We had two meetings today. I think I swore one day in the not too distant past that I would never do that again. Someday I will learn to listen to myself.
I've been working with Alex's stepmom, trying to help her learn how to ask for things and work as a team. She is a passionate woman, especially when it comes to her daughter. I can't say that's a bad thing, but I can say it's exhausting.
The doctor gave Alex's sister new diagnoses and gave Mommy a few suggestions on how the school can make adjustments to help the girl. Mommy read up on the diagnoses and read some sites she found in a book I loaned her and came up with a list of things she would like changed/added to the sister's IEP. Sunday I went to help her draft reasonable arguments for each one. Well, except one. There was one request that I could not think of a single reason it would be appropriate if the rest of them were added. It's not my kid, not my decision, not my business, so I gave it hell. Every compromise, every idea on how to work it in, every suggestion was shot down and Mommy ended up writing it herself when I exhausted all possible arguments.
I left there feeling like all of those hours were wasted. Every ounce of effort I put in was useless because this one item could send the entire book I just wrote to the trash can.
Last week I got 3 phone calls on my Goofy One. After the third call, I said I was one "great kid, you should be proud" phone call away from sending the kid in unmedicated. It was a joke. for about 30 seconds. then a light bulb flashed. You know, I bet they have no clue if his meds are working because they have never seen him unmedicated or properly medicated. I'm not sure if they are reporting honestly because you know how professionals love to reassure the parents, but maybe they just don't know...only one way to find out.
I headed into the sister's meeting this morning fully expecting to be interrupted. I warned Mommy ahead of time that I was expecting a phone call I couldn't refuse any minute. She was cool with that. The sister's principal wasn't in. There wasn't much help without him. We discussed things with the assistant principal and left with a promise that the principal would be calling to set up a meeting.
I'm not the only one who left there feeling discouraged. For all the talking, nothing was settled and the situation does not look too promising. She decided not to go to Goofy's meeting because there's no point, nothing she can learn. She doesn't know anything, the school doesn't know anything, the psychiatrist doesn't know anything...the girl is screwed. I tried not to agree with the sentiment. at least, not out loud.
Alex's record keeper called to let me know his records were ready. The file is too thick to mail, so she's hoping I can pick them up.
I headed into Goofy's meeting pretty pissed off that, apparently, they didn't notice that he's unmedicated because no one ever called, which tells me that they've been blowing smoke up my ass about how great he's doing. ...but the weight of hopelessness tempers my instinctive reaction. The things on my list are things I would have fought over, tooth and nail, last year but today...what's the point?
They thought something was up today. He had a pretty rough day. They had no idea it was his medication. They had some good ideas on how to collect informal data over the next two weeks so we can meet again to discuss whether or not there's a need for the things I'm asking for. They will be collecting data on on-task behavior in the classroom, resource room, and in remedial reading. This will tell us if there is a reason to do an FBA, if his medication is working, and if we need to consider a change in placement. I like this. a lot. I really appreciate the opportunity to gather more information to see if there is a need instead of just jumping into a fight that may not need to be fought.
RtI would have been my hot button. Today, it just makes me sad. I fought for this IEP. I fought hard. and in the end, where we stand today, he was getting more help through his 504 than he is through his IEP. That didn't turn out at all like I planned. Was the entire year a wasted effort? Would he have been better off if I had just left it alone? The RtI issue isn't quite settled, from what I understand. He will be typing some of his work for the next two weeks. That work will be compared to the classroom work to see if his trouble is in getting his thoughts down on paper or writing his thoughts down on paper. That will help decide which one he needs more help in.
Leaving the meeting, I get an updated copy of an old paper. Teacher notes. Again, for the second year in a row, "home concerns." motherfucker. really? What did I do now? I kinda want to laugh. If they had concerns when I was a Stay At Home Mom with my sole focus being my demon spawn, they ought to get a load of me now. I can only imagine the notes this next teacher will be leaving.
So far, I'm not in any way rocking this day. fuck it.
We finally make it to get Alex's records. Alex is in the 7th grade, his file is a good 5-6 inches thick. Looking back over the years, seeing the places we've been the things we've tried, looking at where we are now... the ups and downs, progress and regression, the dance of one step forward and two steps back, gaining skills and losing others... looking at 9 years of IEPs and amendments, diagnostic reports, evaluations, progress reports, state testing, teacher notes, therapist notes, services that have come and gone, notices of actions proposed and refused... 9 years of work, and we're back at the beginning. Every year. 9 years of what? and we still have 9 to go. and after that? then what? What are we working for?
Today I'm wondering if anything I've done has made a damned bit of difference. Am I actually making a difference for my kids or just keeping myself busy? I'm not sure, but the answer needs to come quick. We have an IEP meeting at 11am.