Aug 23, 2010

Here You Come Again

All I can think of as I leave The Baby's new school for "meet and greet day" is that Dolly Parton song. It keeps pinging round and round in my empty head as I'm maneuvering the baby's stroller through the swamp I had to park in. I had to park in the swamp even though I was 30 minutes early (Hooray for the great parent turnout! I was impressed.) because the new school has one handicap parking place and a car is parked in it with no handicap sticker. Oh wait a minute...what else is that pinging around in my head? I think it's called Deja Vu.

"Here you come again. Just when I'm about to make it work without you."

At the boys former school I nicely informed the principal that the four handicap parking spaces they had were filled with four cars none of which had handicapped tags. Day. After. Day. After. Day. After. Day. My son is in a wheel chair and we shouldn't have to park 1 block away. I informed her of this issue three times. She assured me she'd look into it. She didn't. Another parent, however, was not as nice as I was and screamed, threatened and called the police on a daily basis. And she waited...yes waited... for the people who parked in the spaces to confront them. DAWG! I mean you really have to admire this woman's tenacity and fearlessness! One of the people she confronted was a school employee who made the mistake of stating, "At least you know I work here." OMG. That was a b-i-g mistake. Honey, I ran.

I grew to love this parent and mourned her loss when the family moved back to Tennessee. Although, I do admit I didn't really want to be associated with her when she was confronting the parking perps yelling and pointing my way, "And her son is in a "f%&*#ing wheel chair you b&%!h."

So i get to today's Meet n' Greet soggy having parked in yoo hoo land. But I'm early. I meet the teacher who is a lovely woman and the class aide. I like them immediately. Have you had time to review her IEP I ask the teacher? IEP? No, I haven't even received a list of my assigned students yet from the office. School starts tomorrow. Help me, Jesus. The song starts playing in my head...

"Here you come again. Just when I'm about to make it work without you."

It's the law: In the United states public schools are required to develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for EVERY student with a disability who meets the federal and state requirements for special education to provide the child with a free appropriate public education (fape.)

Interpretation: This doesn't mean they ever look at the IEP again once it's developed. (fake)

Looking around the cute classroom I ask where is my daughters adaptive seating? She has cerebral palsy and is paralyzed on one side. It is clearly stated on the IEP that she will have "adaptive seating" in the classroom. The teacher thinks for a moment and then shows me what she could do for adaptive seating to insure The Baby's safety. Not bad for a spur of the moment adaptive seating idea. I like this woman's pa-zazzzzzzz.

How will you get her off the school bus and in to the classroom I ask? Although we have had our wheelchair evaluation the wheel chair is not ready yet. Even when she gets her new wheel chair the only way we will get a school bus to accommodate said wheel chair is to have another IEP meeting to amend the current IEP to reflect "handicapped bus services." Yes, I am not lyng to you people.To schedule an IEP meeting may take weeks. To find a wheel chair bus? 5 to 15 days. (More like 15 in my past experiences.) So. Back to ....She cannot walk and she is heavy. The IEP says you will have a wagon or something for transport because she isn't required to have a wheel chair? She doesn't look heavy the aide replies. I remind her she will have The Baby, The Baby's back pack and won't you have other pre-k students as well to shuffle from bus to classroom? That "dawning of terror" look that I've become so familiar with after 3 adopted special needs children and many, many special needs foster children starts to cloud the aides face. Their wagon isn't an option as it doesn't have sides and the Baby will keel over and fall right out on the cement because of her paralysis. I offer to leave them my adaptive stroller. The teacher informs me when a parent leaves equipment in a classroom it is automatically deemed "equipment for everyone" thus "releasing them from all liability if it is damaged. " I point to the adaptive stroller. "That cost $1,200.00." I say. The look on the teachers face informs me that the adaptive stroller is no longer an option. Around this time the teacher and the aide look at each other simultaneously and mouth those beloved words, "What about PE?" Ah, music to my ears. It's beginning to dawn on them. They are realizing that they are knee deep in IEP crap

At this point I couldn't resist smiling and telling them the Pre-K team who developed her IEP told me that you have a "great" PE program with a "really wonderful coach." Ironically, when the Pre-K team was mentioning this I was looking at their faces and realized something. More than a few of them didn't give this placement a snowballs chance in hell of working.

"Here you come again. Just when I'm about to make it work without you."

How many times have i been through this? Let me count the ways. There was a time when I would have been a basket case after a day like today. Whether foster child or adopted child it wouldn't matter. I loved them all the same.

Will this work? Maybe. Maybe not. Will it be the teachers fault if it doesn't work? Obviously not. The teacher and the aid couldn't hide their enthusiasm and compassion even if they tried. If anyone can adapt to my daughters special needs it will be them and not because there is an IEP looming over there heads. Or in this case not looming over their heads. When I think of the people i most admire in this world teachers are on the top of the list. Dear God...they are saints in my eyes.

I have many friends with special kids who would slap me for my attitude. Their motto's? Fight Fight. Fight. I have two friends who have sued the state they lived in and won. Now that's impressive. And I have to say this ...I'm not a complete idiot...if this was The Boy who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 3 I would never send him into a setting like this. He is far too fragile and would be dead the first week. With OI you really can't fly by the seat of your pants.

This is not The Boy. This is The Baby. She is fragile but not as fragile. It could be a wonderful placement for her having met the teacher and the aide. Or I could be delusional and it could be a disaster. I am thankful this is my last special child in the public school system because I am tired of realizing over and over that we really cannot accommodate every special child in this country irregardless of what you write down on a piece of paper because you are legally obligated to.

Am i a coward? Maybe. In the meantime, I'm singing. I'm singing while I'm shopping. You spite of my scrimping, saving, thrifting and buying one little outfit at a time for the baby's school clothes wardrobe it was all to no avail. This school has decided this year that they will all wear uniforms. I was informed of this today. The day before school begins. Just where do I find school uniforms in size 18 months?

"Here you come again. Just when I'm about to make it work without you."


Island Rider said...

Oh, man. School starts in your county tomorrow, right? Your patience astounds me. Really. I'd have my head blowing up by now.

debe said...

oh honey

you are so strong and brave

and your last one?? ha!

my SIL works as a para professional in the middle school settings with special needs kiddo-types..


she said it was her dream job

Melissa Swartley said...

OMG! To me this is a nightmare! Wow, the school worker who parked in the accessible spot is really something else! The last straw would have been being notified about uniforms the day before school! WTH?! UGH! I feel for ya! I am soooo nervous about starting Sonya in school. She will hopefully be going next fall and I am starting to understand everything about IEP's and 504's. Good luck on the uniform hunt! Sonya is in 12-18 months, maybe try Gymboree and Kids Gap? they tend to have classic looks in smaller sizes. I hope everything else works out as well! So frustrating, but you sound like you are taking it all in stride! Go strong mama!

Jennie said...

I can only imagine the frustration but... I need to comment on HOW PRETTY ROBIN IS!! I love this picture.