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Innisfree

PS high school social skills and emotional regulation instruction

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As described in a different thread, we just got approval for dd14 (autism, anxiety, etc.) to have an IEP when she enters high school in the fall. She's been home schooled since second grade, so we haven't dealt with instruction in social thinking or emotional regulation at school.

She is highly resistant to acknowledging her autism. Social skills groups have not worked well in the past for her.

She needs help in these areas badly. I think they are more important for her than academics, even.

Does anybody have experience with how high schools handle teaching these skills? Are they treated as classes, or... what?

She's "high functioning" until she *isn't*, i.e., until she gets too stressed. 

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I can't speak to high school IEP, but I will say that a talk-therapy type approach could be iffy if she has language issues. So maybe push for her to get there other ways. Music therapy has been amazing for my ds and is common at the autism school. It's another way to work on self-regulation, etc. etc. besides always the language language. 

I think maybe also in that situation I'd want her to be in with a variety of people. It would be nice for her to be with her disability peers for part of the time, maybe just in a natural setting, so she can figure things out for herself. 

If you can advocate for some Interoception work, it could get really interesting. She could then use that Interoception intervention to work on the self-monitoring she needs to deal with the emotions she's experiencing (stress, etc.). Interoception work can be individual or group, with an SLP, OT, psych, anyone who's willing.

You could advocate for some drama as another way to work on non-verbals and noticing people. 

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I will definitely bring up interoception, thanks. 

Language seems to be her strongest area by far, though there are occasional glitches. But, basically, she can understand quite well, and she communicates quite well if she wants to, unless she is very highly stressed. She does tell people to back off if they're talking about things she considers private, like, say, feelings and disability and such. She gets defensive first and then hostile if they push her boundaries. Those boundaries are going to be an issue.

We've tried a social skills class camouflaged as drama before. It was Not A Success. She wanted nothing to do with the other kids. She could tell that some of them had issues of their own, so she didn't want to be a part of that group. Plus, it was noisy. Plus, she isn't into performing. But I've always thought she'd be good at it, so maybe a real drama class would be better.

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I think each high school is going to be different, so you will need to ask.

At one high school that we toured, they said that they had someone (probably an SLP, but I don't remember), who would work with students on class participation when they had social goals in the IEP. So they might pull a small group of students and prepare them in advance for what questions would be asked in class that day, and then they would think about and  practice their answers. The goal here was for the students to then be able to raise their hands and volunteer to give an answer, when otherwise they would not. They also would assist with group dynamics when there were group projects. I don't know how often the kids would get this kind of help or how effective it was; we did not attend that school. I think they also had a group social skills class that some kids could take.

As I mentioned, we chose a different school for my kids. DS15 is in eighth grade this year, so we haven't experienced what they do for high school. But for 8th grade, the SLP integrates into the language arts class and works on language goals with the kids as they do their class work. DS has some specific communication goals in his IEP, so the SLP also sometimes works with him individually during his study hall period.

The time that DS is allotted for speech therapy is spelled out in his IEP. I can't remember what it is currently, but it used to be 20 minutes, three times a month. So an hour per month. Honestly, I don't know if it works out to be that amount of time, since it is integrated into the class work. But we didn't get a say about how much time would be offered; it was not part of what could be negotiated at our meetings.

DS15 is also resistant to speech and social skills therapy. He worked 1:1 and 2:1 with the SLP at his old school, and he always complained about it. His sessions were during what would have been a study hall. He was known to create excuses for missing it and then brag to us at home that he got out of doing it. He also hated the private social skills group that I took him to last spring.

So I was pleasantly surprised just today when he mentioned that he really likes his SLP at his school this year. He said she is nice. I think she has a way of working with the kids in the classroom without them feeling like they are being singled out. And he prefers that to the pull out sessions, because he doesn't like to feel different.

I am hoping he will be happy with whatever they do in high school next year, as well. It will probably be a different SLP at the high school level, and I'm hoping we don't go back to him despising it.

 

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DS has had two times this year when he has had issues in the classroom that I thought were related to social skills. I'm sure there were plenty more, but there are two that I discussed with the teachers, because it was having an effect on classroom performance. For the bigger problem, I did mention to the teacher that if it continued to be an issue, she/ we might want to consult with the SLP, because it was in math class, and the SLP does not work with DS in that class. The SLP told me on the occasions when I talked to her in person that I could always email her with any questions. If the problem in math had persisted, I would have done that and would expect that the SLP would touch base with the math teacher to help figure things out.

