school is *done* with my explosive child - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 5 year old in Kindergarten who is a 'textbook explosive child'. I'm rereading The Explosive Child right now and it is us to a T. He has a meltdown in school about once a week, where he ends up hitting and kicking the teachers and administrators. The school does implement the ideas in The Explosive Child. We've been working with the ideas all year, and they do help. But they don't help enough. He still ends up having a violent meltdown in school about once a week. The school just suspended him for a week and let me know that a future possibility is 'indefinite suspension'.

I feel totally helpless. I called the principal yesterday, and we did disagree a bit...I'm asking them to continue accommodating him, and to even give him more help, and she basically just seems to feel like he's a bad kid with parents who are doing a lousy job and she's had enough of it. He *is* physically attacking adults in the school about once a week. When I called today to ask a couple of more questions to prepare for the meeting, she wouldn't even talk to me. I don't know how to move forward.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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Has he been evaluated? Sounds like he needs to be and That the school isn't doing their job.


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Old 05-19-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, he has, and they say he doesn't qualify for special ed. They have given him a 504 based on our psychiatrist's diagnosis of ADHD, but the psychiatrist felt it wasn't enough and keeps sending me back to the school. The school is standing firm, and the more I try for more, the more they send him home for the day and suspend him. They talk about the safety of the teachers and other children and 'harm to himself and others'. He *is* melting down and hitting and kicking. They also *do* give him a lot of help and individual attention, really a lot, but he still ends up going into meltdown and becoming violent about once a week.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Can your psych recommend you for a TSS worker?
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never heard of a TSS worker but just googled it. Who would pay for that? Where do you find them?

He does have a paraprofessional with him all day including in music, gym, art, etc. who gives him a LOT of individual attention. It's just that about once a week her intervention doesn't work to avoid the meltdown, and the school seems unwilling to tolerate that anymore.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by janeisabelle View Post
I've never heard of a TSS worker but just googled it. Who would pay for that? Where do you find them?

He does have a paraprofessional with him all day including in music, gym, art, etc. who gives him a LOT of individual attention. It's just that about once a week her intervention doesn't work to avoid the meltdown, and the school seems unwilling to tolerate that anymore.
In fairness, what exactly do you expect the school to do? It sounds like pretty much what can be done is being done, but your son continues to have violent episodes that target the teachers and administrators.

I understand that this is a very difficult situation for you, but I fail to see where the school is to blame. It might be best to consider homeschooling, or perhaps waiting another year before returning to school.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In fairness, what exactly do you expect the school to do? It sounds like pretty much what can be done is being done, but your son continues to have violent episodes that target the teachers and administrators.

I understand that this is a very difficult situation for you, but I fail to see where the school is to blame. It might be best to consider homeschooling, or perhaps waiting another year before returning to school.
Yes, I know...that's why I'm posting here. I'm hoping that someone else may have been through something similar and be able to suggest anything that I may not have thought of. I'm not blaming the school...I thought that would be clear from my posts that emphasize how much the school is doing for him already, and the severity of the problem.

Up until this point, everyone involved has wholeheartedly felt that being in school is what he needs, in order to progress with his social and behavioral issues. [as opposed to homeschooling]

I'm basically feeling horrible and desperate and since I'm basically in panic mode about this, I'm posting to see if there's anything anyone can suggest or point me toward that might be helpful.

Thanks for your suggestions of homeschooling and staying home from school. I do consider those options, but would also like to hear if anyone has any other suggestions.

Also, if anyone in the world has ever been through anything at all similar, it would just be so nice to not feel completely alone and like the worst parent in the world.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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How can a school claim he does not qualify for special assistance? You must request, in writing, that the school perform an evaluation on your child. They have 45 school days to respond so it won't happen this school year. If he had an IEP in place you would be able to insist on a meeting NOW to determine placement for your son. A school is not allowed to suspend a child with special needs for more than 10 days without implementing new supports in school and providing the supports your child needs to be able to attend school.
I hate how schools don't explain things and wait for the parents to find out their rights.
This site is hugely daunting, but maybe you can use the search function to find information http://wrightslaw.com/ Your child has a right to an education even if he is kicking and hitting teachers and the principal thinks he is a behavior problem. Your son is not bad, he is overwhelmed and needs help to process and perform in the school setting.
The school CANNOT determine that your child doesn't qualify for special education services without performing a full evaluation of his abilities supervised by the school or district psychologist.

