I've tried to write this post a few times, I thought maybe writing it would help me figure things out. It didn't. I still haven't. You know yesterday was Goofy's meeting, it was a very long meeting, longer than even I expected. I think we talked in circles. I don't know that anything was figured out. I need to make a list so I can note my questions before the next meeting but I don't even know where to start.
The school psychologist wasn't able to be at the meeting, medical reasons, I think. I wish he had been because I really needed him. He made recommendations and gave them to the principal. I think his recommendation was that Goofy was just fine. I need to know what that is based on. I'm having a lot of trouble with this whole "professional judgment" thing because "professional judgment" is just a fancy way of saying it's someone's opinion. I don't want opinions, I get enough of those as it is, and I don't need "anecdotal" information- "anecdotal" by definition is "unreliable." I need to know why that is his opinion, I need to know where they get the information. He didn't do an evaluation, so what is he looking at? The information I have is saying something completely different. What does he have that I don't? Besides a college education and a job, of course. Those are irrelevant ;)
I needed to talk to him about the things I'm looking at to see if I'm even looking in the right direction and which one would be which. He knows about educational diagnoses- I know the basics, he knows the details. When we met for the 504 meeting, he knew exactly what I was looking at and why. He's the one who mentioned dysgraphia. There is a lot that was said in this meeting that I just don't understand and he would be the man with the answers.
Listening comprehension is a problem. The two scores being discussed were an ADHD thing. Why is that important? Listening comprehension is Specific Learning Disability, ADHD is Other Health Impairment. Either way, it's still a problem. What is the importance of linking things with his ADHD? Which one would that fall under? Does it even matter? Saying this problem is because of that problem doesn't make either one less of a problem, I don't understand. So, him not being there takes out a big part of the discussion. That sucks. and still leaves me with more questions than answers.
The Director of Student Services was going through a list of things for us to think about as a team and one of the things he said was, "where did we go wrong? where did we lose the trust?" My husband started laughing and asked if he really wanted to go there, because either my husband knows me really well or he's just a very smart man. The Director said no, but it got me thinking about the answer.
At first, my entire list could be summed up in one word- Alex. I have to wonder how different things would be if not for those 3 years.It wasn't just a missed goal or a missed service, or lies about placement options; it wasn't just a staff member here and there, entire teams failed him repeatedly. And then there was me, the ignorant parent who didn't do their own research. I was a member of every single one of those teams that failed him. If I knew then what I know now... would he have had a better education or would we have had to go through the same steps?
But then there's Walter. Walter, who was supposed to be in Title 1 reading, but "this isn't a Title 1 school." Walter, who had failing or almost failing grades in every subject in 5th grade because there was no parent/teacher communication about how his medicine was working. The same boy who now works his butt off to just barely get a C average. I was a member of those teams, too. If I had insisted on being fully informed, if I had pushed for communication, would he still be in the same place?
Still more questions than answers but I guess my answer to his question is "professional judgment."
I trusted professional opinions until I realized that an opinion is an opinion, it doesn't matter where it comes from. If I were to go around jumping on any opinion offered, I'd probably be feeding Alex bleach and bleeding him with leeches (or were we feeding him the leeches...? wait. that was parasites, wasn't it? bleed him with leeches, feed him the parasites? either way, ew.) to cure his autism (those are "professional" opinions), and might as well take the leather belt to the Goofy One because everyone who "knows" says that's the cure for ADHD (those are not "professional" opinions).
As the parent, these boys are my responsibility. They are counting on me to make the right choices. It's my job to consider the opinions offered and then look at the information available to form my own opinion based on everything. If you want me to believe what you believe, you have to convince me. Don't just tell me to believe, tell me why.