My son who is 11 will be attending middle school next year. My son has lots of friends in his class for the pass three years at this school and they help him take out things in his back pack, get things from shelves or put away things for him. In middle school, he has six classes because he is mainstream into regular classroom because of his academic ability. What does the school do to help your child get the materials he needs in each period? How do you ask for that kind of help? My son does have an IEP but does not include physical help in middle school. 

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Hi Tang,

My son is 11 also and starting middle school. We just had a meeting with the principal so she fully understands his needs, possible future needs, and how some things are just unknowns. Simon still walks, so it was hard to make them understand that he should be using the elevator anyway. They are worried about other kids stealing the key, so they will assign an attendant to be available when the elevator will be used. I'm not sure how that will work out...

For 2 years now Simon has been using a foldable file box on wheels with collapsible handle between his classes on the second floor. He fills it with 2 or 3 binders, notebooks, pencil case, etc and just pulls it along. There is no elevator in the current elementary school, so he uses the 3 flights of stairs at beginning and end of the day (I asked that a staff member carries his back pack once he gets off the bus), at recess and lunch, music and library. We had to have the OT request an extra handrail where there was none, but that is about all they have had to do for accommodation.

The top shelf in the high school locker is too high, but there are locker organizers that will allow him to have binders and heavier books at a lower level. I requested 2 sets of text books so we can keep one set at home so he does not have to transport everything in the back pack. We will try to get him working on a computer and saving his work on a USB key and only bringing that back and forth.

We have "core teachers" in middle school who usually teach 3 courses, but have assigned Simon to a core teacher of 5 subjects, so he will have very little transferring to do, will mostly stay in one class. Math,French,Geography,Art, and gym, but I got a deferral for gym from the pediatrician at the neuromuscular clinic. He is supposed to get extra academic help during what should have been gym.

I asked if a team of older kids could keep a watch out for him  (but this seems to be a very accepting place, embracing differences, so I don't expect too many problems). That is why we chose it over another school that is closer. Exclusion and taunting has been a problem in the past, but mostly by only one child, who unfortunately happens to be going to this same middle school. I had a social worker/therapist write a letter requesting that they not be put in the same classes, and I got the principal's assurance. When school begins I have to get the physiotherapist and OT come check out his seating situation. We are not sure if an adjustable chair is the answer, or just a foot stool, or if the desk height  itself needs to be permanently modified.

By law, Simon is really only allowed 2 hours of help per week, which is not enough for him and some others. So the principal groups 4 or 5 students of similar needs together, and she can then justify hiring a technician full time that stays right in the class with that small group. 

I think the main point is that you have to have everyone at the school be aware that your son is there, that he may need help from various sources (friends, older students, staff), that other things he can do by himself, but needs to be safe and secure, and that he wants to be just like everyone else.

Sorry, as usual, I have gone on and on. 

Good luck, and let us know how it's going please.

Andrea

Hi Tang,

My son Billy, age 11 1/2 today, is finishing 5th grade this week....he transitioned from elementary to middle school this year.  We have also been getting a 2nd set of textbooks to keep at home....Billy is still walking but has been using the elevator at school for the past 3 years....he has an IEP and also has help from a WRAP AROUND agency...if you do not know what that is, ask your pediatrician  or local MDA or perhaps someone at your school....that agency can provide you with a support person who can come into your son's school daily if needed or on a weekly basis and can also come into your home....since your son has an IEP, you can ask for a school aide full or part time...Billy has  a school aide only to accompany him on and off elevators, as students cannot use them without an adult.....

 

Is it possible that he can have a special place in each of his classrooms to store his supplies etc.?

 

Don't be afraid to ask for help of any kind as we are our son's best advocate and can do things without them knowing it and advocating for them to fight for what they deserve without possibly embarassing them.....I had to do just that this week for Billy....it has been a very big struggle with my district since kindergarten not with the little things such as the above, they been very accomodating with that, but we have had behavior issues with excessive punishment, but thats another story for another time....but I now have an ally in the special ed department who just told me yesterday that she thought it was so great that I am such an excellent advocate for Billy....no one will do it if we don't.  Another idea, is maybe his friends can trade off daily to help him with his needs.... or perhaps an older student can be the elevator buddy.

Our boys have alot of rights so just ask for what he needs.  If you are going to conference this year, there is a special session on school issues, IEP's etc. and it is very good as are all sessions.

I hope this helps and best wishes.

What exactly is a wrap around agency? Our grandson's IEP, is not the greatest. They lay out these wonderful plans, but most are not followed thru, by school employees.The two sets of books sound wonderful. Can this be legally inforced thru the IEP? The school aide sounds wonderful, although, our grandson does not want to stand out anymore than he has too. He is walking, although stumbles easily. He is 12 years old.The stairs are just too much, fortunately the school is one story. The fear he has is when they gather in the auditorium, and are required to climb stairs. Is it possible, he has a buddy system to sit on the bottom bleacher, to avoid being alone on the bottom ? I have so many questions about his rights, that are very difficult at times to get thru at the schools. His parents try so hard with not aot of success. I am a little more bold with my approach. Do I have rights to speak out with the parents? Also one last question. My grandson seems to stand like a wallflower in gym class. Not much offered to him, while all his friends are participating . It makes me ill. Thank you so much for any help that anyone can give us. This is a challenge I intend to Win.

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. After talking to the Special Ed teacher at my son's middle school, I am now as worry about procedures. The Special Ed teacher said that their will be an aide with him for four weeks at the beginning of school until he gets comfortable. They have elevators and will give him a key to go to second floor. They will make sure that he gets what he needs in class because the teachers are aware of the needs of incoming students with disabilities. They will also give my son a pass so that he can go to the bathroom in between class and can be late to class without counting against him. If they need to give him a signal that when he needs to go to the bathroom, he can go without consequences. The last period of the class will be a time where the Special Ed teacher and aide help him get all his materials together or help him with homework. 

