Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Deficits, Undesired Verbals, Oh My

I was so nervous about Blink's re-evaluation. Between rumors that his school thought he was a good candidate for an EBD room they were planning and stories about ASD kids with strong academics who were found not to be eligible for special education services, I was a mess. Throw in a little stress and awkwardness about the transition to a new school next year and....yeah.  Not pretty.

But the meeting went well, about as well as these things can go.  Because let's face it, even with a team of professionals that cares about your child it is just so so so emotionally draining to participate in a meeting where terms like this are bandied about:
  • deficit
  • weakness
  • <1st percentile
  • undesired verbals
  • atypical behaviors
  • withdrawal
  • aggression
  • conduct problems
  • hyperactivity
The list just goes on and on. Maybe the hardest to read are the observations of Blink in the classroom setting. Oh, look, there's Blink laying on his stomach playing with a desk chair instead of participating in the morning meeting. Two minutes later, he's screaming "Just leave me alone!" Then he's in a throwing fight with another child. Seeing it in a description like that just does me in. I know all of the behaviors, but putting it all together makes it so much more real. So glaring how he is not succeeding in this environment. So glaring how his lack of social skills are hampering everything.

One of the more striking tests was the Social Language Development Test, which examined Blink's ability to make inferences, assess visual clues in a picture, take on another's perspective, solve problems, and make multiple interpretations of scenes. The test showed just how profound his struggles in these areas are -- his composite score was in the 1st percentile of children his age.  Ouch.  But it does give us something to focus our efforts on.

The handwriting assessment was less helpful. He scored in the low average range on some tasks, lower on others. It's not clear exactly what might be causing the problems he's having. 

We also reviewed the results of the FBA they've been conducting -- a functional behavior analysis that is designed to figure out the root of problem behaviors and formulate a positive behavior plan in response. They tracked Blink's behaviors over about 2 months and found that, on average:
  • He leaves the room or an activity without permission once or twice a day 
  • He engages in "undesirable verbals" (rudeness, yelling, etc.) seven to eight times a day
  • He uses "verbal aggression" (name calling, threats) two to three times a day.
This makes me wince.  The next step is to formulate a plan.  We'll see how this goes.

Old School played nicely with New School and was, in fact, quite welcoming. New Teacher is going to come and observe Blink in his current classroom. I'm so happy about this!  On the way out, I asked New Teacher if she was asking herself what she'd gotten herself into and she did a convincing job of saying she wasn't at all afraid. She still thinks it will be a good setting for him.

All in all, it was as good as a meeting like this can be.  I just want to crawl into bed with my laptop and watch Weeds and knit for a few weeks now, that's all.  

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