Wednesday, October 26, 2011

IEP-i-s-s-e-d At Myself

I HATE the IEP process.  Hate, hate, hate it.  The IDEA Act and its alignment with leaving no child behind?  That's a happy crock of crap.  My child - he's the one who would be left behind, should that decision be left up to the schools.  It should NOT be such a fight to have special education services provided.

Long, loooooong story short, I requested a speech evaluation for David about six weeks ago.  We got a note sent home last Wednesday that the evaluation was complete and the note had five or six different appointment times to select from for us to meet and go over the results.  One was the next morning at 10:30 - that's the one we chose.  We sent the note back to school and made it very clear that David had to bring the note directly to his teacher in the morning.  He did.  We got to school at 10:30 for the meeting.  No speech therapist - she was sick.  Um hello.  Could nobody call me when they got the note at 7:45 to tell me that?  They "called the other speech therapist at another school" to see if she could go over the evaluation.  5 minutes later some woman walks out and tells me that we can't go over it that day.  I had no idea who she was, because she never introduced herself.  Oh wait, she was the other therapist.  What the hell?  We went back and forth about the inconvenience, she never knew about it, she wasn't prepared to discuss his evaluation, who said he needs speech anyway, his grades are fine, blah, blah, blah.  I was so steaming mad I walked out.  That was rude, but I was about to either start crying or punch someone in the face.  Our meeting was reset to Monday.

I did a lot of research over the weekend.  And I got madder and madder.

I was mad that the woman was so disrespectful.

I was mad that David has a need for a service but gets great grades and that is the scale for determining if a child qualifies.

I was mad that I let this woman make me so mad.

I was frustrated that it is so damn hard to get a child who is not failing his classes some help with other areas.

I was mad that David continues to need help with things - when is enough going to be enough for him?  He's seven years old and he's spent five years of his life in one therapy or another.  I don't know anyone else who has spent 85% of their life under regular medical treatment and has received not one, not two, not three - FOUR major medical diagnoses in that period of time.  Life altering, game changing diagnoses.

I was mad because I don't want to have to fight about him and what is best for him with everyone who is partially responsible for caring for him.

I was mad because everything always has to be a fight.

I was mad because if he can't get speech at school we would have to pay for it privately and really people, there is going to come a time in the not so distant future when the money for therapy has to be diverted from one therapist to pay another.

I was mad because it takes so much energy to fight about his care.  Energy that I could be spending playing with him or reading with him or riding bikes with him instead of fighting with his school or an insurance company.

I was mad because Chris wasn't mad.  (Really, I was mad enough for both of us.  He didn't need to be mad too.)

I was mad because it's not fair to Jack and Henry that we sometimes have to spend so much time working with David on things or bringing the other children to David's therapies, which forces them to ride in the car a lot and not be playing or having fun.  Not that they have ever complained even one time.

And I was mad at myself for feeling all of those things.

And then?  I got over it.  I realized that I would rather spend the time and energy I was spending fighting about David to be fighting for David.  Speech at school?  Not our only option.  I got up Monday and made a private speech evaluation appointment.  I told myself that I didn't care what they said at school - we could get private services.  No, it wouldn't be the most convenient, but I like the therapist and David would too.  I went to the meeting much more at peace, as Chris and I already made our decision to get services for David privately.  And guess what happened?  The school did the right thing.

David qualifies under the "other health diagnosis" (Tourette's) to receive special education services.  And he started speech today.  And the private therapist?  She trained the therapist at school who is providing his services.  We will touch base with the private therapist in 4-6 weeks.  If he is not progressing, we will add private speech too.

And we will all be OK.  I am so, so thankful that Chris and I are always on the same page about David's care.  We are both very committed to doing whatever we can do to ensure he has every single opportunity to be successful, despite his differences.  (Which, PS, David is completely unaware that he is different from anyone. . . )  This trip with David would be so much harder and so much more stressful if Christopher and I were not working together!


Keri said...

We're going through something similar. Adam is in third grade and has the handwriting of a first grader. I have been mentioning this sunk first grade only to be told not to worry that irrupts a "developing skill". Well his third grade teacher agrees that he should probably receive occupational therapy but the school will not even evaluate him because he's not in special Ed. So next week he starts private occupational therapy at vanderbilt. Thankfully insurance will cover 90% of it but I shudder to think what would happen if we were uninsured. No child left behind my butt.

Katy said...

I'd build them a playhouse if I could, Kim. :)

The school system is never going to be adequate for all kids, no matter what. We do what we have to do for our kids. I think David is lucky to have you as parents.