I do wish we got more regular and informative feedback about what she is doing with him, and I will try to establish that with whomever is his SLP next year.

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This is kind of a side note, and kind of not. As part of your daughter's IEP, there is meant to be transition planning, which is preparing for life after high school. At our IEP meetings, I make sure to talk about social skills during this section, because they will affect DS's employability. As part of this transition planning, our school case manager connected us with state and county services that will help DS in areas beyond the classroom and into adulthood. Some schools are better at this than others. This was a specific thing we looked for when we were choosing which school district to move into.

So at the IEP meeting where the goals are set, you can and should bring up the question of how the school will help you with preparing her for life post-graduation. This should include some career planning, but also social skills can be brought in. This is also the part of the IEP where we added goals for counting money, since that is not covered in 8th and 9th grade math classes. We also talked about things like vocational school, including the possibility of doing a vocational program post-senior year instead of doing it in 1th and 12th grade.

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Thank you, Storygirl, that's helpful. 

1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

He was known to create excuses for missing it and then brag to us at home that he got out of doing it.

I can completely see dd doing this. 

Regarding transition planning, I'd really like to plan on using all the time we legally can, through the year dd turns 21. DD herself may not agree. It would allow a lot more time for things like social thinking practice, and vocational training, and general maturity.

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My older son has had help with group work.

Okay — this will seem so vague.  They had a large room that had two resource teachers and a small space that I know was used for OT.  (I know that because my son had OT in there.)  It was all 4th-6th grade.  There were a range of kids.  I know there were kids who would have services in there who had autism, but I don’t know which kids they were.  I could go in in the mornings sometimes, and I know (from parents) that some kids had ADHD.  My son was only diagnosed with dysgraphia.  I know the other lead teacher in there was an autism teacher, but — my younger son was in a K-6th autism room, so it’s not like all the kids who had autism in this school were in there.  

So anyway — my son was in and out between this room and the regular classrooms.  For English and Social Studies and Science he was always in a group of 4, and they had an aide with them when they were in the regular classroom (and I’m sure always sat at an edge of the room).  They might be working in a group in the regular classroom, or they might move into the big resource room.  It would just depend. 

My son did not have social skills goals in his IEP but I was told this would be a good group for him because they would work on social skills in this group.  

I am going to make a comment about the drama class.  My younger son took a drama therapy class in our old town and it was great for him.  Well — this class was aimed at kids who would be in his K-6th autism room.  It was not aimed at kids who would be in the 4th-6th room my older son was in.  Hopefully it was something like that with the drama class and maybe the social skills, that she will be put among a different group at school.  I know my son’s school placement and if it comes up for activities sometimes I can ask about who something is intended for, and if I say “this is the class he’s in at school” there can be a polite way of saying if it’s a good fit for him or if it’s actually more for a different group of kids.  

Oh — for my older son’s little group — I volunteered at school for this science program thing, and I met another mom and she told me her son had ADHD.  I don’t have a clue about the other two kids.  It is kept very private.  I saw one boy from my son’s K-6th autism room doing the science program, and he was there with a 1:1 aide and then was with a group but I know he was in a group where they did “peer mediated intervention” (PMI) because I know it from my younger son being in the same K-6th autism room and knowing they sent a permission slip home about it for my older son in the same regular class.  

Neither of my NT kids ever got picked for the PMI groups, which is kind-of ironic.

It worked out well for my older son, though.  The resource teacher was great with him.

He does not have an IEP anymore, they have typing at his middle school and he turns in his schoolwork now.  

 

 

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I have seen a presentation about the program they used for a lot of kids with autism and anxiety, but I don’t have any firsthand experience with it.  

https://www.5pointscale.com/

For kids that did it they would have a laminated anxiety scale and check it as part of a schedule, with varying amounts of independence.  

My son who has autism does not have anxiety, knock on wood.  But I know there are some kids where that is the main thing they have as an intervention/support because otherwise they are doing well.  

Edited by Lecka
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Oh, and if there is one kid that bothers her, both of my sons have had one kid that bothered them, and the teacher does not put them together.  

My older son with that — not a big deal.  

My younger son — it has been something where the teacher works with him because he has done some little things himself.  The main thing was this other kid would want to be first in line, which is so common, but by 4th grade really a lot of the kids will still want to be first in line but know it is not their turn.  My son would get mad if she was trying to cut.  So then the teacher is working with that girl not to cut, and working with my son not to be trying to make her stop cutting by standing front of her with his arms out.  

