Hi, I'm Ibby. Like Dear Abby with an Eye. Sometimes I answer questions, and sometimes I question answers.
yeah! I so wish you'd been around when my son was in school...
What years was he in school? I wonder what I would actually have gone on and on about at the time... Mass Transit? Comparative religion and world mythology? Ethnomusicology? The surprising interrelation between axiological truth patterns?Maybe now is best ;)
Ibby, You are as awesome as ever. You both amaze and crack me up. You embody the 'schmear.' You know what I'm talking about. Peter Gabel
Peter Gabel! How I have missed you! YOU are the schmear! Happy flap to see you here!!!
Hi Carol,I'm another autistic 'adult' (I put adult in quotes because I'm a phd student, it doesn't quite feel like adulthood yet).Anyway, I agree with everything Ibby said, plus I wanted to add some things. First of all, your son obviously WANTS to learn, and has an idea of how to make it possible for himself to learn. That's a lot more than most of us can manage at that age. Anyway, it might be interesting for the IEP team to know that I'm a phd student, and I still take sensory breaks and have a schedule that lets me function in a way that I can. I also have a perfect 4.0 in all my graduate classes, because I have been able to not only do the work and learn everything, but deal with sensory-related issues and social issues properly. I think perhaps, you should encourage your son, who is definitely a self-advocate already (yay!!!) to write the IEP team a letter. It's frustrating that they make him be in the room, then point blank refuse to listen to him. Perhaps he could try explaining his point of view and why this would help him. And if all else fails, then perhaps talk directly with his teachers and see what they can accommodate on their own. I'm lucky, that most of my accommodations are things I can do myself - stim toy in class, etc. I've worked VERY hard at my executive functioning so I can keep track of things, but still. Good luck! --E p.s. I think you might enjoy reading snippets of my blog - not quite as cool as 'ask an autistic' here, but I do answer a lot of questions. :)
The Third Glance is EXTREMELY MEGA COOL... don't let E's modesty fool you... and a handy link is located always at the upper right of this blog in the blogroll for easy clickin'. The Third Glance. You saw it here. Or maybe you saw it at Emma's Hope Book already. Because E is awesome.
E, Carol here (was carolmom before, but can't remember how I signed in that way). I've done more than read snippets of your blog, I've eagerly read many of your posts! Might have even commented, I can't recall. I know I've repeated some of your stories to family and fellow autism moms, and in fact, it was probably your blog about being so sensory sensitive in the lab that made me realize I needed to readdress this with the school. Thing is, my son doesn't often overtly complain about specific sensations in school, but I KNOW (he can't stand the smell of lit candles or computer dusting spray, he cringes when I crumple paper, he's very picky about textures on skin or in foods, etc.) that he has sensitivities. Thank you for your comments!
PS, Ibby, I'm not sure which of you I found first, but likely found both of you through TPGA, for which I'm grateful.
Some great advice here, Ibby. The IEP process with its "opposing sides" is really frustrating for parents, students and concerned educators. You can see the frustration on a special ed teacher's face as an administrator attempts to put up a budget barrier to her (I have a particular teacher in mind as I write this, or I wouldn't have specified gender) students' success. I hope Carol and her son continue to fight for accommodations that allow him to best succeed in school.
