Tuesday, October 28, 2008

En Garde

We've got this kindergarten student in the district that I already wrote about here. He spends most of his 1/2 day of kindergarten in a room with two staff members. He's got a visual schedule that includes gross motor breaks, visits from and to preferred staff, play time, work time, chores to do, a system for transitioning to his regular education classroom, snack, etc. Still, between the two staff members (both of whom are excellent) he punches, curses, bites, runs and kicks. When he goes to his regular education class the students hunch down under their clothes because they're scared of him. We just ordered arm guards for the staff because he has been biting them and breaking skin. His therapist and 3 or 4 district specialists frequent the room to work with him. And yet, his progress is incredibly slow. This isn't to say there's no progress but it's very slow going with him.
He's clearly a traumatized kid. He tells the staff things like, "Mommy is never coming home," and "I don't deserve you." He also tells them he loves them. He's probably the most difficult student we have in the district at this time. There's been meeting after meeting with plan after plan that have been refined and redesigned ad naseum. As a proponent of inclusion, I want to keep this student in his home school. But there's no inclusion going on because we haven't been able to keep everyone safe. Additionally, our staff is getting the hell beaten out of them and school just can't be a fun place for this student to be. After two months of work, I think he needs an outside placement. The problem is, I don't know if we have a placement for him.
The district contracts with several private programs but only a couple that might meet his needs. One of the programs would place him in a room with 3 exits and just a couple hundred feet from a busy road. The other one is full. It would be my hope that he attends a private program for a year or two and then is able to come back to his home school. But the reality is that it's very difficult to get students out of outside placements once they're in them. On top of that, it seems to me that he needs some significant therapy - which is something the county should be taking care of but he seems to be getting less help rather than more despite the fact that his behavior is escalating both at school and at home.
It seems like there's nothing for it but to pack him off to a more restrictive setting if we can find one for him. It feels like we're giving up but I don't know what else to do for this little guy.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Would you consider mentioning my newly-published memoir on your blog? I would be happy to exchange blog feeds as well.

Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio was recently released by The University of Iowa Press.

The memoir is a history -- an American tale -- of my fifty year wheelchair journey after being struck by both bulbar and lumbar poliomyelitis after a vaccine accident in 1959. The Press says Seven Wheelchairs gives "readers the unromantic truth about life in a wheelchair, he escapes stereotypes about people with disabilities and moves toward a place where every individual is irreplaceable."

Other reviewers have called Seven Wheelchairs "sardonic and blunt," "a compelling account," and "powerful and poetic."

I hope you can mention Seven Wheelchairs on your blog. We all live different disability stories, I know, but perhaps if you find the memoir worthwhile, you might want to recommend the book to others who are curious about what polio or disability in general.

Of course, the book is also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Gary Presley www.garypresley.com
SEVEN WHEELCHAIRS: A Life beyond Polio
Fall 2008 University of Iowa Press