Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meeting Time..

Today was my meeting with the school to discuss Thing One and what will be the most beneficial path going forward for her in school. Let me start by saying I like her school over all and feel deeply that she is getting a good education by educators who care about what they do.
If I had never been in an IEP meeting before I would have been very intimidated by the scene before me today. Thing One's teacher came to get me and as I walked into the very small meeting room, 6 people turned and looked at me. I knew some of the individuals present, but I would estimate half the people were not people I had even seen before at the school. Immediately they wanted to know what my thoughts were regarding Thing One, why we pursued an assessment when both teachers we asked said they didn't think it was necessary, and they did not refer to the assessment that was before them until I continued to refer to it. Mostly the meeting was amicable in the beginning and more about getting to know each other.
The smoothness of the meeting faded when the discussion became, does Thing One even need a 504, or can it wait a year to see what her tutoring will do. I was adamant I wanted the 504 for her immediately, the processing issues she has are not going to go away with tutoring. At one point the special education teacher for the district responded to a comment I made with, "well, she doesn't have a diagnosis", this is incorrect and I showed her the assessment with the DSM-IV Diagnosis. She then argued that, yes in the DSM-IV but, I reminded her that Learning Disabled Not Otherwise specified is covered under the ADA and that though Nan doesn't meet the deviation from the standard, she still qualifies for a 504. Her response, well yes, but she is only NOS. Only NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), is not an excuse to marginalize or lessen what the impact to Thing One this has on her education and that made me more adamant than ever to establish the 504 right then and there.
With some support from the school nurse, and a little from Thing One's teacher the team agreed to initiate the 504. Looking back I wish I would have asked for more specific accommodations, specific amounts of extra time, specific cues I want initiated. At the time I was just thankful everyone had actually agreed to the 504, I assume as she gets older she will start to join us in these meetings and help us figure out what she needs. There may come a time when she can compensate for any issues or advocate for herself so that a 504 won't be necessary. Until then, I will take up the torch to advocate for what I, her father, the specialists she sees and anyone else I can get to read her report and give me an opinion thinks is best.
I need to thank all those people I cajoled, begged and downright insisted I needed some help from. They were able to keep me grounded, focused on the need, and give me the common sense advice that sometimes as a parent we forget when we are so emotional involved. I love you all, appreciate you in our lives and hope nothing for the best to you. KISSES

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