My older son would not do anything like that.  He just didn’t get along well with a certain kid and the teacher knew about it and didn’t put them together.  

They are both kids who will mostly get along with other kids or not be bothered by other kids. My younger son needs support for that but he isn’t a kid who just doesn’t ever want to be in a group.  

I think it might be a question if your daughter is really only annoyed by a few kids here and there, or if she just does not like to be in a group because it is stressful to her, and then always finds something to complain about.  This is not uncommon.

My impression for this is — if the teacher thinks this, and they have some goal about actually participating or tolerating a group — whatever kind of goal or expectation it is — then if the teacher thinks the group is fine (with no kids the teacher perceives as being particularly frustrating), then I think they blow some things off because they think “this kid would complain about anybody and these kids are basically fine, they are kids it is reasonable to think aren’t particularly annoying for any reason.”

But then I think, if as a parent you think that is not the case, you think it is the other kids (or a certain other kid) and not your kid, then you might need to talk to the teacher.  

I have been aware of issues like this.  There is some difference of opinion sometimes about what a kid should reasonably put up with and what should be prevented by separating kids.  

But there are some kids who are pickier and more sensitive and more easily frustrated, and then — it seems to come up more.  

But even then there is still a time for a kid to not have to be stuck with someone they just do not get along with.  

The boy my older son didn’t get along with would basically instigate things with other kids, not be aware he had instigated them, and then say other kids were bullies when they would respond in a way that was pretty reasonable.  Like — this boy also would cut in line, and if other kids said “hey you cut” he would say they were picking on him, and be mad at them, without having the realization that he was the one who cut in line.  He would also touch or tap kids and then be mad if they told him to stop.  My son got moved away from him when that was going on.  I didn’t talk to the teacher about it but I was within a week of doing so, I am not sure if my son talked to the teacher or if she just noticed (and I think this boy basically started spending most of his time right by an adult because they thought that was needed).  

With my younger son they would probably be more working with both kids, because if someone touched my son that is an opportunity for him to self-advocate and ask them to stop.  He also has a lower ratio so there is always going to be an adult nearby.  With a higher ratio they do expect kids to be working things out among themselves more.  

 

 

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About group work.... It's difficult for DS15 as well.

We know that in past grades, he would not really participate in a small group of peers doing a project. In fifth grade, he would wander off. He would also copy down answers that others said, without adding input of his own. His teacher learned that she needed to give him a particular assignment for each group project, so that he would know what to do.

In sixth and seventh grades, he also had trouble with knowing what to do. Or what the results meant when they would do a science project. In sixth grade, the teacher told me that she couldn't work with him a ton individually, because she had 20 other students (and no intervention teacher in science class), and she noticed that he would get off track with what he was supposed to be doing. She helped him as best as she could while also teaching the other students.

In seventh grade, his middle school had a big problem with enrollment -- his class went from 20 students in 6th grade to 2 students in 7th. While this was bad for the school (they closed the middle school program after that and became a K-5 school), it was great for DS, because he basically got private tutoring in all of his classes for a year.

This year, in 8th grade, he is in public school for the first time, and he has an intervention teacher in his science class. I gave her a heads-up that he needs direction with group projects, because the science class is set up to be mostly group projects -- learn by doing. This is not the best learning style for DS, but it is how the class is. She said at his IEP meeting that he was doing well at interacting with peers during group projects and seemed to be contributing content, and not just riding the coat tails of the other students.

I was surprised, but I think that all of the one on one help that he had in the previous year really helped him learn how to work on things and not just observe. He couldn't get by with just observing others do the projects, when there was only one other student in his class in 7th grade.

So he has improved!

But he one of the incidents that I contacted the teacher about was a group project. He was complaining that he and his partner needed to re-do the project, due to a low grade, and his partner told DS15 that DS had to do the revisions, because he felt DS did not do enough the first time and was to blame for the low grade. Of course, DS disagreed with that. DS then fell behind on the next project, due to working on the previous one during class time. I didn't know this until the situation was all over, but I did reach out to the intervention teacher in that class to remind him that DS needs some extra guidance with group work.

This is the kind of thing that can happen, though. DS is not great at telling me what is happening at school, so I don't always know when there are issues like this. The teacher mentioned that the group project dynamic is a known problem for all of the middle school students, so he was not too concerned.

