Well, we are 1 week out of school and I have already begun preparation for transitioning my son to summer school. It will begin in July, will not be held at his regular elementary school, and his special ed instructor and therapists are unfamiliar to him. To be honest, I have been preparing for summer since March. We have a six month lead time on most of what we request to ensure things run smoothly for my son. Issues can conveniently slip through the cracks if we are not on top of things daily. Appropriate lead and time management ensures accountability. I am confident that with the social story created, summer school pictures requested, and daily visits to the school playground, it will be enough to familiarize my son to his new surroundings and minimize his anxiety…or so I hope and pray.
Onto the requests we have made for fall. Again, we have been dealing with these requests since April 1 (PPT meeting). We have had limited success in getting any progress and my frustration was nearing monumental proportions. This is something I never want because my emotional side takes over and I feel like my credibility is lessened and brushed off as “just another emotional parent”. I really hate it when I let the love and passion I have let loose because tears begin flying and I can’t seem to stop….credibility lost. This is where I have been for months with the school.
The administration was sticking their heals in for 2 requests of ours: retain paraprofessional and teacher for consistency and educational progress. Note: we decided to retain our son in Kindergarten for another year to allow his social skills to develop and close the gap between his peers. We were told in no uncertain terms that our requests would not be honored because of school policy. In light of these “policies”, I began requesting some major preparation and transition plans for my son: (1)new para train with the current person to understand my son’s motivations and personality (2) this individual had to have special education training (3)I would have to meet with him/her and (4) a timeline prepared of how the school intended to handle the transition. All of this never happened. Frustration was mounting when I received a call from the school (on my son’s last day) indicating that our requests will be granted for the coming year. Better late than never. Amazing!
It is one more victory for us and proof that if you advocate for your child, the school cannot ignore your pleas….even the emotional ones. I’m not sure why the change of heart. I have a feeling it was due to lack of planning and some thorns in their sides (us), but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that my baby is going to get what he needs and that is priceless to me. All will be forgiven if the school does right by my son. Thrilled doesn’t even come close to what I am feeling.
For more information on advocating for you child, visit your local parent advocacy center. In Connecticut, the site is http://www.cpacinc.org/