asd · autism · HFA · IEP · PRTF · public school · RTC · special needs

Red Rover, Red Rover

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Red Rover, Red Rover, Send D Right Over!


Sometimes, in the life of parents, we watch our children play games on the playground. As teachers, I always enjoyed watching kids play on the playground. Listening to their giggles, their laughter, watching them run, and getting sweaty always made me smile. It made my heart so happy.

Watching my kids play on the playground, they play chase, Power Rangers, run, jump, laugh, fight, giggle, and get sweaty. These are some of the best times as a parent of more than one child. Watching my children enjoying each other, and other kids, and having a good time together. We’re making memories that will last forever for them.

As a parent, on the other hand, I do not enjoy the playground games; the ones adults play. You know the ones…IEP’s, denial of services, jumping through rings of fire to get someone to realize your son or daughter needs more services to truly thrive. Right, you know what I’m talking about, those playground games.

This morning was the next IEP in the seemingly endless line of IEPs for D this year. We were meeting this morning to place him on intermittent homebound. That means that if we can get him to school (and let me tell you, on the modified day from the last IEP meeting, that is a really big IF) then he can go. If he does not go, he will be given one hour of homebound services. A teacher will either come to the house or we will take him to the library for one whole hour of instruction (I digress, my thoughts on homebound instruction will be saved for another post).

Chad went to the meeting, I attended by phone. We’d been given the hint that they would prefer we not bring the whole crew. (In previous IEP meetings, we’ve been told how well behaved the little ones are. I think it was more a matter of not creating another traumatic experience for D by making him come to school this morning.) We held the meeting and everything seemed as ok as it could be. No, it wasn’t necessarily what I had completely hoped for, but the fact is, homebound doesn’t get him back to school, nor does it provide him with the rigor that he would experience in the regular classroom. That said, he certainly isn’t getting that at home when he is unable to go to school because of his intense anxiety, either. So, I decided some is better than none, right?

It was decided that he would get 1hr/day for days missed, the homebound teacher would start serving him immediately, and would be able to work through the holidays to make up time and hopefully help us convince him to come back to school in January.

Next, the homebound teacher who was chosen by the district to work with him came into the meeting and introduced himself. The team explained what we were expecting from his services and he said, “Well, I can’t start til the 26th. I was thinking I’d just start then and do the back hours that week.” I asked, “Is there not any way we can start sooner? I thought we were going to work to hopefully, with our help, get him caught up and then convince him how much more wonderful it would be to go back to school.” He immediately got defensive and explained he had other plans (which I completely understand, but it seems to me the district should have confirmed he could work within our plans for D, not that D could work within the plans the teacher had, right?) and that he would be unable to do it.

I felt pretty sick after the meeting, but I also wasn’t completely sure how to fix it. I put my head down, prayed, and was giving it time for God to let me know which way to go next. A little later, the phone rang. The principal at D’s school called and said that she had heard the homebound teacher would not be a good fit for D and so they are looking for a teacher who will be. Thank you, Lord for hearing my prayer!


In the next breath, however, she mentioned a local residential treatment center for D and mentioned that she could pull some strings so we could go tour their facilities. I asked, “Am I understanding correctly that this is something the school system is looking at as a possibility? Residential Treatment?” She backtracked and said they are not, but she just wanted us to know that it was an option close to home should we be considering it and that she thought we might like to look around. I assured her that despite our ups and downs, D is probably the most stable he has been in 2 years and while we have tough moments, RTC is not currently an option. I felt pretty sick again after that part of the conversation.

All in all, I feel like I am playing Red Rover with the school system. I’m on one side, they’re on the other side, and D is in the middle. Either way, I cannot seem to figure out what the best option is for D. I have no idea how to get him to school, but I do know that I cannot continue to let him hang out with no true educational experiences. I know that if he does not go back to school in January, we will have to make other arrangements. Something more structured, whether it be the online charter school or a more structured homeschooling environment.

Until January, I’ll continue to pray that God will open his eyes, heart, and mind. I’ll continue to pray that God will give him a peace of mind and peace of heart in knowing that he can go back to school, free from ridicule or judgement, and he will be accepted back as if he had never left. I’m praying that God will give all of us the courage, understanding, and ability to do what we need to help D, in whatever capacity that is.

