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, August 25, 2011

Kitty's IEP meeting

Sent to Kitty's IEP team, therapists, skills trainer, MHMR therapist, and CRCG lead:

Yea, we finally have a date for Kitty’s IEP meeting! Tuesday, August 30th at 3pm. Below I’ve listed some of the items I feel need to be discussed.

cell (###) ###-####

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
~Walt Streightiff

  1. Kitty’s schedule includes 2 Reg Ed classes with Inclusion help (Science and Social studies). {Prior to this all her core classes have been "Applied" - fewer than 8 kids per class, modified coursework} This was mentioned at the annual IEP meeting as a possibility, but we’d put it off because she had still not demonstrated the ability to do homework (it’s been attempted, but always dropped again because Kitty is unable to follow through). These will be the first regular ed core class Kitty has taken since she flunked Science in 5th grade.

  2. Homework – Kitty was supposed to start doing homework last semester as a way of demonstrating she was ready for regular ed. I have no idea how she did during the beginning of last semester… obviously she didn’t attempt homework the last 6 weeks. Kitty’s homework tonight was to read a chapter in World History and take notes. She waited until 30minutes before bedtime to mention she had homework (we’re not used to asking because she never has before – and she had spent all afternoon puttering around saying she was bored). Then she asked how to take notes. We told her to write down key facts (subject and verb) from each section to help her remember what it was about. She couldn’t figure out what was important and what wasn’t. She wanted her sister to help her (but sis has her own homework). She wanted to just download the notes from the inclusion teacher’s website, but we encouraged her to try first (and it was way too late to do this). She gave up and went to bed.

  3. Switch PE to smaller, less crowded class like aerobics?

  4. We need contact info for the new school psychologist (or whatever they’re called), now that {the one we were working with} has left {laid off due to budget cuts and replaced with a part time person who rotates among several schools}.

  5. Kitty only got credit for 3 classes (math was double blocked) last semester. This was NOT what was agreed to at the last IEP meeting (she was supposed to get an average of the six weeks grades she completed). Her schedule currently shows that next semester she will have to repeat science and speech. Last semester’s grades:
    · Appl English I 90
    · Appl Alg I & Lab 93
    · Appl World Geo 99

  6. Special Therapeutic School Bear attends assessment/ “observations” results from last semester? Kitty was observed by ___________ and info was supposed to be gathered from her teachers in lieu of a full Functional Behavioral Assessment -FBA (which we didn’t have enough time to complete at the end of last year since Kitty wasn't at school much), to help determine if she should attend the Special School. No one seems to have access to this information. {Struggling to Stand - I officially released them from the obligation to complete this at the end of last school year since we ran out of time}

  7. I am officially requesting new FIE (Full Individual Evaluation - school version of a psych eval) including FBA.

  8. Not currently on ADHD meds – we discontinued Kitty’s Conc*rta this Summer as we were worried it might be triggering mania. We tried a new med, but she had a bad reaction to it, and we can’t try another until she sees her new psychiatrist.{new psychiatrist refused to make any med changes until she had a chance to review Kitty's info because Kitty is "complex" so we won't be seeing a new ADHD med for at least a month}

  9. Kitty is currently between psychiatrists – 1st appointment with her new psychiatrist Thurs, 8/25 1pm (FYI, Sleep study Fri, 8/26 8:15am)
    Neuropsychological appt coming within 2 months.

  10. State Standardized Testing (TAKS)? Kitty took a TAKS test while at {most recent psych hospitalization}. Results?

  11. Change Academy to childcare ? (Was Health and Science} No longer interested in being a surgeon. Really enjoyed working with children as an aide over the Summer.\

  12. Nurse: Kitty’s anxiety leads to somatic complaints. Kitty’s way of escaping situations that are overwhelming and anxiety producing is to absent herself or dissociate – Somatization is a common defense mechanism. We can remove going to the nurse as an option, but this does not alleviate the anxiety and removes one of her calming techniques so we need to find an alternative.

  13. NEEDS:
    a. Consistent behavior specialist support person she can go to when she is overwhelmed and stressed. This person needs to be readily available (case manager, Ms. P, teaches classes so would often be unavailable) and familiar/ trained with calming techniques so they can help Kitty access and utilize (Kitty’s skills trainer has volunteered to work with this person).
    b. Quiet place with few distractions, where she can decompress,.
    a. To work toward Kitty being able to delay dealing with stress feelings until a more appropriate time (like lunch, study skills… therapy).
    b. For Kitty to gain the ability to initiate these techniques on her own and for them to be effective.

  14. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a mental health disorder in which a child is unable to form healthy social relationships, particularly with a primary caregiver. Often children with RAD will seem charming and helpless to outsiders, while waging a campaign of terror within the family. RAD is frequently seen in children who have had inconsistent or abusive care in early childhood, including children adopted from orphanages or foster care.
    Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a mental health disorder which occurs when children have to deal with chronic traumatic events that cause great pain (emotional or physical) usually causing problems with the child forming a secure attachment bond leading to an inability to self-regulate, connect to others, and understand why they act the way they do. Constant trauma may lead to the child using dissociation as the only way to cope with problems, which can make controlling their behavior and emotions and understanding themselves very difficult. C-PTSD often leads to lifelong problems that make children likely to have to deal with even more trauma and other difficulties, including psychiatric and addictive disorders, chronic medical illness, and legal, work/school, and family problems.
    Cerebral Dysrhythmia – right temporal lobe is a permanent brain injury. The temporal lobe is associated with perception, memory, speech, and recognition of auditory stimuli. The right side is associated with creativity while the left hemisphere is associated with logic abilities.

