Friday, June 3, 2011

Too Cool for (regular) School

Yesterday was your Katy ISD eval to see where you are best suited to attend SCHOOL next year.

SCHOOL. Does that freak you out a bit like it does me? Surely not.

Several months back I attended the orientation class for PPCD. At that time I decided that although it is probably a fabulous program, it wasn’t a good fit for you. For one, they don’t group children by ability’s or developmental age. They just stick the first ten in a class and when it is full, start another. I imagined you in a class full of children with simple delays such a speech problems, and you getting lost in the hustle and bustle. Plus they do things like centers and circle time. Which is great for most kids. But your vision won’t allow you to see the board or the pictures in a book that is being read to the class. And even if you could, I don’t care if you ever learn seasons or numbers or letters. I want you to be able to sit on your own. Push buttons on toys. Those sorts of things. Most importantly I was concerned about your safety. In a room of 10 children with special needs, I would never expect the two teachers to constantly keep their eyes on you. However, with your vomiting, that would need to be the case in order to prevent choking and aspiration. For these reasons I declined to pursue public education for you.

Mrs. MB, your VI teacher, later told me about the TIP program. It sounded so perfect for you. I think she said this year they had 3 teachers and 4 kids, so almost one-on-one. And one of those teachers is a nurse, trained in g-tubes, Epi-pens, suctioning—the works! It is only for medically fragile children with vision problems. But we needed to go through KISD and PPCD to be placed in the exclusive class.

Which brings us back to your eval yesterday. We went to the building right by Rhodes Stadium where the PPCD office is located. There were probably a total of 7 ladies there, a mix of therapists, teachers and coordinators. All of us crowded around tiny you. They played with you on a mat to see what your tricks and how you reacted in certain situations. They asked me questions about your social, gross motor, fine motor, self help, and eating skills. And they allowed me to ask questions about the program as well. Knowing I had reservations about PPCD, they asked me to explain those. I stressed my concern for your safety in a large classroom. They understood my apprehension, but assured me that they have many kids in the program with similar issues. They felt that a regular PPCD class was where you should start off and if necessary we could later move you to the TIP program. These ladies were very sweet, approachable and reasonable. I could have pushed my case. But I just felt like I should hold my tongue. We said our goodbyes and headed to the car.

I called Daddy on our way home, and he asked me how it went. I told him that I was disappointed, because I didn’t feel like I did a good job expressing and insisting on what I felt was best for you. Daddy and I are really the only voice you have, and if we don’t speak up, who will? As he and I talked, I tried to figure out why I didn’t push for TIP. Maybe it was because I knew I would have time to fight that decision later. Plus, I now reasoned, it would probably be best to wait until Mrs. MB was present so that she could back me up and fight on my side. (She was at her daughter’s HS graduation, that’s why she wasn’t there for the meeting.) Even though these all sounded like great rationale, I couldn’t convince myself I handled things well. I was bummed. Daddy and I resolved to pray that doors would open and shut so that God’s will for you would be clear.

Today I got a phone call from a lady who was present for the eval. She said that after we left, they had some more discussion and decided the TIP program would in fact, be more appropriate for you. I was thrilled! Whether my silence at the meeting was at the Holy Spirit’s prompting or if God just worked it out in spite of my failure, I have no idea. But regardless, we have an ARD meeting set up for next week at your future school!

1 comment: said...

Now, at the beginning of the road that we call "school" or "education" for Audrey, there is something I want you to remember.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

It can always be done in a polite, firm, persistant way, but it is up to you to get it done. Sometimes this might mean calling in professional assistance, going over someones head, or doing something that you aren't comfortable with cause it doesn't feel "nice". Much rather step on some toes than look back and think you didn't didn't do enough, or the right thing at the right time. You know her better than anybody else and you want the best for her more than anybody else.