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speech mom
02-16-2012, 10:08 AM
The boy's IEP was mailed to me and says:

"However due to being homeschooled, and due to his limited exposure to appropriate social models and lack of ability to practice social skills with typical peers it is difficult to determine what is causing the social skill deficits."

Yeah, that was not shown on the screen at the meeting and was not said out loud.
He was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and has been seen for the following 9 years by multiple professionals including a full psychoeducational evaluation 3 months ago.

Now what?

Accidental Homeschooler
02-16-2012, 11:12 AM
Crap! That is really rotten that they did not talk to you about it but stuck it in a report. The author clearly has problems with hsing but didn't want to address it face to face. I would be upset too. And there is a very good explanation for social deficits when there is a diagnosis for autism isn't there? I have no answer to "Now what?" You could confront it I guess, it sounds like you have a bunch of evaluations that don't try to blame hsing for your son's challenges/problems. You could let it go or write a letter and ask that it be attached to the report so that any future readers get another perspective along with it. Good luck with whatever response you choose.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
02-16-2012, 11:17 AM
Well, duh. Homeschoolers keep their kids locked up in closets all day, so of course he has deficits in his social skills.

:explode:

farrarwilliams
02-16-2012, 12:01 PM
I'm going to gently say that it's possible that's true. (Is there a run and hide icon here?)

When I taught, I encountered a few kids who were entering our small private school after homeschooling for some time. In some cases, it did seem that homeschooling had exacerbated social issues that already existed due to being on the autistic spectrum. In those cases, the parents did not push the kids to interact socially hardly at all - it had become a spiral where it was hard, so they cut back, which made it harder, which made them cut back more... and so on. :(

I'm not saying that's you. I don't think every homeschooled kid on the autistic spectrum is having social issues excerbated by homeschooling (and I'm sure many are helped greatly by homeschooling!). Clearly many "experts" have a bias against homeschooling, which makes it really hard to get an honest assessment of that. :(

PetVet
02-16-2012, 12:34 PM
due to being homeschooled

and


due to his limited exposure to appropriate social models and lack of ability to practice social skills with typical peers

the "and" they put in there was erroneous - these are two different circumstances, which do not necessarily (or even commonly i would argue) happen together

do they have reason to link these two in your case? if you are providing plenty of opportunities for your son to have positive social interaction with peers, then i would fight this tooth and nail!

i'm not a teacher, but in the years my son spent in PS the interaction i witnessed between NT and non-NT kids was overwhelmingly negative - bullying, exclusion, teasing, meanness,etc. it was horrible and made me feel physically ill!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

aside: it was one of the main reasons i pulled my own son out of PS - he was becoming desensitized to these horrible behaviours (the instigators were often popular kids, well liked by students and teachers, and they seemed to get away with it quite easily - always claiming they 'didn't mean it') and i could see him beginning to think it was acceptable to treat people who are 'different' in a way that made them seem 'less than'

farrarwilliams
02-16-2012, 12:49 PM
Nice breakdown, PetVet. :)

Accidental Homeschooler
02-16-2012, 12:52 PM
My dd's social skills decreased in kindergarten from where they were in preschool. Maybe if we would have stuck with ps that would have changed, but at what cost? That is the thing, even if her ability to cope with social situations would get better with more opportunities to experience them, her anxiety would have increased also. By limiting her social time with other kids to a level she can handle without getting anxious, those interactions go much better and she is more confident about them. And maybe it easy for a school staff to say that they would get better as far as social skills in school when they are not seeing the fallout that a parent will see (for us meltdowns, aggressive behavior at home and nightmares). There is no way to measure that either, what the cost would be to a child for going to school. Maybe they will have better surface social skills and blend in better but there are other considerations as far as mental health that as a parent I think are also important to consider.

hockeymom
02-16-2012, 02:48 PM
First, GRRRRRRR!!!!! :(

Second, now what? I think I would fight it, really make a fuss. The evaluator is clearly being judgmental and placing preconceived connections to your son's situation. That is not fair or professional conduct.

I would suggest making a list of your son's activities. Co-ops or homeschool groups, music lessons, art time at the library, field trips you've taken, volunteer work, anything and everything you can think of to show that you don't hide him in the basement but that he's actually out around people a great portion of his days. I would even consider making a list of people he commonly associates with, a "reference" list if you will: the librarian, his music teacher, the neighbor whose dog he walks and so forth. Anyone who would be willing to testify to your son's ability to communicate and work with others.

