Sunday, August 17, 2014

Surviving Summer

Last summer, as you may recall was a very trying and difficult time. I thought. I was at the end of my rope. My sanity was hanging on by a thread. I was in panic mode this year, starting in mid march when I knew we only had a little while left before school was once again out. I thought, well surely I have enough to show them that my son needs ESY.
SURELY this year at his IEP, they will see. he was self injuring during his meltdowns and it seemed like the longer he was away from such a structured environment, the worse they got. Well, he ran smack into the corner of a wall during a horrific middle of the night night terror/meltdown and split his face open 2 days AFTER spring break had ended. That kind of blew my theory out of the water I guess. We did take him to the ER and they put dermabond  on it since they couldn't stitch it up.  this picture is about 30 minutes after it happened, so all of the horrible bruising and swelling didn't quite pop up yet. It makes me cry and hurt just seeing my own babies hurt like that. :(
Poor Baby! 
 As IEP time came in April, I began to prepare. I send certified mail requesting ESY services. Last
time, I was told.... Oh, no one his age goes to any sort of ESY program and he has done amazingly well this year.  I found out later that that was age discrimination and, it shouldn't matter how well he has done, as this is to prevent regression. Oh, how I had wished I had tape recorded the meeting.

Jump forward to this year. There is a new person over the elementary campus that my son attends and she is a special needs mom herself. The end result of my ARD is a few speech enrichment sessions, a week of social skills "camp", weekly updated calls on Cameron's progress over the summer from the head of Autism services for the entire school district, access to the building and finally, a picture calendar with stickers to mark off when school will be back in session. No formal "ESY". The official denial was due to no documented signs of regression. We also did the summer kids day out program once again at the church I teach at. We got lucky and he got a teacher that was familiar with kids and IEPs and behavior issues as well as a teacher that had been his teacher the year before at the summer program. WIN! Here are just a few things we did this summer.

The results: some actual progress was made. His language has done really well, and he is now requesting things in whole sentences. You have to be familiar with how he talks, or how a young child (think toddler) will say words in order to understand him because although he is communicating, the words are NOT clear. Not everything can be perfect, but I will certainly rejoice in this victory! School starts back in a week and so far, it worked. I would still like to see ESY, but he did pretty ok. If he was stuck in the house too long, then both boys became destructive, so I had to keep them occupied. So far, the most major of the damage was a toilet clogged by a candle for over a week before we figured out what he flushed down in the toilet. 

I think the biggest difference is the age in which both boys are in. I can now let them out to play
without hovering directly over them, although they still think I am a piece of playground equipment to hang off of, slide down and climb. :/ Cameron still stims frequently with water and doors, but it is much less intense as it was last year. If things are out of sight, then he won't feel compelled to do them.

Also, for both of the boys birthdays, we bought a Coleman jr tent. It is an actual outdoor tent, but we have found that it fits pretty good on Cameron's full bed. Finally, at least for the past 2 weeks, he is sleeping in his own "bed" INSIDE the tent.