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  • ? about transition planning

    Hi Brice. Thanks for your reply. We jumped the gun, but I hope that's ok. My husband felt VERY strongly about acting on this immediately. But we also didn't want to burn bridges with the counselor, who does care but is a bit of a control freak. Anyway, we did a conference call with her to call her out on what she said. We told her we were calling a team meeting. Then we sent the letter, via email, with the letter attached and cc'd to the team. I also included the text in the email, whoops! Sometimes people can't read attachments, so we wanted to be sure everyone could read it.

    Anyway, no harm done, we hope. Our sped director follows the letter of the law, and she will honor our request. I hope we didn't do anything stupid, but the counselor is about to leave for maternity on Friday. I would love to hear the rest of your thoughts. My husband was not able to attend the conference, and he is very, very concerned about our son's history with transitions and wanted to act on this today. So the ball is rolling. We have not documented what she said, so I would love to hear what you think. We have a few days before she leaves to create a paper trail, perhaps a thank you for talking to us about this. She didn't backtrack on what she said, but she was very defensive and hemmed and hawed a bit.

    Anyway, our son comes first!!

    Thanks in advance for whatever advice you have.

  • #2
    Once upon a time, a farmer decided to sell one of his mules

    I certainly do not condone violence or even violent language. We have far more effective ways to get the attention of the IEP team members than by resorting to raw force.

    Our objective is to get the school district members of the IEP team to follow the directions (the IDEA and Section 504 regulations) and pull the plow.

    How?An exampleAnd what does all this have to do with the problem you need to solve with the school counselor?Ms. Counselor says, "We just have to assume the first three months of fifth grade will be rocky."

    Pause for a second and then say:

    I know you must have a good reason for saying that. Would you mind telling me what it is?

    Clam up after you ask the question


    • #3
      Thanks, another question for you (and others)

      What are reasonable requests for transition planning? We would like ds to spend as much time as possible in the new classroom before the end of the school year. We would also like for him to meet with the new counselor and, perhaps, to spend time with the students already in that classroom, maybe for lunch groups. Can you think of other things the school can do to help him make a smooth transition (rather than going down a rocky road)?



      • #4
        ? about transition planning

        Hi Brice. Thanks for all your work here, amazing stuff.

        DS, age 9, is in a substantially separate classroom in a different district. He has Aspergers and struggles with anxiety, especially around big transitions. I won't fill you in on our entire saga, but it's been a long road. We would much prefer for him to be in a general education setting in his home district (which was horrible for him!), but he is where he needs to be right now. He is understood, and he has supports to help him when he goes to general ed for specials, etc. He is extremely bright and is doing just fine academically.

        Anyway. Come June, he will have been in the same mixed-age class for 2 1/2 years. In September, he is moving up into the classroom for grade 5-6. Different teacher. Different counselor. Some different kids. His anxiety can get off the charts during transitions like this. At our recent parent conference, we requested a clear transition plan. Last year, the staff had told us the two classrooms would be doing things together this year, with lots of cross-pollination among the two groups, which would ease the transition next year. It hasn't happened. We asked for this to begin and for, at the very least, the last month of school to be dedicated to the transition. The class counselor (who is about to go on maternity leave) would have nothing of this. She said, "We just have to assume the first three months of fifth grade will be rocky." I pushed a little, but she wouldn't budge.

        Yes, now that your jaw is out of your lap, here's my question. Obviously, we are going to act on this immediately. The counselor really cares about the kids and she "gets" them, but she is a bit of a control freak and wants authority to begin and end with her. Her comment is nagging on me. So. Do I write to her now and contest the comment and tell her that we need a clear plan? Or do I write to the whole team and request a team meeting to address transition to fifth grade? I would also request that the teacher and counselor for next year be at this meeting.

        If I request a team meeting, I know the email goes to everyone. If I do this, should I quote the counselor? I really want to say, "That kind of rigid, inflexible thinking is self-defeating and does not do a service to DS, who has grown so much and deserves positive expectations from adults." Notice I am mimicking the things educators say about Aspy kids: rigid, inflexible. That might tweak her and make her feel as if we are taunting her, but the thing is, IT'S TRUE! If they are working to help my ds learn to think in new ways, it does not help if they are inflexible, for whatever reason. I should say that I don't think this is a staffing issue, although they would say it is. There are six kids in ds' class, which is staffed by a full-time counselor, a teacher, and three aides.

        Anyway, I would love your input on what to do. We want to do whatever we can to smooth this transition, and we will not accept that he will suffer for three months. Anxiety leads to explosions, not good. DS has come so far, he is doing so well, we refuse to believe he will regress. Plus, how can she predict such a rocky road when the actual transition is nine months away? It sounds as if she is assuming he will not grow any further, when he has already gone from a kid who refused to go to school, then refused to read or write, to a kid who is above grade level in all subjects, except writing (he's at grade level). He also has two good friends in his class.

        Thanks for reading. I look forward to your advice. I just would love to hear what you think we should write and to whom.



        • #5

          Your questions are terrific. Thank you.

          Today I will try to break your questions down and give you the short answers. Expanded answers that talk about how to do it will follow during the next several days.

          THE PROBLEM:

          The school is going to transition your son from the mixed-age class he has been in for two and a half years and into a different school district. The new school district classroom is intended for fifth and sixth grade students.

          You want to know how you can work with the school district team members to make that happen in a way that benefits, not harms, your son.


          1) Should you ask for a team meeting?

          SHORT ANSWER: Yes
          SHORT CAUTION: Strategic timing and tactical planning is critical.

          2) Should you send your request for a team meeting by email to each school district member of the team?

          SHORT ANSWER: Yes, and No.

          SHORT ANSWER: Rocky Road is the name of a delicious ice-cream. We need to describe the future with words that gives a vision about the solution in the here and now. Adjectives are your friend. Adverbs - not always your friend. In a later posting I will write more on laying a paper trail that any old hound dog can follow.

          Thank you for your questions, Patrice. You can expect longer answers to each of these topics over the next several days.


          • #6
            First, ask yourself whether this is a transition problem or an access problem.What this means for your son is that by shifting the conversation from transition to meaningful access, you will have a bigger stick and a louder voice. else