Sometimes it's hard to get the teachers to see that DS needs extra help working through these kind of problems, because he has social skills and communication disabilities. They sometimes think that it is just a normal type of thing to happen, and they don't always see that part of the issue is a disability that makes it harder for DS to handle these things on his own, the way that they would expect the majority of students to work through it on their own.

Next year, as he enters high school, I am planning to reach out to his teachers more, I think, than I did this year. This year, I wanted to see how he would do in the new school, and how the teachers would respond to his needs. The teacher in our district are caring, but they have a lot of kids in their classes, and they don't always remember to think that DS has trouble with social issues and might need extra help navigating things.

One thing I have always done is to request a group meeting with all of DS's teachers at the beginning of each school year, so that I can share things about him and ask and answer questions. The teachers and schools have always been willing to do this, and it helps to establish a connection from the start.

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I will admit that I have found it hard to know what DS15 is working on this year in class, because his teachers do not make him use a planner. He has using a planner in his IEP, but they have been hands-off with it this year. The goal has been for him to choose what planner system works for him, paper or electronic. It's just not going well. We've had several times when he came home to say that he had a test that day that I knew nothing about.

The teachers do list assignments on the computer, but it is not clear from them whether they are things they are working on in-class or for homework. DS's teachers do not assign much homework this year, so mostly he does not have any. Okay, but when he does have some, then I do not know and cannot make sure he does it.

They do send a summary of each week's work via computer over the weekend (I think I registered to get these emails),  but they are a summary of the week that has just ended, so it is too late for me to be able to remind him to do anything.

I brought this planner issue up when we went to the high school's pre-registration open house this spring. The intervention teacher I talked to said that they do have students who have to have teachers check and sign off on their planners each day. I'll make sure that they do this for DS, because I know he will both have more homework in high school and also find the work harder and may need more help at home.

I don't know why they seem like this is no big deal to do at the high school, but they are lax about following through with it in middle school. I'm hoping we can figure out how to make it better.

I am willing to do things at home to help DS, such as reading (or re-reading) his literature books with him, helping with math homework, memorizing things for his tests, working on writing assignments, etc. But I have to know what to do.

He doesn't really like us to help him, so that is something we will communicate with teachers, as well. We are wanting him to do well in his classes, but also he can't just do well because we insist on propping him up at home. We want him to be motivated (often a problem), and we don't want homework to be a constant battle. It can be a tricky balancing act. For DS, it's important that he doesn't fall into a pattern of not caring about work and not caring when he gets bad grades, and he is showing a tendency toward that. So we can't be entirely hands off, or he just might fail.

My plan for next year is to have a mandatory study time at home every day. Maybe 30 minutes, and if he does not have homework, we will use that time to go through papers in his backpack, toss or file them, review things he should be working on memorizing so that he doesn't wait until the night before tests, etc. . And I will have it for all of my kids, not just him, so he is not singled out.

That way, I can keep up more with what they are doing in their classes. It's not the kind of thing that I think all kids need. But my older daughter is a junior and definitely has homework almost every night. When she was in 9th grade, we helped her quite a bit -- she had a learning curve her first year in high school after being homeschooled -- but now she does everything on her own.

I really don't know if DS will be able to be that independent; he may always need some support at home. I think it's better to start high school with him knowing that he is expected to do schoolwork at home each day and make it a pattern, rather than every day asking him, "Do you have have homework," and relying on what he says.

But also, I don't want to do so much for and with him at home that the school thinks he needs less support from them. Ideally, they will give him enough help in his assisted study hall that he will have a lot of his work done before he gets home. It's good for them to see what he can do independently, without my help, so that is also a balancing act.

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DS15 doesn't have emotional regulation in his IEP. He has problems with it, but only at home.

DS14 has a 504 for anxiety. He is allowed to take breaks; for example, he can walk to get a drink of water. There is a sensory room at the middle school that can be used by students for breaks, but he does not go there. He has extra time for tests (and maybe assignments; I would have to double check), in case he freezes. He has frequent check ins by the teacher for understanding, because when his anxiety kicks in, he stops processing what people say.

DS14 hasn't used his 504 accommodations much, if at all, this year. But when he needed them in previous years, it was because he would freeze and not be able to think. He would miss hearing or misunderstand directions from the teacher, or he would be confused about what to do on his work, and his brain would just freeze. He would ask the teacher for help, but then he would argue with the teacher and say that he or she wasn't making sense. This was confusing to teachers and really upset one of them.

