[blindkid] Fwd: After school care

Sarah Thomas seacknit at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 01:33:36 UTC 2014

That is awesome!  Good for you and your daughter!

Sally Thomas
On Aug 1, 2014, at 8:23 AM, Ashley G via blindkid <blindkid at nfbnet.org> wrote:

> ---------- 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
> well.
> 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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