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This just keeps getting better and better

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 


In addition to everything else that is going on, I got a letter in the mail today from the school saying that ds is "habitually truant" and if he gets an unexcused absence or tardy for the rest of the year they'll be bringing it to court (and fine us, of course, $100 for first offense, $250 for each additional).

So one must ask- why is he "habitually truant"? Well, let's see.... could it possibly have anything to do with the fact NOBODY wants to take responsibility for him so on his bad days, when I'm literally dragging him into school and his para is WALKING AWAY telling me he'll be waiting in the classroom, he's a couple minutes late? Nah, that can't possibly have anything to do with it. Could it have to do with the fact that on the FIRST day of school he hurt his thumb (bad enough to need an x-ray at the ER and a soft cast) but the school failed to tell us it happened. So on the second day of school we had a meeting first thing in the morning with the principal, para and teacher and did NOT bring ds back to school until a couple hours later (after the meeting). THEN they called just 2 hours later saying that they allowed ds to take his soft cast off so I had to pick him up and bring him back to the doctor.... which counted as 2 absences (one for being late, one for leaving early... on the same day and all due to the schools neglect).

I am livid. I will, obviously, be having a talk with the school (and the higher ups who actually sent the letter) tomorrow. If they want to play this game, I'll play. DS will from now on be in the school building at 7:45 (when school starts). If he's flailing about, screaming and naked, on the floor.... not my problem. THEY can figure out a way to deal with it. His para walks away and Owen escapes out of the building at 7:46? Not my problem because I will be in the car driving away.

And the stupid thing is that for almost all of the tardies he has, he was at school when the bell rang, I was just dragging him from the car to the school. The bell rings at 7:45. His check in times are 7:52, 7:52, 7:47, 7:46, 7:46, 7:51, 7:55, and 7:51. I know one of them were due to the road conditions (snow but school wasn't delayed/canceled) and one of them was actually my fault (overslept) but the other 6 were all due to ds's behavior combined with nobody wanting to deal with him at the school.

The absences are stupid too, because they expect me to take him to the dr for every fever and I refuse. I'll keep him home from school, sure, but I'm not dragging him to the dr's germy office just for a mild fever.
post #2 of 15
I saw this under new posts and could not reply. Sounds like such an unsupportive environment. We have two autistic kids in my son's class, one is a son of a good friend of mine. The school makes every possible accomodation for him. If he is late, or having a tantrum, etc, they HELP the mom, not leave! Is this school the only option for you? I'm just really taken aback at the callousness and ignorance of that environment, because I've never seen anything but kindness in our school, even on particularly challenging days.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
I am livid. I will, obviously, be having a talk with the school (and the higher ups who actually sent the letter) tomorrow. If they want to play this game, I'll play. DS will from now on be in the school building at 7:45 (when school starts). If he's flailing about, screaming and naked, on the floor.... not my problem. THEY can figure out a way to deal with it. His para walks away and Owen escapes out of the building at 7:46? Not my problem because I will be in the car driving away.
I think they are way overdue for this kind of wake-up call. Definitely do it. Have you looked into getting an advocate to help you with the school? Or a lawyer? They jerk you around so much, and it needs to stop.
post #4 of 15
I specifically asked about truancy during Connor's IEP. For now it doesn't apply, he's preschool. But I was told that attendance could be written into his IEP and modified as necessary. Perhaps you can write tardiness into Owen's? And talk to your ped, ours will do a school excuse for mild illness as a phone consult, no office visit required.
post #5 of 15
Between your posts I'm torn between pull him from school ASAP(and I"m not one to suggest that on a whim) and fight them they're not doing thier jobs.

I work with a Non-verbal, severely Autistic epileptic boy who is 8 but at the developmental level of a 13month old who 4/5 days comes to school with feces on his hands & reeking of urine. The special ed teacher, regular teacher, myself, his PM Aid, the principal, vice-principal have all gone over what to do with the feces/smell. If he has seizures at home & is sleeping them off, she will try to wake him up & bring him to school. The mother has been talked to & nothing is getting through(we're 99% sure she's Autistic herself). We're pretty sure she has her routine & part of that routine is the boys are at school by X time. They've told her repeatedly it's okay if he comes late, even if it's 10am or not till after dinner but clean him & do NOT wake him if he's sleeping due to seizures. She won't do it & this week is bringing him earlier & earlier.

I do make her wait and bring him to his locker but sometimes she catches me before his jacket is off, shoes on. Even if we walk in the door at the same time I will walk to the classroom or to our room & drop my stuff off before taking him. She is always there 10-15minutes before the bell for his class rings, I don't technically start until that 3rd bell rings which signals the start of class time.