DS14 does not have autism, just anxiety, but I thought it might help you to see some of the things that they put in his 504.

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This is all very useful, thank you!

On getting assignments: the book about accommodations I was reading talked about having a plan for teachers to provide enough written information about assignments so that parents could see to it homework got done. The idea was that it needed to be complete, not assuming that the kid already basically understood the assignment. So that's one thing I want to ask about.

Our advocate was saying he thought dd should start the year with two resource periods. He thought she should be able to get most homework done there. From what you all are saying, though, it sounds like that's also the time when she might get social skills or emotional regulation instruction. Is that how it typically works? So, she still might need to bring some work home, and we'd need to have the assignments.

If dd has to go up and get the teacher to sign something, she is not likely to comply, at least initially. She does not want to be visibly getting help.

The group meeting with all the teachers is another thing the book said to do. In fact, they said to include *everyone* the kid would deal with, including lunch room staff, bus drivers, custodians... but that seems more than dd would need, and I wasn't sure if the school would really go along with it. Getting the teachers together sounds good. I'm glad to hear it has worked for you.

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For the emotional regulation, what I'd like to see would be something like the Incredible 5-Point Scale or Zones of Regulation. Something that was actually geared at instruction, not just support. Those examples may be too juvenile for this age group, and I know Zones has always really frustrated dd, but I think that's partly because it's obvious to her to a degree, but sometimes hard to put into practice. I'd be happy for them to do mindfulness, meditation, pretty much any way to approach the subject. But I don't know if doing that in school is likely.

Interoception might be a way to get at the same thing, like PeterPan was saying.

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By resource periods, I'm guessing you mean an assisted study hall? Our school calls that "academic assist."

We've found it hard to balance DS's schedule. He's a musician, so he has to be in band, which then gives him one less free period for scheduling things. When we registered him for high school, we found that he had only one period during one semester when he could pick an elective. They have seven periods, plus lunch -- math, English, science, social studies, band, academic assist, and health (one semester) were all required for him.

Some schools have students take multiple study halls per day. One might be to work specifically on math, and the other to work specifically on language arts. Our old school district would have had him in one math class, one math study hall, plus time in the resource room each week to work on math, and I thought he would absolutely hate that. He needs time for electives in school, because they are what will make school enjoyable and worthwhile for him.

Also, DS15 is not productive with study hall time. He uses it to play on his phone, mostly, according to what he tells me. He will study for a test or complete a class assignment if it is due (again, I don't know how well he does with this, since I am not there), but he is not self directed to work on anything that he doesn't have to. So for him, multiple study halls per day would be a waste. With one period, he does have some time to do school work if needed, and it allows the intervention teachers time to work with him on things when they need to, without pulling him out of other classes.

They do pull him out of jazz band, which is the second half of his lunch hour, sometimes, and he resents that. He tells me that he would refuse to go, but I don't think he has ever actually refused.

For some students, having two academic assist (or resource) periods would be beneficial, and for others it would backfire.

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I think a lot of schools block out a time for “team meetings.”  

Do you think your daughter might have a bus aide?  Or ride a bus with a bus aide?  My younger son does.  It is a block on the IEP (transportation).  I don’t think they need to come to a meeting either, but if they were needed (because of an issue) it’s good to know they “could” be requested.  

Sometimes there are things like PE where the teacher doesn’t normally come to meetings but the parent can request it when they know there is an issue with PE.  A lot of parents will not know that is possible.  

I kind-of don’t think they would go along with it if there was no particular reason, but I can imagine times it could make sense, too.  

I think a lot depends on how things are set up and what goals are.  

The thing is — there can be classes with a teacher, and then there can be teachers that go into classes, there can be pull-out, etc.  

There can be different ways to meet goals or address goals.

There can be goals that need a teaching/skill component, and then there can be goals that are more about practicing a skill in context.  

So someone who has goals about being taught a skill, might have something for being taught it.

If the skill is to practice in context, then that is going to happen in the context (with support or observation).  

But a lot of times the teaching part and the practice part (or generalizing) are set up differently.  

If you think she does know or has been taught things, that she doesn’t do in practice, then that is different from thinking she has been taught/exposed but she has not picked it up and does need continued instruction.  

I don’t think there is any one way it typically works.  They can have things set up different ways.  