I really take offense at this idea of what constitutes "proper socialization". I don't have time to rant so I'll leave it at that.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. :(

speech mom
02-16-2012, 03:22 PM
This is bothering me on so many levels. I feel that I should just put it all behind us and continue doing what we are doing. But the mother bear in me has been poked with a stick.
#1 They were fully aware of all the social activities he engages in. We even offered them the chance to observe him in these activities and to interview his dance teachers if needed. I am a trained SLP and gave them detailed descriptions of everything we have done from role playing to social modeling.
#2 I signed the IEP. It was shown on an overhead projector and I read the whole thing during the meeting, so I was OK signing it. Then they add that after. VERY illegal.
#3 If they truly felt that my homeschooling this child was impacting his social skills so negatively, as mandated reporters they should have reported me.

Accidental Homeschooler
02-16-2012, 04:20 PM
This is bothering me on so many levels. I feel that I should just put it all behind us and continue doing what we are doing. But the mother bear in me has been poked with a stick.
#1 They were fully aware of all the social activities he engages in. We even offered them the chance to observe him in these activities and to interview his dance teachers if needed. I am a trained SLP and gave them detailed descriptions of everything we have done from role playing to social modeling.
#2 I signed the IEP. It was shown on an overhead projector and I read the whole thing during the meeting, so I was OK signing it. Then they add that after. VERY illegal.
#3 If they truly felt that my homeschooling this child was impacting his social skills so negatively, as mandated reporters they should have reported me.

That is what I would want to do, especially if they added the hsing comment after you signed it. Good luck!

jessica14
02-16-2012, 04:30 PM
#2 I signed the IEP. It was shown on an overhead projector and I read the whole thing during the meeting, so I was OK signing it. Then they add that after. VERY illegal.
.
I have a friend whose son is on the spectrum and in 7th grade. She is constantly battling the district in regards to the IEP. She even homeschooled him for part of last year because the staff wouldn't honor the IEP in the classroom. This is obviously different then your case. However, what she did, knowing that what they were doing was illegal, was report them to the state educational board. Also, see if you can find a parent advocate in the district to help you. You should not let this situation go unchecked. If they are doing this to you, they are probably doing similar things to other students.

Jeninok
02-16-2012, 05:43 PM
The refusal to create a useful IEP and the total disregard for what little they did have on it was what finally prompted me to pull my Ds out of public school. He refused just about any help, and instead it was implied over and over that his disorganization and executive function issues were really his laziness and bad parenting.

We were told that he couldn't possibly be being bullied by students or singled out by teachers because he was so bright and happy and overly talkative at school. It didn't matter that he was coming home and falling apart every afternoon from the effort of just making it through the day. At one point I was tempted to start video taping it, but then at the next meeting their conclusion was that he was just being manipulative with these meltdowns. Between that and the most hateful grading of a spelling test I have ever seen I finally just decided to yank him out.

I know that doesn't help you at all, but know that you are not alone in having to fight tooth and nail for any appropriate services or help, or even recognition for your child's needs.

farrarwilliams
02-16-2012, 10:41 PM
The fact that they didn't show you that on the IEP is a big deal. I would approach it totally neutrally to homeschooling though. I would confront them solely on the basis that it was wrong that they added it later and that you didn't sign it so it cannot be part of the IEP.

Ack... IEP meetings are a pain the neck. A bunch of people who know nothing about a kid sitting around in a room making decisions about the kid. I used to loathe going to them.

speech mom
02-17-2012, 10:48 AM
I emailed the entire team asking that that comment be redacted as it was never presented or discussed at the meeting and should not be part of the IEP.

I was unable to bite my tongue about the homeschooling part. I told them that the social deficits are caused by autism. I added that homeschooling may impact those deficits. In my son's case, homeschooling had a positive impact on his social skills. I then detailed all the things that homeschooling has improved and how it did so. Then ended with the statement that he would not have had those opportunities in a public school setting.

And, I managed to do so without any swear words or calling into question anyone's intellectual abilities, professionalism, education, or qualifications to work with children, ever. At least in the final draft...

