Friday, November 9, 2007

I Rock (If I Do Say So Myself)

[BTW, does the fact that I decide on a day-to-day basis whether or not to title-cap my titles bug anyone but me? No? I didn't think so.]

On Tuesday, I sent out what I've been calling my 'assessment rebuttal' letters to N's principal and to the assistant superintendent of the school district, the one who is in charge of special ed. I told them that I thought a psychological assessment of N was "crucial," but that I would not consent to one done by Idiot School Psychologist, the guy who--based on my telling him about N's shirt chewing and thumb sucking--told me N has OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder and needs to be medicated.

I threw a bunch of "in order to ensure that appropriate channels of assessment and services are maintained" and "for the purposes of providing an unbiased and accurate representation of our son’s behavioral/psychological/developmental state" and "begin as soon as possible in order to prevent any further regression in N’s academic progress" in there, all thanks to my friend from the school who has a son in special ed and speaks the language of IEP intimidation fluently. Really, this post should be entitled Friend From School Rocks. But hey. I typed up the letter and sent it out. That counts, right?

Anyway. This morning, the principal from the school called, all cheery and chipper. "Mrs. Confused? I have a revised assessment form here for you, whenever you want to come and talk about it." I walked over to the school, and there it was: An agreement for a full-on, no-holds-barred assessment in every area except for those that literally don't apply to N (like an auditory assessment for children with hearing impairments or a vocational abilities assessment). He'll be getting assessments in academic/preacademic performance; self-help, social, and emotional status; motor ability; language and speech; general ability; health, development, vision and hearing; and 'other areas' (meaning occupational therapy/sensory). That's five more assessments than they were originally going to give him, and thus five more areas in which we might be able to wrest some kind of services from them.

"Oh, and Mrs. Confused? Where it says here and here that these particular assessments will be done by the school psychologist...The district will assign a school psychologist other than Mr. Idiot to do these."

"Thank you," I said. "I'm sorry it had to be this way, but thank you."

And then I signed the form then and there, since there was not a single thing I'd asked for that wasn't included. Which means the clock is ticking, and they have some version of 50 days (including weekends, but not including the winter break or something like that) to do the assessments and call an IEP meeting.

I'm well aware the battle is neither won nor even half over, but damn. I felt good walking out of there, I'll tell you. For the first time since we started this, I didn't feel like there was something else I should have done. I got everything I wanted. I did right by my boy. At least for now, I'm pleased.


po said...

Rock ON!! That is just phenomenal! Excellent, excellent, excellent!

Don't you hate it, though, that you had to get up on your high horse of intimidation in order for them to Do the Right Thing? What if you hadn't known the right language to put in? What if you hadn't fought back? What if, god forbid, you'd TRUSTED them and believed they were doing all they could for N?

Grrrrrrr, it makes me want to punch someone that this is the way it is.

But I'm sooooo glad you're getting your assessments :)

Anonymous said...

Good for you! Don't question the whys and the why nots.......just continue being happy that you have gotten this far. I'm extremely happy for you and VERY proud of you!


mo from ne said...

I am new to your blog. I found it through a comment you made at Plain Jane's place. Good for you in standing up for yourself and your son. Don't be afraid to disagree with school psychologists!

I want to share a story with you about my first experience with IEPs

I signed what I thought was a medical release form for my son in first grade after his teacher requested he be evaluated for attention deficient and fine motor skill development because his handwriting was terrible.

I agreed with the teacher's assessment and thought I was getting help for my son.

When I was sent the initial report I startled to find that my son's evaluation started with
"Pregnancy was marred by vomiting, nervousness, and doubt on the part of this young first time mother. _____ was breastfeed to seven months until mother ans child had to be treated and hospitalized for pneumonia. Weaning was traumatic. Mother also had a gall bladder removed and a breast biopsy when ____was three and four respectively. Her absences for these illnesses could have effected emotional development."

The report then continued with my medical history for the first six years of my son's life. This doctor finally got to the actual evaluation of my son on page seven!

Regardless of whether these things had an effect on my son or not. I had no idea that my medical history was going to be distributed to a seven member IEP team which also included two student teachers that I taught at the local college. (I teach multimedia courses designed for teachers).

I thought the evaluation would discuss my son's medical history. Not my pregnancy and health issues. I was so embarrassed.

I asked that the evaluation be redone by another district psychologist who would concentrate on my son's developmental issues and not my medical history.

The second report concentrated on my son's issues. He got help for his hand writing and some behavior modifications that helped him concentrate on his work.

My son is a freshman in college. His handwriting is still hard to read but he's doing well in his classes.

I hope this gets easier for you and that your son is able to get the help he needs without you having to fight every step of the way.

You're doing good so be proud of yourself!

TC said...

Wow, Mo. That's quite a story. Thanks for the heads-up!

When N was younger and having problems growing, I took him to an endocrinologist who promptly insisted that the entire issue was due to my continuing to breastfeed at 13 months. I just as promptly switched endocrinologists.

As Po said, it just shouldn't be this way. And yet every person I encounter who has to deal with this system has a story like yours. How messed up is that?

Ambre said...

That was way too easy. They are just plannign to plant a car bomb or something to get rid of you, I'm pretty sure.

Meg said...

You totally rock! Hope the eval comes through soon and give you some answers.

I have had the green=decaf confusions as well. Regular coffee should NEVER have a grean lid or green anywhere on the can.

Green said...

I'm pleased too - for you and N.