  15. Overall deficiencies in adaptive skills appear to be causing Kitty to be unable to accommodate the rapid changes required in changing classes, academic and social demands.

  16. Kitty's current FIE dated 1/15/09: “It is the examiner’s hope that Kitty would be able to attend at least some, if not all, of her classes in the general educational setting, but it appears that she would need a smaller more supportive setting as a home base or as a place to fall back to in times of emotional distress. Kitty would also benefit from a small group social skills program and a structured study hall or learning lab period.
    Small group setting especially for weaker learning skills (short-term memory, reading, writing and spelling)
    Minimize Distractions
    Break down tasks into manageable parts
    Check for understanding often
    Peer Buddy or peer tutor”


Sent to Kitty's therapists, skills trainer and MHMR casemanager:

FYI, we met the new psychiatrist today. She seemed nice. Basically she hadn’t read any info (like old psych evals – despite us offering to provide them during the intake we were told not to bring them until this appointment.) So we were asked to summarize Kitty’s history, give info on all the meds she’s ever taken and why she was taken off them, asked what we’re looking for from the psychiatrist, and what’s going on currently. She also met with Kitty separately. At the end, she declared Kitty “complex,” commented that most of her current issues seemed trauma related and therefore meds/med changes would not be very effective, and stated she would not be making any med changes (including adding back Conc*rta or trying a different ADHD med) until she’d had a chance to review the documentation. Nothing can be changed until our next meeting which is 9/14 at 10am… if then.

Any notes or recommendations regarding school she felt should come from the therapists.

I’m thinking of requesting that the school pay for partial day hospitalization/ intensive outpatient (which Medicaid will not cover). My reasoning is that this is what’s best for Kitty, but maybe they’ll see that placing her in the special school is meeting us halfway. I feel that right now if all we’re asking for is the special school, then the compromise will probably be the high school behavior program staff (aides) trying to provide what Kitty needs to the best of their ability (considering that there are only 2 of them for the entire school). What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you should not go to an ARD without a professional ARD advocate.

Do not sign anythng you don't agree with. If they can't talk about everything you need in the one meeting, ask (on record) for a continuance. (That isn't the word used -- look on wrightslaw.)

Be sure the note-taker puts ALL your concerns in the "parent concern" section and ALL the relavent (in your mind) discussion in the notes section. Which means you need to verify by taking your own notes, which means you shouldn't be alone.

Overall, you use far too many words and there are few people who won't say "oh, here she goes again" and then just skim over what you've written. If there is a new person on your list, say "so-and-so, there is a lot of background information on these issues. please ask me for details."

Was "Homwork" a goal she failed to meet, or something in the notes section that was not a goal? If she will stay in those classes, make it be a goal. This should be in your favor as she will not meet that goal. (Of course, I was told that "being given homework" couldn't be a goal, but that was because the teacher lied and said she gave Ms A homework ...)

A lot of this (ADHD meds, psychiatrist, need contact info) I would have held off to say at the start of the ARD.

Idea: if you have any new team members (and even if you don't), at the start, when you get to say your concerns, ask who there knows what RAD is, etc. And have it as a concern -- say it out loud -- that your daughter's future is being debated by people who do not understand her official diagnosis. If anyone disagrees with the diagnosis, say, on-record, that so-and-so is not a licensed diagnostician and it concerns you that he/she is acting outside of professional boundaries. These are, of course, your true concerns! They belong on paper.
Get the "brain damage" bit into less flowery words. Be a repititious drone. "No, Kitty can't do that. Her brain damage has made her memory too pooor for that." Also "Do you have anyone qualified to re-train brain damage? Really? How wes he/she trained? How much time will Kitty be spending with him/her? Can you show me the literature that says there can be meaningful change with just 3 hours a week in a group setting?"
And RAD. "No, Kitty's RAD currently prevents her from doing that." "Do you have anyone qualified to lessen the impact of RAD? Really? What training does this person have? How qualified? ..."
Note: I successfully trapped a school once because their psychologist said he could do testing that he was not actually qualified to do. The ARD team put in writing that Ms A needed that testing ... and when what he did was not what was indicated, they had to pay outside. So YES, get them to explicitly say who has what skills, what training, and that Kitty will have access to someone with such-and-such training ...

The current FIE, to me, sounds like a great tool the school can use to put Kitty into harder classes. All they should do is provide a "fall back". If you quote this again to the school, leave out the "It is the examiner's hope" part ... it colors the entire rest of what she says, allowing for optimistic placements.

Lastly, bring goodies to share with the ARD team. They will be needing a snack and the school likely does not sell anything chocolate. Even grapes and a bag of Hershey's mixed is better than nothing. (Do offer a bit of a choice; don't want to have someone who can't do chocolate feeling left out.)

Good luck. Remember: there is an appeals process.