Tuesday, September 20, 2011


"Education should be one of our top funding priorities; talking about it does not help the teachers and students who desperately need promises fulfilled."   ~ Solomon Ortiz ~

It might seem like the obvious thing to say but my first priority are my children.  Often times when I interface with school personnel, it seems to be a strange idea - children first.  It feels like no one wants to talk about the large, blue elephant in the room although so difficult to ignore.  Being assertive is a skill I've worked on over the years.  I've learned to embrace it like a second skin.  This is not to suggest I don't have days of feeling unsure or anxious because I do.  I must fight those negative feelings when it rises to the surface and starts to weigh me down.  I must push the negativity away remaining focused on the goal - education advocacy for my child.  It is my top priority.

The door is constantly revolving in my advocacy work.  There is no time to rest.  I keep a vigil  on my child's education.  It is constant and expect will be until he graduates high school.  Yes.  I absolutely expect my son to complete his education.  Just the other day, Aren asked me, "what happens when I finish high school?"  Thank goodness he is thinking ahead.  I told him it will depend on what he wants to do.  He can either go on to further education, technical school or straight to work.  I hope it's the former.  We push education in my family.  Life is far more interesting when we're always learning something new, I believe.  Exercising the mind is not underrated in my opinion.

Aren is now in a different school district.  It seems to be an improvement.  At least, the teachers are correcting his capitalization.  My son tends to be disinterested in using correct form in writing.  He doesn't pay attention to the details.  I was very happy to see the teacher used a red pen and illustrated 'A' in place of 'a' in my son's name.  He is in 4th grade but I'll be doggoned as it's the very first time, I've seen him given correction.  When I brought it to teachers attention in the past,  I felt like it was asking or expecting too much for my son to learn and apply the correct rules of grammar, punctuation and capitalization.  I'm breathing a sigh of relief but I will not lower my guard.  It's only the beginning of the school year and there's a way to go before seeing marked improvement.  I do however, remain hopeful.

I have another CSE meeting tomorrow hence revolving door.   I just came off a meeting in July.  We, meaning my husband, me and the team, need to work out a plan for behavior modification when Aren gets frustrated with challenging work.  In his view, when it's too hard, therefore give up.  Giving up is not an option when the work is challenging.  We must forge ahead with practice, practice and more practice because this is what he needs - lots of opportunities to practice.  My biggest concern is the attendance of the school psychologist (SC).  This is a subcommittee meeting and based on the mandatory participants, the school psychologist is only required at a subcommittee meeting when:  1)  A new evaluation, 2) A more intensive program.  What concerns me about the SC is that back in 2010, she was a proponent advocating for a IEP classification change to intellectual disability formerly MR.  This SC also refused and dismissed Aren's Autism Spectrum Diagnosis stating "she doesn't see it".  The SC's assessment was amidst highly credible evaluations by professionals in the top field of Autism research.  Additionally, she wasn't providing any concrete data in support of her "opinion".  Frankly, I don't want her input regarding my son.  She has preconceived ideas based on who knows what and her credibility is in question.  How can the SC offer meaningful contributions when she refuses to acknowledge my son's disability?  I have placed in writing to excuse her from the meeting however, the new CSE Chair holds firm and states her attendance is required.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I keep a paper trail.  It is absolutely necessary if there is any indication the priorities regarding my son's appropriate education isn't at the very top of the agenda.

I realize I started my relationship with the school district with deposits of trust in the bank.  I took it for granted they would have my child's best interest at the heart of decisions that directly impacted our lives.  This idea of trust is played out by many parents.  It's a recurring "theme".  Frankly, why wouldn't we trust them to do the obvious; educate our children according to their individual needs.  I trusted them to do the right thing and found out it was misguided.  We give people the benefit of the doubt.  When trust is broken, it is often very difficult to repair.  It's not for lack of desire.  I want to trust those that hold my son's education in the palm of their hands to make decisions without a hidden agenda.  However, I've come to realize, as a parent, I must not assume based on an idealist mind set.  It is folly to do so.  I take responsibility and hold an active and proactive participation in my son's education.  It is necessary to offset obstacles to a FAPE.

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you”   ~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~

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