Preparing for battle.

This is sad, sad, sad but Duhdee and I are already gearing up for some more fights with the school system.  I wonder at what point we will give up and just move.   We don’t want to move.  Five generations of Duhdee’s family have lived in this house.  We like our neighbors, a lot.  We like the neighborhood, a lot.  We just may not have a choice.

The “impossible” challenges we need to resolve before the end of the school year are to convince the district to create an integrated kindergarten classroom and/or change their policy on 1-1 aides (“We don’t do them,” is a direct quote.  Our advocate finds that rather amusing.)  If we had sent Monkey to kindergarten this fall on schedule he had two options 1. mainstream classroom with minimal support or 2. substantially separate classroom, possibly with integrated “specials” (gym, art, etc.)   Neither of those would have been appropriate. 

Neither of these changes are really impossible, of course, we have a new superintendent who knows the benefits of both changes…he’s seen them work in his last district.   But there is a whole layer of bureaucracy built up in this district and while most are genuinely good and likeable people there are people in positions of power that are downright hostile.  One in particular causes a visceral reaction, the very sight of her creates so much anger in both of us…sigh.

Our son’s preschool teacher wants us to stand up and push for these changes but the last time a teacher used us as an example for needed changes it backfired big time and almost cost Monkey his placement.  If we start this fight we will have to see it through to the end.  It’s going to cost money…maybe a lot of money if we have to hire an attorney.  It’s going to cost time, guarunteed to be a lot of time (we’ve yet to write an IEP with the district with less than 12 hours of face to face meeting time.) It’s going to cause stress, which is not beneficial to anyone.

I know it’s needed.  I just hate that it has to be us.  I don’t want to have to fight over everything.  I’d just like something, for once, to be simple.

Yeah, yeah, I know…suck it up 🙂

9 thoughts on “Preparing for battle.

  • September 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm
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    What if you tell them that you will be forced to have them send your son out of district because they don’t have the appropriate placement for him… least restrictive environment anyone. The cost of doing that may have them singing a different tune??

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  • October 1, 2009 at 5:15 am
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    Is there anyone in the Fragile X foundation / congress that can help financially and emotionally?

    I know life does not seem to be simple right now but don’t forget to just see how far Monkey has come and that his parents have been in his corner all the way.

    You know you can do it and we are all with you and if there is anything that we can do to help, you can call on us.

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  • October 1, 2009 at 12:22 pm
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    The problem we’ve had so far is that the team leader we’ve worked with thinks LRE for Monkey is a substantially separate classroom. When she looks at Monkey she sees nothing but deficits and voices nothing but negativity regarding his ability to learn/function. She wants him in an ASD classroom and her ego is such that I’m not sure she can admit any other option might work. She has implied very strongly that we are doing Monkey a “grave disservice” by insisting on integration. She’s a charmer, that one.

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  • October 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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    Thanks Grammy! We’ve got lots of support and we can afford the fight if it comes to that. It really just shouldn’t have to be this way…I don’t see how they can call it an IEP if there are only two options for all 1,300 kids in the special education category…mainstream or not.

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  • October 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm
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    I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all this. School just should have to be so difficult just because one is not ‘typical’. Makes it hard to believe anyone wants them to be a ‘functioning part of society’ when they make it almost impossible. Because of testing importance around here (all money related of course), our special kiddos get pushed back as far as possible. Or, they are required to take an ‘on grade level’ test. And they don’t mean cognitively on grade level.

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  • October 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm
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    You should definitely try to schedule a meeting with the superintendent – not to discuss Monkey’s particular case, but to suggest the introduction of the fully integrated class model as a general matter. I’m going to try to do that in Arlington but we have an interim supt. that I doubt would do anything innovative like that. Are there classes like that in Belmont that might be an option for you which you can use as leverage? Sorry about your team leader. Is the person above her any more receptive to your concerns? I am sure they do 1-on-1 aides somewhere in Cambridge. I know with Duhdee home you may not have been doing the nursery school thing, but I consider the money we didn’t have to spend on nursery school to be my son’s fund for things like advocates, etc. and supplemental therapies (he just started an expensive therapeutic riding program which after 3 weeks of crying he finally enjoys).

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  • October 7, 2009 at 8:22 am
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    so how goes the battle. Or if we have not started yet, what process do you have to go through so that we make sure Monkey is getting everything he needs in the classroom. IEP meeting set ??

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  • October 7, 2009 at 11:17 am
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    The battle has not yet begun. I did speak with our advocate and brought her up to speed. I want to see what she suggests, she has seen how they operate and she knows what we’ll need to prove our argument. I suspect we’ll be doing a lot of data gathering. We know what we’ve seen (steady improvement) but we need to have a way to prove it. The head of the IEP team is generally the school psychologist and he/she has very limited contact with the kids. If we go to arbitration the arbitrator will have had no contact with Monkey. We will need hard data to put in front of them to base a decision on.

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