Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So, there's a reason I haven't been blogging

And that reason is known as "LISD Sucks Donkey Balls".

Read this and beware the current state of special education in Texas.

DD2's teacher is awesome, and very sweet, and dd2 loves her very much. Her teacher is also very overwhelmed in the classroom, and a lot of my daughter's behaviors are not helping with that.

DD2 is 8, and she is in second grade. She's been in a school environment since PK3. In 2011 she was evaluated by our school district, LISD, and became eligible for special education services with an educational diagnosis of Autism (AU). We went through a lot of this with DD1 previously, and we came to the school evaluation prepared with her physician's report and dx, as well as reports from a private speech pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and child psychologist. It was an IEE that we paid for ourselves.

It is now 2014 and time for her REED (Review of Existing Educational Data). This has to be none at least every 3 years by the school. They did a new FIE (Full Individual Evaluation), and an FBA (Functional Behavior Analysis). Welcome to my world of alphabet soup, yes!

During the same time period that they tested her, a lot of stuff was going on. The largest of those changes is that the school told us she was very sleepy in the morning and asked us to look into adjusting her medication(s). We did, with her pediatrician's support and supervision. Ultimately this ended up doubling her dose of Vyvanse and lowering her dose of Seroquel. (Note for those not familiar: that means she was now getting a double dose of  amphetamines and 2/3 of her usual dose of "calming" medication used to assist with sleep.) That took the entire testing period to work out dose timing, etc.

My child has never been violent and attended 4 previous schools with ZERO incidences of violence. ZERO. Two Montessori schools, one more rigid classroom, and public Kindergarten. That's a lot of different schools in a rather short time (not what we ever wanted or intended, but we've had to learn to roll with the plot twists.) Four schools in a little over 3 years, ZERO incidences of violence, aggression, or anything but glowing reports of behavior.

In the one year that she has attended Valley Ridge Elementary, this has all gone utterly to shit.

Her very first ARD there, we made clear that we felt she needed an aide, or at least one within the classroom to support her teacher. Her attention is VERY bad and she does need a lot of redirection, and a lot of assigments and materials need accommodated or modified. She's also made friends, become more outgoing and social, and even has a little "boyfriend" who lives just a block away from us in our very own neighborhood. It's never all roses, but her friends have been amazing and accepting of her differences while offering peer correction that she usually accepts.

 She started showing some difficult behaviors toward the end of school last academic year, in 1st grade. The school's response to this was not intense and targeted intervention with a counselor to learn appropriate, replacement behaviors - their immediate response was to suspend her. *headdesk*

Do note that each time we've gone to ARD, we've again asked for an aide. At the beginning of this school year, 2nd grade, we were told "There's not enough data to support that". We said fine, what data do you need? How long will it take to get that data?

We have done nothing but cooperate with the school. We've signed consents for them to talk to anyone involved in the care of our daughter. We've changed our own parental discipline at home to match the ones the school was using so there would be no confusion, working with the district provided in-home trainer. We've screwed with her meds to make it easier ON THEM and sacrificing better time at home for that goal. Everything they have asked, we have done.

In return, they have managed to turn my well-mannered but eccentric, loving daughter into a terrified, angry, self-loathing individual that culminated in a suicide threat in November. "Holding the Demand" done by these batshiat trained assholes can suck a giant bag of sweaty dicks. You fucking assholes. I hate you so much and hope you die slow and painful deaths for doing this to a child.

So, this REED comes back in early December (yes, testing takes a long time and the wheels of red tape are the enemy of quick intervention). Surprise! Not only do they want to add eligibility for ADHD and Speech - they want to label her Emotionally Disturbed.

Hmm. She says odd things? She didn't draw fingers on the people you asked her to draw, because she usually just draws ponies that don't have fingers? She hides under the table? The methods that you have chosen to use such as "holding demand" are WELL KNOWN for extinction burst behavior that may never have previously presented including screaming, kicking, hitting, and death threats?

(Don't believe me on that one? Feel free to google it.)

GENERALLY speaking, a diagnosis of Autism precludes Emotional Disturbance, and vice versa.  To have ED, the behaviors can't be explained by something else - such as Autism. To have Autism, the behaviors can't be explained by something else - such as ED. Clear?

So, we disagree on that, and the school says okay, we won't put that in her eligibility code (ED) - but then they type up an addendum in regard to it that basically says "We're agreeing not to add this eligibility, but these BEHAVIORS should be monitored if they impact the child". See that word behaviors? Re-read the previous paragraph. See the problem there?

Oh but wait, there's even more!

They now say she does indeed need a smaller staff to student ratio. Have they defined exactly what is is? No, but that hasn't stopped them from saying the only place she can receive that is on a different campus, in a self contained classroom. This classroom is the Behavioral Classroom. Not Autism, because "they don't serve by label" - well gee gosh willikers, why the fuck is it called (and run as!) a BEHAVIORAL classroom?

We've done all we can at this point. I might edit this later for clarity, because I'm super pissed off and up entirely too late to be making paragraph transitions. I did go and view the classroom - let me leave off all that I saw and just say this - whatever you're envisioning with those words? It's exactly what you think it is.

