May 6, 2009

Another major life change, yet again...

Well...the meeting did not go in our favor yesterday.

I am just flabbergasted at this school. Normally, each school has their own special ed class. However, in my area, the schools are small and therefore not many special students would get much of what they need. So, they formed a Co-op for the whole county. At first this was fine, because the class was held in my town at the local school. Buses go all around the whole county to pick up the kids and bring them to the classrooms in one spot. However, a new facility was built, which they needed, but in another town. So now Leiah is there. It's only about 15 minutes away, but still, this building is completely separated from any school campuses.

Plus, I'm just gonna be honest here, the place is backwards. Basically, run by uneducated rednecked people. Just ignorant. Leiah's teacher is excellent, but she can only do what she is told, and the management is the problem. They system is very disorganized and there is a huge lack of communication, which is to be expected since there are so many school campuses involved in this co-op. Even so, the main problem is the principal of the primary school down the road.

After 4 meetings about this topic, I think I figured it out. For whatever reason, they don't want any child that has special needs in their school. We actually had a 20 minute talk about poop. Apparently no one on that campus is qualified to handle a child that has an accident and can't clean themselves up. Apparently, children are expected to survive in a hostile environment, since they told me how the other children would poke fun at Leiah because she is different. It seems common sense would tell me that if I had a special child in my class, I might need to keep an eye on her. Oh, and forget getting her an aid. He illegally told me that she could not have one at all, ever.

They are trying to convince me that kindergarten is so fast paced right now that there is no way she could keep up. From what they are telling me, I am quite worried about my 5 year old daughter. They don't take naps anymore, they have homework, they are cram packed with activities and it would all be over Leiah's head. I guess there aren't any children that don't have problems learning in their school, because they aren't equipped to deal with them.

So, instead of allowing my daughter to try out living in the real world in a controlled friendly, low level environment, they prefer to keep her in the special ed compartment another town away so that she won't feel bad about her self esteem. They want to keep her sheltered away from real people who will show her her limitations and keep the bar low so she won't feel bad about failing at something. There is no room for weak people in kindergarten.

HOW ABSURD!!!!!! How dare they say this!!!!! Who are they to say that other children cannot learn from Leiah? They rob themselves and others by casting off those who have special needs. They will never be able to see when these children excel beyond their abilities, because they refuse to expect more out of them. This is like Hitler- get rid of any that do not meet the superrace requirements. Children with special needs have so much to teach others; other children can teach Leiah much better than a therapist. I've seen it too many times.

If I were a teacher that was going to have Leiah in my class, I would automatically know that she would need to be at the front of the lines, need assistance with her lunch and with going potty. Why not involve the other children in being her helper for the day or week, making it a special privilege to help Leiah learn the skills she needs to learn???? Let her participate in the real world, and she'll adapt.

It is so, so hard to sit there and listen to everyone discussing my child's abilities, which don't even score on their specialized tests because she is at the level of a three year old, and basing their decision off of that only. They have locked her in to this special ed for life idea and do not care about what is best for her. They say they do, but it's all about power and money. I was in there for over an hour with my husband and my sister, who is a special ed director at the next town. We are all upset and amazed at this. I would just take her out and homeschool, but it's just not possible with a newborn coming at school starting time. She needs more.

So, we have to move. I have another meeting with them in 10 days, just to confirm that we are both standing firmly on our decisions, during which I will act like nothing is going to happen. Then after we buy our new house, I'll withdraw her from the school and enroll her in the other one. The place we need to move to is an expensive one, and we aren't sure yet how much we can afford. I am trusting the Lord, He will provide what we need.

Still, I never dreamed that this little country school would put up such a fuss about this. My daughter, a sweet and willing to please child, she is well behaved, happy almost all of the time, beautiful, and everyone wants her. They have rejected an opportunity to be touched by her life and robbed the other children of valuable lessons that could have been learned at an early age. Shame on them.

*****Edited to add: Some may be wondering why I've ruled out homeschool. Well, I have thought about it a lot and though I do I wish I could, I just don't see how. I have never formally homeschooled before, I generally have too high expectations of myself, I will have a new baby plus the other three. Maybe that doesn't seem like much either since it's just kindergarten, but Leiah needs therapy. That means I would have to load everyone up and drive an hour away twice a week for therapy times- and that's just speech! Not to mention the cost involved in private therapy- it is crazy expensive, $45 for 15 minutes. Leiah learns best from other children and is very emotional with me. What I mean is that if I work with her, she tends to get frustrated a lot faster than with a teacher or with kids. I guess it's the mom thing.

