This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

School after RTC

Jennie recently wrote a post about her daughter's return to school after being in psychiatric residential treatment (RTC). The child's IEP had to be modified upon the child's return to public school. Wheile the child was in RTC school she succeeded without the modifications written into her IEP so upon her return they had to remove them. Of course RTC schools are incredily different from regular public schools, such as 6 to 1 ratios instead of 29 to 1 and teachers experienced in dealing with children with major psychiatric behavior issues.

My recommendation was that they remove the modifications, but ONLY if they follow the modifications that the RTC had! a classroom with 6 kids and a trained behavior specialist. If they can't accomodate that, then they need to find other modifications. This is something we really had to fight for for Bear. We were lucky in that he already had a special public school program in place that had these accomodations based on his behavior issues in school before entering residential. I know that if these hadn't already been in place, then we wouldn't have gotten them based on his behavior upon returning from RTC because his behavior was so radically improved.

Jennie's concern was that her daughter, Sissy, has yet to demonstrate her behaviors in the gen ed classroom in a way that they have documented it as being an issue to her academics. The law says she can't qualify for Emotional/Behavioral Disability (EBD) just because she has the issues. The law says those issues have to impact her education and her behaviors in the classroom. Sissy was passing core curriculum before RTC. Plus she was triangulating the crap out of everyone so that I Jennie) was the only one that got her behaviors.

Jennie's "unspoken plan" then was to shorten Sissy's leash by making an education plan we know she'll fail at which will drive those behaviors into the classroom which can then be documented as negatively impacting her academics and then PRESTO! she qualifies for EBD IEP and a pscyh ed class. it's horrible, it's miserable, it's absolutely absurd but it's the only way to get Sissy to quit hiding her behaviors when with the "powers that be" It'll happen, and pretty quickly. And who knows, Sissy might surprise us all and rise to the occasion!

Jennie I know exactly what you are talking about!

We fought to keep the services that Bear had qualified for when he was out of control and needing RTC. The problem was his new meds, combined with a honeymoon period during which he controlled his behavior (now that he finally could), and the fact that he thrived in the structured, small group setting with low staff to student ratios, made it hard to justify the more restrictive environment and the extra services. It's such a catch 22! The kid is in the right environment so they do well, so the stupid law says we have to move him to the "least restrictive environment."

Bear is now completely in mainstream schooling (although he is still in "applied" classes which means 6 to 1 ratios - and that is mostly for academic reasons rather than behavioral). He has been mostly flying under the radar because the majority of his behavior issues are being caught at home. Suddenly he has begun failing classes, but I know that's not enough to get him back in the special school program.

So we are doing the same things Jennie is doing for Sissy - setting Bear up in a school situation that will force his behavior issues to the surface... at school! Like Jennie as well, I hope he surprises me and rises to the occasion. He's surprised me before.


GB's Mom said...

How sad is it that we have to set up our kids to get them what they need! said...

we had to get C to fail at school too before anything changed there, amazing hopw different they are now as a result.

Integrity Singer said...

yep, it's extremely irritating BUT, I'm so amazed that my "off the record" conversations with her gen ed teacher resulted in exactly what I wanted for Sissy - an unspoken plan to force out those behaviors during school!

she's already had some challenges this first week. It sounds horrible, but I'm glad!