There are 2 times I'd refuse to take him & that is if his hands are as bad as they were after Christmas or if he come with feces in his hair again.

Where your son is, the school & certainly his Para are not doing their jobs. To have him as "truant" 1 minute after the bell is ridiculous.

I'd fight it, let them take you to court. Start documenting every incident you can think of with as much information as possible for your own records.
post #6 of 15
If possible, pull him. That's what I *think* I would do in your situation. Truant?!?!?! They are on crack.
post #7 of 15
Crap like this is exactly why parents of SN kids pull their kids out. Outrageous.
post #8 of 15
I've been loosely following your story and you need a consult with a laywer . They clearly are not serving your son's needs and the fact that they now are attempting to threaten you...
post #9 of 15
I think that is a state thing though, and not a school district thing. Even at my son's private school in Ohio, if he is late a certain number of days, they are required to send the truancy letter (and it's an automatic letter sent from a system that the attendance is entered into). So, there is a chance that they didn't even really do anything but put his attendance into the system, out popped the letter automatically, and someone sent it. I'm pretty sure once you hit kindergarten, tardies and absenses become truancy issues and the school district itself isn't the only one involved--they *have* to have the letters sent out. So maybe just go in and talk to them and ask them if that's the case?

I like your idea about letting the school take over. With Brandon, I let the school take over the tantrums and the refusal to go into the class, etc., and it got a LOT better. Brandon was basically playing *me*, not the school--he wanted me to stay or he wanted me to pick him up early, and by the school calling me when he had a tantrum and having me pick him up or with me staying longer in the morning to deal with refusal, it actually reinforced the negative behavior. When I let the school deal with it and allowed them to impart the consequences they needed to his negative behaviors in terms of tantrums and refusing to enter the classroom improved a lot. Like before it was 90% of the days, and now it's just maybe 1 day a month. So, this new idea may actually be really good because it will not reinforce the behavior for him.

Just a thought....you now those visual timers? They make them for watches now. Any chance you can get him the watch so he has a visual reminder of how long his school day is and when you'll be back?
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Short update.... I went to central office first thing this morning and lit a fire under their butts. First I went and saw the truancy people. Once I explained the situation (mostly calm ) they were livid that it happened. They explained that we should have been told to fill out a form that would excuse any tardies that are related to his disability. So every time I was dragging him into school kicking and screaming and was 1 or 2 (or 10) minutes late... those should all have been excused. Apparently a parent is allowed to write up to 10 notes excusing tardies every year (which I didn't know either). But a child with a disability is allowed unlimited, if the tardy is related to his diagnosis. So the woman I talked to was livid that this situation even happened. She said she can't go back and change his record right now, but gave me the forms to fill out so that it doesn't happen again (and promised there would be no legal proceedings against me because of this).

I then went a couple doors down to the special education department (the truancy person went with me to guide me towards the right person). I explained *everything* that's been going on.... got a couple more people involved.... and was told this would be taken care of ASAP. Someone was going to get in contact with the school to straighten all of this out, and one of the women I talked to said she would come to the meeting Tuesday morning to make sure it is straightened out.

So, for now, we're making progress.

Thanks everyone!
post #11 of 15
When my son (who has not been diagnosed, but has real behavioural issues) was at primary school we had tardiness issues. I don't drive and the option of popping him in the car in his pyjamas was not an option so I used to literally drag him to school (that was after the battle of getting him dressed and breakfasted). I used to think that at least we were there, and also informed the school of the problems that we had. Imagine my surprise when I was called to the headmistress' office, to discuss the fact that we were often late and the suggestion to me was to set my alarm clock a little earlier! I wanted to explode there and then - what is it with the uk schooling system and the ticking of boxes. Placing the children into neat little boxes comes to mind also.

Sorry having a right old rant now - my problems stem from not being able to get my son diagnosed and being perceived as a bad parent. In my opinion if I was a bad parent, I would have given up a long time ago.
post #12 of 15
Yay, Steph! That's great news! We went through exactly the same thing last year, with the threats of truancy court, etc., and I was all set to tell you what we did to resolve it, but...no need! Hooray!

