Excellent ARC meeting - Mothering Forums
Special Needs Parenting > Excellent ARC meeting
Trishy's Avatar Trishy 11:23 AM 11-20-2007
Yesterday I had an ARC meeting at my son's school. He is 6 and in first grade. His primary diagnosis is "most likely" Asperger's syndrome and he is also diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Our last meeting was in August to determine what type of assessments he needed to determine what his deficits were. The last meeting was not that great. I was not prepared at all and did not expect the meeting to progress as it did. They decided to do occupational, speech and physical therapy assessments. They also gave him an aide for 1/2 hour per day, which was later changed to 1 hour.

I knew the meeting was coming up. I have to say that I am familiar with the ARC chair and have also grown close with B's teacher. The teacher was aware that there were a number of things I was unhappy about and would be raising in the meeting. I requested to the ARC chair, in writing, that I be provided copies of the assessments prior to the next meeting so that I could review them and the meeting would not be the first time I was hearing the information. I sent copies of that request to the principal and teacher. I requested to the principal that I be permitted to observe ds in his class, gaining prior approval from the teacher. I was able to see him as he behaves in school and made notes on some issues. I also contacted my state's department of Protection and Advocacy to gain some advice before the meeting. They assigned an advocate to me and she did a great job of explaining my rights. She sent me an information package which contained a booklet called "How to Negotiate in ARC Meetings". The advocate told me to request that the head of special ed. for the district attend the meeting, which she did. She also told me to make a list of goals that I wished to attain in the meeting. It seems like such a common sense idea but it was supremely helpful in keeping me on track. I also felt the need to dress nicely and wear a bit of make up so that I would appear professional.

The meeting started and each of the therapists presenting their assessments and allowed me to ask questions. I thanked each of them for spending time with my son and trying to help him. I asked a few questions to clarify things that were in the assessment and then pointed out any inaccuracies or things that were just left out and asked that they be recorded in the meeting notes. After the therapists were done presenting I went about my list.

I ordered the list to where I put a couple of items at the beginning that I knew would most likely get accepted. Then I put the items that were important to me but I thought I would get resistance to. Towards the end I put a couple of items that I wanted to ask for but was not insistent upon. I closed with two items that were easily attainable. I don't know if y'all are interested but here is my list of goals and the outcome for each:

1. The IEP should include that ds will no longer be given candy as a reward from therapists. He is also not permitted to be given any foods that contain artificial colors without parental consent. Examples of acceptable food rewards are animal crackers, pretzels and any Goldfish crackers except rainbow. Non food rewards are encouraged.
- Yes

2. Make arrangements so that cafeteria workers will warm parent provided chicken nuggets in the oven for ds to eat at lunchtime.
- Yes

3. Implement a Behavior Action Plan to include:
* Use of an aide during afternoon instruction times to replace the teacher in redirection and attention to lessons. An aide should also be provided for all field trips.
- We argued about the use of the aide for a little bit. In the end the head of Spec. Ed for the district told me that they were hesitant to provide children with aides for a significant period of time because the children become dependent on the aide. I told her that my son was 6 years and and I expected him to be dependent on other people. I also pointed out that my goal was not to spend the district's money but to get my son the help that I felt he needed so he could attain an appropriate education. In the end, it was agreed that the ARC chair, a special ed teacher, will spend 2 full weeks (all day) with ds to try to help the teacher start to get him on track and determine if he has more needs beyond that. While this is not exactly what I hoped to achieve I think that ds getting two weeks with a spec ed teacher assigned directly to him is even better. An aide will accompany him on all field trips.
* Performing a functional behavioral and complex needs assessment through the Special Education Cooperative.
- Yes

4. Present DSM IV for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger’s Syndrome. Have a comprehensive autism evaluation scheduled that will provide the school with specific recommendations of what services ds requires to attain a Free Appropriate Public Education.
- Yes. I did not think I would get this one but wanted to ask and argue for it anyway because it would be reflected in the notes for later. The facility that will be doing the screening is in Louisville and is supposed to be wonderful.

5. Explore possibility of ds being considered as a twice exceptional student.
- Yes, he will be evaluated for giftedness.

6. Have an independent Occupational Therapy assessment performed.
- Did not ask for because the school agreed to send him for the autism eval.

7. Have an independent Physical Therapy assessment performed.
- Did not ask for because the school agreed to send him for the autism eval.

8. Note use of pedantic speech and echolalia in speech assessment.
- Noted.

9. Schedule a meeting with ds' teacher prior to the next ARC meeting to discuss realistic goals for ds to be included in his IEP.
- Yes

10. Schedule next ARC meeting.
- Will be scheduled for after the holiday break.

I walked out of the meeting with a huge sense of accomplishment. I know that all of the preparation I did resulted in the school agreeing to do more than they were willing to at the beginning of the meeting. I felt like I was a part of the decision making process, as it should be, instead of just being a parent who was told what their kid was going to get and being expected to be thankful for it.

Mamatohaleybug's Avatar Mamatohaleybug 02:15 PM 11-20-2007
That's wonderful!!!
MyTwoAs's Avatar MyTwoAs 06:45 PM 11-20-2007
Wow momma that is fantastic - you were organized and advocated so well for your child. Kudos to you!
greeny's Avatar greeny 08:00 PM 11-20-2007
Great job!
bodhicitta3's Avatar bodhicitta3 06:29 PM 12-09-2007
you did a great job. Its amazing how much you can acomplish when you go in knowing what your talking about they cant railroad you as much.
gingerstar's Avatar gingerstar 07:30 PM 12-09-2007
: I learn so much from you wise mamas!

What a sense of accomplishment you must feel! Brava, mama - way to advocate for your DC!
jauncourt's Avatar jauncourt 09:03 PM 12-09-2007
Trishy your agenda/checklist looks fantastic. Can I swipe and modify parts of your list for my son's evaluation appointment this spring?

I am in a new state, in a new school district, and I'm trying to get him real help so that school will be a positive and helpful experience. It looks like you took exactly the right tack and got some real results.

Jenifer76's Avatar Jenifer76 01:16 AM 12-10-2007
Good for you!

Yes. I did not think I would get this one but wanted to ask and argue for it anyway because it would be reflected in the notes for later. The facility that will be doing the screening is in Louisville and is supposed to be wonderful.
If you don't mind me asking, are you going to the Weiskopf Center? We are in L'ville and I have heard great things about it.