I had a feeling first grade wasn’t going to be all that I expected when apparently the new school did not know what grade my son was in. The Welcome letter said, “Welcome to Second Grade”. Looking back it would have been nice to have one less year of painful school experiences. But nevertheless it was one week before the start of school and they didn’t even know what grade my son was entering. The reason why this was so concerning was because part of our agreement at the IEP meeting was that the principal would have a meeting with the child study team prior to the school year to discuss which teacher would be best to handle my son’s needs in their classroom. It was apparent that this was never done.
I also hadn’t even received a copy of the rough draft of the IEP and school was about to begin. Additionally, the independent functional behavior assessment was not scheduled as of yet although at the IEP meeting it was agreed that it would be completed by the first month of school.
I wrote a letter to the Special Education Director that started, “This letter is to follow up and clarify some outstanding issues and serious concerns”. This was followed by five bullet points with my concerns. Clear, concise, and to the point!
To my surprise I received back a very sarcastic letter that said he was addressing my “serious concerns”. It went on to say, “I’m sure you are aware that child study team members and teachers are ten month employees and not always available because much like yourself they take vacations during the month of August.” As I read this I was thinking are you kidding me? My child has lost a year of his life, kindergarten SHOULD have been a happy place and my child SHOULD have been able to learn and progress. Instead my child was stuck in an inappropriate placement and severe regression was noted throughout the school year. The Special Education Director also wrote that he would have HIS district’s behavioral consultant scheduled to conduct an evaluation. That was NOT what was agreed upon. The evaluation was to be completed by a behaviorist of my choice because the district had already dropped the ball. I had requested a Functional Behavior Assessment twice during last school year, once in March and once in May. Perhaps if they had done their job, we wouldn’t have been having this discussion. Again, those were my thoughts. Oh, and the Director asked for a copy of the audio tapes from the IEP meeting.
In any event, a letter was sent back to Director by my advocates that said the child study team had agreed to provide an independent evaluation, here are our three choices of evaluators, here is the audio tapes, please do not hesitate to contact us with any other questions, and lastly it has been a pleasure working collaboratively with the child study team.
Now while this was going on I also privately had arranged and funded for my son to receive occupational therapy one night a week after school, he would also be starting a social skills program on Saturday mornings, and my son would attend a program on ADHD at Fairleigh Dickinson while my husband and I would be taking a parent training course on ADHD as well.
We were not looking for the school to be the answer all and we were very dedicated to helping our son.
Shortly after the functional behavior assessment began and I took the time to write a letter of appreciation to the Principal. It started, “I know that compliments are usually few and far between but I think it is always appropriate to let someone know when you appreciate them and their hard work.” I went on to thank the principal for making sure that my son’s aid had attended the workshop on ADHD and informed her that my son’s new case manager had been prompt in her responses to my questions. I also stated that, “Mrs. Teacher also deserves recognition as I know a child with special needs especially in a mainstream classroom requires extra time and patience.” I went on to state, “I just recently read an article at our last conference regarding children with disabilities who are in regular education classrooms. They are three times more likely to pass standardized tests then those who are separated in special education classrooms, as long as they continue to get the supports they need. This is why it is so important, although sometimes harder, to do the extra work for our children.” Lastly, I complimented the resource teacher for coming up with alternative teaching methods, showing a personal interest in wanting to make sure my son reads this year, and for working extremely hard and being patient. It ended, “TO SUM IT UP I AM HAPPY WITH MY NEW CHILD STUDY TEAM AND LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THEM IN THE FUTURE.”
I was really trying to build positive relationships and believed that everyone should be working together in the best interest of the child. Boy, was I mistaken?
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT