Tuesday, April 9, 2013

School Meeting went well

We had our meeting to discuss Dominic's transition to third grade / "intermediate" SPED next year yesterday afternoon and it went pretty well.

Present were the primary SPED, intermediate SPED, their supervisor from the district, the building principal, the social worker and us.  It was kind of funny, the principal started out the meeting introducing us as "extremely involved" parents.  I don't know that I feel THAT involved in the school, but I certainly feel involved in the process.

We had a really good discussion. It was clear that the social worker and the SPED Supervisor knew exactly what I (and the primary SPED) were talking about when we described how Dominic responds far better to reinforcement / redirection even though it flies in the face of the instinctual reaction to yell "No".   The Principal and the intermediate SPED, tho, weren't as familiar with disciplining via redirection.

The reality is that until August, the school does not know how many SPED teachers OR how many Para's they will have to work with, and those numbers are all based on a mathematical formula based upon number of students enrolled.  Which they just don't know until the year begins. Odds are they will begin the year staffed as they have ended this year, but do know that our current SPED will be at a different school.  Presuming that all things stay the same, Dominic will have primarily his current Para again next year.  We all agreed it would be good to deepen the pool of people capable of working with Dominic so that probably means mixing up the paras involved.

I made clear that if the current Para (who has the least seniority in the building so would be the one to go if enrollment drops per district policy) does not come back, I would push for whoever ends up with Dominic the majority of the time to go to the district Autism lab for training.  That lab requires the para and child to commute to a different school half days for 6 weeks for the training.  It would be difficult for the school to do but i think that we could get that done. The SPED supervisor didn't veto it which apparently was a good sign.

We talked about appropriate reinforcers and I let them know that their wonderful climbing wall in the gym would probably be the big gun reinforcer if he could use it.  (apparently they don't break it out very often due to liability issues, but i offered to sign whatever waiver was needed to allow him to use it regularly) .  We also talked about the logistics of how Dominic works - he does his work on his IEP goals in the classroom with his third grade peers who are working on other stuff.  He takes regular sensory breaks, both structured and free time (those'll continue).  It was clear that the ABA style of teaching that Dominic is receiving (eg - do a task for 6-8min, complete the task, get 3-5min free / unstructured time) is outside the comfort zone of the intermediate SPED.  As such both the principal and the SPED supervisor are in agreement that she (the intermediate sped) will spend some time working with Dominic over the next few weeks in order to get a feel for how he does best.  They are even going to bring in a sub to help with the workload for this time. Which is really cool.

So, i'm optimistic. I feel like we've got a good support team in place and I also feel like every person there knows that we will be keeping a very close eye on them next year.

Oh, and I had the chance to tell the story of Dominic's Regression. And to tell them all that the latest CDC numbers are 1 in 50.  The principal was gobsmacked and said "its got to be environmental, in our food or something". Yep. Sure does.

No comments: