Saturday, April 10, 2010

The School Conundrum

If deciding which school your child will attend is a simple choice for you, be thankful. We are at a weird crossroads. Kynsie needs to be in a inclusion class which basically means she would be in a regular pre-k class, but would have special education consult. She would still get speech and occupational therapies, and would be monitored to be sure she was dig well and continuing to progress in the mainstream classroom.

Kyan still needs full special ed and desperately needs a class that is comprised of all high functioning autistic children, which unfortunately is no easy to come by. Kynsie has been in such a classroom for 2 years, but that class may or not continue to exist next year. As far as I know that is the only class of its type in Knox county. The rest of the special ed pre-k classes are made of kids with all different disabilities. For example, in Kyan's class there is a child that is blind, and an assortment of other disabilities but he is the only child with Autism as far as I can tell. Now, I really like his teacher, but no human can possibly help 6-8 kids achieve their ideal best when he/she is dealing with kids on COMPLETELY different levels or ability, with totally different challenges.

In addition, Kyan needs more therapy and more days of school than his teacher is recommending for him next year if he is going to be ready for kindergarten in 2011. He also needs summer classes, which are not being recommended.

On top of all of this, in spite of my requests, and teacher requests, the *supervisors* at their school are recommending that my kids go to our zoned school. This is protocol, but they do not have a program for Kynsie at all, which would mean that either she is in a class that doesn't meet her needs and she will likely regress OR that I would have all 3 kids each at a different school. Now I have moved heaven and earth to get them what they need, but this is a deal breaker. There are other schools that offer programs for both kids, and that is what we need.

I called and talked with the supervisor about this a month ago and really got nowhere. So I said we needed to have our IEP meeting early so that I can make plans for our kids. In addition I had called the governor's pre-k program which would be ideal for kynsie and got little info from them, mostly the run-around b/c we don't qualify for free lunch program, so we would be at the bottom of the list for acceptance as it is a high risk program.

For Kynsie, it boils down to my requests and teacher recommendations being ignored and overruled by a supervisor b/c of budget and protocol, which I don't give a rat's rear end about either. I raised a little hell and the meeting is coming up in a week. I prefer to be nice, but I am not backing down on this one, so I am prepared for a fight. They are legally required to provide a program that meets her needs, even if they have to create one--which they don't. I'm not asking for special bus service out of my zone, or a specific teacher. All I am asking is that they get the programming they need at the same school (which is available outside our zone) and I will transport them. I'm not putting them on a bus anyway.

Kyan would technically be ok at the zoned school, but would do better in a class of kids all high functioning with autism. AND we need them at the same school, so with no programming for kynsie, that school is out for him. Kyan's teacher is following the premise to recommend the minimum he needs to make some progress, rather than recommending the programming that would be BEST for him and that would help him succeed.

Unfortunately she is doing her job as she is instructed by superiors. Makes me furious. The minute these people decide that budget is more important than the success of special ed kids is the MOMENT they should retire and never look back. We don't want ya. We don't need ya.

If you are confused, you aren't alone. I am confused too. This is a pain in the butt! I am doing my research, making phone calls, talking with teachers, supervisors, people in the know, brushing up on the law for special ed kids AND visiting schools and principals so that I can go in informed. All of this makes me want to run for school board. Someone from the top needs to be looking out for our kids, and at this point it is every man for himself. If a parent doesn't kick and scream, their child will get the minimum required by law, period. Such a shame.


All About the Bailey's said...

Good luck with the school issues.
They have never resolved Ethan's's still up in the air, this has been since November that I took him out. Today it has been 5 months...I emailed mayor, super intendent, called DCS, talked with EVERYONE, and still got no where.
They will do as little as possible, it's out of their control, it's all about the budget.
Be thankful so far that you have had great teachers, there are some bad ones right around the corner girl. I will pray for you and your family, this is a hard fight, a long hard fight, and it never gets any easier...I hear about struggles all through school for our kids, it's really sad that we have to deal with this on top of everything else. When I hear other Mom's complain about their petty problems I want to elbow them right in the face, we deal with so much, it's exhausting...ok Im done. Hope to hear good results about the school situation.Oh and if they are telling you that summer school isn't recomended because your child didn't regress...that is bull and that is not the only thing they have to consider...I will email you something as soon as I find it about summer school.

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