[blindkid] Fwd: After school care

Ashley G ashleygaze at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 00:23:53 UTC 2014

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ashley G <ashleygaze at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 5:10 PM
Subject: Re: After school care
To: Carlton Anne Cook Walker <attorneywalker at gmail.com>

Thank you so much for the great info Carlton.

You are correct. I found this out yesterday.  It is the Y's responsibility
to provide reasonable accommodations for Audrey, and I believe they're
going to. This morning I met with the School Programs Coordinator and the
Youth and Family Services Coordinator at the Y this morning to discuss
supporting Audrey in an after school program, and I felt really good about
our meeting.

They are going to add another staff member, who will be there to help
support Audrey an another child with autism as needed.  At after care, I
don't really think she will need a 1:1 aide since she won't be doing
focused academic work, but she may need that 1:1 support at times.  They're
also going to provide inclusion training for the staff on autism, behaviors
in general, and blindness (this is important since there is a program for
VI kids at the school).   They're going to have a copy of her behavior plan
and are going to follow the same system she uses during the school day, and
they were open to many of the accommodations I had mentioned--older peer
buddy, a quiet space to relax, and they were fine with us sending in things
from home (headphones, comfort toys etc.)

A friend of mine told me that since the Y is a private organization,
separate from the school, we can have an ABA provider come and work with
her during the time she is in the after school program.  This would be
ideal, since her main challenges occur in social settings, and since she
has a hard time initiating and sustaining social interactions with other
children.  It would also add another adult to the equation, which I think
will be especially important at the beginning of the school year when ALL
of the kindergartners will be needing some extra help.

When we worked on her IEP, we planned for extra O&M and PT hours at the
beginning of the year to work on some of those independence skills.  I
couldn't agree with you more on that.  In order for a student to really be
ready for the academic learning, they first need to feel safe and confident
in their surroundings.  When we created her IEP goals, we also made sure
they touched on all of the areas in the Expanded Core Curriculum.  For all
students, school is a place where they learn more than just academics, but
we as parents have to really be explicit and insistent that staff
understand why these other areas are so important and that opportunities in
these areas need to be specifically created for our children.  I'm hoping
that all of these things will help ease her transition so that she can be
successful in school and generalize that to her afterschool program as

Thanks again....so much!!!

On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 7:35 AM, Carlton Anne Cook Walker <
attorneywalker at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ashley,
> At this point, it appears that the Y needs only to provide reasonable
> accommodation. That can, but may not include additional staffing.
> This is a great reason to get the school to start pin-pointing the story
> provided to your child during the school day. Academic support might not be
> as necessary in the after school setting. Other types of support
> (orientation and mobility, self-cafe) are areas where you may want to get
> the school to focus on helping your daughter build the skills she needs to
> be more independent and not need the paraprofessional support. Too often,
> paraprofessional support becomes an unneeded crutch that inhibits  child's
> development of independent living skills. Your need for the after school
> program could help the IEP team see the need for more age-appropriate
> independent skill building right away.
> Note, I have addressed only the blindness side, and you need that your
> daughter has autism as well. Again, a concerted team effort on helping her
> to build the skills she needs in this area is vital. In my opinion, for
> many students, we do them a disservice by focusing only on academics. The
> child is a whole child, and the self-confidence built in developing these
> skills will pay off in the academic realm and for years to come. In
> general, academic skills, by themselves and supported by a full time
> paraprofessional, do not lead to improved self-help and independent living
> skills. This is a matter the IEP team may wish to consider when determining
> priorities for the IEP.
> Engender, IEPs can be revised any time, and it may be worthwhile to review
> the current plan to see if it meets your daughter's needs.
> Another autism-focused resource (reference by another poster) is a TSS
> (therapeutic support staffer). These individuals should be trained in
> behavioral support theory, and they typically support students one-on-one.
> Given that your daughter has a school-provided paraprofessional, it may be
> worth looking into community-based TSS services. In my experience,
> overlapping these TSS professionals into some of school time helps the
> entire team provide consistency across settings and allows the student to
> grow more quickly in the acquisition of skills (blindness, autism,
> academic, and others).
> The fact is that, in education, we can tend to specialize to much. Your
> daughter deserves an individualized education program, and effective
> communication among service providers, educators, and families across
> school, community, and home settings often leads to Ann Beyer, more
> efficient, and certainly more child-centered program.
> Carlton

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