Monday, March 14, 2005

My letter to Noah;s behavioral consultant

Just wanted to know how it went on Monday with Emmy Davis. She seemed extremely defensive and stand-offish to us on Monday morning. I imagine cause I made the call to you. I am not sure. I tried explaining some other things that bothered Noah or worked for him and she basically told us she could care less because she only said "he has to learn to do things the way we want him to"...."he cannot sit with the other kids or do things with them as he disrupts them too much"...etc. She stood the entire time with her arms crossed in front of her and her legs in combat type stance. She did the same thing when we picked Noah up and Keith approached her to talk about some things. For the first time she DID NOT sit down "alongside" us to discuss Noah. She stood cross armed and combat stance the entire time...ABOVE us and kept saying "well...we will see Noah tomorrow"...shooing us out the door. I left because I was already ticked off and felt if anything else needed to be said Keith could do it. He did not like the response or lack thereof either so he came out pretty quickly after I had left.

I had explained to Emmy that morning that Noah was extremely upset and crying this morning (MONDAY) and did not want to even go to school because he said there were TOO many STOP signs and WAIT signs and schedules all around him. He also mentioned he did not like always being by himself and not being able to play with the other kids or do things with them. I mean he is being overwhelmed with VISUAL cues to the point where every inch he turns there is a sign telling him what he can or cannot do. MORE things he canNOT do than can. As I had told you last week...he is not being allowed to even sit with the other kids as Emmy says he disrupts the class too much. I spoke with someone who runs another CAC program in Denver and they said when they had that problem they have their other kids put headphones on and stay in the room and continue with their work..etc. Not sure why that was not an option for Noah. In other words by Emmy removing the other kids from the room....Noah got super attention to the fact that he was having a fit when it should have been headphones placed on...him being redirected and then ignoring the tantrum. What happened instead only made him probably feel like "wow...look what I just made happen". He got everyone's attention! For most of these kids and especially we know with Noah anyway....a lot of his behaviors you just have to ignore....and prompt him to do something positive and ignore the bad behavior and go on. Drawing attention to it only reinforces the POWER of the bad behavior so it continues.

ANYWAY..I am tired of explaining things to teachers and school staff who do not understand or seem to care to understand as Noah being present poses a huge inconvenience for them and the rest of their class. Keith and I both still feel isolating Noah within the classroom is not right. He even has partitions up all around him......dividers..etc. We are not sure that is necessary. I guess it is a close call to make as there are times he prefers being to himself to accomplish things....but the whole idea of the CAC program was so he COULD interact with other kids in a regular SMALL classroom setting. This is NOT interacting in any fashion. He ONLY interacts with his para and sometimes teacher. ONCE per day he is allowed to do CHOICE time with ONE other student. This is only for MINUTES. Otherwise it is Noah and his para. While this is okay we suppose to some seriously lacks in ways to provide Noah with appropriate social skills classes and behavior modification, peer observation, etc., which was the ONLY reason we had even considered placing him in another public school program. It also does not even afford an opportunity for that. Noah is presently NOT receiving any academics which we also have huge problems with. To date we are also not even aware he is receiving any speech therapy or occupational therapy let alone any special education services. His para is reading TO him rather than having HIM READ TO HER...he CAN READ. While we understand just becoming aclimated to the room and environment is a process and takes time..etc...we do not feel it should be a reason to withhold his therapies and/or academics.

Fostering the isolation in the corner of the room only makes Noah feel he needs to be off to himself in order to complete any work or project. This is NOT the goal we had all set in place for him from the we don't understand why it is happening now. Emmy Davis will say it is because Noah is too disruptive to the rest of the class. While we understand that to a degree...we also know he has to be allowed to mix and mingle, to observe and to be allowed to SUCCESSFULLY DO SOME SOCIAL interaction each day.