Fun Fact: A child, with the diagnosis of Autism, placed in a self-contained classroom, within the state of Texas (so pretty damn particular statistics here people!) is 25 times more likely to be restrained. Really, really think deeply about all the reasons that would go in to why that happens. If I have to spell it out for you... actually, let me know if I do, because LISD doesn't understand it either, and they've made that patently obvious.

I'm so tired, and I'm so angry. This was an extremely long post, and I'll likely follow it up with another extremely long post to conclude.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Current Projects in Motion

With birthdays and our massive annual Halloween party on the horizon, followed then by the holiday season.. I had an ACK moment about just how little time we have to do some of the things we've been "meaning to get around to".

1. New TV unit for the media room that incorporates more storage. We know what we want, how much it costs, and how much it will hold. It's just a question of getting out to IKEA and then assembling it and putting it into place. The storage will let us unload some of the overflow from DemonPrincess' room regarding toys that she only plays with out in that room, something desperately needed.

2. Moving the existing unit to our bedroom, which involves mass moving of furniture. Like every piece of furniture in this room. >.< We need the storage to make this room more functional - and we'll have to give up our dresser to make room for it.  That part is okay - what we need is shelf storage (which we'll gain), not so much drawer storage for clothing. Of course, since we'll be moving everything anyway..

3. Painting our bedroom, which is still the manila-paper color it was when we moved in 6 years ago. It has not aged well. We've decided on a lovely medium cool gray.

Doesn't seem insurmountable, but there's only so many days in the week that DH has off to do any of it (I can organize, but I can't do any of the heavy lifting or other things).

But the list doesn't stop there. That's just the top 3 I hope to get done before the party.

Also of note:

Fixing the drywall bonks, holes, and scrapes as well as repainting our master bathroom (since the shower rebuild last year that I'm still gripe-y about. I can't believe they don't fix those things as part of the job if they did the damage).

Getting a new master bathroom flooring laid (issues caused by what called for shower replacement in the first place). Getting a new vanity that DOES have drawers because we have zilch for functional storage in this area.

Ripping out the kids' vanity and putting in a smaller one so anyone larger than a gnome can use their toilet.

We still need a big couch downstairs for gathering and entertaining, or just that will hold my 6 foot + DemonSpawn and DemonHusband, plus one dog. We know that expense is going to be massive, so I envision that being put off for quite awhile.

Finishing the library conversion by adding a drybar to the wall that previously housed my desk. Necessary for many reasons, but the top one being that I need easier access to the supply of rum and other things. Especially since it won't be far from the coffee machine as well.

And then? Then there's refinishing the kitchen table that needs to happen, and other "smaller" projects.

What's on YOUR list? How do you decide which get priority? We decided on our top 3 for minimal expense and maximum return.  Those will cost about $300ish to do both rooms and greatly increase function; everything else on the list is going to cost much more and while functionality needs improvement in the other areas, is not as of as much of a bother on a daily basis.

So Much Augh

Every minute I think we'll get a little break, it's back to the blur (coin termed afaik by the wonderful ladies at RantsFromMommyland).

Admittedly, July was fairly quiet. I'll hold on to that thought. August was somewhat crazy with re-organization and cleaning and the usual yearly back to school shopping and planning, as well as re-enrollment and new enrollment for 3 different demonchildren in 3 different schools. That's enough crazy for a good dose of rum.

September has arrived and things still aren't settled down. Now, I won't blog much about this, because I have this resistance to posting anything that sounds "pity me". I have a lot of health problems and mobility issues, and will leave it at that without going into detail. The only reason I've chosen to share this is to explain the logistics of some of the decisions below.

We have requested to add bussing service to home from school at the end of the day for DemonPrincess in her IEP. We may only live 3 blocks from the school, but I can't be a reliably transporter. Her disability means she cannot walk alone; I have not found anyone else to walk with her. DemonSpawn had this duty, until his seizure meds were changed..

We're also going to have to ask about bus service for DS under his 504. The new meds he is taking can inhibit his ability to feel thirst and to sweat - a deadly combination in the 100 degree Texas heat. No walking or bike riding for the foreseeable future.

Have I mentioned neither one of them have ever ridden the bus? That while I think DemonPrincess will be really excited at the idea, I worry about stigmatization with DemonSpawn since it'll be the special education bus and he's in high school? High school kids can be such assholes about such things.

We have an ARD continuance for DemonPrincess tomorrow, except she's sick and I have no sitter. This may not be the last continuance either and I can see it taking over half of September. Just the records request I did has topped 800 pages with no relief in sight. And wow am I getting pissed sorting through those. Some of these people should never have been allowed contact with children.

September 21st will be her birthday. Again we debate - do we try a class-invited party and worry if people will show up/understand her at the party? Do we stick to a family party at home with a couple of friends invited outside of school that do understand her? We can't keep her in a bubble and usually don't, but I'm always so leery about doing something for her birthday that might only cause upset and ruin a nice day for her.

I wish this kid stuff was easier. Don't we all?