PetVet
02-17-2012, 11:33 AM
And, I managed to do so without any swear words or calling into question anyone's intellectual abilities, professionalism, education, or qualifications to work with children, ever.

you are a far nicer person than i am - i would have been calling for at least one resignation/termination

farrarwilliams
02-17-2012, 11:35 AM
Woohoo! Good for you!

Crabby Lioness
02-17-2012, 11:48 AM
The boy's IEP was mailed to me and says:

"However due to being homeschooled, and due to his limited exposure to appropriate social models and lack of ability to practice social skills with typical peers it is difficult to determine what is causing the social skill deficits."

Yeah, that was not shown on the screen at the meeting and was not said out loud.
He was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and has been seen for the following 9 years by multiple professionals including a full psychoeducational evaluation 3 months ago.

Now what?

Time to fire this bozo and find someone better.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
02-17-2012, 11:57 AM
Good for you, Amy!

Staysee34
02-17-2012, 12:34 PM
YOU GO MAMMA BEAR! I wanted to post earlier but was so infuriated by the situation, I couldn't find the right words. What I do know is that in situations such as these, I find it very difficult to be diplomatic. Kudos to you!!

Julia's IEP meeting is in a couple of months. I'm sure hoping it goes well. I'm allowing Julia to sit in on this one. She's 10 now and we've been working hard with her on self expression. It's only right she has a say so in all this. I can only imagine what her response will be about homeschooling. The mere mention of returning to PS sends her off the deep end!

Shaunam
02-17-2012, 01:22 PM
I just read your update and I think you did great.

I'm curious though, not saying one way or the other about socialization....but how do they figure what causes a deficit? I mean, how do they know a child would have done better in school? How do they know they wouldn't have done *worse*? I'm constantly battling the issue myself. My son isn't on the spectrum as far as I know, but he's socially awkward and has a lot of anxiety. I was the same way (well I still am LOL) and I was public schooled all the way. I'm guessing the assumption was just based on generalizing homeschoolers as at a disadvantage, since that's what a lot of people think. Doesn't seem very professional though. I'm having to switch my son's therapist because of the attitude she has about it. That his anxiety must be caused by not being around other people enough, when he actually has tons of friends. He's just a weird kid. LOL

Rainefox
02-17-2012, 02:37 PM
Because public school is SUCH a positive social environment, filled with well-behaved, polite, friendly children who just adore being nice to each other. Yeah, right.

Batgirl
02-17-2012, 08:13 PM
I just read your update and I think you did great.

I'm curious though, not saying one way or the other about socialization....but how do they figure what causes a deficit? I mean, how do they know a child would have done better in school? How do they know they wouldn't have done *worse*? I'm constantly battling the issue myself. My son isn't on the spectrum as far as I know, but he's socially awkward and has a lot of anxiety. I was the same way (well I still am LOL) and I was public schooled all the way. I'm guessing the assumption was just based on generalizing homeschoolers as at a disadvantage, since that's what a lot of people think. Doesn't seem very professional though. I'm having to switch my son's therapist because of the attitude she has about it. That his anxiety must be caused by not being around other people enough, when he actually has tons of friends. He's just a weird kid. LOL

If they were measuring his progress in some way, and the scores dropped, they might have some evidence. But if they had, they would have cited it. Social skills deficits are a core part of an Autism diagnosis and will be present to some degree no matter how much "social skills training" a child gets. (Of course, skills can and do improve!) This was just speculation, and put in illegally, at that. Way to go, Amy!

speech mom
02-22-2012, 02:12 PM
Still no word back from anyone in the district.
I am wondering if they are hoping I just go away?
But it is a legal document. Even if I don't use any of the school's services ever again, I don't want my signature on that document.

I want to do this politely, but I don't appreciate being blown off.

SusanC
02-23-2012, 04:54 PM
Let me preface this by saying that I don't know anything about this topic - although reading your post really got my blood boiling.

Perhaps give them a few more days - up to a week? then write another email just saying that the added material needs to be redacted since your understanding is that it would be illegal for it to be added after you sign. If they want to arrange another meeting to present the material they added, and their justification blah, blah, blah. Not that anyone in their right mind could imagine that you would sign that hogwash. Include a deadline of some sort, "I hope you can send me a corrected copy of the report with a cover letter explaining the change by ____, so that we can put this issue to rest."

