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  1. #1
    ♥ms.pacman♥ is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default update on dd's 504 saga

    we had a mtg today at our school (counselor, teacher, vice principal, principal) for converting dd's campus documentation (for her Selective Mutism) to a 504. it was at 7:15 in the morning and thankfully dd's (amazing) therapist was able to attend for support.

    the school counselor reviewed current plan in place for my dd, which consisted mainly of accommodations for allowing her not to speak, (vs. interventions to get her talk). i asked about the stimulus fade-in technique that we are trying to get dd's main teacher to use (next year) which involves 2 or 3 sessions of 20 minutes each of teacher with dd (and a parent) in the classroom. this is the technique that dd's therapist used in her office when she first met DD and got her to talk on the FIRST VISIT (whereas she had never spoken to any other adult other than family save for 1 person).


    it sounds like even with the 504, it will be difficult if not impossible to get the school to agree to allow teacher to do this fade-in technique with DD, even for next year. principal said it would take too long, and that she cannot take away instructional time from the teacher's 20 other students. though - we never ever suggested we wanted to take away instructional time from other students - we suggested getting someone to cover for teacher during recess duty so that she could do this techinque with dd.

    therapist suggested parents volunteering to do recess duty - principal says they don't have parent volunteers for recess duty for liability reasons. and then mentioned they are short-staffed and thus they can't have people to sub for teachers during their recess duty. i am stumped on this - we have parent volunteers all the time at the school helping with various activities and working directly with kids - but somehow cannot be considered supervision at recess or lunchtime?

    anyway, the thing that gets me is this - we have these regular meetings for DD since kinder (she is now in 2nd grade) -accommodations have been put in place and documented, but she has never once talked to a teacher or inside the classroom. these meetings and documentation i'm sure is a lot of busy work for the teachers - therapist pointed out, this fade-in technique may sounds a lot of work up front but it will save time later. makes sense to me - if this gets dd to talk in the classroom, that solves a lot and could easily lead to dd no longer needing any accommodations , documentation, which i'm sure would save the school time and money.

    dd's therapist did point out that her experience, kids with SM who get this fade in technique do very well whereas doing the whole "wait and see" approach do not.

    later after the meeting, therapist did say that in her experience, our district unfortunately tends to be pretty bad re: flexibility for allowing interventions for kids with SM. on occasion when some schools allowed it, it may have been more "off the books" , more out of ppl wanting to help vs. sticking with the legal red tape. which i guess really sucks. the thought of dd starting another year (fourth year at school) still being unable to speak at school is heartbreaking. i can tell as she gets older she is more and more aware of her limitations and how peers perceive her.

  2. #2
    petesgirl is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Hmm, I'm sorry it didn't go as well as you wanted. I really thought that having the therapist there would get them to be a little more compliant.

    I do understand where the district is coming from though. Our reccesses are only 15 mins long, how long are yours? So even if you could get a parent or volunteer to cover for your teacher, that wouldn't be long enough.

    I would definitely approach her teacher next year about finding time to do it, maybe her next teacher will be willing and able to make it work.
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  3. #3
    sariana is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Do you have any friends who are lawyers? Sometimes a properly worded letter with legal letterhead can get a response when nothing else can. You don't have to have any intention of pursuing legal action--just an attorney who's willing to write the letter to make the district THINK you might be willing to take legal action.

    I've even known people who took along a random friend in a suit with a legal pad to IEP and 504 meetings. The district attendees don't necessarily know who the "official-looking" person is, but the suit and notepad can (sometimes) work wonders.
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  4. #4
    mmsmom is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I’m sorry it didn’t go better. There are many districts though that do not allow parents to supervise kids in a classroom. Yes, they can help in the classroom and chaperone field trips but being in charge of a class is different. If something happened while a parent was supervising a class there could be a huge backlash. As a parent I would not want that responsibility though I volunteer and work with students in other ways.

    I would try to research where this technique has been done in other schools and how it was managed. I hope next year’s teacher would be willing to put in some extra time for it. There was a child in DD’s class with hearing problems and the teacher wore a transmitter which she received training for and someone came to class to speak to the kids about it and explain how it worked. So obviously teacher time and instructional time was used in this case so it is possible. If you keep getting no then I would go to the district and consider hiring an advocate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsmom View Post

    I would try to research where this technique has been done in other schools and how it was managed. I hope next yearís teacher would be willing to put in some extra time for it. There was a child in DDís class with hearing problems and the teacher wore a transmitter which she received training for and someone came to class to speak to the kids about it and explain how it worked. So obviously teacher time and instructional time was used in this case so it is possible. If you keep getting no then I would go to the district and consider hiring an advocate.
    I have friends who are parents of deaf kids, and oftentimes when they want to mainstream their kids, itís often 2 options they go. Research other schools with exact same issues (in your case; SM) how the schools managed to do the fade in technique then present it at your school.

