Trying to wake up this chilly Tuesday morning. I must admit, it's not easy to wake up after not sleeping well the night before. I've seem to have lost some much needed sleep due to worries regarding Carly attending our local school district. Quite honestly. I'm tired of the whole thing. Sadly, Carly is only in the first grade so this is likely to continue for quite sometime. It just plain sucks!
Monday, mom and I, along with an advocate headed in to the school for the continuation of Carly's IEP meeting. It lasted 2 1/2 extremely long hours. Some issues were resolved. Others were not. The main issue being Carly's signing. We had no success with that issue. The school flat out refused to get an ASL certified Para Pro. In fact, when they were asked, point blank whether or not they would hire someone for Carly, they answered flat out, "no"! Our next step is to present a request in writing for the signing Para, to the school district. Then, we head to the lawyer and plan to go into Due Process. Did I mention how much this sucks?
We have been in contact with the Dept of Education in Washington DC. We were told that the school district must provide this special type of Para Pro (signing) for Carly in order for Carly to receive an appropriate education. Which in turn, falls into F.A.P.E. Why on earth the school is refusing is beyond me. Heading into Due Process with cost the school some big bucks. They will indeed have their lawyers there. Lawyers that are extremely costly to the school district. Money that could be spent on my daughter's education. However, our attempts to work with the school and convince them that Carly does in fact need someone to help her to strive and be successful at school, has failed.
Many things were addressed during the meeting. One of which; I questioned why is Carly being put in time outs. Why I hadn't been informed of this (my mom busted them in action). Why they were now requesting that we give them several days notice and not to just pop in to check on Carly during school hours. The teacher turned her chair toward me and said, "how do you suggest we handle Carly?" Um...WHAT????? Everyone had just said that Carly was laid back and easy going, non disruptive, no problems with behavior whatsoever. After I pointed out the fact that the teacher was placing Carly in time outs, (which take place out of the classroom, down a hallway and on a bench), with no reason other than no one wanting to take a little extra time to help Carly along. The tune was quickly changed. The teacher then said, "well we do that so Carly can refocus". And she said, "we do that with all the kids from time to time". Her examples of time outs for other kids did not involve a bench at the end of a hallway. Those kids get to run errands for the teacher. They get to go down to the office and help make copies for the class. That's how they get punished for not being focused. How is that fair to my daughter? It's not!
During yesterdays meeting, my heart was broken by a particular comment that Carly's first grade teacher said to me/us. First, let me explain a little bit about the IEP. An IEP is a meeting with the 'team' who work with your child at school. It's a plan of goals that are set up for your kid. A plan that the school must, by law, follow. During IEP's, the 'team', which is made up of any one person who works with your child toward their education. Such as; physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech & language, spec., ed director, principal, aid, teacher and resource teacher, etc... At each meeting, each person talks of the child. Telling how the child is doing, as far as reaching goals that are set in place during each IEP. When it came time for the teacher to start her spiel. She started out by saying that she had parents come to her regarding their children and the interaction taking place with Carly. Imagine how my heart broke at that point. She also said that the parents feel their kids are having a burden placed upon them, by helping to assist Carly with various things. Such as; working with her as a buddy. The teacher went on and on and then she wrapped it up and it went something like this: "Well, I think Carly needs to be in a smaller group setting." She rambled on a bit more, but she completely lost everyone. Everyone, except for me. I knew exactly where she was heading. She went on to say, "Carly would really benefit more with one on one time and I just don't have the time to give her one on one attention." This remark really was a slap in the face. She then said, "I do have 17 other children in my class." The spec. ed director still wasn't sure what the heck the teacher was talking about and she then questioned her. The teacher went on to say that she thought Carly should be in the resource room for a good part of the day. Well....much to my surprise, the Spec Ed Dir., spoke up on Carly's behalf and said, "no, that is not what Carly needs. Not at this time ". After that, the teacher walked out of the meeting. Unfreaking-believable, don't you think?
And so, I came home an absolute wreck. 1, because they refuse to get my daughter the help she needs in order to be successful. 2, the teacher telling me the thoughts of the other parents. 3, the teacher stating that she doesn't want Carly in her classroom. Wow..talk about being slapped in the face. No wonder I didn't get any sleep last night.
For the life of me, I don't get this whole denying Carly a signing Para pro. Good Lord. This little girl signs ALL THE TIME! She has a list of signs that is way over 500. Which by the way, she has taught herself over a course of the last 2 years. Her spoken words are around 70+. Can they not see the best way for Carly to thrive in school? Obviously, they can not. Therefore, we are pushing forward.
I think I'll go take a much needed nap. Have a good day!