Write down the sequence of events that has occurred so far. Surely, they will see the light, but start documenting now in case you need it. Continue to keep your correspondence civil (as hard as I imagine that to be). I liked the PP's idea of finding a parent advocate. Good luck.

farrarwilliams
02-23-2012, 10:30 PM
My experience with dealing with ps and IEPs (never as a parent - always as a teacher, but mostly during my private school career, when I found it part of my duties to go and be the other person in the room who actually knew something about the kid... sigh) is that it's definitely a squeaky wheel gets the grease situation. I can only think of one time when a family I worked with walked into the school, had some testing done, and got the IEP updated to reflect what was needed without any hassle. Everyone else had to show up and berate the school constantly. I knew many families who got lawyers to do it for them. So, I wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt. I'd just call. And call. And call. Until they fix it.

Grumblersridge
02-24-2012, 10:28 AM
Are there no advocacy organizations that can help with illegal stuff in your state? I know my mother used to work for such an agency and they did intervention on just exactly this sort of thing. It was in Oregon and called COPE. This seems like a very clear case and there may well be someone besides the parent who can do some ... kicking.

MarkInMD
02-27-2012, 08:58 AM
My experience with dealing with ps and IEPs (never as a parent - always as a teacher, but mostly during my private school career, when I found it part of my duties to go and be the other person in the room who actually knew something about the kid... sigh) is that it's definitely a squeaky wheel gets the grease situation.

My wife, who sat in on many an IEP as an OT, would definitely agree with this.

ElizabethB
02-27-2012, 10:30 AM
Wow. Um, first, I'd like to say they clearly don't know what the *ahem* they are talking about. Second, you know your child better than anyone in the world. Third, it has been my experience that any possible poke at Hsing will be made if the opportunity arises. Last, my advice is to challenge it, ask for any supporting research/documentation, because this sounds like someone's opinion as opposed to any factual, empirical data. *cleansing breaths*

Story: Many, many moons ago, I went to PS with a girl named Julie who was autistic. She seemed to be fine, but what did I know, I was 9. She couldn't communicate except thru simple sign language and was very obviously different. About halfway thru 4th grade, her parents took her out to school her at home, using the PS as a resource and for therapies, etc. After about 6-9 months she was saying her name and hugging her mom, two things she had never done before. My mom tells me this now because she was against the HS idea for us at first but then remembered Julie. Not all kids benefit from the "socialization" of PS.

My son has ADD- Inattentive type, along with some sensory integration issues/sensory processing disorder...blah. We tried IDEA and Sec 504, but he doesn't qualify, they say. At PS, he spoke to hardly any of the other kids. Bring the boy home to school him, and he plays daily with the other 3 homeschoolers down the street. He used to talk rather mature, like a grown up. Now he seems more like a boy, with sound effects, zooms, crashes, "yo" and "cool, dudes." It is nice to see that the PS system didn't completely suck the life out of him. Did PS help his so-called socialization? No, it did not.

As a child on the autism spectrum, the PS environment might be too much take in. So much stimulation for a person who already has trouble making sense of the world. And they're the experts? Whatev. Just my two cents.

speech mom
03-04-2012, 11:36 PM
They have agreed to take out the statement. They wish to replace it with a statement that says his "social skills can be improved by enrolling in general education classes and participating in a peer to peer group."

I don't understand why if they felt so strongly that he needed to be in school, no one ever said so.

On a bizarre side note, I was asked not to send my youngest daughter to school because they have nothing they can do for her. She is gifted and the district doesn't have a program for that.

dbmamaz
03-05-2012, 09:07 AM
its so funny to me that somehow the powers that be in school believe that simply being surrounded by other kids teaches kids social skills. Someone around here has signature that says something like learning social skills in school is like learning nutrition in the grocery store.

my middle one actually went through several 'social skills training' classes, 'how to make friends' classes, etc - he could recite the material backwards and forwards, but it never made any difference. kids in general ed hated him, kids in special ed were mostly so much lower functioning than he was, teachers everywhere were about 1/3 supportive and caring, 1/3 ok and 1/3 cruel.

crunchynerd
03-05-2012, 09:24 AM
My first response as a nerdy type of person, would be to challenge the assumptions of the statement, statistically. On what grounds does he make the claim that homeschooling contributes to autism? If it does, with all the research going on about autism, someone somewhere should be able to show a study linking homeschooling to autism. Do homeschoolers have a higher prevalence of autism? If not, then his statement is baseless, and full of irrational bias.
It's worth also remembering that similarly baseless biases were entrenched enough that papers were written in respected journals about autism being the fault of a mother who wasn't loving and nurturing enough...the notorious "refrigerator mother" argument. That too has been shown to be complete and utter nonsense, long since.

