Sunday, October 14, 2007


I feel like I should update on my conference with N's teacher, and on the whole IEP thing. And I should. But it's almost impossible to do so in any real depth. I took a walk with a friend while the kids were in Hebrew school this morning, and kept interrupting myself every 12 seconds with, "Oh, and I forgot to mention that..." and "Oh, but you have to realize that..." And then she did what every well-meaning, interested-but-doesn't-really-know-the-whole-sotry person does, which is to offer "I think you should"s, which are both really useful and really annoying, since they just add another 73 options to the list of things I could/should be doing, but can't possibly do without a full-time staff of seven helping me out.

[The real take-home lesson of having a kid with any kind of special need: There is always something else, and often MANY something elses, you should be doing for him. And the lack of each of those something elses is potentially catastrophic. Because WHAT IF that child psychologist, or that other speech pathologist, or that pediatric geneticist is the one who has THE ANSWER...and you don't take your kid to him or her? Put even more simply...You can not win. And any deficit he has is all fault, because you didn't do X. Or Y. Or Z. Or some combination thereof. Any or all of which might have been THE THING that solved the problem. Not that anyone will say that to you, because most people are nice and supportive and think that you're doing a great job--or at least say so to your face. But you'll still know it to be true, in your heart of hearts. Someone else could do better by your kid, would have fixed this ages ago. He's just unlucky in that he got stuck with you.]

Phew. Where did THAT come from? Let's all cough embarrassedly, shuffle our feet, think about how I really need to find the money to get back into therapy, and move on, shall we?

So. The teacher conference went fine. She's more concerned about him academically than need be--or, rather, concerned about him in academic areas she need not be concerned about. After telling me how she didn't understand how he'd been passed on to first grade from kindergarten at first, she then told me that he'd gotten one wrong on his math test and 100 percent on his spelling. I then pointed out that this is because he's quite good in math, and quite smart--can memorize things fairly easily--and that the ways his issues were going to affect him academically were only going to show when he has to express himself in writing or aloud. I'm not sure she understood. But, whatever. This raised Baroy's protective hackles, but for me, I see it as All Good. The 'worse' she thinks he is, the more she'll support me in fighting for services. And that's the goal.

Speaking of which, I handed her a copy of the letter I wrote, and she was thrilled that I was taking this seriously. (I think she still believed she was going to have to drag me kicking and screaming into getting my kid evaluated. If only she knew.) Instead, here I was handing her an already-submitted IEP request, and then asking *her*, "If the principal comes to you to ask about the areas in which he needs to be evaluated..." Before I could finish the question, she waved me off. "Everything. I want him to be evaluated in everything."

"Perfect," I said. "Then we're on the same page." And we shook hands and did a lot of "No, thank YOU"ing to one another, and I was off.

That was Wednesday. On Friday, I ran into the principal on the playground after dismissal and asked her if she'd gotten my note.

"Oh, yes," she said. "Mrs. R [the special ed teacher] will be officially contacting you, but I have a tentative date of the 22nd for us to sit down with special ed, the school psychologist, the speech therapist, and his teacher to talk about what testing needs to be done going forward, so we can get this taken care of."

I know that it's not going to be that easy, and that the "we're here for you, rushing to get this together right away" is mostly just legalities and ass-covering. But each time I don't have to push and remind and insist takes just the teensiest bit of pressure off.

Until I think about how this means I really need to get that independent speech assessment scheduled...and maybe think about having a psych eval...and shouldn't I have an outside OT take a look at him...and maybe this would all be easier if I had an IQ test done on him...

Winning = Can Not.


Green said...

Even if he grows up without having gotten THE ONE thing that'd have made him "normal", he's smart enough that when he's older he'll be able to look back at what you did and know you tried. Really, really hard.

Anonymous said...

You can't truly in your heart of hearts believe that you aren't the absolute best parent for N or that anyone else would do any better for him! You can't believe this!
If you do, then you aren't being totally honest with yourself.

As your mother, I would be totally honest with you if you weren't the absolute best thing that ever happened to N.

So there!

Love you......

po said...

OMG, your mom just totally rocks :). Hi, TC's mom!!

Back to your post, you know that I'm going to say that there is no ONE ANSWER that would magically solve everything, make everything perfectly right. There is no one specialist who can nod and say, "Do THIS."

We stumble about blindly, and only in hindsight can we say, "Oh man, we should have done THIS at THAT point." But really, even hindsight doesn't work, because we don't really know what might have been. I can go all the way back and say it's all my fault for giving Matthew the MMR, it's all my fault for letting them mismanage his labor, but I don't really know that.

It's a freaking messed up journey, and I'm here for you whenever you need me.

kristen said...

Listen to po. There is no ONE answer. It's lots of little things and a whole bunch of scotch tape. And some glue.

Somehow we get by and they grow up and in the end, you'll know--and he'll know--that you did your best and it all worked out fine.

Meg said...

Po is right. There is no right answer. There is no way that doing X at some specific time would have resulted in no issues. You have done a lot in getting to the bottom of issues that are not clear cut. The current teacher has concerns his K teacher did not. Give yourself a break and a lot of credit. You are trying very hard to find the answers for N, while working full-time, volunteering, being a wife and taking care of Em. And writing a great blog.

Ambre said...

They'll do a lot of the things on your list, including an IQ test, during the evaluation (I hope). Once you get the district involved officially, you do have a staff of 7 ;) I hope they aren't idiots this time.