Monday, November 17, 2008

A glimmer of hope, now in its own, unfunked post...

(edited to be its own, funk-free post...)

Well, the big meeting was this morning. I have a small glimmer of hope, or at least I did when we walked out of the school.

For starters, all the wonderful women who actually work with Kiddo (teachers and therapists) were uniform in their feelings about how she is a very smart child who is a delight to work with. (Yeah, I know, that was grammatically incorrect, sorry but my brains, they are fried right now.) It was nice to hear that folks without the parental bias Hubby and I share about how wonderful Kiddo is actually agree on that with us! We also heard that, confirming what we've seen at home, Kiddo is progressing well with both her OT and her PT. So, yay for that.

I was given the floor to speak first at the meeting, since the principal knew I had "many concerns" about things. (Woo, there's understatement of the year number one!) I was concentrating so hard on not throwing up that I lost a lot of my edge. I did take out the document I wrote up last week that detailed the exact timeline of everything to do with Kiddo's IEP - every time they didn't return a call or an email, all the things we were told, all the noncompliance, the lack of doing her sensory diet - but I never handed it to anyone else, I wound up just keeping it for me to refer to once or twice. Ditto the pages Hubby printed out citing the specific state law sections that apply to IEPs which pointed out how egregiously they were out of compliance. (Hmm, guess that means if they're not following the law, they're breaking it, so....... illegal, eh?) I said my piece, including how I found it difficult to understand how we could be ten weeks into the school year and how a simple, 5 step, clearly outlined sensory diet that takes 10 minutes to complete couldn't be successfully completed three times a day. I pointed out that I had seen the occupational therapist train people for this and how she was quite competent at training. Hubby also spoke about how we have been so frustrated with the poor communication on the administrators' end of things. I tried to clarify on that point that this has nothing to do with the actual "front line" staff, specifically Kiddo's teacher, who has gone above and beyond to keep lines of communication open. (At one point, it seemed like certain folks were trying to pin the lack of communication on her, and I didn't go for that one bit. Neither did she. That was the only time anyone tried to lay responsibility for anything on anyone, because neither the principal nor the Special Ed coordinator ever once apologized for any of this whole mess, as apologizing would mean accepting the responsibility for it, if not creating it - which the SpEd lady did by changing the IEP over the summer - and then for perpetuating it and not remedying the situation much more expediently than they did. Well, I mean, than they claim they will now, as it hasn't yet actually been remedied...) I was trying to be careful about what I did say because I certainly did not want to get Kiddo's teacher in trouble, but I wanted to defend her as it was NOT she who didn't call us for over a month!

More tellingly, every single one of the "front line" members of Kiddo's team - the teachers and therapists - concurred and said the same, exact thing: When Kiddo has her sensory diet, she is able to function without difficulty in the classroom. Without her sensory diet, she has difficulty. So, for all that certain people involved would like to chalk this whole mess up to nothing more than us being an overdemanding, difficult parents with unrealistic expectations, there it was, out of the mouths of the professionals sitting at the table: KIDDO NEEDS HER SENSORY DIET and that is ALL that she needs in terms of help/accommodation to be successful. When the principal parroted that back to us after the fourth member of her team had said it? I kinda wanted to barf in her general direction, just a little bit.  Because, well, DUH, that is exactly what everyone has been saying since last May at Kiddo's CSE meeting, when we wrote the IEP.

Anyhow, we were given all sorts of promises from the SpEd coordinator and the principal. I think they might even have promised to give me George Clooney's phone number, had I asked for it. The principal went so far as to offer to include me in the interviews for the new position, and she and the SpEd coordinator were full of talk about how they're going to be doing the paperwork TODAY as SOON as the meeting was over and how the interviews would be starting by Wednesday of this week so someone can be trained and on board to start the Monday after Thanksgiving (which is the first day after the current aide leaves). The principal and SpEd coordinator expressed an interest in the book the Special Ed teacher for the school, OT and I mentioned. (I must plug it once again: Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder by Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D, OTR. The best of the books on the topic of SPD.) We also made plans to set another official review meeting for January, once we have had a chance to get the new aide in place and presumably, have Kiddo's IEP actually be in compliance for a few weeks... So, with promises of "we'll keep in touch; I'll email you soon" ringing in our ears, Hubby and I left the school. If they actually do what they say they will, then things will be fine. Of course, the rest of the day passed without hearing from either the principal or the SpEd coordinator, either via email or telephone, so you know, good thing I'm excellent at holding my breath and believing in the impossible...


Eudea-Mamia said...

I'm giving you a standing ovation - seriously - I've got goose bumps!!

Way. to. go. MAMA!!!!

And this phrase is not used nearly enough..."No shit, Sherlock." I think we should start a movement to bring it back into everyday usage.

Glad to hear you were at least able to hold the barf. That's a good sign, right? BTW: Oldest had a relapse last night. At least it was in his own bed. Yum.


Nora said...

Hey Heather, if this round does not work you seriously need to get an advocate to speak for you. As a non-emotionally involved representative, districts tend to listen a bit better. They will have at their fingertips all info on legalities etc. Lots cheaper than an attorney and will get the job done, and you will not be considered one of those "PITA" parents.

Debbie said...

I joining in with our pal eduea-mamia in wanting to bring back No Shit Sherlock. That's a great family saying I remember from childhood. Ah, fond memories. Anyway, my fingers are crossed for you.

Ronnica said...

Okay, maybe I missed something, but did they fire the current aide? Or is she leaving of her own accord? I mean, I know she wasn't doing what she was supposed to do.

I hope that this will soon end all of the woes!