Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alert Level: Somewhere Between Guarded and Elevated

In the interest of full disclosure, it wasn't an actual IEP meeting. 

It was suppose to be a meet-n-greet.  An opportunity to talk about J-man, his progress, and some plans to start out the fall.  An opportunity to meet the new special education teacher coming on board, answer her questions, and hopefully get a sense that she was supportive for our overall goals.  I had also indicated to our case manager I had hoped to get a little more teacher time for the J-man, if possible.  Currently, he gets one hour of time a week.  One hour.  That is an "arrival at preschool, get acclimated to the room, work with J-man, wrap up and write a report" hour.

Doesn't seem like a lot of time to get anything really done, does it?

So I thought "well, it can't hurt to ask for a little more time, can it?"

Yes it can.  Oh yes, yes it can.

I could go into a play-by-play description of what happened, but I am not sure it would be helpful.  The meeting was going smoothly, the aforementioned activities talked about.  Updates were given.  And then, the question of the hours was brought up.  And that is where all Hades broke loose, my friends.

The case manager and new teacher basically told me that they recommended J-man go into a self-contained, special-ed only classroom at the district office, and that they didn't think he belonged at J&J preschool.  That an inclusion setting "couldn't give him what he needs" and "he wouldn't make adequate progress there".  In the special ed classroom he would learn to "follow simple routines" and they can work with him "more intensely". 

I was shocked.  It actually took my breath away. 

You see, we had already addressed these issues, not once but twice.  Our ultimate decision in the spring was to stay at J&J this fall.  They are wonderful.  They love him.  They truly want to do the best by him.  They believe in inclusion. We believe in inclusion.  And, most importantly, J-man is doing great there.  He has made progress all summer long.  Without any real district support whatsoever.  He follows classroom routines.  He is cheerful.  He likes his teacher.  No, he loves his teacher. 

Now, let me be clear about who these people are.  The case manager is also the district speech therapist.  She has had less than ten sessions with him, her last at the end of the spring session.  She hasn't seen him in three months.  And I now believe she has never had any faith in him, or in the process.  The new teacher is, well, NEW.  She has seen him... errr... never? 

Don't worry, I set them straight.  GEMM kicked a little butt.  There was absolutely no doubt whatsoever where we stood, and how utterly ridiculous I found the proposal.  The director and J-man's teacher from J&J wholeheartedly supported us.  Our private speech therapist was there as well, and gave glowing reports about the progress he has made over the past three months. (I will no doubt hear her opinion about the meeting itself on Monday).

Frankly, I am insulted.  Yes, insulted is the right word.  And devastated.  Devastated that the people who are suppose to work with him have no faith in him.  Or us. 

What do I do with that?

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