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seeking support and advice in dealing with DS's school UPDATE #65

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#26 SelceLisbeth

Posted 28 May 2017 - 12:56 PM

Ok. thanks. I guess while meeting with teachers is ideal it is not necessarily reasonable given timetabling. I can reduce my expectations in that respect.

The wellbeing officer (our version of a pastoral team member) seems to have little impact and while I will request his presence (as has been the case previously) it seems his hands are tied when it comes to doing anything more than note taking.

I will have our NDIS case manager (care connector) and may even be able to arrange for the speechie and OT to come along. They havent been allowed to access the school before and are not allowed to see him or the classes in progress to get an idea of what might help, so again it is difficult to make reasonable suggestions from very little knowledge of what DS's reality is.

Is it reasonable for me to request an outline of what the current modifications are with an actual example from each teacher or is that overly onerous? I have heard the theory version of what they are doing to help DS but I would like to see how the theory is being played out in practice. Is that reasonable? Obviously that will take time.

Is it also reasonable to reduce DS's school hours while further solutions are discussed? I am a bit afarid of exposing him to these stressors while I have little confidence in him being kept safe (even from himself).

#27 José

Posted 28 May 2017 - 01:33 PM

Again, im.not in your state so there may be variations.

In my state it is reasonable to ask for reduced attendance for a period of time.  It should only be short term and needs to officially be approved external to school.(area director)
Its reasonable to ask for a copy of IEP and adjustments being made.  Im nit sure about asking for examples of that for each subject though, that might be impractical.

#28 SelceLisbeth

Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:13 PM

This thread is helping me tease out the particulars that are bothering, so thanks PPs for helping me with that.

I think my main concern is a history of making the right noises but seeing little genuine action and follow through. Promises have been repeatedly made and quickly fizzled out.

How do I reasonably go about seeing evidence of these modifications actually being put in place rather than someone simply saying what it is they feel sounds best?

The solution last year was having a single point of contact at the school who was happy to liaise with staff and myself and was also happy to be the place where the buck passing stopped. I think that was really helpful and I think I will ask the YLC if she is happy to be that person. I know here form my other DS being her student and she is proactive and reliable IMO.

#29 onetrick

Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:25 PM

Each teacher should be able to tell you what they are doing to help your son. It will hopefully look different in every class and not just be a regurgitation of what is in the documentation.
I would add to that needing to be contacted immediately if your DS is self harming (this will be different in ever school, but in our school we would send him to the nurse/ SWC with a note and they would then call you straight away).

I know that you shouldn't have to do this and that we should be able to trust professionals to do their jobs, but unfortunately, we can't. I would encourage an advocate/ specialist for your child to be in the meeting (someone other than you that he knows is on his side)- it's important that everyone is on the same page... to some extent, your DS should be there too, even if it's just at the start/ end.

The part time schooling decision would depend on the school. Our school doesn't allow students to drop subjects, but we offer alternatives to LOTE, like remedial reading, and they would be allowed to go to the sick bay/ SWC office frequently if they needed to.

I don't know how up to date your sig. is, but if DS is 15, could he be better off in an alternative educational setting? 15 is old enough to do work experience for a bit, and old enough to do a trade type course if that's where interests lie (and those pathways options often have tiny class sizes, so much less stressful on students). If not, that's fine (I obviously don't know your DS at all, and this wouldn't be suitable for every kid), but I thought I'd put the option out there...

Sorry that you are going through this, I really am.

#30 onetrick

Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:31 PM

sorry, replied before I saw your reply. Single point of contact sounds good- if you are happy with YLC, then they should be the person. No one would say no to that request :)

People who say one thing and do another make my life hell at school... those teachers are not good teachers, and we all know that too. I definitely share your frustrations there!

#31 SelceLisbeth

Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:49 PM

Its my younger DS I am talking about who is 13. There are genuinely no educational alternatives right now.

#32 onetrick

Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:59 PM

oh, sorry! I'm an idiot... I'm sure I read his age earlier, than thought 'maybe I was mistaken'.

I just checked my summary of post schooling options and the only one suitable for under 15yo was a community school :( not idea...