The thing about the support classes is they may be set up primarily to support a class, with the teacher knowing what the main class is doing and having a plan for what to work on extra or review.  That is the goal of that class, probably.  Then can that teacher also address some other goals that several kids in the class also have or would benefit from?  Maybe, maybe not . 

Or, can another teacher “push in” to work on the skills in that class, for the kids who have related goals?  That can be a way things are set up.  

There can also be just a “study hall” period where generic things are worked on, but they assign kids into that study hall who have related goals and that study hall will work on them in some way.  I think that might be more likely, but — it is just how they have things set up.

They do also do things like look at the kids they have and decide how it makes sense to arrange things with the actual kids they have that year.  

Edited by Lecka
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5 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

For the emotional regulation, what I'd like to see would be something like the Incredible 5-Point Scale or Zones of Regulation. Something that was actually geared at instruction, not just support. Those examples may be too juvenile for this age group, and I know Zones has always really frustrated dd, but I think that's partly because it's obvious to her to a degree, but sometimes hard to put into practice. I'd be happy for them to do mindfulness, meditation, pretty much any way to approach the subject. But I don't know if doing that in school is likely.

Interoception might be a way to get at the same thing, like PeterPan was saying.

I think those things would be great! You can ask if they offer them.

They might say "not yet," because they want to see how she functions in the classroom first. If she holds herself together in class, they likely won't want to offer specific instruction as a service. We've been told in IEP meetings that we can't have something we are requesting, because the teachers don't see it as a need in class.

When DD13 was first getting evaluated for her IEP for dyslexia, we had a whole stack of documentation with her diagnosis, suggested accommodations, etc. And we were actually told by that IEP case manager that something recorded "on paper" was not significant unless it had an impact in class. That comment made me angry (that meeting, overall, made me angry, but I won't go into it here). But I realize now, after several years of dealing with IEPs, that she was right, legally. She wasn't nice about it, but she was right.

I hope you are able to get that kind of support for her in class. If not, it may be something that you will need to pursue privately. We have had caring school personnel tell us that if we learn techniques that help with certain things, to let them know, and they will try to remember and use them. They might use a phrase to remind the student to use their self calming techniques. DS14, for example, was to think about whether something was a big deal or a little deal, to help him gauge his responses (this was in his private psych report). A teacher can easily ask a student this question, if they know that it helps.

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What I mean is there might be a “study hall” that is really for social skills types of goals.

There are kids who have IEPs for anxiety.  They are getting things like mindfulness.  

I personally think those are super-common!  I think a lot of counselors do those!

As a hypothetical question, some counselors are great but not with all the autism kids, because they don’t necessarily know as much about autism.  Some autism teachers may not know as much about certain interventions compared to a counselor.  If your daughter is able to work with a regular counselor, not autism specific, and they have things like a counselor/s who works with kids who have anxiety ———— there are very likely to be options.

A lot of kids have anxiety, just like a lot of kids have ADHD.  There are counselors who go to trainings on this stuff and do good things.  But do they necessarily have all the skills to work with more challenging kids with autism?  Maybe, maybe not.  

I think it will just depend, but honestly I think mindfulness is pretty easy and pretty mainstream.  Getting your daughter to do mindfulness if she doesn’t want to — that might be a harder thing and need more skill.  If they do think it is recommended for her etc.  

Like — is she a kid a regular counselor is going to be able to work with?  Given — nice, friendly counselor, etc... Or is she a kid who is going to shut down and not talk/participate — and this is ime/imo but at that point I think it takes someone who is really into autism.  

A lot of people can work with kids with autism who are easier to work with, and fewer who can work with kids who are harder to work with.  

But the same things can be done by different people, too.  

Just frex — I know some kids see a counselor or social worker for “talking about/learning about” social skills or “how to handle certain things” that are coming up, who do have autism, but — it will be kids where they think it is approrpriate for a counselor because the counselor will be able to work with that child and it will go well.  They won’t necessarily think that about a child who routinely will shut down or has a lot of language needs etc.  Then it is going to be — similar content (if it is appropriate)  but adapted some way and probably done by a special ed teacher.

But there really, really are a lot of things that can be done by a counselor, a teacher, or a speech therapist, and there are things like Social Stories or 5-Point Scale that an aide can implement very well even though they wouldn’t be the one to set it up.  

It really just depends!  And may change year to year.  