    Pursue it legally for further action. I think itís harder in your situation, because there is still a lot of unknown and resistance (that you already saw and experienced) from the school. In my friends cases, thereís already a lot of documentation, accommodations ideas, and different options for deaf children that it is bit easier.

    Isnít there any national group or forum for parents of kids with SM? Join one and youíll have a wealth of information, support and ideas as far best in helping your DD.

    Sorry that the meeting didnít go as much you hoped for.


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  6. #6
    ♥ms.pacman♥ is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by petesgirl View Post
    Hmm, I'm sorry it didn't go as well as you wanted. I really thought that having the therapist there would get them to be a little more compliant.

    I do understand where the district is coming from though. Our reccesses are only 15 mins long, how long are yours? So even if you could get a parent or volunteer to cover for your teacher, that wouldn't be long enough.

    I would definitely approach her teacher next year about finding time to do it, maybe her next teacher will be willing and able to make it work.
    thanks! i am really glad the therapist was there, i think she did help a lot.

    our recesses are longer (>20min) but the length is not the issue - the fade-in technique could be done in 10-15 minute sessions if needed, ias t's not a set time.

    also the issue is that it's not up to the teacher - dd's teacher this year was very wiling to help do this technique and even met with me and dh once with the therapist there to get idea of this techniques and how to help DD. only at the next mtg with, the vice principal saying no, teachers are legally required to have kid-free planning times every day. when we asked about doing the technique over the summer before next year, before school started, she said no, they have a week for planning and it's very busy. at this meeting the principal said the same thing right away and kept saying they had 500 other students to take care of.

    i find it so odd though that a teacher is basically forbidden from spending ~15 minutes time with a student, in a classroom. one time dd's teacher told me that dd would have to stay in during recess to work on an assignment with her that she didn't finish during class (that she could not finish, due to her selective mutism, bc she could not ask for help or explain the problem she was having). i'm sure that is not uncommon.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ♥ms.pacman♥ View Post

    later after the meeting, therapist did say that in her experience, our district unfortunately tends to be pretty bad re: flexibility for allowing interventions for kids with SM. on occasion when some schools allowed it, it may have been more "off the books" , more out of ppl wanting to help vs. sticking with the legal red tape. which i guess really sucks.
    I'm sorry it didn't go well. I'm curious if the therapist has any other suggestions re: this. Other school options? I would hate it and the unfairness of it all, but yes, I would be exploring it. And does she think they are correct or accurate? In other words, does she think they are legally correct, but some have been willing to go "off the books?" If they cite a law or requirement that is hindering them, you can always ask where you can find the text of it so you can familiarize yourself with it. Your therapist's comment makes me think there may be some truth to it.

  8. #8
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Default update on dd's 504 saga

    Ohhhhh crap, I was hoping with the therapist there, you could get more traction. Sounds like the issue is who will supervise the class during these sessions. In our district the person has to be certificated so a parent volunteer doesnít count. Our teaching assistants canít be alone either with students. Itíll need to be a sub (who pays for that?) or someone maybe in admin to cover as other teachers already have their class to supervise.

    Iím wondering if thereís a time when the class is with another teacher like during specials, or a special assembly where there already enough certificated staff, but not during the teacherís planning or lunch time. Or if a sub will be there but not with a class the whole day. We get subs to cover for teacher so they can attend IEP meetings. When theyíre not covering for a teacher in a meeting, they do other duties around school.

    But to work that out requires flexibility with admin, and they donít sound flexible. Did they offer any suggestions for organizing a time?

    Does DD need to do the fade in technique for every environment? Just wondering if thereís other options that treat the underlying anxiety rather than deal with each environment. Have you considered medications for the anxiety? My understanding is that medications help to decrease anxiety enough that other strategies can work.

    I know itís a big issue to consider with consequences of taking medications and consequences of not taking medications. Weíre having to medicate DS for his nerve pain condition. I hate doing it, but if we donít he could attempt to self-medicate (drugs, alcohol) to deal with the nerve pain. Itís a real threat, so weíve opted for medications we control and can deal with side-affects.

    ETA: Is there a time for teachers to conference with parents? At my school, itís 20 mins before school starts. DS is in middle school, and his teachers can meet after school for a short period of time, as still in contracted time. Could you organize a ďconferenceĒ and do the technique then?


