I went in this morning ready for a huge battle. I hardly slept all night.
The first thing the one lady said to me was "Just because this doctor says he is Autistic, doesn't mean he actually is. He could have mental health issues like anxiety and depression and they can mimic Autism." She hadn't even read through his report yet! So she started going through the report and asking me bunches of questions, and then goes "Hmm, well I guess I have to agree with him, it does appear that Timmy is Autistic." Huh ... thanks for telling me what I already knew.
So then they stop the meeting to ask me "Before we go any further we really need to know if you plan on having him come back to the school or if you are going to homeschool him. It makes a big difference in how we approach things." I told them that that all depended on if they were going to protect him on the bus or not.
The principal (first time she's ever shown up for his meetings) then piped in and said that she HAD to butt in and say that I had never told HER about any bullying except way back in pre-k and how do you expect them to take care of something if they don't know. So I kinda got upset. I told her I had told her back in prek but she had told me to follow the proper chain of command from now on, so from that point on I always contacted the busing supervisor with every issue. So then she tells us that there is no documentation of this. I point out that perhaps if they had documented it like they SHOULD have, then the bullying would have been stopped before it got to the point where I had to pull him from school. I also informed her that I had documented all of them if she would like MY documentation.
I decided, though, that I had to be the bigger person. I looked her in the eye and said "Here's the thing ... we are NEVER going to agree on this. Ever. That is fine. But what isn't fine is that Timmy feels he was bullied on that bus. Timmy feels traumatized by what happened on that bus. Timmy cannot ride that bus without an aide being on there to protect him. In order to come back to public school he needs that aide on the bus, or he needs alternate transportation provided by the school."
I really feel like this was the breaking point in the "war".
They decided to have him ride the BOCES bus, that has an aide on it. It will pick him up about 5 minutes after the regular bus picks up the other two boys. He will, however, have to leave the school about 50 minutes earlier than the rest of his class. This, to me, though, is ok. Actually it is really good.
His teacher will pack his bag in the morning with her last lesson of the day. If it is reading social studies and completing a paper on it, she will pack that. If it is math worksheets, she will pack that. Whatever she has planned in that last hour, she will send home with him. When he gets home, he and I will work on that together. This will also give him time to cycle down after school before his brothers come home. I really like this idea.
They are upping his speech therapy and will be doing 2 group sessions with him a week to increase his social skills. They are also doing more social and living skills with OT. They will be doing a PT eval.
He will be in a normal class, but they will be installing an amplification system in the class. He will be seated near the speaker, so that the teacher's words will be coming to him through that, to decrease the distractions. We talked about headphones or the speakers, and we are going to start with the speakers so he isn't "that kid with the headphones", ya know?
They will be taking him out of the classroom for a bit every day to go over the things that he learned that day and make sure he was able to process the things the teacher taught. They will do a lot of emphasis on language arts at that time, since that is his area of weakness.
He will have extended time for all tests, and he will be given all tests in a separate, quiet room.
He will have a special picture and word schedule taped on his desk, and they will be very strict about keeping to that schedule, so as to prevent transitional meltdowns.
The teacher will try out both a bumpy seat (which he currently uses) and a weighted lap pad, to see which one seems to have a better effect on him and they will go from there with that.
We as a team will be working on a behavioral plan for him as the year progresses, as the teacher sees different areas that he may need some help in in that way.
Each day the teacher and all therapists HAVE to write in his book. I made sure this was put in his IEP, because the school has been really bad about communication in the past. Since we are going to be working on a behavior plan for him, this is pretty critical so we can see where he is having issues there and at home, ya know?
There is more I'm sure that I'm forgetting. But, although the first 20 minutes was not good, the rest of the meeting was great. I feel like they finally started listening to me. I find it sad, though, that in order for the school to really listen to me and be willing to work with me for him, I had to have a bazillion reports in front of them listing how "abnormal" he is. They should be willing to protect ALL the children in that school, not just the "abnormal" ones.