Well, all these are well said but we will have to wait for following through when school begins in September. 

I like your spirit Judy!

I don't know if it's a "legal right", but it is a moral right for you to be able to speak up and advocate for your grandson when his parents can't. Maybe have his parents sign a letter (you can write it) stating that you are allowed to speak for them as proxy when it concerns your grandson and school issues, and if his parents agree to the help of course.

The most trouble I've had with school is with the gym teachers, who just don't "get it", despite explanations, year after year. They act like he is just lazy, and chubby because of inactivity. I've talked with them, and given them literature. The female PE teacher seems to understand now, but he just graduated! They tried minimal adaptations like having him play with another child (on the autism spectrum, little coordination either) on the side-lines when they could not do another activity. They would wack a balloon or beach ball instead of playing soccer, or stuff like that. As his friends began to understand Duchenne, they began, on their own, to join Simon in these "easier" games, even suggesting stuff like bean-bag tossing, speed walking for short distances, etc.

It really is difficult, but shouldn't be, right?  Keep up the good fight Judy.

Andrea

judy martin said:

What exactly is a wrap around agency? Our grandson's IEP, is not the greatest. They lay out these wonderful plans, but most are not followed thru, by school employees.The two sets of books sound wonderful. Can this be legally inforced thru the IEP? The school aide sounds wonderful, although, our grandson does not want to stand out anymore than he has too. He is walking, although stumbles easily. He is 12 years old.The stairs are just too much, fortunately the school is one story. The fear he has is when they gather in the auditorium, and are required to climb stairs. Is it possible, he has a buddy system to sit on the bottom bleacher, to avoid being alone on the bottom ? I have so many questions about his rights, that are very difficult at times to get thru at the schools. His parents try so hard with not aot of success. I am a little more bold with my approach. Do I have rights to speak out with the parents? Also one last question. My grandson seems to stand like a wallflower in gym class. Not much offered to him, while all his friends are participating . It makes me ill. Thank you so much for any help that anyone can give us. This is a challenge I intend to Win.

We will continue to stay strong for our boys. And make sure that they are treated like the rest of the children.They will overcome this dreadful disease. I know that in my heart. I see it in all the research that has finally been developed. It won't be long. But until it is available. We keep stretching their precious legs.Fighting for their rights. Keep their happiness at the most ultimate. They will show everyone someday.We all will keep talking, and keep strong. 

Tang Thao said:

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. After talking to the Special Ed teacher at my son's middle school, I am now as worry about procedures. The Special Ed teacher said that their will be an aide with him for four weeks at the beginning of school until he gets comfortable. They have elevators and will give him a key to go to second floor. They will make sure that he gets what he needs in class because the teachers are aware of the needs of incoming students with disabilities. They will also give my son a pass so that he can go to the bathroom in between class and can be late to class without counting against him. If they need to give him a signal that when he needs to go to the bathroom, he can go without consequences. The last period of the class will be a time where the Special Ed teacher and aide help him get all his materials together or help him with homework. 

Well, all these are well said but we will have to wait for following through when school begins in September. 

Hi Tang,

 

Keep a close eye on things.  If any problems arise, make a list of the problems and also things that can be done to address them.

Write a letter to the assistant principal and/or principal (any requests MUST be made in writing).  In the letter include the list of problems and your suggestions for how they should be addressed in class.  Ask that they be added to the "Accommodations" section of his IEP.  In the letter say that you would like to call an ARD (Special Education) meeting, if needed.  Some schools will modify the accommodations in the IPE without a formal ARD meeting, but others are more rigid about following the correct procedures.  Make sure that they specify in the IEP who is going to be responsible for implementiing the accommodations.

 

I would be surprised if they give you a hard time.

 

James Poysky

My son has always had an SEA 1 with him at all times at school since he was in the 2nd grade.  The SEA helps him with ambulation and other things in the classroom.  My son is 10 going into the 5th grade.   I don't know where you live but we live in California and that is the law here that the school district provide him with that service.  I hope this helps.

Hi Cynthia,   Please tell me what an SEA 1 is.   I am trying to get an instructional aide for my incoming kindergartener but maybe your setup is more appropriate.   We are in CA also. 


Cynthia Lammi said:

My son has always had an SEA 1 with him at all times at school since he was in the 2nd grade.  The SEA helps him with ambulation and other things in the classroom.  My son is 10 going into the 5th grade.   I don't know where you live but we live in California and that is the law here that the school district provide him with that service.  I hope this helps.

I also live in California. My son has an IEP for about 3 years but have not heard of SEA 1 either. Can you elaborate on it? 

Thanks.

This goes to all parents with Wheelchair bound boys (11 yrs. old) who are going to transition to Middle School. What are key issues you would include/change/add into the IEP? Please any tips, suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you do much. Best always, Isabel;)

My son, Trevor is 11 yrs. old and will be going to the middle school next year also. We currently have an aide assigned to him for physical help. This includes assisting with bathroom needs, a scribe(someone to write for him when his hands get tired), he gets repeated directions and add'l time on timed tests.The aide also gets his lunch tray and such for him. He currently participates in P.E. but is getting much weaker so the teacher allows him to run the scoreboard and gives different rules for dodgeball, etc. Hopefully that helps a bit.

Sincerely,

Christina

Isabel Cubas said:

This goes to all parents with Wheelchair bound boys (11 yrs. old) who are going to transition to Middle School. What are key issues you would include/change/add into the IEP? Please any tips, suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you do much. Best always, Isabel;)

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