So today was the day that Jayden was to begin ABA therapy and we were to meet with our new service coordinator through Early Intervention during that session. I had recently had the pleasure of speaking to a woman on the phone who introduced herself to me as our new service coordinator and she had a very nasty attitude. I, in turn, may have had an attitude with her as well ;) I was also in touch with the Board of Education and they let me know that they would be sending a monitor to this meeting to sit in and ask any questions. Also, my mom came along to sit in! LOL! So at 2pm, we arrive at the Child Development Clinic and the behavioral analyst comes out to greet us. As she walks us to the room, she turns to me with this look of concern and tells me that there is a monitor present from the BOE and she asked if I was aware. I nonchalantly told her "Yes, I knew." HAHA! Had her shaking in her boots. So we get there and I'm also greeted by a service coordinator who is NOT the woman with the attitude, thank you Lord. The lady we met seemed really nice and organized. She took notes throughout and asked me when he would be restarting his speech therapy (tomorrow morning) and OT. I hadn't heard from the OT yet so she wrote herself a note to call the OT to get the services started. I also mentioned to her about needing assistance transitioning him from Early Intervention into the St. Tammany Parish school system. She didn't hesitate to say that she could do that for me. She even wrote down the name of the school we plan to send him to. So, the first session of ABA therapy was basically just playtime for Jayden. I can totally understand her not wanting to jump right in on the first day so I wasn't bothered. The BA commented on how well he mimicked. He will basically mimic anything, but that's not considered language, so she just let him play and listened to any spontaneous words he would say. He said several and she picked up on them. There were several times though that he would say something and she'd mistake the word to mean something else. I just remained quiet so as not to be "THAT" mom. His speech therapist is much better at understanding what he says so I'm not concerned about that right now.She tried getting him to identify objects from flash cards but he pushed them away. He wanted nothing to do with her, just the toys. She would back off quickly when she saw he wasn't interested. Pretty much the entire hour was uneventful while he played but towards the end you could tell he was getting bored with the toys and ready to start getting destructive and throwing things. The BA showed me a sample progress report that she would complete with Jayden. Certain goals she would work towards with him. The monitor asked questions about his schedule and about his IFSP and the BA said that she wouldn't be able to update it until maybe his 3rd session with her b/c she wants to be sure what his goals need to be and since he is vocal and speaks, she doesn't think he's going to need much help. I told her, "Well that is the same thing the evaluation crew said last year in November when he was initially evaluated. Then once they truly started to work with him, the issues became apparent and here we are now." So she says she will definitely adjust his goals as she notices there are things he may need to work on. The monitor is going to return for the 3rd session. The monitor did end up leaving about 15 minutes before we did and when she left, the BA says "I didn't want to say this in front of her (the monitor), but I don't think you should send him to an autism school." I looked at her like WTF are you talking about?? Earlier when I was talking to the service coordinator about transitioning Jayden to the school system, I told her that I spoke with my friend in Louisiana who has 4 autistic children and she speaks highly of the school. Never did I say it was a school for autistic children. My friend I spoke with just happens to have 4 autistic children who receive the same services that Jayden is receiving. I told her "It's not an autism school, it's a regular school that does the IEPs for kids requiring special education services." Um, wow lady. She goes on to say "You don't want him to send him to school with kids who are autistic b/c he is clearly not and he will regress if he's in a class with non verbal students." OH MY GOD! That's why she waited until the monitor left. I am so sick of her view of autistic children all being completely non verbal. Has she not heard of asperger's?? Those kids generally have excellent language skills, yet they are still autistic. One thing I've learned in life (and throughout this fight with EI) is that people are all entitled to their own opinions and although I may not agree with the opinions, there are times that you just have to leave it be and carry on. I replied to her "he's not autistic speech" with "It's a regular school." No further explanation needed. To this point, she has not thoroughly evaluated Jayden the way his developmental pediatrician has, and like I have said on this blog before, I don't care what you want to label Jayden as, just provide the services that his Dr is requesting for him. So anyway, as we prepare to leave Jayden starts to get upset b/c it's a transition that he is not prepared to make. I mean, who wants to leave a colorful room filled with toys?!? LOL! So I make the huge mistake of ASKING Jayden "Do you want to clean up?" and he throws the container that the trucks belong in and falls out. The BA immediately scolds me! "You don't ask him, you tell him." Again, I zip my lips b/c I know full well that even if I said "Jayden, pick up the trucks", the same thing would have happened. She'll find out soon enough though. So as he's on the floor kicking and screaming and throwing the trucks around, she grabs his hand and makes him pick up 3 trucks (she actually picked them up and held his hand in hers at the same time) and was saying "GOOD JOB JAYDEN! GREAT CLEANING!" and Jayden was just kicking and screaming. Once she had the 3 trucks in the container she let his hand go. He immediately flipped the trucks back out though :/ I can totally get what she's trying to demonstrate, but lets be real here...I'm dealing with bad behavior every single day and it gets overwhelming. I can honestly say that I don't have the patience for that. Maybe I need to try harder. So as we grab our bags and are walking out of the room Jayden loses it and runs through the room screaming and knocking everything off of her tables. So I go to grab his hands and he throws himself under the table. So we all walk out of the room and she goes back and tells him to come to her. He grabs a truck and runs out. He's ready to go as long as he can keep the truck. The BA told us he can keep it and bring it back next week "since yall have a long walk to the car". HA!!
The new service coordinator walked with us to the parking lot and she told me that she would be in touch with me and she will try to make it to the next meeting next week to stay on the BA to get the IFSP updated for Jayden. She also wants to monitor Jayden's progress with this BA b/c she caught on to her "he doesn't really need this" attitude as well. Of course, the two times she's met him he behaved well, but once she starts to add any structure to his sessions, she will have her hands full and hopefully understand why I go to bed in tears very often. As far as her opinion on what is and isn't autism. Well, it's just her opinion.
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