Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ok, I'm ready to rant now.

Long time readers of my blog know of the struggle we have every year with Zach and the ADHD that makes it so hard for him when dealing with school work. You also know of the struggles I've had with the school in trying to get additional help for him.

I waited patiently through June and most of July to allow the superintendent, Mr. "Hitler", to complete the retirement process before I sent my request for Zach to be given a Section 504 (under the Americans with disabilities act) evaluation. I didn't want to take this official action because I knew I would be stepping on more than a few Administrative toes by doing so, and I was also almost certain that they would politely refuse the evaluation because Zach's overall grades are not bad, he only struggles the most in two of his subjects, Math and Reading/literacy, the very two subjects that most kids with ADHD have the most problems with. But I was already prepared to file grievances with the relevant government departments in order to push them if I had to.

So, when the elementary school counselor called last Wednesday to tell me the pre-evaluation meeting was set for Friday morning at 7:45, I had prepared a list of accommodations which I felt were needed in order to help him, and I was ready to face them to get the ball rolling.

So I thought.

While James and I were over shopping near Memphis on Thursday, the elementary counselor called Jami to tell her that the High School counselor, (who was formerly the elementary councelor and can't seem to let go of her reign of power over the lower grades, and who apparently is also on the Section 504 committee), said that I could attend the meeting but I could have no input because I was not Zach's guardian.

This was Thursday afternoon, there was no problem in doing the paperwork to make me his guardian, but it would be impossible to complete this the afternoon before the early scheduled a.m. meeting. Also, I was aggravated and frustrated since this had never presented a problem before when I was the one who registered him for school, paid all of his fees, and requested and attended conferences with his teachers concerning his progress each year. In fact I had asked them on more than one occasion if I needed to be his guardian in order to do any of these things and the answer was always, "no, no, we know he lives with you".

When I got home Thursday afternoon, I called the elementary counselor, who has always been a great help, to tell her to cancel the meeting because we were going to have to start over and make a new evaluation request as soon as we'd fixed up the guardianship papers. Then I asked her, "Why is Mrs. C. doing this to us? Why is that school so adamantly against my requests for help for Zach? We're starting his 7th year of attendance in that school and their response each time I ask for help is, We don't have anything. Why? What am I asking for that is going to be so difficult for them to provide?"

This led to her asking me about the accommodations I felt he might need and I told her there was not even one, NOT ONE thing, that would not benefit the whole, entire class if they were implemented. There were a few that the entire class wouldn't require, like having him be seated as near to the teacher's desk as possible and not near a window or door, where he'd be even more easily distracted, but none, Not one, would cost them a single thing except a little time and effort if they'd just work with us.

Some of my suggestions, complaints, requests, letters, pleadings, or something, must have made some impact from last year because his homeroom teacher sent a set of all of his books home and they're doing that for all of the kids this year. This had been the first request on the accommodations list so I was thankful that I could scratch that off.

Anyway, after I told her many of the requests, she agreed that they were all perfectly reasonable and asked me to send them to her. She feels that they should be able to do all of these things, and that we can work around it without even involving Mrs. C. This would also help in that we wouldn't have to go through the process of a 504 evaluation which is a win-win situation in my opinion because I have never felt that simply requesting one would guarantee that they'd do one. I've found over the years that most of them are just that mean and petty about such things.

So now I await word from her to see what she's been able to do about our situation. I don't mind the hard work even though I don't feel I'm qualified to help him as well or as easily as someone who IS qualified, I'm certain that I'm not as patient as someone who is qualified would be. If they'll just keep me informed, keep their web pages updated, their online grades posted weekly, answer my questions, just HELP me to help him, I think we'll do just fine.

Keep your fingers crossed for us, I don't want to have go to jail for going up there and punching Mrs. C.'s lights out. I really think I can outrun the old battleax. :-)


Louise said...

What a mess! Why is it that anyone with kids with any problem learning have to go through so much CRAP to get anything done? Even simple things? Really, who would ask for things like that if they were not necessary? No one wants their kid to be isolated from the group with different treatment. As you said, the things would benefit the whole class. Wouldn't it make life easier for the teacher's, too?

Hope this gets better as it looks like it may.

Sally said...

