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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Big big changes in the New Year

Friends, this year got off with a bang!  Firstly, I got the job.  I'm going to start my first job in my career field, and it's surreal to me.  I've had a bunch of paperwork to fill out, I needed to get a background check, I'll have to get fingerprinted and I've got to make sure my immunizations are up to date.  There will also be trainings.  Lots and lots of trainings. 

I'll also have to adjust to a more restricted schedule, and a very specific dress code and grooming requirements.  No more jewelry (I really don't wear much anyway), no perfume (same here), hair pulled up and back (already do that...), and nails cut very short.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I do all that stuff already, lol.  I guess I won't have to change much there.  I did order some new clothes and I'm pretty excited about putting them on for the first time.  I got several of my favorite short and long-sleeved tees from Old Navy (cause they come in tall), and a week's worth of scrub pants with pockets, in dark colors so they will look more like slacks but move easily with me when I have to move.  I expect to spend a lot of time getting down on the floor and back up again, and I don't want the back of my pants to slide down every time I bend, so scrubs with a draw string should solve that issue.

Meanwhile, I had a meeting Alex's school and I was able to bring my husband with me.  He got to see the issues I've been dealing with.  And you know what?  After all that fighting to get them to understand and to implement his behavior modification plan correctly, they STILL aren't doing things right and are punishing him for his sensory behaviors.  I just had to write an email explaining to his teacher that the sticker chart is to be used to encourage him to do his work, and that he received 8 stickers on Friday even though he didn't actually do his work.  Then when he refused to do his work yesterday, she sent him to the office for arguing with her and being 'disrespectful', but didn't send him down with his work, so in effect she reinforced his disruptive behavior.  Guess who just learned that if he doesn't want to do the work, all he has to do is argue and he can go to the office to escape said work.  I had to remind her (again) that she needs to give him stickers ONLY if he's done his work in class, and that instead of arguing with him (engaging in a power struggle with him), count to 3 and tell him that if she gets to 3 he'll lose the sticker for that hour.  Simple as that.

I also asked for them to start the process to evaluate him for an IEP again, but they didn't write that in on the paperwork from the meeting.  I'm getting push back on that and I'm really frustrated.  If he had an IEP he'd get more help and they would be held to the terms that we put down in his behavior plan.  I understand now why so many parents are frustrated in this process.  It all went so much more smoothly with Dante.  Not perfectly, but more smoothly.

The next step in this process is to have an updated evaluation with a child psychiatrist and see if there is any change since the last one (probably not).  Then I push again for an IEP and if I get any hassle, I go to the school board and one of RI's parent advocacy groups.  Oh, and I created a 'user guide' for Alex and a flow chart for next year because I don't feel like trying to tell every single new teacher/coach/primary leader I meet all about this over and over again, and it's a lot for them to take in.  Now they'll have something to refer to when I'm not there.

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