Need advice from Special Ed Teachers!

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Minerva, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Minerva

    Minerva Companion

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    Oct 4, 2006

    I am the teacher of a regular, self-contained fifth grade class of 26 students. Three special ed students come to my room for mainstreaming in science and social studies, as well as lunch and specials. I recently had an autistic boy placed in my class. His IEP calls for a full time aide as well as an occupational therapist. He has been with me since Sept. 19th and has no aide and no OT. The boy is bright, but very innocent and can be easily hurt by bullies. His IEP calls for him to have attention every 2-3 minutes. Writing is very difficulty for him, but how do I work one to one orally with him and also teach the 25 (sometimes 28) others? There are also three other students in my class who have IEPs and go out for resource service by a special ed teacher for one period each day. My district is trying to have the IEP rewritten to take away the aide (that don't have anyway). I have written a memo to the principal, assistant principal, and case manager, saying that I need help and they totally ignore me. I am torn because I want to meet the needs of all of my students, but I just can't clone myself. As it is I spend hours every night doing the paperwork so that I can be there for my students and not buried in papers during the school day. We don't get much preparation time. I think I may have to give up teaching after 21 years. I have always been rated a superior teacher, but I can't give
    more than the 150% I'm already giving. I WILL NOT warehouse children! Does the regular classroom teacher have any rights under the law to demand help for her students? I have taught a wide variety of disabilities over the years, but this is my first autistic student, and although he is very smart and very sweet, it's sort of like trying to care for a baby at the same time that I'm teaching all the other kids. Please advise me.
     
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  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Oct 4, 2006

    Who's the case manager for this child... you or the sped teacher? Try talking with the sped teacher to see what kind of accomodations/modifications she can help you to impliment... you shouldn't be just left with no assistance withk ids who need 1:1 assistance. Mention that you're happy to do what it takes for him to be successful, but need some advice in these areas, or however you word it.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Minerva

    Minerva Companion

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    Oct 4, 2006

    I have gone to one of our special ed teachers. She is the person who is supposed to "re-write" the IEP. She is doing her best to help me, but she thinks that he needs the full-time aide. Actually, she thinks he needs a full-time special ed teacher. She has been taking him for one-to-one instruction during her preparation period because she is a caring teacher, but she can't even count him on her minutes. By the way, this child had an IEP in 2005 from the same district I teach in, but at a neighboring school here in Chicago. Then he moved to Georgia, and his latest IEP was written there. Both the 2005 and the 2006 IEP call for a full-time aide, for his safety and for a person who can who with him one-on-one. Isn't it illegal to rewrite an IEP from another state when it isn't even a year old? Again, I have asked for help in writing from the administration and the case manager (we have a case manager who oversees our special ed program). She is actually the counselor. They are simply ignoring my request.
     
  5. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Oct 5, 2006

    I don't think it's illegal--you can revise an IEP any time you want as long as you follow proper procedure regarding calling a meeting, obtaining consent, etc.

    How involved are the parents? Are they aware of their rights? Sometimes a gentle nudge to the parents can go a long way in getting something accomplished.
     
  6. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2006

    I am with Ellen the first thing that popped into my head, i s that the parents need tobe informed of him being in your class without an aide and his and your struggles, but be nice about it, don't let his parents know he is the reason why you are struggling completely. Many times if you want a school district to do something you have to get the parents involved once they say he must have an aide,t he district will do whatever it takes toget an aide in there. In TExas it is illegal to not send an aide with a child if it is written inan IEP and until that IEP is changed that aide must be there because the district is getting money to pay for that Aide, so where is the money fro that aide going?

    As a teacher, Iam not sure what youcan do other than what yopuhave done except goign tot he diagnosticians or the SPED department and saying i f you will nto send an Aide to my class for him, he either has to be removed until he gets an aide or be allowed to go tothe resource room for any writting and THEY need to modify the class workand tests for the child. That should help some.
     
  7. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Oct 5, 2006

    You should also be at the IEP meeting, if they're revising this IEP, so at that meeting, if nothing else has been accomplished and you're still feeling this way, absolutely by no means do not agree to it. Raise your concerns, very specifically.

    To be blunt, sometimes teaching SPED sucks--there's a fine line between protecting the students and protecting the districts. Sometimes, in a case like this, protecting the student is paramount and you can't just play loyal to the administration. You pick your battles, and this sounds like one you need to pick.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Minerva

    Minerva Companion

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    Oct 5, 2006

    Thanks so much for the advice. I met with the boy's mom today. I had to speak through a translator because she does not speak English and I do not speak Spanish. Fortunately, I was able to speak to her with the help of another mother (also has a special ed child mainstreamed part-time in my room). I told her he didn't have an aide and she confirmed that he has always had an aide in the past at the two other schools. I let her know that I am more than happy to have him in my class (and I am--he's a lovely boy), but I am concerned because the district people want to write the aide out of the IEP and I think he will not get a fair shake without more adult help in my room. As I said, I have 26 students, with many, many issues and I am only one person. I am concerned about his emotional well-being because he is an innocent and will go where others lead him to gain friends. We all know that kids can be cruel, and I cannot be at his side every minute. Also,he needs Occupational Therapy, and I think he might benefit by having a laptop computer. Mom said no they don't have a computer. I said that if the occupational therapist verifies how difficult it is for him to write, that the school district should provide one, and that she should ask for it as parents have more power than teachers. The IEP meeting is at 8:30 A.M. tomorrow. The principal says he has requested an aide but doubts very much that those above him will agree to it. I have no problem with inclusion, but they are trying to put all children back in regular classrooms WITHOUT THE SUPPORT
    THEY NEED. I care about all of my students. I shouldn't have to choose which ones will get attention and then ignore others and it is not fair to ask me to do so. Thanks again.
     
