IEP Drama

Normally I’m long winded but this my dears is going to be short and sweet.

Parents we must stop our thoughts about a thing always determine it’s outcome.  If you go into your child’s IEP dreding it and saying to yourself and others how exhausting it will be, how the teachers and administrators never cooperate. Then you will have and exhausting and unproductive IEP.

Parents we MUST stop this IEP Drama and stop being so negative.  It seems that often times in the IEP community we take pride in how horrible our IEP experience was and how much trouble it was and what administrator or teacher we had to get nasty with. For years I thought something was wrong with me because my kids have always had speedy, happy IEP sessions.  I then began to make stuff up to prolong the IEP so that I would have something to talk about.

What I realized is that is unnecessary.

Short tip:

Find the good in it all. When you find the good when you find your teams strengths when you play those up the negative will disappear  You create your world and not anyone else.

Create something great, trust me.

Wishing you Health and Wellness

Charmaine

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Frustrations, Angst and Confusion

So today on Facebook one of the pages I follow (RespectABILITY Law Center) posts many interesting tips and articles.  Well today they posted an article about a 15 year old NY girl that cognitive delays being placed in a room full of  juvenile delinquents and gang raped. Now, where the administration was who knows I mean, damn, really?

I have enough trouble with the school keeping my children from getting bit by the same child every year! So how in God’s name am I as a mom to expect them to watch out for them and keep them from being molested, raped, beaten, or in their case all three?  Then come to find out that Grosse Pointe Public Schools the stellar, upstanding, top notch school they are also has the same issue.  That any student that doesn’t fit their cookie cutter mold gets shipped to Special Services, so in essence you could have a kid that has severe mental, violence or a combination mixed either with parents that don’t care or don’t know how to handle that child along with a school district who just wants to throw kids in a room and get paid and that could equal disaster.

I think after my son’s last biting episode I am a bit jaded about the district that I swallowed the “red pill” on.  This school is filled with more smoke screens and illusions than a David Copperfield show. When we moved back to MI from ME an old acquaintance of ours told us how Wonderful GPPS was that the teachers where great, blah blah blah.  I should have followed my intuition, my daughter when she entered this school district was at grade level..GRADE LEVEL! Now all of a sudden she’s not able to grasp 3rd grade math concepts? There was so much I didn’t know then because Maine had done all IEP work for me, as there they TRULY cared about the kids and their succession. They wanted to push and not hold them back. I don’t just blame teachers and administration I blame myself, which is why I know all this special education stuff now.

So, I’m not happy with Grosse Pointe Public Schools, if I had a concrete plan I would pull my kids out now. It’s interesting how Special Education is the “cash cow” for Grosse Pointe yet we don’t have tutoring programs, we don’t have anything extra that will help our children succeed like general education. It’s like regular instruction should be enough.  And they don’t want to place any of the kids in ESY because they claim that the criteria is “regression/recoupment” which that is not the only criteria that determines ESY and legally you don’t need to show regression/recoupment in order to place a child in ESY but that’s another story for another time.

The special education system is broken at best.  In the case of my district, you have kids of varying disabilities and grade levels often in one classroom, while you have a teacher splintered  trying to teach everyone on their own level not only does he or she have multiple different abilities in the room but kids from different grades and aides that are also over worked and in the case of our district way underpaid. You have parents trying to just get the district to provide FAPE (free appropriate public eduation) on a consistent basis, forget extras we’re just trying to get what is required by law.

If what is going on in special education was going on in general education, there would surely be a riot.  It’s so weird that when it comes to kids the governments seem to have their hands tied and eyes covered.

I don’t know maybe I’m over-reacting or maybe I’ve been swallowing the red pill (Matrix reference) for too long. But in any case something needs to be done about our special education system.  Laws aren’t being followed and kids are getting left behind although in our world they continue to advance them regardless of whether or not they have met their IEP goals for that year.

How is your child doing in school? How would you rate your child’s education? Would you recommend your district to anyone else, or if you could move or drive your child elsewhere would you? Sometimes it’s not worth the fight, I don’t have time to wait until my kids sink further and further into the abyss of falling socially and academically behind.

How are my kids doing in school? Not bad but not good. How would I rate my child’s education? I rate it a 3 out of a 5. Would I recommend my district to anyone else? No, Grosse Pointe Public School is not Special Education friendly, now if you have a slew of neuro-typicals it’s the district for you, unless you end up at Poupard which has the highest number of African American Children then you get the bottom of the barrel (that too is a different story). 

Use my random thought to re-evaluate your child’s current educations situation be they in general education or special education and ask yourself, am I happy with the results. Take a deep look back over all of their report cards, assessments, IEP’s, progress reports, just look at everything   If you are happy great if not then changes need to be made and either you need to try to work with teachers and administrators or leave and find another school to attend (which is a lot easier than you think nowadays) but do something.

