"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Monday, October 19, 2009

School = Headaches.

This morning I dragged Carly out of bed...she would have rather stayed in her bed under the covers, where it was warm and cozy. Who could blame her? It's a chilly Monday morning after all.

Much to the schools dismay, Carly will be starting back full days today. I had to finally put my foot down and tell them that this is my decision, not theirs. I haven't felt good about these partial days ever since we started them on Sept 23. I've felt Carly is missing out on learning, socialization (which is very important) and all of her specials (gym, music, art). To me, that just doesn't seem right. It seems to me as if she is being cheated out of her education. One that she is entitled to.

Last Thursday I ticked off the Special Ed Director. Too bad, is what I have to say. I spoke my mind. Well, actually I emailed her because I could NOT get her attention. I sent a copy of that email to the Principal too. So of course they called me in for a meeting. What they didn't know was, I was bringing my mom as a witness to the meeting. I've learned, NEVER go alone to a meeting at the school regarding your child. Never. EVER.

At the meeting, the very first thing that took place was...the Spec Ed Dir jumping all over me. Scolding me like a child for speaking my mind. I was told I insulted the speech teacher in the email that I sent. I did no such thing. What I did do, and I pointed this out to the principal & special ed director, was quote the speech teacher. Word for word quotes. The quotes are all negativity toward Carly. Negativity that I have heard from this speech teacher since Carly started going to school here in Kindergarten. The only words this speech teacher says to describe Carly are, "isn't", "can't", "doesn't", "not", "won't"...I think you get the picture here. Quite honestly, I've had enough of her negativity.

Let me tell you a little about this speech teacher. She was brought in out of retirement to work at our school. She used to work at a hospital rehab center for kids. She is older. Very unpleasant. Grumpy may best describe her. She is not open to signing, which Carly does 90% of the time. She tells me that signing does not lead to any speech. She tells me signing isn't recognized as a second language. I feel as if she is afraid of signing. She is set in her ways of 'old time teaching'. Fine for some. But it's not going to work for my kid.

Back to the meeting. I did NOT sit back and let this Special Ed Dir continue on with her scolding. I spoke to her firmly. Told her I was Carly's advocate and I would speak my mind any time that I see fit. I gave it right back to her. She isn't going to come at me with both barrels loaded and not get it right back in return.

Since Thursdays meeting, I've been researching, with a fine tooth comb, Wrights Law among other laws regarding schools and special need students. I'm sure the Spec Ed Dir knows these laws as well. I don't like to read that you basically need to kiss the team of educators, butts. I have tried and tried to communicate in a civil manner with the 'team', but that gets me no where fast. If you want to get the attention of the 'team' you have to get nasty and defensive. Sad, but so true. I had to point out things that the speech teacher was saying just to get a sure fire meeting. It worked. I got the meeting. It was worth it, even if I did get scolded like a child. Which by the way, I made clear that it will never happen again. The scolding I mean.

During the meeting, it was determined that Carly would go back to full days. The school was told that I will be (or my mom) observing Carly in her classroom, resource room and during speech. We will do this often. I don't think the school likes to be watched, but too bad. They are not doing right by my daughter and therefore, they need to be watched.

The school continues to drag their feet with getting an interpreter for Carly. One that is needed. Seriously, how can they know what Carly is capable of, if no one in that school signs???? Carly has no problem understanding what people are saying. The interpreter is for the school to know just what Carly is signing/talking about. How can Carly participate in any type of classroom discussion if they don't have a clue about signs? ? She can't.

All of this frustration with the school has caused me to have some massive migraines the last few days. I'm tired of the fight. A battle that should not have to take place. All due to the fact that I have a daughter who was born with Down syndrome. A daughter that deserves and is entitled to an education just like everyone else. As the law clearly defines. A daughter who deserves to have her needs met while at school. A daughter who is eager to learn. Capable of learning. Sadly, I know this is only the beginning of our battle regarding Carly and her education.