10 thoughts on “Red Rover, Red Rover

  1. That's pretty bold of them to give you reference to a residential facility. WOW! They may have thought that they were offering "help" or assistance but.. really? Ballsy. 1 hour a day.. yeah that's pretty standard. I thought you were going with the online schooling? Do they not have a special needs program for the online school? I've never researched that…
    Just give your mind a rest until the holidays are over. There's nothing that can be done until then. The holidays are hard enough. (((hugs)))

  2. First, the school needs to be very careful about what terminology they use and what they discuss. If they recommend RTC, then they pay for it.

    However, I think in some ways, David is more astute that the rest of us. He senses where he can be comfortable and avoids those places where he cannot KNOW that he can be safe.

    We, on the other hand go to those uncomfortable places and it is like sitting on a cactus. A real pain in the butt.

    I think David is totally aware of what he is able to tolerate now. Later however, he may feel differently. In 1984, I learned froom an older child with autism. If you listen to what the child is not saying, you'll know what needs to be done.

    Here's luvin you. mjb

    1. I know you know that I can’t diagnose or treat pelope here in the blogosphere. In fact, I’ve taken myself out of pediatric practice because of my illness. Of course I can’t help thinking about medical stuff and having my own private thoughts about it, but my public practice has been shut down for ten years.The main thing is not so much pinning down a DSM diagnosis with kids. It’s paying proper attention to their needs. If you haven’t had him evaluated by a university based multidisciplinary clinic, do so. They look at things like spacial integration, balance and coordination, visual fields, audiology, all these sensory-motor factors that make such a huge difference in whether a kid feels like they’re really here or not. A kid with sensory-motor integration problems might have screaming fits just because they have sensations that don’t make any sense to them, and it freaks them out. Think of Temple Grandin’s squeeze machine (if you haven’t read Thinking in Pictures, you should). In my university’s program for autistic spectrum kids, they had a brilliant therapist who would catch a kid before he spun out of control and roll him up in a yoga mat type thing. The kid felt safe, enclosed, and his squeeze receptors got squeezed, and he calmed down. Now tell me why these kids don’t like to be hugged, but they love to be rolled up in a rug??? I can’t tell you how many hours I spent bear-hugging my son when he was very young while he raged, screamed, kicked, tried to bite, head-butted, and fought like the devil. When he calmed down I would carry him to his room and set him on his bed, telling him he could come out of his room when he felt human. Then he would tear apart his room, throwing every single thing on the floor. I had a blow-up clown that he could pummel, and he did. Then, after the storm had passed, it would get very quiet in his room. I’d hear the door open. Mama? I’m human now. Can I come out? And I’d go and help him put his room back together, and we’d go do something completely different like make lunch or go for a walk. This happened about three times a week. Now he’s a doctoral student in Medicinal Chemistry. You just have to hang in there with them and try to get them what they need, and never give up being their advocate. And love them. A lot.

  3. Jessi, thank you so much! I know God has a plan and He will use D in a magnificent way. You're right, though, the waiting is hard! I think of Joseph's father, though. He waited all of those years, missing Joseph, thinking he was dead. Finally, he was reunited and able to see what amazing things God had used Joseph to do. At least I have D to enjoy and be with while I am waiting to see what wonderful things God will do with him, right?

  4. Yeah, Rhonda, it was pretty bold of her. I'm not worried, though. This is the most stable he's been in more than 2 years. Yeah, as you know, we still have our ups and downs, but he is happy!!! I even had someone tell me on the phone yesterday, "Was that D?" Yeah… "Wow, he sounds … " I said, "Happy?" She said, "Yeah, for the first time since I've known you!" Praise God for this time of stability. I'm pretty sure we'll end up doing the online charter come January. Unless there is some miraculous change between now and Jan 2nd, he'll start Connections on the 9th.

  5. Mama, Thank you! You're right, D is smart enough to avoid those places that he can't handle. He'll even tell us (with words or body language) if he can't handle going in somewhere that we need/want to go. Learning to listen has taken time, but between that, the coping skills, and the new meds he is such a different child. I'm just praising God for this! I've sure prayed a long time to see a few moments of happiness in my sweet boy!!

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