Hopefully, this will be all it takes, Brenda, to get Zach the help he needs, and as you said, what you're asking for would benefit the others as well.

I'd hate for you to have to whup up on Ms. C, but if you need help, let me know. I'll send Donna with her flatbed!!

Please don't worry, and let us know the outcome!!

jazzi said...

Oh, I wish there were an advocate around your area. I tried searching around, but came up empty. No CHADD group, either. I'd drive the 4-5 hours to get to your place if I thought I could be of any help, but I've been out of the loop when it comes to rattling the cage with the school systems that I'm afraid I don't know the laws anymore.
Don't let them bully you. I was in the meeting as a parent, but I had an advocate with me. She could give input. They might just be giving you a load of crap. I found when I could throw some of their lingo back at them, and especially when I had that tape recorder going during the IEP meeting, they straightened up and flew right.
Whatever you do, don't sign any papers that they say "We'll just fill these out later"
I've seen administrators try to pull that stuff before.
I'm sending you LOTS of hugs and good thoughts, Brenda.

cassie-b said...

I wish you the best of luck. The school systems are not always up to par for children's individual problems. A young boy in our family - his mother made an appointment with the school to see about having him put into excelled classes, and they were just getting ready to put him into special ed classes. After testing, which the parents were obligated to pay for if they were proved wrong, it was decided that he was, indeed, very bright. But because he takes a while to answer questions, they had decided he wasn't capable of doing his grade level work. What a terrible mistake they had made.
I hope you've let Zach know that Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer has ADHD. What a great role model for these kids.

zzop357 said...

I too went through this Brenda. Only I went after the principal. He went one way with me right behind him. He said he would call the cops. I told him go a head. When my hubby bails me out I'll be back only I'll be madder.I got his attention anyway.
The man told me my son couldn't go to school there. I said he could. NOT without Medication he said. My son was like a zombie when he took it.I said NO. I told him I would go to class with my son if I had too. He said I couldn't. I checked, I could sit in any class I wanted too. So stick to your guns.Something good has to happen.
God bless, Donna

Phyllis said...

I was going to suggest sending them this post, but take out the last sentences. hehehehe
Your love for that child shines.

Loretta said...

It makes me feel good that you love him enought to go through all their crap! I pity the ones that don't have a loving Granny to fight for them. He will be o.k. with you on his side.

Donna said...

Oh Sweetheart! I've never had to go through this so anything I have to say would probably end up sounding stupid! If I had a problem that the teachers or the Administrator didn't seem to think was important to take care of...I just planted my butt in the classroom...LOL...(You have the RIGHT to audit the class)(at least in Texas)...until someone Did something! OR,tell them , if They didn't want to deal with it, I'd just call the TEA and let Them explain to Them why they wouldn't help me! Schools DO NOT want the TEA involved AT ALL!!) OR call your district representitive or Congressman...Chet Edwards is ours...and he works for peoples rights in our district...They think you'll just roll over and shut up....I never would! They Hated to see me and my flatbed coming!!!LOLHahaha....Love you friend...let us know!!!hughugs

Cindra said...

Get that guardian paperwork done anyway! You may need it somewhere down the road. You don't want them using it against you again.

I am impressed that they are sending books home with all the students because that is big bucks.

Tell Zach he needs to focus as hard as he did to land that fish! He's got the power to succeed... it is just a little harder, but I have faith in Zach.

Michael Phelps is proof of the power that lies within... and so is that durn ugly fish!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sis,

I'm having a mess with my online accounts. It seems that I was hacked once again and I can't get into my email accounts. I have a new address if you need to email me. I'm waiting to get info from my old account so that I can get back in and get contacts transferred. It has been a nightmare. I can't even get to myspace.

Love ya,

Anonymous said...

The NO CHild Left Behind law mandates that the school is suppose to do what is needed for the child. It is a federal law and if the school can't implement it they have to pay for the child to attend a school that can. If I can find the business card for the group who is in the Arkansas chapter, they will be able to do all the work for you. They are an there for the parents with children who have learning disabilties. I think we might have discussed this at one time or the other. I've worked with them before at Northwood.

Love ya,

bichonpawz said...

You, my dear Brenda, are a SAINT!! I hope the situation gets resolved real soon....I am so behind in reading blogs!!