It breaks my heart every day when I send her to school. I know that she gets frustrated not being able to talk like her classmates do. Let's face it. Carly is different in many ways from her peers. Even though I use the phrase "More alike than different" quite often. The reality is, she is different. And I know that Carly knows she is different from her classmates. She knows she has limitations, even in the way she plays on the playground. The kids know that Carly is different than they are, but thankfully, I believe they realize that she is more like them than she is different. They see that she requires assistance in areas that they don't. However, the kids see that Carly likes to color, just as they do. They see that she likes story time, just as they do. They see that she likes to play on the playground, just like they do. She writes her name and is beginning to write words...just like they do. If it's so easy for the kids to look beyond the differences, and see that Carly fits in and that she is capable...why is it so hard for the school to see it??

I'm just not convinced that the school really wants Carly there. I've cried over this so many times. When the teacher found out that Carly was returning to full days she sent me a note. Mind you, these last four weeks of partial days, the teacher has sent me NO notes telling me about Carly and how she is doing. The note said "Carly is very tired during the afternoons". And "Carly kept asking for momma today". The real kick in the gut was when the bus driver brought Carly home that day. She went on to tell me that Carly's classroom aide brought her to the bus and informed the driver that "Mrs. R (teacher) doesn't think Carly is ready for full days". I can't get it out of my head that that's just the teacher not wanting Carly in her class. For whatever reason. Maybe she doesn't want to modify work. Maybe she doesn't want to slow the pace down for Carly. I don't know. I just can't wrap my brain around any of this crap.

My fear is that all of this negativity from the school will rub off on Carly. I fear that she will develop behavioral issues. Paul and I are trying not to talk about it in front of her. She is like a sponge. She takes everything in. If Carly does develop behavioral issues. I really do think I will blow my top. The school will then, likely wish they never heard the name Carly George.

Schools should not = headaches!


Tina said...

It's such a pity that you have to fight for what are Carly's basic rights, getting an education like all other children her age. Gosh her teacher sounds like someone with no compassion or understanding towards Carly's needs. I hope Carly gets to enjoy school and be with her friends and doesn't get caught in the middle of this tug of war with the school. So glad you stood up to them and didn't take any of their nonsense.

Stephanie said...

Those, SOB's This gets me stinkin POed! What the hell is their problem! It stinks that you have to deal with issues like this. That teacher sounds like a witch! And they all sound like ignorant asses!They sound like Carly doesn't have a right to be in "their' school. Well you fought the good fight! I hope this is the end of it. Sorry about the language if you feel you need to delete this comment go ahead, I don't want to offend anyone. I just had no other words to express my anger.
BTW, if you don't mind I'd love your address to send a Christmas card, My girls love Carly.( and I like you)LOL

Heidi said...

What a struggle ... it shouldn't be like that! I applaude you for how you handled yourself in the meeting and for insisting that you and/or your Mom will be observing Carly. You ARE her advocate and you have every right to do what you are doing!

There is a girl in Caleb's class at school with Down syndrome and I have not been impressed with how the teacher and aide have been handling certain things with her. I told my husband that I would ask to sit in and observe Joel when he goes to school. How else are you going to know how they are doing?!

Cammie Heflin said...

It stinks it came to all of this mess, but good for you for standing up for your daughter!

Michelle said...

ugh! I am so sorry for this school situation! Just awful! Well of course she was asking for you that day - she was used to being on half-days! The teacher has to realize there will be an adjustment period for her going back to full days. Is there another 1st grade classroom she can go to if the teacher doesn't want her in her class? That's not helping Carly at all :( Oh my stomach would be in knots. Hugs to you.

Shawn Stacy said...

Oh my goodness, What school system (state) are you in. I have never heard such things. My son, Ben, is 18 with Down syndrome and we live in Frankfort KY. I am also a special ed teacher. Carly has the right to a free and full education and her needs (detemined by her IEP) is LAW. If they are not fulfilling these needs, find a lawyer. Federal Law gives this to her not state law.
So go mom, I think I would be checking other school systems and what services are provided, to see if it is this one school system or if the state needs an overhall.
I am so sorry you are going through this but do not give up. YOu are right you are her advocate. Stay tough!!!

Sasha@ Blyssfulhealth said...

What a mess they are making, the school that is. I bet it's giving you a headache. To me they sound like they are ganging up on you. The teacher doesn't sound professional at all. It sounds like she is complaining to everyone. Sending hugs to you. Fight away mama...If anyone can change them, it sounds like you will.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

*sigh* I'm sorry! We're right there with you... keep fighting!