Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stand Up

Yes, I know I'm once again this week behind in posting. It just happens, it happened last week, happening this week, and probably going to happen again next week. But oh well, that is just how it works every now and then. I have been busy killing off the bugs that are attacking, puppies that had vet appointments, and just a basic not feeling up to anything.

That is not the reason for the title of this post though. This week has found me playing a strange role via the telephone for a couple of friends and I'm going to step up on my soap box here for just a little bit today. The topic...IEP's and 504's, and what is best for a child. In a perfect world we would find it easy to get help for any child that has any kind of special needs, but since there is no such thing as a perfect world the battles that come with this process are long and very frustrating. In most cases it leads to the losing of one's temper to get someone...anyone to listen to you and get the ball rolling. I started with a pediatrician when Steph was 2 and heard for a year that she was just fine. It wasn't until I threw one heck of a fit about the fact that she couldn't talk like other 3 year old that the doctor finally took the time to listen not only to me but to the child. Suddenly then we had referral and appointments to find out just what was going on and how bad it was, the same thing with Paige. I found out very quickly that the frustration of that was the easy part. Dealing with schools, and teams for the IEP or 504's are where you really get made to feel that you know nothing. I don't know if there is some kind of hidden rule for them that says to make a parent feel as if they stupid, or less than, but it is something that I have sure run into my fair share of over the 13 years of dealing with them. The fact is this though...if you aren't going to fight for what you know is right for your child...NO ONE else will. Don't let them bully you, don't let them make you feel as if you know nothing. You are the child's parents, in being such it is your job to find out as much as you can, ask as many questions as you want, and for you to fight to get the very best for that child's needs. Once they have the list of recommendations from the evaluations they don't get to just pick and chose which areas they are going to put into these things. If a child has dyslexia and it has gone on long enough that there are now sever written, and oral expression issues plus a speech issue over all, they don't have the right to leave out over half of what the special need is just because they say so. If a school does a 20-30 minute evaluation of a 1st grader, and comes back with the statement "They are ADD or ADHD, and you need to medicate this child", you have the right to ask them just how they came to that conclusion, and just who on the team has the degree that allows them to say that. Question them, don't back down from them, and don't let them walk all over you. This is not saying that you have to be some screaming idiot. It is about taking a stand for that which is in the best interest of your child. Being their Advocate! In this day and age there is tons of information out there, to the point it can make your head spin...but in the long run it is better to have a couple of days of head spinning than to just let them do what they want.

I know that there is tons of pressure on the schools anymore due to over crowding, under funding, over worked teachers, and laws that are making it more and more difficult. We don't get to erase children that have special needs though just because it makes our testing look better. No one has the right to push them off into a corner and pretend that they aren't there. No one has the right to tell you as the parent that you don't know what is best for their education. Educate yourself, and stand up! Fight when you have to, be a little crazy if you need to. No one else is going to do it. Slowly but surely the No Child Left Behind is going to leave a very large group of children in the dark. Schools are having their hands tied and having to bring down the number of kids on IEP's and 504's just to make sure that all their standardized testing scores will count. This spring is going to make it even more difficult for IEP's to be written due to new rules on just what will qualify for IEP status.

We can not back down when it comes to our children, stand up and be willing to fight the good fight for them. It is very worth it.

Good news is that now I'm going to step down from my soap box here. I know everyone should be happy to see this rambling thing come to an end. I hope that everyone is having a great week.

1 comment:

Connie (aka momof5gents) said...

BRAVO!!! I agree with you wholeheartedly! Advocating for your child(ren) in dealing with IEPs and 504s can be a full time job all on its own. The children I really feel sorry for are the ones whose parents just roll over and do whatever the schools say because they either don't know better or don't have the energy to keep on fighting. I'm glad you're helping your friends stand up!