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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Visiting the Principal

Today I had to go talk to Dr. Lewis (the principal) is because Aidan punched and hit a little girl, and apparently this is the 3rd time he's done it this school year, so for liability reasons, they had to talk to me about it. Aidan won't say a lot about what happened or why, and he had a meltdown from the door of the school until about 5 minutes after we got home. If this doesn't get settled, we'll have to do a new IEP to try to deal with this aggression and occasional violence.

This has been going on (this go round) for about 5 days now. I'm not entirely sure when it started (I'd have to go back through my facebook and tweets to determine the first meltdown of this cycle), but I know Sunday he had a major meltdown out of the blue, and then got beat up by a little girl while two little boys looked on and one took pictures.  He's had meltdowns and been very aggressive and easily upset since then.

One thing I noticed today is that the yogurt we got him (he always has Dannon Activia because of past problems with his tummy) was actually Light, which means it has artificial sweeteners in it. I wonder if this has anything to do with the problems he's having. I'll definitely be cutting that out and throwing the rest away.

But the problem with hitting the little girl isn't a recent problem apparently. I'm not sure when it started, but it apparently didn't just start this week, so I don't know what to think about that. They didn't give me a whole lot of information.  Ms. Annie wasn't there to see what happened, Ms. Simmons probably wasn't either since it happened in P.E., and the Coach didn't come to the meeting with Dr. Lewis to tell me what he saw. So we're depending on Aidan to tell us what happens, and he always gets very agitated and frequently melts down when you try to extract information from him about what happened in a situation like this.

I literally have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO in this situation. Back in September-November he had problems like this too, although they weren't manifesting at school, only at home. I wish I had some more resources with what to do. Insurance, even Medicaid, doesn't frequently pay for autism therapy, but I'm going to try to go soon to the mental health center and try to get him an appointment to maybe talk to a counselor or something. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another encounter with Bullies.

Earlier today Aidan had an encounter with Bullies. I wrote about it on Facebook and some on Twitter, so I'll just compile it all here for everyone, and for the general record.

Around 3:30pm -

"OMG WTF! SOME KID DOWN THE STREET JUST BEAT AIDAN UP!!! She punched him several times, and he has an abrasion on his face and ear. He says he doesn't know why, that he didn't hit her or say anything mean to her.

He said she pushed him down and punched him in the face and the head and legs, and pulled his ear. He couldn't tell me what words she said. I'm so upset right now, angry and sad that this could happen to my child. I don't know what to do.

He says that there were three kids - the little girl was the one hitting him and one of the other kids, an older boy, was taking pictures. He said he's never played with them before, but that once they tried to break his scooter."

A couple of people made suggestions:  

"Well I suggest you talk to her parents, prob better after you calm down. If that doesn't get anywhere, contact the police."

"ugh I hate bullies. I'm so sorry! maybe take pictures of the injuries..?"

I responded:

"I don't know where the kids live - and I am sure that if their parents are anything like the other parents in the neighborhood then it will just come down to a case of he said-she said. It's happened before, although never before has a kid punched him."

And then about half an hour later:

"Are you freaking KIDDING ME?! The kids just came back down here and asked if he could come back out and play. I asked them what happened...It didn't match up to Aidan's story at all, except that they were playing with lightsabers. I told them he couldn't play anymore with them.Why would he say she punched him with her hands if they were just "playing at hitting each other with lightsabers"?"

To which I received several responses from friends:

"If the kids are still out there, go ask them where they live. For Aiden's sake, the least you should do is talk with the parents."

"I don't think your child is a liar. I DO think you need to take pics of his injuries & set up time to talk w/ other kids' parents. Aidan doesn't make stuff like this up. Sounds like the 3 kids were tormenting him & if there are pics on their cameras it's proof."

 I said:

"We don't know what house they live in, and the kids are gone now. I wish Jeremy were here, so we could find out. I don't do well in situations like this. I'm not sure all the kids are even related."

"I don't know - they acted like they didn't know what I was talking about when I asked about that. I'm sure they deleted them."


 I'm not entirely sure of the whole situation. I don't know the whole story - Aidan told me what he could, and it's entirely possible he was playing rough and left something out, but I still think it was inexcusable for her to punch him and for other kids to take pictures. It's not just Aidan - he gets along fine with Jacob and Jonas and Briley and her brothers, as well as the kids at school. The only problems I've really seen are with the kids today and the next door neighbor kids who are very verbally abusive.  I'm still very upset over it, but Aidan seems to be okay for now. He definitely will not be playing with those children again. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

DIBELS (What the heck is that?!)

DIBELS is an acronym for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. According to their website,
"The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.
DIBELS are comprised of seven measures to function as indicators of phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. DIBELS were designed for use in identifying children experiencing difficulty in acquisition of basic early literacy skills in order to provide support early and prevent the occurrence of later reading difficulties."
We got Aidan's DIBELs results back today from the testing in January (they also tested in August, and I imagine they'll test again sometime between Spring Break and the end of the year.  If you'll remember (or maybe you don't), last year when they did DIBELs at Creekside it threw Aidan's schedule off so bad he never did recover. This year he seems to have handled it much better.

The first area they scored him on was "Initial Sound Fluency" 
("The examiner presents four pictures to the child, names each picture, and then asks the child to identify (i.e., point to or say) the picture that begins with the sound produced orally by the examiner. For example,"This is sink, cat, gloves, and hat. Which picture begins with /s/?" and the student points to the correct picture. The child is also asked to orally produce the beginning sound for an orally presented word that matches one of the given pictures...")
In August he scored above the target goal which was 10-15 correct letter sounds, by identifying approximately 25 initial letter sounds. As of January 14th Aidan did so well he scored above graph bounds!!! That's right! Target goal was to identify 25-35 initial sounds, and he identified 74 (top of the chart was 70).

The next portion of the test was "Phoneme Segmentation Fluency" 
("assesses a student's ability to segment three- and four-phoneme words into their individual phonemes fluently... has been found to be a good predictor of later reading achievement... administered by the examiner orally presenting words of three to four phonemes. It requires the student to produce verbally the individual phonemes for each word. For example, the examiner says "sat," and the student says "/s/ /a/ /t/" to receive three possible points for the word...").
January was the first time he had been tested for this, and the goal was to identify 20-25 correct phonemes. Aidan scored well above this target by identifying 60 phonemes.

The third and last thing they tested him on was "Nonsense Word Fluency" 
 ("The student is presented a... sheet of paper with randomly ordered... nonsense words (e.g., sig, rav, ov) and asked to produce verbally the individual letter sound of each letter or verbally produce, or read, the whole nonsense word. For example, if the stimulus word is "vaj" the student could say /v/ /a/ /j/ or say the word /vaj/ to obtain a total of three letter-sounds correct. The student is allowed 1 minute to produce as many letter-sounds as he/she can, and the final score is the number of letter-sounds produced correctly in one minute.... students should receive a higher score if they are phonologically recoding the word, as they will be more efficiently producing the letter sounds, and receive a lower score if they are providing letter sounds in isolation. The intent of this measure is that students are able to read unfamiliar words as whole words, not just name letter sounds as fast as they can.") 
This had also not been tested before January, and the goal was to produce 20 correct letter sounds. Aidan achieved just above the targeted goal by correctly producing 33 letter sounds.

I'm so excited that Aidan has done so well on the DIBELS test this year. Obviously his reading skills have vastly improved. Ms. Simmons says he does very well reading in her class, and he seems much more interested in books and reading at home now that he's got a better understanding of how words work.  I can't wait to see him continue to learn and improve.