I also tried to tell Emmy Davis this morning that Noah has to have something in his hands all the time...preferably a MICRO BEAD stretchy toy to hold, squeeze and stretch WHILE he works...not placing that aside and only allowing him to have scheduled SENSORY breaks. We are right back where we started at WEBER! We have even offered to BRING IN A MICRO BEAD stretchy toy as they only seem to give him KOOSH balls which he does not like that well and they have never worked well here for us at home. We have also told her that we had to start out with very small time increments to demand sitting and working on anything. Start with a scheduled amount of time...say 5 minutes....and then let him take a break. Then keep doing that and slowly increase the time he sits and works. Emmy acted like she could not believe or allow SO MANY BREAKS for Noah.

To be honest Keith and I are to the point where we are asking WHY we keep sending Noah back into the public school setting where everyone experiments with different things to try to find something that works. We already can make things work fine here at home with academics..etc. We are even beginning our own social skills classes since he is not yet receiving those anywhere else. He is able to effectively calm himself at home if he gets upset. He has made tremendous strides. He does well socially with other kids at playgrounds and play areas. SO....except to train him to eventually become another cookie cutter molded little person who sits and does everything in school the exact same way everyone else does..WHY ARE we continuing to send him back? The ONLY reason we did this time was so Noah could SUPPOSEDLY receive social skills training and behavior modification per his IEP. He does NOT have to ever enter a real classroom setting to complete school...or even college for that matter. And to date we are not happy with anything we have seen in the public school setting and had NO PLANS for allowing Noah to go to a public school long-term. Emmy Davis wants to refer Noah to an SIED program (or is it SEID?) as she said "they have more expertise with behavior modification than I have or ever will have". By her calling and scheduling an appointment with Barb Bailey prior to Keith or I even telling her what we would consider as a possible option (the SIED/SEID program).....that ticked me off considerably. Here the day before she had told me to go home and talk to Keith about it. I told her there was really nothing to discuss as we had already talked about the SIED program before and we all agreed that was not the proper placement for Noah. She said if we wanted to go see the program she would go let her know..and she would call Barb Bailey about it. She would give Noah one additional week (now this week) to see how things went. Friday we go in (the day after this conversation) and she informs me she has already called Barb and has already scheduled an appointment for next Thursday the 17th at 3:00 p.m. to discuss WHERE we were going to PLACE NOAH AFTER SPRING BREAK!! Now what??? That told us right there she had thrown in the towel with Noah. What other message should we have gotten? There is no other message. It was loud and clear.

So....again I told her that date was not good for me to meet...and besides..if Sheridan Green did not work out for Noah...then we would officially withdraw him from public school settings until we completed his formal evaluation and heard where the professionals would say he should receive his therapies. She then made a comment about Noah not receiving any social skills....and I thought to myself....AND HE IS RECEIVING THEM AT SHERIDAN? NO he is NOT. He is isolated and only being allowed to interact with his para. So basically he is only being babysat while at Sheridan as far as we know as he is NOT receiving any therapies or academics or social skills training/behavior modification.

As you can tell I am extremely upset. SO upset we are not even sure about proceeding with Sheridan Green anymore even this week. Keith and I have talked and talked about this to no end. We are both so sick and tired of explaining things to deaf ears. OR trying to place Noah with so-called EXPERIENCED personnel and then they act like Noah does things they have never seen or worked with before. Meanwhile Noah goes through Hell. If he has not gotten a paranoid complex from all this yet in time he will. He is TOTALLY aware he is being sectioned off from others. The problem is he does not totally understand WHY. In fact I could say the same about us his parents. We are also not totally sure why.

So before we make a hasty decision we would like to know what you saw or felt was happening at Sheridan Green when you observed on Monday.
I purposefully did not call as I don't have the time or energy to discuss this further via voice. I hesitate also as I may say something I will regret. You however have been the only one to date who truly seems to understand and GET IT. For that we thank you very very much.

SO...please email us and let me know your thoughts. You can forward this email to anyone you feel would benefit from it...including Barb Bailey. Thanks so much!


Melinda AND Keith

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