Your child is protected by the No Child Left Behind act and the IDEA special education laws that cover all students in all states. Don't let the school railroad you. Also, does he has a Behavior Intervention Plan in place? Tell the school you want one NOW. They can't suspend him for his behavior even if he has meltdown if it is documented that these are his challenges and the BIP is his support.
Message me privately if you would like some more information.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by choli View Post
In fairness, what exactly do you expect the school to do? It sounds like pretty much what can be done is being done, but your son continues to have violent episodes that target the teachers and administrators.

I understand that this is a very difficult situation for you, but I fail to see where the school is to blame. It might be best to consider homeschooling, or perhaps waiting another year before returning to school.
The school is to blame because they are not allowed to just give up and refuse to educate a child with special needs. Period. End of Story. It's illegal.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They did evaluate him, the district psychologist was involved, and they say he is not special needs.

It seems like when I try to ask for these things 'by the book', it backfires. I think the school is thinking, 'we are giving him this huge amount of help and individual attention, in the face of severe budget problems, and this mother is asking for even more! forget it, next time he throws a fit, send him home and suspend him!'

They say he did not qualify for an IEP. He behaved perfectly during the psychologist's IQ testing sessions. [I think partly because he functions very well one-on-one with an adult]

Sometimes I get confused with so much information that is so emotionally charged, but basically they said Special Ed [and IEPs] are for kids who are learning disabled, which they say he is not - he scored as gifted on verbal IQ and average or above average on the other sections.

They say other kids have ADHD but don't hit and kick.

My son's psychologist, psychiatrist, and the volunteer I talked to at a non-profit, and people who seem to know the ins and outs of this stuff like kavamamakava, say that he should qualify. But the school evaluated him and they say he doesn't.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He does have a Behavior Intervention Plan, but I didn't sign it because the psychiatrist said not to because it isn't enough.

Just to be clear, I did request the evaluation in writing and they did do it and they say he is not special needs.

The psychiatrist says they are not allowed to say that since she said he has ADHD, but they do say that.

So, if they agreed that he was special needs, I could use Wright's Law, right? But they don't. They did the formal evaluation and said he isn't.

I guess I say, then, are they saying my 5 year old is just bad? [He IS overwhelmed and just UNABLE to process and make the right choice in those moments...he is sweet and compliant a lot of the time.]
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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They say he did not qualify for an IEP. He behaved perfectly during the psychologist's IQ testing sessions. [I think partly because he functions very well one-on-one with an adult]
Is homeschooling an option for you? It sounds like he is very overwhelmed in a school environment, which is not that unusual, and for him it manifests in an aggressive way. The school environment sounds very unhealthy for him and they may not be able to meet his needs (gifted and sensitive?)

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Most importantly -- You need to contact your state's Special Education Resource Center. They can provide you with a free advocate who can help you walk through the steps to take to navigate your state's special education system. That person can also attend all meetings with you. Unfortunately there is only so much we can suggest online.

You need to get a private evaluation to counter theirs. I know you have one from the psych, but I suggest also getting one from either a developmental pediatrician or a neuro. They HAVE to take those into account. Their own actions prove that he has special educational needs. If they have to suspend him, he is not receiving a fape (free appropriate education). They are required by law to educate him. If they are telling you they cannot, they have to pay for somewhere that can. But you have to fight for that -- thus the need for you to call people who can help you with that.

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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He does have a Behavior Intervention Plan, but I didn't sign it because the psychiatrist said not to because it isn't enough.
This does tie their hands legally as to how they can help him while he is in school. With no signed plan that lays out how they can intervene if he gets violent, all they can do is send him home. So that explains that piece to me. -- Meaning -- no, he does not have a PBIS if you did not sign it. Without signatures from both parties, there is no written, documented proof (contract) of a special educational need due to a behavioral disability which would then make an IEP or at the very least another 504 the next step.

If he wants to be in school and if you feel he should be in school, the school environment can be adjusted to meet his needs if he has an IEP. However, if after working with an advocate + other medical professionals to 'prove' the school has to do more, the IEP doesn't pan out (or the district is just that difficult to deal with), then definitely look at other options.

