Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some good news, some hard news

This past couple weeks have been full of ups and downs at our house.

My oldest son Trevor, who has autism, has been steadily going downhill in his behavior for awhile. After much thought, stressful days and exasperation, I made an appt with his pediatrician yesterday. We are now going to begin some meds to help with the anger and aggression we are seeing. Up until this past school year we have always been able to handle his behavior problems with different rewards, structure, ect. I am not opposed to medication, I just thought we might not ever have to go down this road. I am new at having to deal with this, so it just seems a little overwhelming.

And also this past week we had our meeting with the school district to determine his placement for 2nd grade. He is currently in a Language Enhanced special education class and doing OK. Not wonderful, not horrible, just OK. But I knew this was only a 1st grade program so this next school year would be full of changes. He is going to be placed in a regular 2nd grade class with 'support'. He will be pulled out for some help throughout the day, but basically will be in a classroom with 25 students and one teacher. Currently he is in a class with 10 students and two teachers. So you can see how concerned we are. We knew this was going to be a fight this year, but we are very hesitant no matter what they say. They say we can re-evaluate him this fall and we can make changes. But I really don't want it to take half the school year to get him to where he needs to be. So if anyone had any experience, or maybe even knows of some specific programs, please let me know. We are in Weber County.

But on the flip side, we had Josh re-evaluated for his speech/language today. We are going to the neurologist next month for an appt to get some specific diagnoses on paper. I asked each of his therapist to write a little letter on where he is and what they see or don't see. So since his speech therapist is pretty sure he has Apraxia of Speech, she wanted an update on where he is. He has made some progress!!! He is now at a solid 12m for everything! That is huge!! He is going to be 2 on June 1st, so he is still basically a year behind, but it was worse. He has made good improvements on everything except speech. His language is coming along and we are so happy! So we did get a good report on something this week!!

So anyway, if you have any suggestions on my oldest son, please let me know!


Katie said...

Hey Melissa. I am so glad about Josh! That is really awesome. I wish I had something to help with Trevor but sadly I have nothing. I am here for you though. Call me for anything, even just to talk. You are such an awesome mom I know you will figure it out.

hayngrl101 said...

Hi Melissa,

Since Trevor has some behavioral issues and his school wants him in the mainstream classroom, I would recommend that you try to get a full-time aide for him.

You can call an IEP meeting at any time. Just put your request in writing and the school (is by law required to) will have to schedule the meeting within 2 weeks. When you put in your request, you can say something along the lines 'to discuss his eligibiity for an aide'.

Since Trevor has a few behavioral needs, then you can request him to have a SIB-R test done. In case you've never done one, it is a parent questionaire that you answer about all his behaviors and the frequencies of each behavior.

Chances are, if he has behaviors, even if it is just being distracted or inattention, he would qualify for behavior intervention in the schools. This would mean he needs a 1:1 aide with him at all times.

Now, being eligible for behavior intervention (often called IBI) basically means that the person assigned to him has to have certain qualifications... like a bachelors degree and some form of training. THis gives you two benefits- 1) less frequent turn over rate, so possibly have the same aide for a long period of time; 2) they are trained to work with behaviors and would be getting to know your son's diagnosis as well as his personality type.

Finally, if by chance he has medicaid coverage (katie beckett, special needs waiver, etc.) then it might give a little edge to gettng things your way. The reason why I say that is because schools can bill medicaid for services. So in my area, some schools have said they had no $ in the budget.. and parnts are able to advocate for the school to bill medicaid to offset the cost... if the school cannot provide the service, then they HAVE to contract with an outside agency to get the staffing needs met.

Is that about as clear as mud?

I've been through this before a few times and would be happy to answer any further questions... u can send me an email if you'd like to chat more. -hayngrl

hayngrl101 said...

P.S. Just wanted to say that having Trevor in a mainstream classroom is a good thing. It means that his disability is not so severe that he cannot be in with his typical developing peers. Even if he is not functioning at the same level, just being in the environment will expose him to lots of good things- good language, good social skills, good behavior. And kids DO pick up on other kids' behavior and over time, can begin to copy them...