Now, here's hoping that "resolved" and "ASAP" mean what they're supposed to mean!
post #13 of 15
Just to protect your butt, I would actually go ahead and make a written request for an IEP meeting (as much as I know what a pain it is) specifically to get it written into the IEP that tardies and absences related to disability will not count against him. If they want to avoid having to go through a whole meeting to do it, perhaps the IEP could be ammended somehow with agreement between all parties (don't recall the regs on that)??
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura_lei View Post
When my son (who has not been diagnosed, but has real behavioural issues) was at primary school we had tardiness issues. I don't drive and the option of popping him in the car in his pyjamas was not an option so I used to literally drag him to school (that was after the battle of getting him dressed and breakfasted). I used to think that at least we were there, and also informed the school of the problems that we had. Imagine my surprise when I was called to the headmistress' office, to discuss the fact that we were often late and the suggestion to me was to set my alarm clock a little earlier! I wanted to explode there and then - what is it with the uk schooling system and the ticking of boxes. Placing the children into neat little boxes comes to mind also.

Sorry having a right old rant now - my problems stem from not being able to get my son diagnosed and being perceived as a bad parent. In my opinion if I was a bad parent, I would have given up a long time ago.
I'm sorry you and your son are having/had a rough time. That sucks. And I agree with you- a bad parent would have just given up. They wouldn't even care anymore. Obviously you are not a bad parent!

As for the suggestion.... when we were in the meeting ds's teacher said something similar ("I think this could be solved if you just wake up earlier"). I didn't even have to handle that one, as one of the autism experts did. It doesn't matter how early we get up. If he's going to have a bad day and refuse to do something, it will not matter how much time he has to do it. It just means he'll have more hours to fight it AND he'll be tired to boot. There have been days when we've been in the school parking lot when the school opens (7:15) and STILL can't get him into the school fully by 7:45 when the bell rings.

Fortunately ds had been doing really good with our new arrangement (I bring him inside and we go to the library to read before school starts then bring him to his classroom). He's on spring break now so hopefully when school starts back up he'll jump right back in and not have any major transition problems (hahaha.... I can hope ).
post #15 of 15
As for the suggestion.... when we were in the meeting ds's teacher said something similar ("I think this could be solved if you just wake up earlier"). I didn't even have to handle that one, as one of the autism experts did. It doesn't matter how early we get up. If he's going to have a bad day and refuse to do something, it will not matter how much time he has to do it. It just means he'll have more hours to fight it AND he'll be tired to boot. There have been days when we've been in the school parking lot when the school opens (7:15) and STILL can't get him into the school fully by 7:45 when the bell rings.

Fortunately ds had been doing really good with our new arrangement (I bring him inside and we go to the library to read before school starts then bring him to his classroom). He's on spring break now so hopefully when school starts back up he'll jump right back in and not have any major transition problems (hahaha.... I can hope
).

Lucas is now 12 and at secondary school. The perserverance has paid off and he now goes to a cathedral choir school. The School is over 800 yrs old and used to be private, he had to pass an exam to get in. There are only 400 pupils at the school which is similar to the size of his primary school. I was so pleased that he got into this school as he is so bright, I thought he would get the individual attention and encouragement that he needs.

His tardiness issues are no longer a problem, he has to catch a bus at 8am and has only been late 3 times since he started in September last year. I do not have to get him dressed in the morning, but I am behind him telling him to do the things he needs to everystep of the way - if i wasn't he just wouldn't do anything. I have been told at parent evenings that he daydreams during the day and seems disinterested a lot of the time and of miniumum effort in homework. I have put this down to lack of sleep, as I have real problems getting him to bed before 10.30pm most nights. He always refuses to do his homework and leaves it untill the very last moment, sometimes in the morning before he goes to school, or even when he is in bed.

The main problem we have is his attendance, coughs and colds/viral illnesses, aching joints - injuring himself from tripping over or in sports. The school informed me that his attendance is currently at 83% which is extremely poor. However his levels gained academically are above average, just imagine what they would be if he attended 100%! I was asked to provide a medical certificate to prove that he had had these illnesses, otherwise the Educational Welfare Officer would be asked to intervene.

My doctor was unable to provide a certificate or letter, and I am just beginning to think it would be better to get the Educational Welfare Officer involved, then at least my son may be assessed. However, in the UK things don't always work out like that. In the past I have tried to go through the various channels to get help but nothing is forthcoming no matter how hard I try, all I seem to get is lip-service. I cope because I have to.

My friend's son has just been diagnosed with AS he is also extremely bright, he and my son are so similar it is uncanny. The only difference is that her son played up at school where it is noticed, the problems with my son only happen at home.

I have been lurking on the Gifted forum and recognise a lot in my sons there too. In fact, I recognise a lot from my child-hood in both the symptom of AS and giftedness, both are hereditary aren't they?
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