I am just how I thought I would be...totally frustrated and confused.
Super hard for me because I miss teaching. I see the kids in the autism program and I want to be working with them.
The things they told the truth about....
1. the SUN 1 and 2 programs are at the end of a hall. When I walked in the building, to the left there was locked doors, the office was locked too. The director is young, maybe mid thirties. I got to ask a few questions and we went to go to the classroom area and a code was called and a sheriff and police showed up. They call this code and all students have to stay in their room (our school used the term "fishbowl" and that meant we had to close doors go under desks etc...) People were actually very very calm. No raised voices, it was easy to see which kid was upset but the director just took us to the rooms and didn't even get involved.... (she said this has been done three times, one for a kid who fell and hit his head so they needed an ambulance, one for a seizure, and this time. the kid calmed and they said by... end of it....I watched thru some windows and walking by.) I saw that from the two rooms that are used for the program they are talking about for Q, you could see it all, police cars etc. Well, I told them that would be the end for Q... he would either be on the wall or doing anything he could to be the next in line. He is so afraid of that stuff. She said since this is the first year, they already decided that of the four SUN rooms they are going to flip them...put the Quin like classes on the other side where out the window is a pond and nice things to look at. The kids in the SUN1 room are non verbal or low verbal, lie on the ground, spin etc... and the teachers say they dont notice what is going on and/or are not affected by waht is going on outside. There are 4 kids in that class... two classrooms and a sensory room in between . There are large swings and matts and balls just for SUN 1
FOR SUN 2 they have the same but more like office spots with their desks, matts, swings, sensory room in the middle AND t here are two more sensory rooms, large ones...along with an activity room with pool and foose ball etc... THe bus drops off right there by their class door. One of the kids in the class is a friend of Q's from elementary school. The other one is very dysfluent in speech has this beautiful pattern he is making on a bulletin board and he said some things about hating kids that leave early and dont follow rules and I thought, oh good... I am going to hear that Q is ruining his day... SO I told the director that... I said, Q will make that kids world miserable because he will be frustrated by his speech, and his rigid rules and it will be hard for both of them. the other boy, they might do ok with. I didn't get to see any teaching..the kids have such individualized schedules that they each were out doing things or when they came in they were working on power points etc.
The school has tons of technology...He would get his own laptop to use all day because they got a grant and all new computers so they kept the laptops for kids. down the hall with many rooms separating the SUN rooms start the elementary EBD classes, and one of the kids came with me to give a tour because another kids was puffed up like he was going to beat him up.....I have to say that the talking between staff about what is going on is limited to calling a staff name, they look and I watched 3 separate de-escalation procedures that involved no drama, from a ball being thrown toward us and I ended up catching it actually... the kid I was with ignored and was given props for doing so. The EBD class has break out rooms for the kids and the kid who toured me said, this is the room I go to to go in and just think in my head, now what did I do, how can I calm down...all the rooms are locked from the outside but kids can get OUT of the rooms..they can't just go into anyone else's room. All the teachers have walkies so it does not look like they are targeting any student.
of the two kids in the class that they want Q to go to one does nto want to be with anyone, but the other does so he goes to join a small reading group and a gym group. the two boys dont do anything together. I said over and over, it is the same as what he gets now (minus the negativity from staff) but he would not even see anyone in the halls which at least now he can say hi to a couple of neighborhood kids.
So, from my view and as I said before I am sure that from a teaching perspective Q would be better off in that kind of setting...probably can do a great job of setting things up for him. But he is likely to be very very lonely.
As we were in the hall I heard this familiar voice... Stop it! Get out of my f***ing way. Shut up you b-word and he marched thru the halls and went outside (which is fine there..they can walk around the school, that is good because Q does that). I said to the director, THAT sounds just like Q. I asked them how long it would take them to be sick of having a kid swear at them and push and shove them... they do it daily so they said they just do what they do. they really do (I saw it) use non verbal interventions to calm...ONLY ONE person talks to the child if needed and the rest is all done by the book. They call admin for back up but said they all do it as a team, not for them to take the kid away, and usually everything is calm by the time they get there (there IS only the director anyway...and two lead teachers. It is far bigger than the school where Q was abused years ago...but no where near the size of a typical school. It goes to highschool but the director said she wants to have the first batch of 12th graders who dont fit the two transition programs in our district now (post 12th grade) so she wants to have a transition SUN program if the kids want it. There are four 12th grade boys who were ready to go back to their high schools on the EBD side who choose to stay there because they wanted to graduate with their real friends so they said that was fine and one is hired to help design the new school website because it is only the old one which I think I told you described only the EBD program.
