Sunday, July 15, 2012

The prep work

So less than a month till we're supposed to sit down with the school district's 504 coordinator and write out the plan, and I'm frantically reading everything I can about 504 plans so I know what one should look like and what to expect and what to watch out for. So I don't sound like a total idiot, basically. Just like cramming for a final, minus the all-nighters and the cold pizza for breakfast. (Oh, don't judge me. That was college.)

I found one useful site here; it has sample 504 plans and resources from a couple other school districts. ADDitude magazine had a handy checklist (which I can't find the precise link for) offering suggestions for how to handle certain behaviors -- for instance, seating an easily distracted student near the teacher, or giving them written and verbal instructions if they're having trouble following verbal instructions alone. If the student loses books, allowing them to keep an extra set at home. That sort of thing. It's fairly common-sense stuff, but might be useful to put in writing anyway. 

Still, it doesn't help matters that every time I talk to somebody about 504 plans I get a variation on, "Well, they don't really do much. You should push for an IEP." Now, that may well be true. 504 plans come with a certain amount of legal backing but no extra financial backing, and most schools won't want to spend the money, especially if they're strapped (and aren't they all strapped?). I've read some accounts online in which parents couldn't even get their school to agree to a 504, so having the approval before he even starts school is something. But every time I hear "they don't really do much," what I'm really hearing is, "I can't believe you fell for that 504 BS, you chump." So it's not encouraging.

I really don't know whether the 504 will be enough for kiddo. Some days he's great. Other days, he head-butts his nanny at the pool. Or repeatedly runs off through the fields while we're blueberry picking, then takes off toward the entrance of the farm -- as in, toward the road -- because there's a sprinkler on out there and he's hot, thus encouraging kiddette to run too -- right into the parking lot. (Sometimes the biggest problem is that kiddette does everything her brother does. It's like having two kids with ADHD. And they're both surprisingly fast.)

He's definitely smart, and notices things. Last week, we were a little late for OT because a traffic light was out on our regular route, and we had to crawl through a detour. Yesterday, he not only remembered we'd been delayed, but he remembered the exact light that had been out, and he cheered when he saw it was working again.

I did check in with the school about the Brigance screenings -- the administrator who'd run the test called back within hours (they always return calls at this school, which strikes me as a good sign) and gave me a category breakdown of how he'd done. Turns out he'd done pretty well. Scored high on colors, syntax and numbers -- she asked him to count to 30 and he went to 41. (I've gotten him to go to 100, actually.) His visual motor skills are a little off -- he had trouble tracing shapes. And he didn't always know the proper names for things. She suggested working with him on word play and helping him practice writing. She also said he was friendly and enthusiastic.

I think he'll be able to learn at school. If he can sit still long enough to do it. And if he doesn't get, let's say oppositional with the teacher. Or the other kids. Or anybody else.

So I'll keep studying up and we'll see how things go.

1 comment:

  1. It'll happen. I can always "help" you by coming to the school with a threatening glare and a sock full of quarters. MEET OUR NEEDS OR MEET MR. SOCK.