Monday, February 23, 2015

Phone Calls

I was going to call the governor today, but I got distracted. It seems absurd that that feels so casual.

I've been asking about getting a school website for a few months now, but I didn't really follow up on it because I've been busy with IEP meetings that feel more like hostage negotiations. All IEPs are settled. All team members are on the same page. I thought now I could get started on this one goal. Get a website started. Simple.

But then Goofy started chasing neighborhood cats. Sounds innocent enough, doesn't it? Until he takes the back end of a hammer to your recently repaired ductwork because he thought he heard a cat, he almost saw a paw. And a one eared concrete fox, among other random, broken objects show up on the kitchen counter because he found it under a trailer (hopefully your own), and after much effort the street cat is captured to the dismay of that cat, our cats, and myself. and he wants more and there are more running around because street cats multiply faster than rabbits in this neighborhood.

Goofy started counseling, then Walter started counseling, then the sister started counseling, because it seems that now when you go get your kid evaluated, you don't just get a diagnosis and a good-luck-with-that before they send you out of the office, now they give you the diagnosis, a good-luck-with-that, and a recommendation that you see a licensed counselor because something really has to be wrong for your kid to be that fucked up (just me?). I was almost afraid to mention Alex's ADHD again for fear of yet another referral. As it turns out, we got a pretty good one this time. Lucky for me since I get to see him three times this week. Then there's the impossibility of finding a dentist for Alex, a referral for a sleep study for Goofy, and yet another specialist for Walter. So the website got put on the back burner.

Last week, I had a few minutes while I was feeling froggy so I called the Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled administration office to ask if we could please have a website. I've had some pretty good luck with this office so far, it only took a 5 minute conversation on why Alex needs a walking harness to get the promise that ABA would be provided and his Behavior Intervention Plan would be followed in his new school. Unfortunately, the answer to the website was no. The answer was no because they are not a public school, they are the Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled. This answer left me a little hopeful, so I wanted to make sure of what I was hearing. "So, what I am understanding is because of my son's disability, we can't have access to the same educational tools and resources, and the same level of transparency that have become the standard for his non-disabled peers?" Before I could ask to get that answer in writing, I was transferred to someone else.

This phone call is the perfect example of why you should research the office you are calling- at least know the names and titles of the people you could be talking to so that you will know when you reach the top of the chain of command. The person I talked to told me that getting a website would take an act of legislation. She suggested that I talk to my senator or representative. It irritated me, I asked for the Superintendent. Seems I was talking to the Assistant Superintendent. She said the Superintendent was all for social media and websites so I would be wasting my time with him, the problem is in the state, I need to talk to someone above him and that would be the senator or representative.

I researched and found that it's the governor or the State Board of Education that I need to be contacting so I definitely want to be prepared first. I'm getting ready. Thinking things through. Planning my argument...

Then I get a call from the Goofy Child's principal. There has been another behavior incident on the bus. I'll tell you right now, this school is most definitely not a National School of Character- a fact that disturbs me as much as it pisses Goofy off.  I am reminded that there are people and positions that you run across sometimes that don't care whether or not they have a valid argument, they will stammer and stutter and talk you in circles until you want to rip your hair out or their head off and in the end, they will offer a solution that is less of a solution and more a mockery of justice designed to placate a parent and get them off of the phone. Goofy will miss 15 minutes of his recess for defending himself in yet another bullying incident, this time with two 5th graders, and room will be made in the front of the bus by moving one of the kids in the first six rows of students in need of additional supervision so that Goofy can be protected instead of addressing the general behavior of students on the bus or using their "limited resources" to put another adult on what has been described by staff as a rowdy route. I wonder if it would take an act of legislation to get a bus aide... since I'm on the phone anyway, right?

I will call. We will get a website. Next week. This week, I have a counselor to talk to about bus bullies and calm down strategies. And, maybe we'll read Alex's new Llama Llama and the Bully Goat.

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