Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School....it's never easy!

I feel like I'm a seasoned veteran as far as sending a child "back to school."  I've been doing it since 2000.
I had years where I would cry at IEP meetings, not know exactly how to fight for my son, or what to do.
Honestly, I don't remember the last time I had a feeling like that.  I quickly became involved in the special ed PTO, later became a member of the Board of Education....I schooled myself in the rights of parents in special education.

After all, I had 2 boys with Fragile X...and I was NEVER going to be that mom who cried at an IEP meeting when I asked for something and was denied. Nope.  Not me.

I've had a REALLY good run.....knowing the law helps, knowing what you're school district can and cannot do helps, having friends going through the same thing helps, and knowing where to turn in the Fragile X world helps too.

Last Sunday...I got Ben's placement letter for 6th grade....a new school, middle school.  Not new to me....Matty's already gone through it.  He didn't enter as a 6th grader, the program then wasn't what it needed to be....he moved back in 2 years later and repeated the 7th grade so he could spend 2 years there.

Ben's IEP meeting this spring was a slam dunk....the district did their whole slew of evals...and I let them.  I took Benji to visit with Dr. Vicki Sudhalter to get her take...I was armed.  I know how capable he is.  It was easy....we all agreed that Ben would go into the "Resource Room" setting....where he's going to model a typical Middle School day....8 periods, 8 teachers, etc..... easy peasy.

I get his letter on a Sunday I read it, after being away on vacation for a week....and the teacher listed is the teacher of children with autism.

I literally fell down and started to cry as I read this letter.  This was the OPPOSITE of what his Team and I agreed to.

Why?  Why?  Why?  How does this happen?  In my head I know the drill I'm going to get when I make that phone call the next day...."Well, Mrs. Fasciano, after we thought about it, we think maybe he's not strong enough to be in the Resource Room setting, so we're going to start him in the ASD class and see how he does...blah, blah, blah.....I could write the script I anticipate hearing.

I reach out to 2 other moms, Ben's BFFs...and they have the SAME teacher letter that I do!!!  How can this BE?

Wait....maybe the ASD teacher is going to teach Resource Room this year due to the high number of kids?  NO....too many ASD kids Ben's age in  the district....no way.

I make a call the next day (Monday)....get the voice mail of the Special Services Supervisor.  Leave her a message and ask her to call me.  I call his case manager, leave her a voice mail.   I can't reach human being to talk to me about this....it's been 24 hours of nausea as to the fight I'm ready to fight on Benji's behalf.

I get a call, the following afternoon (48 hours later of nausea later)...guess what?

The placement letter that went out is a MISTAKE.  The way the new IEP system feeds up to the middle school, this multiple handicap classification "filters" him into the Autism class.  

We're going to send you a new letter with the correct teacher placement....for the Resource Room setting.

For Pete's sake....please, please, please....shouldn't someone READ the letters BEFORE they get sent out to the parents?  I could do without 48 hours of nausea.

That's all I got today.....stay tuned for the sinus infection/root canal sag from late last week!

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