Jim's right. A lot of times the teacher does know and want better but is curtailed by an administrator. Also, a lot of times the administrator knows and wants better, but is curtailed by the school board. This is the truth. However, the language of flat refusal of a simple inexpensive thing like use of a room (assuming a non-yurt type, room-having style building) and then saying the mother is crazy and trying to make the kid go backwards by protecting him from sensory onslaught so he can learn... this particular example seems like one where just a little clarification (or professional development) could be a good thing all around, because there is no evidence that anyone in the room had the concept.What I do want to add to what Jim is saying, piggyback-style, is that this culture of Opposite Sides of the Table that teachers and administrators are trained in (and that the law seems to sort of lend itself to) really sets up a tense situation where the alleged "sides" are almost planning to disagree from the get-go, which is the opposite of what a team ought to be. And yet, it's called an IEP team. That's just wrong.In real life, everyone there should be, and likely is, albeit perhaps from a different experiential perspective, there for the kid. I wrote an article about this here, called something like "IEPs." One of the first.The student and family should be the thought leaders in the meetings, but this is intimidating, and also, they rarely told that they have the right to be the thought leaders in any kind of sufficiently understandable way, or even if the language is accessibly, it is given to them at the last minute.Let's change some of this. Or all of it.Everyone: gain a shocking amount of expertise in these matters. Write to your Senators and Representatives. Kick some ass. Love, Ib ;)
And in "no evidence that anyone in the room," by "anyone in the room" I mean the mass quantities of non-family-members.
Sorry about my grammar. The fire drill thing happened again :(.
Jim and Ibby, I have always felt that the teachers at my son's current school have accepted his need for accommodations and supports and tried their best to help him. I feel bad for the burden his daily reports, etc. must be, with no extra help in the classroom. I truly do think that it's a matter of his being so "smart" that it masks a lot of his difficulties. He hasn't helped himself, either, having the attitude he does from being misunderstood all the way through school until seventh grade - preferring being seen as uncooperative to being "special" (or worse yet, a teacher's pet). Even his own siblings often call him a jerk, and again, sometimes he is one!Several of the teachers and other team members gave good suggestions, or had a point of view that I hadn't thought of, and I did feel we were all on the same team...despite my meltdown in the first meeting, and the lack of understanding about the sensory issues.
And sorry about the fire drill issues! Yuck!
Wow! This was terrific, all of it. Just loved reading it. Yay Ibby!!
Hi, Ibby, this is Carol again. I can't seem to remember how I signed in last time, so I'm appearing as anonymous. Technology and I have a love/hate relationship.I'm sorry for not replying sooner. I do so appreciate your kind words and your advice. I actually forgot your website's name or address (typical for me), so didn't read your followup before our second half of the IEP meeting. So I pretty much went ahead and signed the IEP with few real changes (knowing I can call another meeting as needed), since it was due to expire in a few days. Unfortunately, despite the fact that in school the behavior plan appeared to be working, my poor son grew so agitated and depressed that we hospitalized him again for several days. He hasn't been back to school yet, due to the Thanksgiving break. Just like any time he is sick, suspended, or on break, his mood has improved daily since getting home, although at first whenever I tried to get him to do some of his makeup work, he would ask to go back to the hospital. I spent half an hour trying to help him stay calm enough to work out one algebra problem today, sandwiched in between two video game sessions. So anyway, I apologize again for not acknowledging your very thoughtful response sooner, and I plan to try again to brainstorm with him for ideas of what would help (aside from not making him go, which is his current position). Thanks for your time and interest!
That was my idea at the time: not going. Kid after my own heart. I am so glad to hear back from you! Happy Thanksgiving!
PS You can sign up some way on here to get notified. If you want, you can write back if/when he helps you with a list and we can tighten the answer. I like how you are giving the teachers and everyone the benefit of the doubt in general. You seem like a seriously excellent person.
I have a question about whether or not it is "unreasonable" to request a quiet room at a noisy membership workshop as an ADA accommodation. Wearing ear protectors is not sufficient, and I need to be alone, so just going to a coffeehouse isn't helpful. I can't sit in my car because it was stolen from the workshop parking lot, and sitting in a parking lot in a busy downtown area will attract scary people.Ideas?
That sounds to me like a reasonable request. You can be very helpful to their ability to do the right thing if you help locate the room and it is not majorly attractive and liable to make everyone else have paroxysms of jealousy (this is just my experience). For example, rather than saying "I found the corner office upstairs with the view would be perfect," which they are expecting to hear, and may have planned how to say no to, you come out with "There's that room where we store old files, and it's just spacious enough for me to work in, and the files provide extra sound-proofing, and it doesn't seem to get any foot traffic--so that would do me perfectly."
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