I previously detailed the start of our journey in getting help from the school on this post.Today's post is continues where I left off on this topic.
Typically Princess has a really difficult time adjusting to going back to school. Most kids want to relish the carefree days of summer just a little bit longer but for a child with a mood disorder this is magnified 100x. The start of Princess’s 3rd grade year was no different. Even though she knew who her teacher was going to be and she knew most of the kids in her class, transitioning back to school was extremely difficult. One thing that added to this was that Princess wanted to wear her flip flops to school. She doesn’t like wearing closed in shoes. We of course had purchased shoes with her and made her wear them out of the shoe store but this did not change the fact that she did not want to wear them to school. So when school started one of Princess’s delay tactics was to refuse to put on her shoes in the morning. One time my husband sat outside of the school for two hours trying to get Princess to put on her shoes.
At Princess’s SIT meeting a the beginning of school I requested an aide to help Princess transition from the car to school in the mornings. I even asked that she be able to wear her flip flops to school. We were told that the school “cannot mitigate” Princess's attending school. They declared they simply did not have the manpower to assist us in the mornings. This daily struggle continued until mid October.
Finally in mid October an event occurred that rocked our world but in the end it helped Princess get more assistance from the school. I’ll share more about this in a future post.
Fast forward to November. Princess’s annual IEP was scheduled. We had been told over and over again that Princess was fine and that we were overreacting. They had repeatedly told us that Princess didn’t really have any problems. With the help of our advocate I requested more testing for Princess. We felt she needed a Behavior Support Plan and a 1:1 aide. Well lo and behold at this November's IEP meeting, where everyone and their brother was in attendance, we were told that Princess was having significant problems at school. They wanted to place her at another school with a smaller class size to work on Princess’s behaviors. At first I was in shock but I did have some sort of inkling that this was the direction that the school was heading. After a visit to the new school, my husband and I decided to go ahead and place Princess there.At this school Princess is one of 13 students in her class. In addition to the teacher, there are two aides in the classroom at all times. The students work in small groups in 15 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks in between.
Princess has several other supports in place, in addition to this smaller class. Princess has an OT (Occupational Therapist) who visits once a week to work on Princess's handwriting. Her teacher and I meet once a month to coordinate home and school discipline. Princess also receives counseling twice a month at school. We are obviously making progress getting Princess the help that she needs at school.
We still don’t have the 1:1 aide for Princess but I haven’t given up that fight yet. Like most moms I have the mentality of “I am woman, hear me roar.”
One thing worth mentioning is that at one of Princess's IEP's at the new school, we were told that there would be a behaviorist waiting to assist us in getting Princess from the car to the school office twice a week. So I guess the school can " mitigate" for us when they want to.
Below is a picture of Princess on her first day of school a few years back.