Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tri Annual Terror

Me: "I have the Kiddo's Tri Annual coming up next month."

"K": "Oh my god! He's in the Tri Wizard Tournament?!?!?"

Me: "Of course. He's no Muggle! They start it by telling me what an adorable, sweet and handsome boy he is and then it goes downhill from there where they tell us just how far behind he is in everything."

"K": "Well that's got to suck."

This is why I love my friend "K".  She gets my need to crack a joke to help cushion the blow on most things autism related.  She also doesn't go all Willy Wonka by candy coating it.  The Tri Annual testing blows!

 We finally got to go over the behavior assessment last week.  This process started in early November.  It took till Jan. 30th to actually review it. Yes, it takes that flipping long. Frankly, the behaviors that I was first concerned about have changed vastly since the start of all of this but they didn't technically observe him for these new ones cropping up.  

I turn to the lovely young lady behavior therapist who I am pretty convinced is still in high school and ask "What now?  What about this cursing issue?  It's really getting bad. Mother of God don't you dare say token reward system. I will cut you if you so much as utter the words "sticker chart"." (OK, maybe I didn't say all of that but in my head I was screaming it.)

She seemed a little alarmed that I wasn't sold on the token nonsense.  In fact I'm pretty sure she was thinking "Wtf?? The professors in school all said this is what to do. Nothing makes any sense anymore!!!"  To her credit she did have some other ideas we are going to try.  Not going to lie, all of this just exhaust me.  This behavior plan won't start till mid February.  So more time walks on by.

Plus, this is a tri annual assessment year for our boy next month. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it's pretty much this.  Every three years, your special needs kiddo will undergo a smattering of testing by the school to see where they are at essentially.  Translation: Just how freaking developmentally delayed my kiddo is with little to no hope of ever catching up to his typical aged peers.  Oh and also help write new IEP goals but mostly it's just the soul crushing realness of our situation.  Good times.

Yeah, they'll point out improvements but by and large it just is a reminder of what we don't have here and where we might never get to be.  It's hard.  So freaking hard to hear.  Thank god these things are only every three years.  I need that time to recover between them.  I hear all these typical parents bitching about Common Core and standardize testing and I think "You don't know the circle of Hell we're stuck in over here."  Typical teaching doesn't reach my kiddo but a all these behavior and academic testing are suppose to give a clear idea where he is at? Huh??

It was also at this meeting when I looked at my son's teacher and realized I see the start of a pregnancy belly.  She's due in May.  Another new teacher to prep and transition. Happy for her, tired for me.

If I start a, will you be willing to donate to my spa getaway forget it all weekend?  Don't be cheap. Mama is gonna have a large bar tab.


  1. Mama Frie - please explain your dislike for sticker charts. I have a kid in my special ed preschool class that we are doing a Behavior Assessment on, and we are willing to do ANYTHING to get him to stay with the group, attend, not bite anyone, etc. PS: I am also the mother of a 19 yr old ASD boy!

    1. I am not Mama Fry but I do have some experience with sticker charts. Some ASD kids respond well to stickers and tokens while others do not. If a child has a high level of anxiety or a need for control, stickers and rewards can be a real challenge. All kids will usually be on-board at first, until that dreaded moment that they do not earn the sticker or one is taken away for some reason. Then you will get to witness the rage monster that parents and care givers are trying to avoid. Also, some kids will try to manipulate the system so they can feel back in-control. It has to be 100% consistent to work. If he gets a sticker for complying for one thing and not another, you can bet he notices, and he needs the rules to not change. There are some other options out there. Look for environmental triggers, use sensory breaks, use lots of visuals. Offer sensory objects during times of quiet or stillness. Small goals at first. Target one part of the day... Good Luck

  2. Wow. I thought the IEP for mine was bad...I feel for you.

  3. Mine is also due for his 3-year assessment. Hugs.

    Agree with Anonymous above - my son is just not motivated by rewards and consequences. When he gets a vision on how something should go, heaven forbid that vision not pan out as he imagined. Bad behavior is usually the result of something bothering him (sensory, anxiety, vision failure) not a power struggle.

  4. As an autistic student, I sometimes feel like an experiment with all the observations, poking, prodding (not literally), and testing. I can play the flute, but I still can't ride a bike.

  5. Ugh!! I'm glad you have a friend you can be real with. Mine are still the candy-coaters (God love 'em). I get what you're saying though, just on a different level. I constantly feel frustrated when my friends complain about their kids having typical temper tantrums, while mine threw an eight ball at my head the other day. Perspective, right?
    As for the gofundme, I couldn't think of a worthier cause. ;)

  6. I feel your pain. My kiddo changes so much that the teachers can't keep up. It doesn't help that the district will not diagnose his autism. Whole healthcare team has it right and are appalled that the school district has him grossly misdiagnosed so he doesn't even receive the needed therapies. He is high functioning, think mini Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. Oh the fights we fight!

  7. My 4 year old ASD kiddo couldn't give a rats about a sticker chart. They've been dragging out that old chestnut for at least 30 years. If it worked my 30 year old ASD nephew would be eating more than coke, Chocolate biscuits and sandwiches. There are other, much better motivators out there but unless so called 'experts' take the time to get to know the individual kiddo in question then they'll still revert to the sticker chart routine...

  8. Amen, and pass the wine.

  9. Love the gofundme idea, I'm with you!

  10. We are living parallel lives! Going through assessments for next month's tri, kiddos issues are ramping up because of the testing (pulling out, extra people in room to observe, changing the schedule...) and the teacher is also due in May. It's all my kiddo can talk about at home: "Mom, the baby in my teacher's belly is a girl. When will I get to see the baby? Will she cry a lot? I think she will a cute tiny baby." On the bright side, at least it is giving us a new topic besides Dora and Doc Mcstuffins to perseverate about. Sticker charts don't work for mine either - they have to be placed perfectly straight or mine has a meltdown and rips up the chart. I tell my kids they may have to set up a gofundme if they want to go to college, because their college money is going towards therapies for both of them!