I don't mean to imply that he would or wouldn't be helped by this or that group exposure, but that's a different issue. Positive social engagement is helpful, but you as his mother are the foremost expert in what that means for him as an individual and as your child. Some other person's idea of positive and helpful, can't be blindly applied to your child, thankfully. You have discretion here, and that is how it should be. A committee can't raise a child.

dbmamaz
03-05-2012, 11:00 AM
MDo homeschoolers have a higher prevalence of autism? If not, then his statement is baseless, and full of irrational bias.
Correlation isnt what you want to show. More and more parents of aspie-type kids are homeschooling because the schools cant provide an adequate educational experience for them.

crkirby
03-05-2012, 08:45 PM
On a bizarre side note, I was asked not to send my youngest daughter to school because they have nothing they can do for her. She is gifted and the district doesn't have a program for that.

Well, I know that when I was teaching at the public school here, it was common knowledge among the teachers/admins that the school and district would get more money for kids in the special education department, but they (school/district) received nothing for the gifted/advanced learners. So they quite often pushed for the former. :/

speech mom
03-07-2012, 04:09 PM
It's worth also remembering that similarly baseless biases were entrenched enough that papers were written in respected journals about autism being the fault of a mother who wasn't loving and nurturing enough...the notorious "refrigerator mother" argument. That too has been shown to be complete and utter nonsense, long since.


My mother-in-law actually told me that he is autistic because I am a refrigerator mom.
I asked her to explain how the other two don't have autism then. Crickets.
It has been over 9 years since his diagnosis and she has yet to pick up a book or ask a single question about autism. Is there such a thing as a refrigerator grandmother?
:confused:

baker
03-07-2012, 05:16 PM
I had to google "refrigerator mom". What a horrible thing to say to you! Sounds like you are doing what is best for your children.

aselei
03-08-2012, 03:04 AM
As a fellow parent of an Aspie, I am so sorry you are going through this and your mil sounds like a vile person. I hope you aren't subjected to her often. My son goes to his local ps once a week for an hour - 30 minutes in a social group in the resource room and 30 minutes with an OT. It is working really well for him and the "team" has been wonderful. In my opinion, the sink or swim attitude with social interraction and a child with autism would be disastrous. We scaffold his social interraction and he has made remarkable improvements. Out of curiousity, why are you having an IEP done if you are homeschooling? Did you want the school to provide services? I still wouldn't sign the "edited" IEP.

speech mom
03-12-2012, 06:01 PM
My MIL leaves across country, so we don't see her much. She calls and talks to her son once in a while, but doesn't ask to speak to my son because "he doesn't really talk." He has been verbal for 7 years now.

We were looking into an IEP to get some speech therapy, social skills group therapy, and (pipe dream) occupational therapy. We live in Michigan and insurance here doesn't have to cover autism, so we were seeing if the school could provide some support.

On the plus side, the whole process involved the schools doing a full educational eval. He is above grade level in everything but math. Math is lower because he can't/won't do a gaggilion problems in 60 seconds. He knows the facts, he just doesn't see any reason to prove he can do them really fast. He also doesn't write down all his work. He can solve the higher word problems and calculations, but doesn't show the work because he doesn't like to write.

It has taken me a few weeks to see the silver lining.
1. Public school is no longer in any way shape or form an option, so I don't have that "what if" questioning thing anymore, homeschooling is the best choice for us.
2. He has learned more than they expect him to know at his age. Even in the areas that we didn't cover at all. This shows me he has learned how to learn. Even what he isn't taught.

Batgirl
03-12-2012, 07:18 PM
Speech Mom, good for him! And you, too. I hope you get the services you need. And I'm glad your MIL lives far away.