There are no locked seclusion rooms. They only do holds on one girl who is non verbal and seeks it...they do a squish kind of sensory hold because she gets sudden pain and then it makes her violent and she runs to them to be held (I saw it happen) and it was totally appropriate no one tried to make me leave or anything.
Would I want this for Q??? Maybe.
Would I want this for me?? Yes, it is my thing, I love working in a setting like that.
Would Q want it, he says he will not go, he will not even go look at it and he will go see it after he graduates from high school. Now, he has no choice of course if I decide it but I do have to think about if it will work because for him it is not just being manipulative, it is intense need for routine and difficulty with change etc. She seemed actually upset about the treatment, such as his not being allowed to run in the halls (then as a kid came bounding down the hall, NO ONE cared. They just watched him. She said they would just let him out early and tell him to run. Power struggle gone. I believe it, because I saw it.
Q is soooo social. I just dont know what to do about that piece.
Turns out the director knows our home psychologist and loves him, she is a psychologist herself. She said we can come Mon or Tues in the morning through lunch.... that would be good. then I can bring Q (OH my how to do that, I told him we may just go look and have a tour like at the high school and he said fine but he is going to the highschool... SO I really need to see.
I guess the sp ed coordinator told the principal that we would NOT be talking transition out of this school any time soon. Both the attorney and I said, you know he is not going to listen to you and that will be the first thing out of his mouth. I would pick this isolated school over more abuse from the current principal so???
I just dont know... I am so stupid, I believe these people and then I will find out it is all not what I saw or thought. I guess I just have to stop thinking now... Let the next visit happen and wait and see.
It sounds great for Q. I know you're skeptical and with good reason. If the next, longer visit (hopefully with Q) is more of the same as what you witnessed, to me it would be a no-brainer. If you build it up before you go....they have THIS and oh, they have THAT and they let you do THIS without you getting in trouble, etc he will go with a positive attitude. You might want to find out if they have a yearbook. He could get one and have people sign it and he can STILL get his dream. I know the transition is hard for him but if it really is the way it seems on two separate visits, I would seriously give it some thought.
Exactly, in small doses, I started it. He is in a really good mood and I am even letting him hang out with friends outside right now.... right in front of our house. He is doing well with them. I said you would not believe what I saw today... a school with huge swings in 6 rooms. AND a pool table and game table. The kids in the class your age have their own laptops! and your friend W is there. He said, "I dont care, I will see it after I graduate from high school" and then he said, "stop talking about schools" so I am going to let it settle in.
Exactly. Small doses and time to process what you say. That is exactly how I get difficult child 1 excited about a change that I think he will like but doesn't want to give a chance because it's different and not in HIS plan. You're doing a great job MOM!!! Now breathe and enjoy his good mood too.
i dont know what Q's schedule looks like, but something like he goes to current school through lunch (and attends those few mainstream classes like art/music if thats not too disruptive or out of routine for him) to satisfy the social piece, and after lunch is bussed for a few hours to this place to satisfy the more medical model stuff--theraputic, dape, etc with a few academics thrown in....or vice versa.
(i probably didnt write that clearly enough--i dont mean at the expense of an education, but you get the drift).
there is no real reason he couldnt attend both programs to meet his intense needs. no doubt there would be a collective "IT CANT BE DONE" if you suggested such a thing, but you and i both know, oh yes it can. ;-D
as for the lonely part...well, you might be surprised. my #1 is VERY disabled, and might actually be the most social creature you ever met--in the low functioning class you describe. and he's anything but lonely....if anything, he's actually a magnet for (good) attention and the staff flocks to him. it might not take the place of a hallway high five from another kid, but it also might not be quite as isolating as you think. when you go back, you might also ask them just how much community involvement they have too....there might be quite a bit of independent living skills field trips that he might like.
you are between a rock and a hard place, but you did great.
i hope it all works out for Q--whichever direction you go.