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Clearly a suspension shows that he needs a new BIP and a re-evaluation. Request another in writing. It took me 3 years to have my son sent to a private school that follows the Collaborative Problem Solving approach. I also ended up homeless and jobless and I'm a single mom to 3
My son is also cognitively gifted but his social/language processing and ability to self regulate in overwhelming settings is below average or at risk. His school says he doesn't qualify for speech/language or occupational therapy for his gross motor skills and sensory needs (but I think that's because they know the school he currently attends can provide those things). Ask your school to cite the IDEA and state special education code that shows he doesn't qualify. Which areas did they evaluate? Did they do a full workup? If he had an IEP for Behavior Disorder (which I know sounds undesirable to you but could get him more supports) and was evaluated in light of that category, he would probably qualify. If he currently has a full time aide, they could probably save money by supporting him in other ways. My son's district found it was more cost effective to send him to a private school nearby (and they transport him as well) than to provide a full time aide and OT and SLP therapy. I know money is the bottom line but it's not your job to think about money. Your son has a right to an education and the school principal is saying he doesnt. Also, I contacted my state's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the ombudsman there was extremely helpful. She emailed me with the pertinent state special education codes and helped me figure out which supports would make the most sense for my son and which supports he had a right to receive. Then we went to mediation with the School District and that's how I ended up with my son in this wonderful school. He is currently the only child in the whole school district placed in an out of district school. Wrights law has a lot of information about the ins and outs of IDEA and NCLB and 504s and IEPs. You just read and look things up there.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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I agree with everything fullofgrace said .

I'm shocked at your sons school. My daughter had a full evaluation done by her school in jan/feb, and she now has a IEP she was said to have ADHD-Innatentive Type and a bunch of other issues including major speech problems. The evaluation said she qualified for Special Education services under "Specific Learning Disability" and a secondary eligibility of "Speech and Language Impairment".

I'm pretty sure that ADHD does make it so he should qualify for a IEP.




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Old 05-19-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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I wish I had expertise to offer but I don't really. I did just want to address this issue of homeschooling. I totally support homeschooling by choice.

But the answer to every problem between child and environment is not "well just homeschool then," nor should our public education system be designed to just kick the problem 5 year olds (!!) out, tough for them. If that's an option the parents want to explore -- and financially and emotionally and academically can -- yay for them, honestly. But it is not a default solution.

But that's like saying "well get a private school then" or "well hire a tutor then." Homeschooling has opportunity and material costs that come along with it not to mention a (potentially) changed family and home dynamic. In my culture anyway, school is supposed to be there for all families, not just those whose kids behave exactly right.

I hope that you continue to work with the school and other resources in your area to find a working solution for everyone. You're not a bad mother. Don't give up.

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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How are you treating the ADHD? Would you consider trying medication to see if that would help? I know that meds are unpopular here but, for some children, they are the difference between being able to function in a classroom and not. There are lots of medication options out there and you should be able to find one that helps him stay calmer and more focused but not "zombie". My DD is so much happier at school now that she takes a daily long-acting med. Absolutely no personality change, no dimming of her "bright spark" (her teacher's description), but the ability to control her arms and legs during the school day, sit still when needed and actually concentrate enough to do whatever school task is at hand.

And if he is taking meds, have you talked to his psych about maybe changing them to see if there is a better one for him out there?
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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When does your son have these outbursts? Are they random during the week or do they mostly occur on Thursday and Friday. If they occur at the end of the week, he could be having his melt downs because 5 days a week is way too much for his self-control to handle. Going to school for a shorter amount of time, 2-3 days a week instead of 5 and going home at lunch instead of at the end of the school day might be better. It really sounds like he needs less social interaction, not more. I also think that you should investigate other diagnoses than just ADHD. Something is stressing him out at school. Remove the stress and he is better. Has the school psychologist observed your son in the classroom and on the playground, not just one-on-one?

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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Very brief search of Wright's Law (love that site!) has some links for you --

IEPs for Behavior Problems, Assessments & Interventions -- http://www.wrightslaw.com/nltr/07/nl.0516.htm

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by janeisabelle View Post
He does have a Behavior Intervention Plan, but I didn't sign it because the psychiatrist said not to because it isn't enough.

Just to be clear, I did request the evaluation in writing and they did do it and they say he is not special needs.

The psychiatrist says they are not allowed to say that since she said he has ADHD, but they do say that.

So, if they agreed that he was special needs, I could use Wright's Law, right? But they don't. They did the formal evaluation and said he isn't.

I guess I say, then, are they saying my 5 year old is just bad? [He IS overwhelmed and just UNABLE to process and make the right choice in those moments...he is sweet and compliant a lot of the time.]
I'm sorry but the psychiatrist isn't a lawyer. Signing the Behavior Intervention Plan is a legal matter, not a medical one. Without your signature, the school's hands are tied. Legally, they can't do anything further without your legal agreement, which is your signature on the document.

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Old 05-19-2010, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, everyone, thanks so much for all these replies!

