Thursday, November 10, 2005

No child left behind, my ass

I’ve had my first dealings with the school system where we live and it wasn’t positive. I know you are probably as shocked as I was (heavy sarcasm), but first let me give you the back story…

About March of this year people from DHS were coming to the daycare to do Denver II Screenings for parents who were interested. Braden’s pediatrician had mentioned that he was a little hard to understand and that I might consider getting him tested in the future so I signed up. He had just turned 3. The results of that screening, based on the 10 minutes they spent with my son, was that he had a serious speech and language delay. They referred me to the Special Services Department of my school district for further evaluation and the form they gave me used words like “intervention” and “global caution,” which are pretty scary words for a parent to read. So I called and immediately had him placed on the school system’s list.

It wasn’t until September that the school system actually tested him, and that was only after I became a total pest with phone calls and emails to the Special Services Department. In my defense, if someone had just communicated with me even a little bit, the whole pest thing wouldn’t have been necessary. So anyway, we went to the school board building and met with 3 ladies: a speech pathologist, a psychologist, and a physical therapist. Within minutes all three were agreeing that he had a “marked delay” in his speech and would probably need some speech therapy. Ok, no big deal. They left me with a ton of paperwork to fill out and took him into the next room for extensive testing. An hour later they came back and went over all his results. Long story short: he’s the lowest side of average a kid can possibly be without failing so he doesn’t qualify for any speech therapy. But wait, there’s more. The physical therapist told me that she had some concerns that he may have some neurological damage because a) he holds a pen with his fist and not his fingers, b) sometimes he walks on his toes, and c) she noticed several facial tics. WTF??? I have NEVER noticed a facial tic and neither have any of his teachers or anyone else that I asked who has regular contact with him. The pen issue we have been working with and yeah, sometimes he walks on his toes, but he does it when he’s goofing off. He knows how to walk normally and he does so on a regular basis. And it gets even better. The psychologist tells me that he doesn’t appear to have a normal response to pain because he hit his head while he was playing and he didn’t cry. He didn’t even acknowledge that he hit his head. I informed her that she was wrong and that he cries ALL THE TIME when he falls down at home. She said, “Well, he hit his head hard and it should have made him cry. You need to talk to your doctor about that.” I wanted to say, “How do you know? Could you FEEL HIS PAIN?” but I could feel myself becoming angry so I said nothing and just signed whatever forms would let me get the hell out of there. I think the thing that made me the most angry is that they are basing all these assumptions on such a limited amount of time, at a time when he was excited and hyper and showing off because he was in new surroundings among new people. They didn’t seem to take any of that into consideration and I would think that would be fairly typical of the kids they encounter. They did say something about him having no attention span and that I might ask my pediatrician about possibly testing for ADHD, and THAT I can see (we don’t him the Crackhead for nothing). But now I know that I’m on my own in getting him any help because the school system is pretty worthless.

So what brought on this rant? I finally received my written report in the mail the other day and it makes no sense. It lists scores without giving me any indication as to what the scores mean (for example, I don’t know what a large muscle score of 105 means), and it doesn’t address ANY of the things that the physical therapist or the psychologist discussed. So now we’re trying to figure out if we will have enough money to send him to a private school or if we can fix up our house and move to another district before he starts kindergarten. Not that it will matter because I suspect that a lot of school districts are this way. Only one thing is for certain – wherever he does go to school, he can count on a mom who will be a pest fighting to get him what he needs.

And with that, I will leave you with a cute picture.


Blogger Sleeping Mommy said...

Do you know how many times my kids have hit their heads or done something else that "should" hurt and they don't even acknowledge it?

If the adults around them don't make a deal most kids will just go on like nothing happened unless they ARE BLEEDING or SERIOUSLY injured which is at it should be.

Did it not occurr to that psychologist that your son was just a tough kid who was in an environment he didn't feel comfortable being completely himself in? Alot of kids save crying for their parents because they KNOW their parents will love them no matter what. But who knows what that stranger will do?

Dumbasses. If I had the temperament I would SO homeschool. Instead I will be like you. VERY much in the school system's face.

10:23 AM  
Blogger M. said...

Damn, that IS a cute picture.

As for the testing-- another mom was just talking about this at playgroup yesterday. She has a wonderful 20 month old boy that she's adopting and a therapist he doesn't like has concerns-- but she questions the concerns because he isn't himself around the therapist. Basically she pointed out that there is so much to be gained by treating these things earlier rather than later that they tend to look really hard and sometimes find things that aren't there. So she's annoyed, but would rather "find" something that isn't there, than miss something that is . . .

You're doing a good job, mama. Because I suspect Steven needs something, but since we're homeschooling I don't want to get involved with the school system & I'm bogged down with the twins . . . yada, yada, yada. I wish wish wish I'd acted on it befor the babes were born. But it looked hard then. Dumb of me-- it REALLY looks hard now, lol. So I admire your determination to be in the school's face about it.

12:02 PM  

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