I'm not qualified to participate in a specific discussion but I have to say that not being surrounded by the negativity sounds like a major reason to consider the transition. But, of course, you are the expert and I'm sure you will make the best decision. Hugs DDD
by the way, I'm sure you know that most of our school districts do not have such appropriate alternatives. Sigh!
It sounds wonderful. I know that the low number of fellow students is a concern but if they can let him go to gym with another class or any sort of interaction, it may work well.
Tigger was the ONLY child in his room for part of 4th grade. He had 2 other kids with to start 5th grade. We supplemented school with Special Olympics and other special recreation programs so that he had structured, supervised consistent interaction with other kids. Because he wasn't being stressed out so bad by the school, he had the energy to do these afterschool and weekend activities.
This school sounds great. It may be exactly what he needs. Is there anything that they can do so that he can have more social opportunities there? I think the transition of 1/2 and 1/2 would be a LOT for him to handle. I also don't think principal would allow it and would use it to make things worse.
I know you think he will be lonely, but isn't he already? right now they keep him in his office all day with a jailer on the door. Or that is what the picture you showed us a while ago seemed like. At least at this school he wouldn't be criminalized for things he totally cannot control.
I have this UGLY feeling that the principal will start calling police on Q soon. terroristic threats, violent (pushing or hitting someone wiht a nerf puck), etc... and once that starts? That system is crazy. It could actually end up the way that klmno's son ended up. I know you don't know all her story, but she called police to get HELP. She got a very young PO and GAL who did not have kids and did ALL they could to destroy her bond with her child. in my humble opinion they will NOT be in heaven after they die and karma will give them nasty surprises for a long time. These people told k's difficult child that he didn't have to listen to her mom, just to them, and then they put so many demands on HER that she lost her job. Of course not doing what they wanted would give HER a criminal record. Then they just kept going so that now her son has spent a LOT of time in prison for kids, she is starting from ground zero with her life, and they have to figure out how to strengthen their bond again. Oh, the PO and GAL AND COURT even told her she was not allowed to take her child to a therapist at one point. ONLY to their person, who blamed ALL her son's problems on the fact that she made the wrong thing for dinner and he didn't like it. I had some faith before that but none now.
THIS is what I am afraid of for Q. For a lot of our kids. I wish I knew what was wrong with the people at his current school. I can't believe someone would even think of calling the cops on him.
The school Q is in is NOT going to teach him, socialize him, or help him for much longer. They have PROVEN that they DO.NOT.CARE. if they break the law or violate his basic rights. If he stays they are going to try to get a criminal record for him and while it is stupid and absurd, you just have NO idea what a court will do. If the judge who gets his case is connected to the principal/psycho etc... or just chooses to disregard the brain injuries and seizures and other things, well, it could get really really bad. THIS is what scares me because Q would not survive that type of thing well.
Think about things, keep visiting, let Q hear small bits of good things often, and do what you think is right for both of you. (((((hugs)))))
by the way, Wiz was in a class of three where two rarely showed for most of fifth grade. It was the best year ever. He tried mainstreaming twice that year but the teacher in reg ed that he was assigned to is the bimbo that blonde jokes are made of. That is NOT a joke. Part of me really wanted to have Wiz spend time in her class because he would have eaten her alive with-o trying. But in his sp ed class he DID get the social stuff he needed. LOTS of it. Even with-o other kids in the room he still was never lonely. It was an awesome year.
the half day idea is really good. I will bring that up.... it could offer a nice transition and it could be for only the four months and then move into ESY then high school where he has no routine to leave (but he was counting on going with our neighborhood kids). Q LOVES his friends and they are used as rewards and social skills trainers. He also has neighborhood kids there. He gets attention from adults because they have forced it that way but since he discovered playing last summer (the first time and it was such a break through after years of therapy) he now lives to see the kids at school. Some of the big kids who mentored him last summer will be SRs and he really wanted to see them at the high school. Not the thing that would sway me, but it makes me sad for him because it is the one normal thing he got to do. He has stated since August that he wants to be with his friends, he looks for them each day etc... it is not a guess that he will feel badly. And last year someone told him that this school was a school for the r-word and he does not want to go to any baby school. the class across from him, yeah, that will make him very mad...sigh.
