Participation

It has come to my attention that our local Parent Advisory Committee (or PAC or Partnership for Different Learners or PDL) is in a bit of disarry.  Old Charmaine would have jumped in tried to save them her way, meaning great ideas but not so great delivery.

I’m not sure with all that I have going on that I really want to be bothered now (for lack of a better term) but I would love for the situation of the PAC in my local district to get better.  Am I really ready to stick it through and do it all myself? Because when you take on a project of that nature you have to be prepared at some point to do it all yourself.  I mean yes, there is parental involvement but things happen and people’s lives change. I’m not quite sure of what road blocks the current board has run into or what exactly is going on that makes them want to leave.

Part of it I know is that it is really only three women running the whole thing.  So because they really don’t have help the meetings are pretty much held (In my opinion) when it is convenient for them which is every other month.  I can’t blame them because I would do the same.  The other part is that because they have be doing it alone for so long that new help being offered is often confusing  (for lack of a better term)  They are really a great group of ladies.

I don’t think I’ll get involved as I once intended.  I will not be running for President, Vice President, Treasurer or Secretary.  Not right now.  I will though, help where I can and do what I can.  I will continue, to offer my support and services to whomever is in office. But, I don’t want a position of power, not really of interest to me at this time.  That’s not to say by our May meeting I’ll feel differently but for right now it’s a no.

I don’t need another position as I am a board member in several places in regards to Michigan Special Education so for now I’m good.

So many parents want their parent group to “give” them something. How about you give back? You don’t have to be a board member to call the President of your local PTO or PAC and ask do they need any extra help. Participate where you can. If your help is spurred then you have done your job of trying.

Until next time

Charmaine

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April 11, 2013 and beyond!

So I have been away for a few weeks it’s been a bit crazy around here.  I was preparing for my business open house for Thirty One and Stampin’ Up! and I was also preparing for my first day of class.  I’m huge on schedules around here so I had to re-configure my business and academic life into my schedule and I figured while I was at it I might as well add in the homeschooling schedule because summer will be here before I know it and so will fall.  I have decided to create my own curriculum as I am not enthused with the two internet based schools that I found, plus my gut is telling me that my kids will learn better with something completely tailored to them.  You might think me crazy but I enjoy having my children home with me.   So what you wonder has been going on in the Fuller world of Autism?

Let’s start with Jai Lynn Spring break was a great time for us we worked on multiplication, subtraction and general overall household chores.  We worked on and still are working on her not apologizing for everything.  Learning that when you make a mistake to apologize once but don’t continue doing it. Once is enough. She is doing 1 tsp of the Divine Child drink, Serrapeptase, castor oil wraps, clay bath acetyl l carnitine.

This summer we’re going to dig deep with reading comprehension. Although, she can read at a 6th grade level she can only comprehend at about a third, she retains about one quarter of what she reads. She is not very good at all at simple recall.  The main reason I’m thinking of pulling her is that  middle school is a completely different monster   Many more kids, classes just bigger and that is a lot.  She can’t even tell me clearly what went on at school that day.  And that concerns me that she doesn’t have simple recall skills.

Jai Lynn has come a long way in the department of self-care but she still has a ways to go.We are still learnin how to deal with emotions and not go from 0 -1000 in 30 seconds flat.  But progress is being made.  A gain for her was this morning we were running late mainly because she was playing aroud in her room versus getting dressed and eating her breakfast.  When we got in the car she asked where we late and I stated “yes” and she said I’m sorry for doddling (from little Bill it means being a slowpoke). Then today after a melt down she said mom I’m sorry for yelling.  When she has meltdowns (which isn’t too often) she’ll often make negative statements like “I’m such a fool, I’m stupid, I’m a loser” so I’ve been taking those times to pump her with positive affirmations, we have also been doing positive affirmations before she gets out of the car.

Marcus, Jr has been doing well. Spring Break was a great , no seizures.  He worked on math and reading fluency. Same supplements as Jai Lynn including Min-Chex.

Some gains that he is making is in his cognitive ability.  We just started Luminosity which is a brain training website, you get some games for free the rest along with some other tools are available with the subscription, we will be getting the subscription by the way for both kids because they both need it.

This week so far he has had four seizures (three yesterday, one today) a bout of bad gas, and grinding his teeth.  The new Divine Child drink has tamarind in it to detox them from fluoride poisoning (yes the stuff in our water and toothpaste that they said would help is poisoning us and our children) and it also has kelp which is a great source of iodine.

Today he had a castor oil wrap and clay bath and is doing much better. It appears to me that he is detoxing from the new divine child drink and that we should see more gains. He has been very alert all day, although alert his focus has been a bit off today which it normally is after a seizure.  This seizure was different than anyone one I have seen. Then I started to think, maybe it is because I never truly observed his seizures my “fight or flight” went into play and my main concern was getting him someplace safe. But it appears that he is having General Tonic-Clonic Seizures.  So now that I have a pretty good idea that it’s not absence seizures I can move forward (which is why we are using Luminosity). Something he did last night that made me keep the faith is, when his curtain fell I asked him where was the piece that went to it. I heard it drop on the floor but didn’t see it where I thought it would be.  After I finished attaching the curtain he tapped me on the shoulder and pointed directly to the piece! So super proud of him.