#33 SelceLisbeth

Posted 28 May 2017 - 05:27 PM

Its all good, I was reminded to update my older son's age at least. :)

#34 SelceLisbeth

Posted 29 May 2017 - 02:57 PM

Just for anyone who might be dealing with similar, and for my own debrief, I had a good meeting with DS's NDIS care co ordinator. She agreed with my thoughts and frustrations and will be arranging a meeting with the services providers and the YLC and wellbeing officer.

Its a disability issue, not a wellbeing one, its just that his well being is impacted by the lack of support.

The requests so far will be a one point of contact with the school, a follow through by the YLC to ensure that DS's teachers are aware of his disability (many werent. As he is unfunded, there is not actual information given to teachers as a matter of course unless they suspect a child is having issues and they take it upon themselves to look through DS's physical file at school - not terribly proactive) and that he be allowed to use the space they have provided for kids with disabilities at lunch time (while is always supervised by disability support staff).

#35 Weirdly Sane

Posted 29 May 2017 - 03:54 PM

Makes me cross on your behalf LS and on his.  Really, those requests are so fundamental and you should not have to struggle to get even those simple bits in place.  

Grrr.  Hang in there.  I think building up the support via smaller, very concrete requests may be the way to go.  But truly, how ridiculous that you have to manage them to manage him.

#36 SelceLisbeth

Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:17 PM

This is how DS came home today. Once again, it happened in class. Once again not only did no one respond or even acknowledge it to DS, but no one contacted me.

How can I feel like my child is being supported when this happens?

Attached Files

Edited by Chelli, 30 May 2017 - 09:10 PM.

#37 .Jerry.

Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:56 PM

Your poor son. :(

Can you request a full-on stakeholders meeting?  This would have his disability support people (doctor?  OT? psychologist?  NDIS worker), school staff including Guidance counsellor, Principal or deputy, a few of his major teachers etc.

It sounds like this issue needs to be raised at a higher level.  The meeting could address his support and include sign-off on a plan.

Teachers can be alerted via a confidential student information alert system, with a flow chart for how to respond when they see him in distress or with marks.

#38 SelceLisbeth

Posted 30 May 2017 - 06:03 PM

Thank you for your advice. This is the kind of thing I need right now as I am flying blind and also just a bit too angry to think reasonably.

I think that what you have suggested is what needs to happen. He also needs some urgent intervention on a personal level from his service providers so im trying to get it all happening.

Im not sure what to ask for in the meantime. I am thinking of keeping him home as Im just worried about their ability to keep a decent eye on him.

DS16 now has all kinds of trouble going on with school too as his support levels need to increase with exams coming up and they havent. Cue his meltdown today too and messaging back forth with his teachers.

#39 AggyW72

Posted 30 May 2017 - 06:15 PM

Have you got anyone from the Department involved (apologies if I've missed that).
We have a wellbeing and engagement officer from the region who attends all our SSG meetings at school. School not happy with that but it's the only way to ensure transparency. We have made several formal complaints about this school and just need to get DS through Grade 6 now after a year home last year.
Otherwise an independent disability advocate may be able to advise?

#40 SelceLisbeth

Posted 31 May 2017 - 10:20 AM

Phone call from YLC. Teacher on Monday 'tried' to get him to see welfare dude. Was told because DS doesnt talk that it is wasting welfare dude's time that could be better spent with other students.

Meeting next Tuesday.

#41 onetrick

Posted 31 May 2017 - 07:34 PM

wow. every time I read your updates, I get more and more annoyed on your behalf...
So... teacher tried to do the right thing and school welfare coordinator decided it was too hard? Wow...
Surely a phone call home to you would be what you were after?
I feel like there needs to be some sort of idiot proof flowchart for the school (preferably supplied by them, but I'm not too confident in their abilities now).

Teacher notices your DS self harming---> talk to DS. If continues, teacher refers to SWC/ sickbay (whoever has time for a freaking phone call)
SWC/ nurse ---> call you and ensure DS doesn't continue to self harm

does he stop if someone notices? We had a student (ASD and some other unknown things) who was self harming (thrashing around at school- she would throw her body at the ground, and her head) and we invented a whole new 'emergency code' (FYI, it was code pink), which meant that
staff helped clear the area, talk to her and help support her while waiting for an ambulance (I don't know if that is relevant to your DS...). If she was close enough to the sick bay, we carried out a mattress to minimise harm... so you can probably see why I'm p*ssed off that your DS's school can't even phone you. FYI- she improved with age, and with confidence and support, and I know your DS will too!