 

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One thing that can free up a period of the day during high school is to do some classes online at home over the summer. Health and PE are this way in our district (PE is also waived if a student is in a sport or marching band). They then have that extra free period in their day to do an elective or a study hall.

The drawback, in our case, with doing health online over the summer, is that I would need to work with DS15 to get the class done. He does not like me to work with him, so I knew it would be a battle. It wasn't worth it.

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I think if she shows she needs more supports, she will probably get them.  

If she shows she can get by without them — eh.  

Edited by Lecka
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DS15 has been doing really well, over all, at school this year. But we didn't know how he would do, because it was his first year at public school, and it was a big change for him.

One of the things they told us is that they have a counselor who has office hours at the school, but who does not work at the school, who will work with students who need help in certain areas. Not the guidance counselor, but someone who works with students, counseling them for their anxiety or social issues, or whatever is needed.

I think I was asking about social skills intervention at the time, because I was trying to figure out how the school would meet his IEP goals for social. As it turns out, the school SLP handles that part of his intervention, and DS hasn't gone to work with the counselor.

But there is this kind of extra help available on the school campus here. You might ask if your school has something like it.

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26 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

By resource periods, I'm guessing you mean an assisted study hall?

I'm not sure! Lol 

Resource period was the term the advocate used, and he said she'd be able to get her homework done then. He was basically saying he didn't want her to have too many academic subjects right away, or too much homework. He is not in our school district, though he's dealt with them before. So, I'm not sure it's the term used here. I think his idea was just to start with that, and then see how things go and adjust.

31 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

He needs time for electives in school, because they are what will make school enjoyable and worthwhile for him.

I wish I thought there was anything dd would like at school. She's not into music or art or gym. She doesn't really like any subjects. She likes animals. Hopefully she can find some other kids who do also.

 

15 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

One thing that can free up a period of the day during high school is to do some classes online at home over the summer. Health and PE are this way in our district (PE is also waived if a student is in a sport or marching band).

The IEP team already suggested having dd do PE over the summer like this. She actually thought that was a great idea. It neatly avoids the changing-for-gym issue, too.

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I was worried about the meeting with the teachers, because to meet with all of the teachers at once, all of them would have to be out of class. Once I made the request, one of the intervention teachers called me to set up that initial, beginning of the school year meeting, and she said I could just pick a time. I found that awkward, because I didn't want to pull the teachers out of their classes, so I asked for a time immediately after school.

Some of the teachers then weren't able to make it, because they had other obligations. I was told after that, that it was no problem to have a meeting during school hours, because they would just plan for subs.

The previous school that we attended was tiny. There were only two or three teachers for the entire middle school, for example, and the lower grades just had one or two teachers per grade. It was a big deal to pull those teachers out of their classes, so all of our IEP meetings were scheduled for very early, before the school day started. Since that was my experience, I didn't realize it would be different at the public school. The public school didn't seem to have any issues with meetings during school hours.

For DS15's IEP meetings later in the fall, they just blocked off time and arranged for subs. They said that they periodically would have an entire day of one IEP meeting after another, for those whose meetings would run shorter. DS's meetings are long, so they didn't put him on the IEP day schedule but gave him a date of his own.

For the beginning of the school year meeting, the school counselor came, and so did the SLP, but not coaches or bus drivers, etc. The extra staff does not need to know what is in DS's IEP, because it will never affect him. But for a student who may have an anxiety attack in the lunch room or on the bus, or who might have a melt down, it would make sense to have all staff aware.

I did send the cross country coach and the band teacher emails to introduce them to DS and what they might notice about him, and about his communication issues, so that they would know, since they weren't at the meeting. DS kind of blends in with the large group in those activities, so just informing them was fine. They didn't need to give him any special attention or support, but they needed to understand not to take his communication issues as him being uninterested or disrespectful, so I wanted them to be aware.

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The names depend on the school district, but sometimes they have different levels.  

In the different levels, they are doing different things or with different kids.

So one might have kids who have no particular additional needs, and a few kids with some additional needs, getting extra help in math.  The number of kids might be a higher number.  

Or, there might be a different level with a different name, that is basically the same thing, but the teacher has special/different training and there are half the number of kids, and all the kids  have some additional needs. 

Or they might have the same name but be that way in practice.  

It just depends, and they will have different names or the same names, but the names may not mean the same thing from one place to another!  

