Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Special Education Referral Today

Today is an awesome day. Sandis will be referred to a special education caseworker at school today. The past couple of months have led us to this place, and it is the official beginning of the evaluation process for Sandis’s IEP.

I still can be very confused about this entire IEP. There are resources littering the web (see the PACER or Wrightslaw websites). I can read until I turn blue in the face, but I am no lawyer. I’m also not a medical or educational professional. Sandis’s teacher told me to start thinking about some of the things I want in his IEP. If I were a medical or educational professional, perhaps I would be LOADED with great ideas to make his school experience the most conducive to enjoyment and learning as possible, all the while meeting his unique needs. It just isn’t that easy though.

I do have a few concerns which hopefully the IEP can address (this is ending up being a brainstorm):
1. Bullying – How do we address all the bullying issues when you have a child that does not effectively communicate instances of bullying? How do we empower a child that does not understand that he does not “deserve” bullying and he deserves love and respect just like any other child?
2. Social – social cues, adapting to environment, interactive rather than parallel play
3. Speech – delayed echolalia, literal understanding. Sandis has the words, but oftentimes cannot contextually use them or understand what it is he is hearing.
4. Ability to sit with other children at line time – Sandis currently sits in a rocking chair behind the other classmates. I want to find a way to bring him back down on the floor among the other children. I want to cut out the physical separation. Dyno Desk?
5. Sensory Processing – all day, every day. Ie. Chewing, spinning, inability to tolerate noise and smells, difficulty with open spaces (like gymnasiums). Occupational Therapy, para-educator?
6. Self-Confidence and Self-Image – see bullying.
7. Transitions – Prepare for transitions, verbal and visual cues are needed to help ease stress of transitions and reduce tantrums. Try a visual schedule?

I guess that list ended up being a list of concerns as well as possible solutions. It felt good to get that in writing. Maybe I am better at this than I thought? Better at it than I feel?

When faced with challenges, please do not sit back and be complacent. Each challenge is an opportunity to learn. Perhaps once I am through this initial IEP process, I can help other new parents understand the importance of being an educated and involved advocate for their child. It turns out I know and understand more than I thought, and that is really cool! It makes sense, I’ve been thinking about his IEP process in my dreams at night, ever the problem-solver!

Loving our children does not take a manual. It is not something we need to be taught how to do. We love our children in such a way that it can be felt from fingers to toes to deep in our gut.

If only everything were as easy as the love we have for our children. Raising children is hard work, but loving them, damn, that takes no effort at all.

Okay, excuse the jumping around, but I had a few moments of loving introspection that I needed to embrace. If anyone has any good ideas for IEP’s that would help address some of the issues I listed above, I’d love to hear them!


Shannon said...

You're a good mom :)

Molly said...

I am a special ed teacher. Your brainstorming list is a perfect contribution to the IEP development. Sharing information and finding common goals is what makes education best for kids. Keep up the good work! Good luck.

Jamie said...

Sometimes all it takes it to get the thoughts on to paper (or in this case, on to the computer).

I don't know a whole lot about IEP or what you have to deal with on a daily basis with your son, but to me, it sounds like you have a pretty good stance on what you'd like to see as far as his schooling goes and what areas need some special attention to.

I think you're a great Mom too :)

Carey said...

Wow, I admire you. I know nothing of IEP, but it sounds like you're taking all the right steps.

BetterCell said...

Sarah....There has to be more intervention on the part of Sandis' Teachers. They have to "stop" the bullying that is taking place as well as prevent it from occurring at all. There are "troublemakers" in every class and thus it is the Teacher's responsibility to put an end to the negative behavior imposed upon your son. As far as his self-confidence is concerned, I would still recommend Martial Arts by a "valuable" Instructor or/and the creation of very simple tasks for him to perform with rewards and praise after the completion and only when done correctly.

Minnesota Nice said...

Sarah, you continue to deal with this is such a superb way. Your determination is admirable. Stay the course.

Minnesota Nice said...

Sarah, you continue to deal with this is such a superb way. Your determination is admirable. Stay the course.