***Warning- This post is a little wordy!***
I find myself with quite an unusual situation of being too successful! Is there such a thing? Apparently there is. Let me explain.
Yesterday I was the representative of my school for Coaster’s initial I.E.P. It was relatively small. It consisted of the Assistant Principal (who’s in charge of Special Education-A.P.E.I.S. or A.P. for short), the school psychologist, the RSP teacher, Coaster’s mom, and I. It was held in the A.P.’s office; really small and cozy. Very nice, not intimidating at all. Not only that, but the school goes to the 6th grade, which would give Coaster an additional year in elementary school. The only thing I disagreed with was the psychologist’s use of jargon that was not explained to Coaster’s mom. Other than that the meeting went very smoothly.
The reason I say that I was too successful is because Coaster qualified for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) instead of Autism (Aut). I asked the school psychologist about it and she said that she wanted to observe him more because she didn’t see as many of the behaviors usually prevalent with children with autism.
I was thinking, “Boy, she should have seen him last year before I started working with him!”
Coaster’s mom told them that Coaster is a different person thanks to me. After I detailed the various behavior modification techniques I used with Coaster, the School Psychologist said she now understood why she didn’t see some of the behaviors she was expecting.
I was happy on one hand, but not so happy on the other. On one hand I am happy for Coaster that his behavior has improved so much, to the point of his behaviors upgrading from severe to moderately low; which means a better of quality for life for him. On the other hand I am unhappy because it was my hope that Coaster’s offer of a Free & Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.) would be placement in a class specifically for students with Autism. However, his offer of F.A.P.E. was an hour of Resource class 1-2/week.
I then asked if the offer of a Special Day Class/Program (SDC/P) was even an option because the 6th grade class size is 30 students. There is no way that Coaster will be able to cope with 30 students. He would positively have a meltdown on the first day of school. The AP said that the F.A.P.E. offer would was his Least Restrictive Environment (L.R.E.) and that he needed to be placed in his L.R.E. first. She was correct, but I am still worried about his mental well-being should his mom choose to put him in that school next year.
FINAL OUTCOME: His mom, as I expected, rejected the F.A.P.E. offer because she didn’t want him to leave our school. I understand that. He does NOT adapt to change well. So, he will finish out the remainder of the school year at our school and hopefully be placed in his school of residence next year. Even though his mother rejected the F.A.P.E. offer that was offered to her, some services were offered. The services offered will be in the form of 12 hours of training for me to learn more strategies to deal with Coaster. It wasn’t the best case scenario but at least his mother now has a clearer picture of his disability.
Although I am really sad that he will be leaving at the end of the school year, it is for the best. It really makes me wonder how many students with disabilities drop out of high school because of the low chances for success. I know the number is high. Too high!
Although I can’t save them all, it is my desire to work on those students one at a time! Imagine if more and more people did that? Everyone can contribute just a little. Bye for now Dear Readers!