Supporting Thomas

18 Aug

The last couple of posts have been a bit on the depressing side, and that is where I’ve been with this mess. However, I’ve managed to process things and become a bit more proactive. Actually, I’m more inclined to wait things out, but his teacher, his para and Jane are all beside themselves to figure out what to do. And it is my area of interest, afterall.

So I dialed into the county IEP data base and looked at his IEP from last year. We did not develop a behavior intervention plan, because he appeared to be doing well enough last year. However, last year was not easy the whole time and it dawned on me that we should still do a BIP for a couple more years beyond whatever his improvement, just to be safe. While there was no BIP last year, the one from the previous year was still available. I printed this out and looked it over. The targets of getting out of his seat and being off task were there and defined and then there was a very large list of interventions listed from a positive support model to antecedent and response prompting to consequences. I should know, because I’m the one that wrote it. I wrote it because there are so few other behaviorists in the county, and none that I know of at his school.

This is not to say there are not competent teachers at this school, because there are some very good ones. In fact most of them are excellent. But none are behaviorally oriented and since a BIP is by definition a behaviorally oriented document, it stands to reason that a behaviorist would be better off writing it. But I will say something else about about competence, which I covered in Parking it in Special Ed. In that post, I was a bit unfair to a fellow blogger, but my son’s present case manager is a case in point. She has done Title I reading but otherwise hasn’t taught special education in her entire life. Last year she had a special needs student in her class and demonstrated nothing short of incompetence with her. So I am not counting on this person for any constructive help. The only reason she wanted this job, is because she wanted a consultative-type job where she didn’t have her own class. It was a good deal for the administration, because they figured she’ll do less damage here. Plus, this teacher is on her last year before retirement. Get the picture?

So I wrote a brief note, attaching the BIP and asked for more information as far as the types of behavior, whether or not we needed more targets and interventions they have tried as well as some from the list they might want to try. I also asked if there were any interventions for which they needed more training or support. It was a very brief 7 point sheet, but Jane made me soften it up a bit and make it less formal. She’s a bit better with the emotional/social stuff than I am and since these are all women with limited behavioral background (and less background with me) they needed more indirect handling than I’m prone to. I come off as being abrupt sometimes because I don’t see a lot of value in small talk. I’m like a guided missile when I’m striving for a solution to a problem and hate being bothered by various niceties that society seems to need and demand. Could we just get to the POINT?!?

So, yeah, Thomas comes by his social ills honestly!LOL!

I’m thinking that once the teachers and para look at the BIP list, they may get some ideas and be able to take things from there. At the same time, I’m still going to look for a specific list of target behaviors so that we can take a stab at some data collection. Again, I may have to train his para since she has been at this only since last year, but it seems like she might actually be more competent than her (soon-to-retire) supervisor. And training paras is one of my other areas of interest! I just need to find the time to do it.


6 Responses to “Supporting Thomas”

  1. liz August 19, 2006 at 12:05 pm #

    Social ills? Well, I suppose if you can *only* be direct and to the point, maybe.

    Hey, I’ve been a woman all my life and I get impatient with a lot of schmoozing and chitchat when there’s a decision to be reached or a task to be accomplished. But there’s a time and place for schmoozing and chitchat.

    So I guess I’d say a competent person has a bunch of conversational/communication strategies in his/her repetoire.

  2. Dick August 19, 2006 at 1:44 pm #

    Well, that’s the thing, Liz; I’m a lot less prone to seeing a time and place for schmoozing and chit chat. To me, it is almost always a waste of time! I only do it because of having insulted more than one person in the past because of being more like a Klingon where my typical greeting when being approached by people I knew was, “What do YOU want?!?” instead of the typical “Good Morning!”

    So I can say hello and good morning and how are you and engage in silly small talk and impatiently wait for the socially appropriate time and means of asking them, “So, what do YOU want?” So many social conventions are inconvenient, illogical wastes of time!

    But we do them because NTs get all bent out of shape when people are abrupt or if someone passes them in the hall without returning the appropriate greeting.

    Sorry…I just got off on a sore spot, there!


  3. DougK August 22, 2006 at 11:25 am #

    I really enjoy your blog, and appreciate all the effort you put into writing it. It’s very, very interesting.

    I am not a parent, nor a teacher, but a music therapist, and I teach university students who may one day work in special education. I used to work in special education several years back (preschool level), and I have a very small private practice in central GA.

    In one of my courses we talk quite a bit about the origins of musical behavior and the relationships between musical behavior and human society. I’m not sure what NTs are (a word you used in a comment), but could the niceties (that seem neither convenient or logical) actually serve some function?

  4. dawn August 22, 2006 at 1:44 pm #

    As the aunt of a three-year-old with Down Syndrome, I’m finding all of this interesting. He began early-intervention preschool at a regular school today and we were all a bit nervous to see how it would go – not because he’s ill-behaved or because we didn’t have faith in his teachers. Mostly, it’s because he’s three and because this is his first foray into public education outside of daycare.

    We’re fortunate because the school he is attending has amazing special ed instructors (and his dad is an educator, his mom a nurse, and I work in education, as well). He’s had great therapists (he’s been on early interventiion almost since birth.

    As for niceties, I have difficulties with them, too. I want people to get to the point instead of beating around the bush. I’m not a big schmoozer at all.

  5. Dick Dalton August 22, 2006 at 3:27 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by, Doug and Dawn! It’s interesting to see who finds their way here. My wife was looking for info on PANDAS and my blog came up #1 in a google search!

    As for niceties, they probably do serve some function as far as keeping the fabric of society knitted together or something. It’s just part of the culture and we do our best to adapt to it.


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