Homeschooling seems like a really difficult option for us based on our economic situation and my actual personality. Also, I think? he needs socialization. He longs for the company of other children.

I am going to try to get moving on a private evaluation with a developmental pediatrician.

Okay, I asked the volunteer if not signing the Behavior Plan was keeping them from implementing it and she said no and that I still shouldn't sign it...but I am suspecting that maybe I should sign it...Okay, reading the second post about it...I should sign it.

Thank you everyone for the information and links.

We are trying different medications. Very low dose of Prozac, we tried one dose of Ritalin [Daytrana] which gave him a tic and made him a zombie, he is on a very low dose of guanfacine which I thought helped but now the school is saying they don't think it does.

I wish the meltdowns were more predictable. That is one thing that make it soooooo hard to prevent them.

Thank you thank you thank you everyone.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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I've had some similar issues (my son is also in K). It seems that if your child is bright and meeting grade level expectations, and does not have a speech problem, then they are not 'disabled' and are just treated like a discipline problem.

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Old 05-19-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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Was this child in daycare previous to kindergarten? If so, did he have similar problems there, or did they just manifest when he started school?
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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I wish I had expertise to offer but I don't really. I did just want to address this issue of homeschooling. I totally support homeschooling by choice.
But the answer to every problem between child and environment is not "well just homeschool then," nor should our public education system be designed to just kick the problem 5 year olds (!!) out, tough for them. If that's an option the parents want to explore -- and financially and emotionally and academically can -- yay for them, honestly. But it is not a default solution.
The OP has stated (after my post) that homeschooling isn't really a feasible option but I want to respond to the quoted post, above, for others who may be reading.

Nobody has said "the answer to every problem is homeschooling"

I do believe in fighting for good public education for all but the simple fact is, school environment is not for everyone (some argue it isn't for anyone) Nobody has stated that homeschooling should be the default when schools fail to meet the needs of our children. The reason schools often fail is complicated and is not necessarily going to be solved on a case by case basis. It is embedded in our culture (US) and isn't likely to change any time soon.

The OP's child is gifted and sensitive to his environment. These two characteristics make being in a traditional school environment difficult, in my experience.

I am not going to derail this thread by getting involved in a debate about education, special needs children, our culture, etc, I just wanted to quickly state a few things

If homeschooling is not an option, then of course you work within the system and do your best to protect your child and mitigate damage from a mismatch in environment.

Good luck to you, OP. You sound very involved and your son is lucky to have you.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:54 PM
 
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That's a tough situation. We had some similar problems with dd in preschool. Have you looked into food allergies? Food dye and dairy are common ones that can lead to explosive episodes. Also, it might help to take him to an occupational therapist for an evaluation. Even if he doesn't qualify for sensory processing disorder, they may be able to recommend sensory activities that would be calming for him when he starts to feel upset.

Do you think half days at school would help? Maybe the school would agree to put that in the 504 plan?
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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lots of hugs to you. Have you modified his diet?

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Old 05-19-2010, 04:00 PM
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OP, your ds has due process rights. Exactly what those rights are varies from state to state, but the school's hands are legally tied - they cannot "indefinitely suspend" a five-year-old. They have to provide him with educational services somehow.

A proper evaluation should include behavior surveys completed by a parent and a teacher, and an observation of the child in the classroom environment. The evaluation you describe sounds inadequate.

In my school district, a child with the issues you describe, requiring 1:1 assistance for much of the day would be considered emotionally disabled, and would be eligible for an IEP with a behavioral intervention plan. My state is not particularly enlightened. I do wonder, though, if the 1:1 support from the aid is really helpful. For adults, a full-time 1:1 assistant is known to be counter-productive. People regard the assistant as demeaning and patronizing, and direct a lot of aggression at the aid. Children are more receptive to some interventions, and I can see how your ds would need someone in the classroom who is available to him. But if the aid is following him around 100% of the time, and only interacting with him, that could conceivably be aggravating the problem.
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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OP-you may want to post over in Special Needs as well. Your concerns will not be unfamilar there!
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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What is he eating? Artificial colors and flavorings can cause explosive behavior as can excessive sugar. Have you had him tested for food allergies or vitamin/mineral deficiencies? I think this might be a good place to start - or at least a way to rule things out.

goorganic.jpgwife to footinmouth.gif, currently WOH and geek.gif on my doctorate. (I'm dissertating!) We: novaxnocirc.giftoddler.gifgd.giffamilybed1.gif  with DS (4/09)!
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