Edited by Lecka
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I think a resource period might imply that it is a higher support level kind of “study hall” period, or it can imply that it’s just a low-level “extra tutoring for anybody who got a D in math or is recommended for another reason.”  

Or it can be vague.

I think you could ask the advocate if he meant anything in particular by it.  Or if he does have a guess.  

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Like — my impression for Story’s son is that it’s an extra math class for anybody at all who is doing poorly in math and needs an extra session, plus her son gets some push-in help because of additional needs.

But maybe there are also some class periods that are all kids with IEPs and they have 12 kids and a special ed teacher?  

Or maybe her school doesn’t so things that way at all?

When we moved here my older son was in a study hall that was a higher level of study hall than just academic support.  But here academic support is pretty common, especially for math, because they are very strict about having to pass the Algebra test for high school graduation (supposedly the strictest in the country!).  

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They took him out of it within a month, because they had Chromebooks.  We moved during 6th and he was in middle school.  We left a K-6 school in a district where Chromebooks started in 7th grade, and he was expected to not need extra help then.  

But just with his IEP transferring, he was in a higher level than what here is academic study hall or “an extra math class” or “an extra English class.”  

But every place does it differently!

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18 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Well, if she hides in the bathroom when she is supposed to be in class and misses class, she will probably get a lot of supports.  Or if she shuts  down in class she will probably get a lot of  supports.  Or if she acts hostile. 

Yeah, it's all going to depend on how stressful her experience of this school is. These are all things she has done and might do again. But-- it takes a pretty high level of stress to push her to that point. Mostly she is quiet in public and explodes at us later.

This school is stressful, though. Dd16 was there for one year. There were fights in the cafeteria and halls. I watched a bus pull out of the parking lot with kids standing in the aisle fighting. The bus driver just drove off.

Dd14 has asked me to drive her, and as long as she cooperates (actually gets in the car and goes), I will.

There was a kid in most of dd16's classes who got violent repeatedly. Dd16 saw him assault other students three times, but she still had to work with him on projects in class. They were both in the honors classes, and there weren't enough honors sections for them to be separated. This was a big part of her going back to homeschooling.

So, for dd14, I want to minimize stress. 

On Monday I'll be talking with someone from the middle school, who will put me in touch with the right people to talk with at the high school, I gather.

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That all sounda horrible 😞

Where we live right now they will expel kids for fighting.  They will also expel kids for drug possession.  So I haven’t heard of things like that, other than something that happened before someone got expelled.  

 

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I hope it will work out for her!  

I don’t think this is common but right now for my younger son, I know they have split kids into two classes by whether or not they have particular behavior issues, and he is in the class that doesn’t have a certified special ed teacher and they have given all the kids who have more behavior issues to the other teacher (who I have heard amazing, amazing things about ever since we moved here, and we were expecting her to be my son’s teacher).  

It has worked out really well this year.  

And I haven’t heard that officially — it is just my opinion.

Anyway — it is funny how things can work out sometimes!  

I hope it will work out for your daughter!  

 

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On April 26, 2019 at 3:33 PM, Innisfree said:

I know Zones has always really frustrated dd, but I think that's partly because it's obvious to her to a degree, but sometimes hard to put into practice.

Yes, the gap there where they understand it in theory but can't DO it is interoception. Yeah, willingness to jump on board will vary. The local autism school in town just did an 8 week session going through the initial 16 lessons in the Interoception curriculum (results will be published) and they LOVED it. Teachers loved it, psych loved it, everyone was crazy onboard.

So it's easy enough for anyone to do, but you have to explain why they need to (she's already had zones, she's missing the realizing what her body is telling her in order to implement the zones) and it has to click in their mind that this is something that would benefit MANY of their students. These therapists want to do one thing across multiple kids. But yeah, it could be an SLP, OT, psych, anyone who bites.

If you *can't* get someone to bite on it, you could hire it out with private OT or do it yourself. You could post on the interoception FB group to find an OT. It's easy enough to do yourself and although it will cost money for the curriculum you'd then have the printables. Or see if she has the online training done yet. I went to a full day training and she even has 2 day trainings she's doing. It's not a hard thing to do (the curriculum) and literally 8 weeks can make a difference.

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On April 26, 2019 at 4:04 PM, Storygirl said:

As it turns out, the school SLP handles that part of his intervention,

Yup, that's how it is at our ps. That same person also got on board with interoception and is doing that with the high school kids too. So you never know who will jump in to help!

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