 

Mason is growing by leaps and bounds and his language is doing great he can say mamma, daddy, bro bro,sissy, GiGi(that’s my mom) and trying to teach him PaPa. He knows who each of the people are, and he can identify and say his (and yours) nose, ears, mouth, head,teeth, and other body parts. Whenever someone doesn’t give him his way he says their name the says a bunch of baby talk in the middle then the name of whoever he’s reporting to so for example Daddy insert baby talk here Sissy.  So that would mean he’s telling on his sister lol.  He knows how to ask for food items that he wants and can read facial expressions like the guy from the show “Lie To Me” (If you haven’t seen it look it up). We are learning shapes, numbers, colors, counting and alphabet.

 

So as you see we are super busy here but I love it.  We have some exciting events coming up in the near future that I will report on and so much growth on the horizon.

Until Next Time,

Wishing you Blessings & Recovery,

Charmaine

*side note I was just elected as an at-large delegate to the Michigan Special Education Advisory Committee State Advisory Panel!

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

Wayne RESA Meeting January 10, 2012

So tonight I went to the Wayne RESA meeting in Wayne, Michigan and tonight’s speaker was Dr. Eleanor White and she spent over 45 minutes doing Q&A and it was great as she is a very engaging speaker.

Dr. White explained that Special Education is an entitlement to services and programs for children with disabilities  It is not a gift but an entitlement, and I think that we as parents and school administers and teacher need to remember that.  Don’t let your district “punk” (my words not hers)you into feeling like they are doing you a favor, most likely they are not, they are following the law and doing what they are legally obligated to do.  Her next point was to inform us that OSE (Office of Special Education) is a regulatory agency so they only deal with things that are mandated, things that are law.  They can’t help with busing problems, teacher training or para pro training, unless there is a state or federal mandate for it. That I thought was a great point to know because then it lets you know not to spend your time calling OSE for problems with your child’s bus route or the qualifications of you para-pro.  She also touched on Feedback loops, she said that is is EXTREMELY helpful to them in the OSE Office when parents call, write or email with questions, concerns, complaints  it allows them to know what is going on, what they might be doing wrong and where they could possibly help.  So to please continue filtering information to her office.  She touched a bit on the State of Michigan’s disproportional problem, she stated that each time a special education student is sent home for a behavioral issue that is should be documented so that the state can react accordingly. A question was asked about a child that is consistently being sent home because of behavioral issues, she informed the parents to keep a journal of how many times that they are sent home and to have the school do a behavioral assessment   Her last note was on funding and she stated, “There is NO extra money for special education in the state of Michigan”.

Now I asked her two questions, the first being:

  • Does the state conduct financial audits of the school districts on what is done with the money given to them, if so where would I find the reports and what is done if a district is not spending the money the way that they should. She stated that the state does conduct audits of school districts on how their money is spent. That I could obtain the report from our district building under FOIA (freedom of information act) so I will try that and she stated that if they school district is non-compliant with how their money is spent then funds are taken away from them but they do not keep a report of districts that they have had to take money away from
  • My second question was regarding the training of teachers and para-pros and she stated that is a school by school thing not a regulatory item.

She also pointed out that there is no mandate stating that there is a certain percentage of special education children that need to be mainstreamed. She stated that it originally started as a memo but it was never turned into a mandate, that districts took it upon themselves to create rules about a child’s placement but there is no law stating that. She also was very vocal about not always having a adult shadowing a child, if a child is able then they must learn to navigate their natural environment and that is difficult to do with an adult traveling behind you all the time. That whenever possible peer supports should be used.

This was one of the most informative meetings that I have been to in a while. I loved how open and honest she was and how approachable and non-judgmental, this meeting was definitely worth the drive. I made some wonderful connections to other parents. Now remember if you are reading this and not in the state of Michigan this is truly a state of Michigan post so sorry.  I will have some resources on my resource pages that will be extremely helpful to all.

The rest of the meeting was welcoming new members, the treasurer report and all that good stuff. I hope I have inspired you to learn more, do more and be more.  Please become involved in your local Parent Advisory Committee become the change, so many laws have changed as of late in our state in regards to special education, actually the laws changed years ago, they have just recently put them in black and white so that they could be followed and according to Dr. White more changes are to come as they are working on a new rule package now. So, parents, loved ones and care givers stay vigilant  continue to communicate with your team, find your allies with other parents, teachers and administrators. Learn the law or at least some of it because it will make you a better advocate for your child and perhaps allow you to help someone else on their journey.  Remember we are all in this together, band together with other parents as we can do more as a group than we could ever do alone.

Love and Blessings,

Charmaine