I very much apologise for my earlier interpretation of the situation.

#42 SelceLisbeth

Posted 31 May 2017 - 08:07 PM

Thank you PP!!!!! I just needed to know that someone else gets it! I feel like there are so many excuses I am facing and while they may be valid, my kid is hurting big time.

That flow chart is kind of all I want right now. The rest of it can be worked on with some kind of communication, but just react and supervise FFS!

#43 Weirdly Sane

Posted 31 May 2017 - 08:18 PM

View PostLisbethSalander, on 31 May 2017 - 08:07 PM, said:

just react and supervise FFS!


ETA Lisbeth, I know it doesn't help being told how strong and amazing you are, when you need action, but... you are the epitome of the warrior mother, hang in there

Edited by Weirdly Sane, 31 May 2017 - 08:19 PM.

#44 echolalia

Posted 31 May 2017 - 10:10 PM

I am pretty shocked that he is self harming at school let alone in class and they are not taking urgent action. I would have thought they should call the crisis assessment team when this happens.
I think the suggestion of getting  a disability advocate to support you is a great idea.
I can also recommend the ACD hotline for phone support and advice. Their website has great information about how you can advocate for your child with the school.

#45 SelceLisbeth

Posted 01 June 2017 - 08:02 AM

Im with the ACD, no worries there and have an advocate. DS is home for the time being. They dont care. Easier for them. He had been rehearsing to help backstage in the school production (the first time he has volunteered to be part of anything AND it cost $25 I didnt have for the priviledge) and is sad I have said he cant be there. I asked if he could be supervised or buddied up with someone and they said they are too busy and didnt have time to find a solution.

I feel steamrolled.

OT and speechie and NDIS case worker and making separate visits today. Looking at changing his psych and have just upped his meds.

#46 SelceLisbeth

Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:30 AM

OT appt was good. Ready to advocate and assert. She is newish, this being her fourth or fifth visit and our sixth or seventh OT in three years.

So far requests will be made for all teachers to be aware of DS's need for time outs before he gets to a point of hurting himself. He will be allowed to go to sick bay to read for ten minutes after which if he is not feeling ready or able to go back he can then be sent to the wellbeing officer and that I should be informed at that stage.

They need to be aware of where he is at emotionally at the start of a session (simple colour guide on his pencil case).

Also asking that he be allowed to use PE sessions which are hard for him due to his physical disabilities to work on outstanding stuff he is having trouble with navigating. He is very bright (vice principal says genius IQ) but is not able to handle the work process of producing assignments etc as he gets so caught up in the detail so everything takes him so much longer or he has a meltdown and gives up.

Speechie and NDIS case worker still to come today. Long day of trying to keep this all straight in my head!

#47 lizzybirdsworth

Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:56 AM

I don't get why the school are not using the suggestions made to them on how to help your son. They have been given the information and choosing to put it in the too hard basket? That's unacceptable.
I don't know if you may have been asked this before and sorry if you have, but is there another school nearby that may be better suited or willing to help?

#48 SelceLisbeth

Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:28 AM

View Postlizzybirdsworth, on 01 June 2017 - 10:56 AM, said:

I don't know if you may have been asked this before and sorry if you have, but is there another school nearby that may be better suited or willing to help?

I wrote in my OP about school options. They just arent there. Its very frustrating but this is the school that we are going to have to deal with for the nest few years.

#49 lizzybirdsworth

Posted 01 June 2017 - 12:20 PM

Sorry I did read the op but a few days ago. My fault for not re reading 🙁.
That really is frustrating and not right. Your son has every right to a safe way to learn just like everyone else.
I hope the school starts listening and taking the suggestions on board and actually implementing them.

#50 SelceLisbeth

Posted 01 June 2017 - 12:35 PM

No worries, dont apologise. All good here. How many coffees are too many in one day? just as an aside....

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