Sunday, August 9, 2009

School Blues

Preschool last year was a bit of an experience!

Before my daughter's accident I had sent my boys to school without a second thought. With the supply list in hand we headed to Target to buy a sinful amount of paper, pencils, and crayons.

On the day of check in, at the front of the school, hung the class lists. We would find their names on the list and head into the school gym to put their names, address, and phone number on countless pieces of paper. We would return in the evening to meet their new teachers. Drop of their supplies heading to the lunch room on the way out to grab a cheap ice cream bar at the wanna be ice cream social.

Several days later we would return to the school. This time it was buzzing with excited kids running around trying to find the sign with their teachers name on it. 246 pictures later, a kiss in front of all of their old and soon to be new friends they are walked into the school for the first day! I usually turned around with tears in my eyes thinking that my babies were growing up WAY to fast and then jumped for joy and enjoyed the next 6 hours until I HAD to go pick them up again!

The school year will go by mostly uneventful with a few phone calls to the teachers, holiday parties with way too many kids that have had WAY to much sugar, a few class programs and assemblies and for the most part really great report cards!

Then I sent Makenzie to Pre school! Throw the whole above paragraph out the window and instead insert the word "HEAD ACHE"

There is no sinful school supply list. There is a however a list of numerous school district employees that need to be called. Then they ALL need to coordinate a time to meet along with ALL of her private home therapists. They call this lovely process a Child Find evaluation. This is for them to be able to tell you how much they think your child CAN'T DO. For them to gather information that will later be reduced to several short paragraphs that is indented to define your child. Then after the 3 hour gathering of the minds there should be a bunch if goals written and services laid out. This processes reoccurs every year in the form of an IEP review.

Well for us this process has been painfully difficult. The school's thoughts and ideas on how to help Makenzie be functional in a classroom have been sparse at best! They also have not provided her with all resources available. I spent 3 months in the class room showing them how I expected them to care for Makenzie.

I asked for meetings to discuss concerns and requested the specialists to contact Makenzie's home therapists for ideas on how to better seat and integrate Makenzie. Each time they made it very difficult to pull together and when we finally sat down to talk I was made to feel like my concerns were not a big deal. Most of the time it was pointless as they shot down everything I asked for because of one reason or another. I felt very ganged up on and spent many of nights wondering what I was doing wrong.

I will NEVER apologize for advocating for and protecting my daughter.

I began to wonder why I was doing all of this. It was only preschool! The problem.... Makenzie LOVES school!! She is a VERY social little girl!

To make a very, very LONG story short, it hasn't gotten any better! School starts in 2 weeks. I have no clue what school Makenzie will be going to. I was told we would have several meetings this summer to discuss what would be the best school/classroom fit for her. The head of special education told me that she would provide resumes for the staff at schools Makenzie could attend. I asked to be able to talk to several teachers and specials before deciding what school I would send Makenzie to. Nada, nothing, no meetings, no phone calls, no school visits, and no resumes. NOTHING other then a bunch of phone calls trying to pull together a meeting that was supposed to happen at the end of June!

They underestimate this mama bear! They will NOT put my daughter in a box! They will not compare her to other children! They will not expect me to trust the system that has managed to waste a year of my daughters life. If after expressing a concern I hear that every thing will be ok because the staff is trained to work with children that have special needs.... I might BARF! There is no other child like Makenzie and there is no amount of general education that is good enough for me. I WILL be heard!!! Maybe not in time for school to start but I have lots of time... no worries! They will not back me into any corners this year!!! BRING IT ON!!! LOL!!!

So when you put your kids in the car, find their class line, give them a kiss and walk away this year on the first day of school think of me!!! Think of the many other parents that also go through this painful process and be thankful that you are not one of them!

Thanks for the prayers! Keep praying! Believe.. Prayer Works!!!


ferfischer said...

I guess if I think the IFSP's are hard, I can't wait for IEP's and school. And then, one typical twin and one special twin and may or may not be in the same school, and I get a headache just thinking about it. I am glad you're going through it before me though, so I can lean on you to help! How lucky for me! :) Hang in there, Pam.

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