  9. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2006

    IF it is written in his IEP to have an Aide they MUST provide an Aide for him, and if they do not I would suggest MOM sue the school district or at least threaten, all it iwill take is her threatening for them to get an aide in there that day.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  10. Minerva

    Minerva Companion

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    Oct 6, 2006

    We had the IEP meeting today and for once I got to stay for the whole meeting. Usually, they say "Let's hear from the classroom teacher," and then they have me sign the paper and send me back to my classroom while the "experts" decide the educational program of a child whom they have never even met! No one dared to tell me to leave this meeting today, and if they had, I would probably have resigned even though I'd be left without income. The special ed teacher who has to re-write the IEP was strongly on the child's side as well. With much "rolling of eyes" the "expert" agreed to continue the aide for this child. If she had not done so, the special ed teacher and I both would have refused to sign off on this IEP. I am SO GLAD I got to talk to mom yesterday because I was able to communicate to her the importance of her voice in this process. She did, indeed, insist that her son needs an aide. I also got the occupational therapist to agree to getting him a laptop computer because writing is really, really hard for him. The bad news is that my principal told us that he can only put the request for the aide into the "system" and there's no telling how long it will take or if it will be approved by the "higher-ups" who came to observe this child for 20 minutes and decided he didn't need an aide because he was quiet during this time. I am beginning to hate "experts". Talk to the people who know the child -- his parents, his teachers. Theory is worth nothing if the child is left without support. But, frankly, I am growing so tired of having to fight for every little thing my students need. I'm always left to feel that if I was a better teacher I could be everything to each and every student. I would not recommend to anyone I cared about that they go into teaching. Today, I saw a student who I taught ten years ago. She is doing observations at our school as part of her teacher preparation. I flatly told her that she'd be better off to teach in another district, and that's assuming that other districts are better than mine.
     
  11. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 6, 2006

    If that child does not have an aide within 10 days of an IEP being signed, the parent can contend the matter withthe district and I guarantee there will be an aide in your room that day, all she has to do is threaten the school, 10 days is 2 working school weeks, in inthe eyes of school alw that is plenty of time to find someone to take the position until a suitable aide is found, please keep fighting.
     
  12. Minerva

    Minerva Companion

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    Oct 6, 2006

    It has already been three weeks since the child arrived at our school with the IEP requiring the aide. I said at the meeting that I do not want to be liable for any problems he has in his special classes, the cafeteria, the hall, etc. He needs someone to protect him. He is like an innocent angel. I will keep fighting for this child and all my kids, but I may have to take an early retirement. I shouldn't have to fight for what is right. The fat cats draw their salary to make decisions about children they have never even met, and I can't work any harder than I already am. You cannot do more than your best. I barely sleep as it is. More than anything children need adults with whom they can interact. Nothing is more important in my mind.
     
  13. X-Treme1

    X-Treme1 New Member

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    Oct 6, 2006

    First, take a minute and CELEBRATE the small victory!!

    Ok enough of that.....
    Now, technically, the aide position officially exists and the "duties" of that position must be carried out...by someone. If I were in your situation, I would insist that a "substitute" be provided until a "permanent" hire can be made. It matters not that it is a "newly created" position... If there had been an aide and she were unable to fulfill her duties, for any reason, you would get a sub... This is no different.
    The effective "start" date of the required services(IEP) would be today...unless otherwise noted on the schedule of services page of the IEP/ARD paperwork.
    Legally, there is no "grace period". The "start" date is binding...whether the district is ready to provide the services or not.
    If those in positions of power choose not to provide a sub in the interim, I would "think out loud" that "Gee, I sure hope that (student name) doesn't get injured by some bully while we are in the "hiring process"...or even worse, could you imagine if he accidentally injured someone or himself during an emotional crisis between now and then." "Wow, what a legal nightmare that would be!"
    Perhaps then your student will get the services he is in need of as required by law. Keep us posted!!!
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 6, 2006

    You are witnessing a glimpse into what people with disabilities have to fight their entire lives. It's heartbreaking, it's ignorant, and it is ridiculous. Unfortunately sometimes you have to play hardball with people because they will blow smoke up your chimney and never put a fire there. Depending on how comfortable you feel in your job and with your superiors, you may have to tell them you insist on them putting him back in a special education classroom immediately until they have a QUALIFIED sub or TA in place because you cannot assume the risk any longer and worry about the safety of the student, the risk to the school and mostly to yourself. As a teacher, you have a right to protect yourself. (You don't have to let on that you are ultimately doing all of this to get the student what they need).
     

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