the counselors there were MSW's with experience rather than your run-of-the-mill school counselors.
Good, I think that is best for the child. School counselors are not very well equipped
That's true. We lucked out :)
Good for you and Kat :)
I do have one question looking back as I did at her school notes. There was a period of time, about 6 weeks, when for whatever reason, Kat started crawling around like a baby. She only did this at home. Then one day, I get a call from the school nurse asking me to take her to the doctor because she was asking to go to the bathroom every hour, sometimes twice and hour. She didn't have a UTI. She kept asking to go to the bathroom, so one day her counselor followed her in to see what she was doing in the bathroom. She was just crawling back and forth.
When asked why she was doing it, all she could say was "I have to"
Usually this is a sign of regression and is associated with dissociation. She basically regressed back to a toddler judging by her behaviors. It can be related to depression and dissociation because it is the subconscious protecting her by reverting back to a time when things were good and she was happy
That makes sense. We never did figure it out then. It stopped just as quickly as it started when she was done with it.
I didn't know what "disassociation" meant for the longest time. I thought it had to do with her having somantic complaints when she didn't want to do something that was hard for her, like reading.
I understand, it is not a common disorder that everyone knows about
I learned a bit more what it could entail. When she was really sick, she would separate herself from the pain. I almost got arrested once. She had gotten a new pair of sandals. At school, she told the teachers her ankle hurt. They loosened the sandal and she went back to play. The next day she complained about her ankle again and it hurt her bad enough to not play on it, so they sent her to the nurse. The nurse couldn't find anything wrong with it. By Friday, she was actually limping on the foot, so they had me take her to the doctor. At home she didn't even complain about her foot.
Anyway, I took her to one of the clinics, the doc examined her foot, but couldn't find anything wrong with it. She had a bit of post-nasal drip (she had airborne allergies and is allergic to both anthihistimines and decongestants). It wasn't very bad, but he did check her ears. He was livid! Both her eardrums were blown out and she had a massive infection. He said her ears had to have been infected for at least 2 weeks as bad as they were. He was literally calling child protective services, and I asked him why he didn't check her ears first if he thought they were infected. He cradled the phone on his shoulder and said, "you know, she should have been screaming when I put that scope in her ears, and she didn't even flinch"
She didn't "know" that her ears hurt because they hurt bad and she separated from it. She didn't know they hurt until he told her they were infected.
Wow, that is serious dissociation. I am glad that he did not call CPS that would have just caused more issues for you .
He profusely apologized to me for all the terrible things he said about me and called her school to find out what was going on. She hadn't complained at school either, and had even behaved well.
That is nice that he apologized
I am sure he sees a number of abuse cases and this was just him being overprotective of this children he sees.
Well, the second time it was very serious was when she was riding in Utah. She got hit by a branch, knocked off her horse, rolled down a hill, and landed on a rock then railroad tracks. She told the group she was riding with that she hurt her back and had to get help. They told her she had to at least ride back to the stables. At first she said she couldn't because her back hurt too much, but when they kept telling her she had to get back on the horse and go back to the stables, she did. She even drove home and told me what happened. I told her her back would probably even be more sore in the morning.
I was concerned the second night when even with all her meds, in her sleep she was really moaning. I called the insurance company for permission to take her to the ER. They said if she had been walking she just had a soft tissue injury and could see her doc on Monday. Sunday her back hurt so bad when she was sleeping that I took her to the ER. She walked in, albeit very slowly, because it hurt more to sit down. They also told me it was a soft tissue injury because she was walking. They did an X-ray and out came the backboard and they taped her down so she couldn't move. She had broken her L1 and L2 bones in her back.
Fortunately, it was a stable fracture. When they learned that she got back on a horse, down from a horse, drove, and walked for almost 2 days, the doc told us how we dodged a bullet and that one false move could have paralyzed her.
That's how bad she could separate from pain.
That is impressive and scary at the same time.
When they asked her how she could stand the pain, she said, "I made it not hurt."
Well the mind is very complicated and can do amazing things at times.
The only thing we still know what to do about it is that if something hurts, then doesn't hurt, she has to go to the doc.
It is! It's amazing what a mind and body can do.
That was one of my "hard" parenting things because especially after the ear thing, I didn't know how to know if she was sick, and on the other hand I could have made her worse if I worried about it all the time.
I understand, but you did a great job as a parent for her
Yep, and we're both doing more than OK. None the worse for wear and tear, as they say.
That is very true, you both are doing great :)
And with your advice, I keep on a good track with this meeting.
I think you will do great with the meeting
LOL at least it will be rare if the same severe issues came up at the discussion
That is true, but there will be different issues that come up and some parents will think they are very severe for them because it involves their child
Yes! like they say, the only minor operation is one done on someone else. Especially with the younger age group, you can bet many will be both newly diagnosed, if there is a clear one, and that the parents will be very concerned about what to do, because they want the best for their kids.
Yep all parents want what is best for their children
One of the things I want to impress them with is that for the most part, the schools want what is best too.
One of the things I'm also good at is that I can take a "not perfect" situation and make the best of it. That's what they will be learning to do with time.
That is a good quality you have
It developed over time too. That's one real hope I can give them.
I hope so too
Thanks again for the input.
Anytime I am always happy to help. I am sure you will do great, let me know how it goes :)
Have a great night!
You as well, best of luck to you :)