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    Last edited by niccig; 05-20-2019 at 10:44 PM.

  9. #9
    ♥ms.pacman♥ is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by niccig View Post
    Ohhhhh crap, I was hoping with the therapist there, you could get more traction. Sounds like the issue is who will supervise the class during these sessions. In our district the person has to be certificated so a parent volunteer doesn’t count. Our teaching assistants can’t be alone either with students. It’ll need to be a sub (who pays for that?) or someone maybe in admin to cover as other teachers already have their class to supervise.

    I’m wondering if there’s a time when the class is with another teacher like during specials, or a special assembly where there already enough certificated staff, but not during the teacher’s planning or lunch time. Or if a sub will be there but not with a class the whole day. We get subs to cover for teacher so they can attend IEP meetings. When they’re not covering for a teacher in a meeting, they do other duties around school.

    But to work that out requires flexibility with admin, and they don’t sound flexible. Did they offer any suggestions for organizing a time?

    Does DD need to do the fade in technique for every environment? Just wondering if there’s other options that treat the underlying anxiety rather than deal with each environment. Have you considered medications for the anxiety? My understanding is that medications help to decrease anxiety enough that other strategies can work.

    I know it’s a big issue to consider with consequences of taking medications and consequences of not taking medications. We’re having to medicate DS for his nerve pain condition. I hate doing it, but if we don’t he could attempt to self-medicate (drugs, alcohol) to deal with the nerve pain. It’s a real threat, so we’ve opted for medications we control and can deal with side-affects.

    ETA: Is there a time for teachers to conference with parents? At my school, it’s 20 mins before school starts. DS is in middle school, and his teachers can meet after school for a short period of time, as still in contracted time. Could you organize a “conference” and do the technique then?


    Sent from my iPhone using Baby Bargains
    thanks for commenting!! having the therapist there did help a TON to speak to the effectiveness of the fade-in technique. however the principal was pretty firm that they didn't want to do it, even now with the 504. the therpaist did point out that DD (completing 2nd grade) has technically not passed her Kindergarten TEKS (texas curricululm standards) because she cannot respond to the teacher. i thought that was really good point she raised! i think DD tends to be dismissed bc she does well in school and behaves very well and doesn't appear to have a "need" for services.

    the fade-in technique needs to be done in the empty classroom with DD (and a parent). There are times every day/multiple times a week when all the kids are at specials classes (e.g. art, PE, etc) for a decent chunk of time and the teacher is alone in the classroom but apparently that is considered the teachers "planning time" and admin says we cannot legally use that (again i do question how hard and fast rule this is - we used that time once to meet with the teacher and therapist to discuss how to help DD). So only option is getting someone to fill in for teacher's recess or lunch duty so then teacher can be in the classroom with the DD. again, i question that as i know there are times when teacher has to stay in the classroom during recess to help a student with work that was not completed in class, so someone must obviously be covering her duty at that time. this fade-in technique (2-3 sessions) would be really no different from that.

    the school admin didn't offer any options for doing the fade in, just pretty much said straight up they didn't want to do the fade in technique because it took too long and they can't take away instruction time for other students, and asked if there is any other intervention they could do. they made a point to note that at last meeting they offered for the school learning specialist (instead of the teacher) to do the fade-in technique and we turned that down (based on recommendation of our therapist), and her tone totally insinuated we were being difficult/unreasonable. I am so confused by that - why do they want us to try the fade-in with the learning specialist and not the teacher? there is one learning specialist for 500 students at our school (a title I school with lots of kids with issues), i'm sure she is very busy too. plus, say we did fade-in with her, then what? then my dd will be able to talk to 1 adult at the school that she never otherwise interacts with. and we'd still have to do a fade-in with her main teacher in the classroom to get her to speak and interact with the teacher like a normal kid - so it would be more work. Our therapist tried to explain this in the meeting, but i don't think it was fully grasped. Therapist had also pointed out to us - if they offer the learning therapist to do the fade-in, why couldn't she just instead use that time to cover the recess duty for the teacher so she could do it in the classroom with DD? i don't really get it.

    to answer the question re: settings - dd would not have to do the fade-in technique in every setting - the main thing would be to do it with the teacher in the classroom bc that is the most common environment she is in, and where lots of speaking and interaction with teacher would normally occur. i'd be over the moon if she could at least speak to the teacher in class and be able to read out loud etc.
    Last edited by ♥ms.pacman♥; 05-21-2019 at 11:28 AM.

  10. #10
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    As pp have said, have you started researching other schools? Some schools just aren't good fits and there could be a much better option. Your therapist might be able to suggest some.

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