Love and Blessings,

Charmaine

The Article that started this blog

Making my Kids Better Challenge

So I have resolved for the next 30 days I would give it all I can in the supplement area. Now, for me that means pill supplements as well as educational and life skill supplementation.  So we are closely following Dahakaris Protocol as it has garned much success for not only the family that created the protocol but for us as well.  Often times we as parents see gains and stop doing what we’re doing or we see regression and stop doing what we’re doing.  When in actually it means that we should persevere and  push forward.

What I have started is charts for everything we want to improve. I have a chore chart that I have finally purchased.  I was going to make one up but that wasn’t going well.  I created a vitamin supplement chart, and I have also created homework binders sectioned off and based off of the two older kids IEP’s and the baby’s based off of what things he should be doing at this level and the next.

This is the picture of Marcus Jr’s and Jai Lynn’s chore chart.  Two stars gets them .50, 4 stars, $1 and 6 stars $5, this will teach them some sort of responsibility and about counting money. I haven’t completed Mason’s chart yet as I think his will be money based also. Then I’m going to make it that if they get 10-15 stars I’m going to have a toy bin with a special toy and 20 or more stars will get a day out with daddy or mommy doing the activity of their choice.

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This is the picture of the vitamin supplement chart. As many of you with children on any edge of the spectrum (ADHD, Autism, OCD, ADD the list goes on) knows that vitamin supplements are often our life line to sanity as well as seeing signs of gains and life in our children.  Well we have so many vitamin supplements that I would always forget something and then I would feel bad about it.  This way I can see what the kids need, my husband can see what they need and one day the kids will be able to either tell me or do it on their own. This will go on my fridge for now, will probably re-tool this and make it smaller but I truly needed something now. I am still creating check marks for this chart so that we can see what has been done.  This chart will be moved to the wall as little hands will most likely have a lot of fun moving my check marks.

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This is a picture of the homework binder for Jai Lynn I am still working on Marcus, Jr’s and Mason’s.  This is just a preliminary as I’m sure I’ll be adjusting it in the upcoming months.  This is set up by each IEP goal that we’re working on and the corresponding sub category.

 

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Lastly, tomorrow I will be working on a menu book with recipes so that it will make it easy for anyone who can turn on a stove to cook in my absence.

If you are wondering why everything is not on the same schedule or sheet, for my kids and me too much causes distraction then nothing gets done.  So, I have things organized throughout.

I am finding that schedules work well in our household when everyone knows what’s expected there is less frustration and things run smoother.  Feel free to borrow my ideas if you think that they will work for your family.

Love and Blessings

Charmaine

Stepping out of Comfort

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Often in our world stepping out of comfort is our only comfort. Especially when you’re new to the game, it seems as if things are changing all the time.

So often I go to training  workshops and meetings to pick up information that either I don’t know or to refresh on information that I am already aware of.

The most recent workshop that I attended was through the Michigan Alliance for Families and it was Conflict Resolution in Special Education.  Now, I think for the most part that I have effective communication and conflict resolution skills when working with my children’s IEP team but, I am always willing to learn more.

This workshop went over the different types of conflict and showed that not all conflict is bad.  It often times allows the team to truly come together for the benefit of the individual receiving services.

The types of conflicts that where discussed where:

  • Relationship~negative emotions, mis-perceptions/stereotypes poor communication or repetitive negative behavior
  • Data~Misinformation, disagreement on which data is relevant or competing assessment procedures
  • Structural~ conflicts caused by external forces such as limited resources, geographic constraints, time
  • Value~ incompatible belief system, differing values
  • Interest ~conflicts occur when one or more of the parties believe that in order to satisfy his or her own needs, the needs and interests of an opponent must be scarified

This workshop stressed that good communication skills were vital to working through any conflicts during an IEP/IFSP or 504 team meeting.

You can’t speak with your child’s teachers only during IEP time. The IEP/504 process is not supposed to take hours and hours, there should be a constant flow of communication going.

So step outside of your comfort zone and volunteer in your child’s classroom both general education and special education ask the teacher if they could use any help making copies or anything of that nature. Become an active part of the PTO (or PTA) just because your child is special needs and might spend some or all of their day in a categorical classroom does not mean that they or you are not a part of the school or educational process.

Become involved in ways you never dreamed of, it’s harder for them to lie in your face and mistreat your child if you’re there. Now, I’m not saying you have to be at the school everyday but at least be some sort of presence for your child as often you are their only voice. Work hand in hand with all teachers whether they like it or not, invade their space, don’t undermine them but support them so that they can support your child. Do not allow IEP time or Parent Teacher Conference time be the only times you interact with your children’s teacher, principles, therapist, school board or parent groups. Don’t just call on those sources when something goes wrong. Learn how to make them an integral part of your existence and they will serve you well.

So step outside of your comfort zone. Do more, be more and see more.

Love and Blessings

Charmaine

*I plan on posting workshop notes by the beginning of the year.*