He goes outside once in a while with the kids now that it is cold (summer every single day), but for extra curricular, they just dont have it... he can't do anything that is not adapted except riding bikes and no one is doing that in the winter. I can't afford much anyway. So we go to parks etc.
In that school, the only option for "peer interaction" is... after the two kids who are in that program who do not interact....the EBD kids. They say that sometimes there are small groups for reading etc. and if he matches to that he can join.. but there is one concern.. those kinds of statements nearly never happen. Oh we could do this or that... He will get there and it will just be put off over and over.
One of the students has a goal of doing field trips. The director said first they have to get the district policy and make sure that there is x, y z in place and then they will do it. He said himself he didn't believe her. It has been months. They said they are working on field trips but he said it is not a field trip if you dont have kids to go with. He thinks the whole class down the hall should have to go with him. Q loves field trips and has never had a problem on one. Just like with his Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) workers, it is a strength for him because he loves to go look at things. (has Q moments of course, but with Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) very few and far between, in school...never) So do I believe they are going to do that?
As I walked down the hall to where the speech room, cafeteria, school store etc... I passed:
1. A student who was standing wide eyed... a staff person called the directors name briefly to clue her in that a bigger kid had his chest out and was walking toward this kid... she simply turned to the smaller one and said do you want to help me give a tour, you haven't been here long ... and so we walked off just as the other boy got right up face to face with him like he was about to attack. If Q saw that, he would have been right in the middle before they could even blink an eye.
2. One of the boys in the sun program, as I said, SOOO rigid and lots of stuttering. So, Q will be uncomfortable and will act out. He may even imitate him and I will hear it for years, long after this child is out of his life...just how his echo stuff goes.
3. the other boy I now remember, got the class picture out. He is the one that made Q look good. He had major meltdowns every single day in elementary school. He seems to be doing well but then again he only has this one kid who doesn't interact with anyone in the room. Q is very different from them in terms of academics and also social level.
4. the DAPE teacher was the coach for a summer sports camp for higher skilled Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Asperger's kids and Q loved it but this guy was totally over Q by the end of the two weeks and he screamed at him a few times. Just thought Q was being disrespectful with how he kicked the balls away from goals etc. (Q has no clue so just kicks the ball for fun) He made him take tons of time outs and actually yelled at him several times. SO?? that is a huge part of his day every day.
5. the sample schedule I have for the kid Q knew (each kid has their own) says this:
9:10-9:0 homeroom, 9:20-9:40 read aloud, 9:40-10 sensory, 10-10:15 math, 10:20-11:10 gym, sensory 11:10-11:45, LUNCh 11:45-12:30, 12:30-1 social studies, 1-120 sensory, 120-140 social skills, 1:45-2:10 gym 2:10-2:30 sensory, 2:30-3:10 read aloud, 3:10-335 sensory ( but that is bus time so I suspect it is chill time while getting ready to go).
The other kid was doing a power point presentation, like I said he was making a calendar on the wall, etc. He apparently is doing grade level science and social studies.
If Q is added I have to wonder who does the teaching?? do they just make the lessons and the aides do all the teaching?
Occupational Therapist (OT) is only there once weekly but they have sensory all thru the building... How do they work on his fine motor stuff though?
She said now that they have opened they are going to try to bring back kids that are placed out of district. So, there could be a big increase in numbers over the next years...
That code thing was unnerving because they keep announcing we are still under a schedule B so please keep your students where you are...
OK so those things so far have me wondering....
Like I said, I can be duped so easily. Those break out rooms and they have that in between in school suspension room and break out room....(funny the kid giving the tour said that that room is called the PBIS room and the head of it is that man in the red shirt and he is really nice. It is like of like a longer break out room time... and it is really fun. LOL ( OH Yeah, forgot to say that they started on a grant this year for PBIS with this director, and have a rubric to follow and monitoring to show how they use positive strategies rather than suspensions and time outs etc.... they do all they can to reduce hands on and to keep the grant they have to follow the plans and goals they have along with the grant guidelines) they also started a new reading program designed for struggling readers that uses a large computer program and lots of computer work along with the books.... not just the guided reading stuff most of our schools do.
they said the seniors that stayed... they are acting as mentors to the SUN kids.
susie I think we posted at the same time... I dont know, it could work. One big drag is that this school ends later and I just arranged all of our other therapies. I could pull him early those days since it is so individual anyway I guess... uggg.