So, as much as it would be to the advantage of all to homeschool, it's not within my grasp at this point. I know myself and it would not be a good scenario unless we could hire a live-in housekeeper.


atomic momma said...

I don't have an official "special needs child" but I think you have made several excellent points, esp. the one about keeping kids that have special needs out of sight and out of mind. This makes me mad - how will our son ever understand that all of us are equal in the eyes of God and that no matter what he does or doesn't do God loves him no more or less than the next child. We want our son around ALL kids so he learns from them as well not just society's "top achievers".

Also, your complaints about school are what I am hearing from parents with so called "normal" kids too.

We are taught by the bible that we are to look out and care for one another yet we teach our kids differently. Jesus said we are to take care of each other yet our schools and workplace do the opposite.

Country Mouse said...

I agree! shame on them! this is indeed an injustice not only to your daughter, but to the other children! I am not surprised that it is happening in a smaller town, they do tend to be a bit more bigoted than large towns. My sister spent all of her school years in Special ED, and let me tell you, it did NOTHING for her. Most of the time they didn't even try to teach her anything, they simply let her "do her own thing." Instead of teaching her up to her skill level, they bunched her in with people who were little to no function (not criticizing those people, but this was not where she needed to be). She learned hardly anything. She was born with a learning disability, not without a brain. It makes me sick. Your daughter is just as human as every other child in that school district, and to be shipped away to some asylum so that they will not be bothered with her is purely archaic. I am truly disgusted with the education system in America. I hope you find something affordable in the area you are searching. Good luck!

Saved Sinner said...

That's terrible! In the UK parents can insist their child goes to a regular school. It's quite shocking that at Kindergarten level they are saying this and not even giving her a chance. I hope you manage to move to the area you want to.

vehementflame said... wrong. honey would you really want them teaching your child anyway? do you really think that home studies is totally out of the question??? really totally out?? c'mon- it is just grade K. so easy. and you are your child's best teacher. my nephew has autism and he gets the same kind of treatment from pub ed- but look at rc sproul jr- he has a gazilln kids and one of them is special ed- his wife home schools...sorry dn't mean to lay that on thick. just when you are praying be open to any answer.

ccsmomma said...

well, seems like you knew just what I was thinking when you edited your post to add your thoughts on homeschool. I know you've blogged about it before.
May I suggest that you investigate a public charter school? (virtual or not-either way they are great!!!!) I started my homeschooling journey with 5 years in a public virtual charter. It was a great experience and gave me the confidence I needed to branch out and try it on my own.
Texas has a k12 charter which Is what we used only in PA.

The great thing about charter is that they are public schools but your child is either in a self selected campus (like a private school only it's public) or schooling at home. You will get the services your child needs provided for you through the charter school. Special ed, speach, occupational therapy-ALL OF IT..FREE! Your tax dollars pay for it, so take advantage.

Just a little something for you to think about.

P.S. Do a search for charter schools in TX and your area. Not all of them use the same curriculum. k12 is the one we "fell into" because I was looking to buy the curriculum, K12 is quite rigorous (and expensive if you have to pay for it yourself!) and isn't always the best fit for every student.

Vicki said...

Don't feel badly about homeschooling. The Lord gave you Leigh and He knew you'd know what is best for her!

Sylvie said...

Just because RC Sproul Jr and his wife do something doesn't mean everyone else is called to do the same thing. I'm sure you mean well by your comment but I don't believe it is helpful. Simply saying be open to any answer from God including the possibility of homeschooling, would have been sufficient. It isn't necessary to make comparisons with another.

Also, I don't thing it would be beneficial to Jessica or her child if she chose to homeschool because of pressure from other people.

4gr8kdz said...

I have two special needs girls, identical twins, with chromosomal abnormalities, global delays, and they are mentally ill. (bipolar, have episodes of psychosis, hear voices, etc.) I do not homeschool, even thought I know I could. I have the education to homeschool, have thought about it, but for the same reasons as you I need the support. Homeschooling is not as big here. I don't live in the bible belt. I really need the social, educational, and emotional support. So my children are in public school. I totally understand your reason for not homeschooling and I know why you don't and can't. I have two typical children at home and because of the high acuity of their care I use the public school system because our whole family needs the support. Due to the degree of my twin girls disabilities and our lack of family resources, ie familial support, my two typical children need the respite. My twin girls need the positive reinforcement of seeing how other children interact on a daily basis. They learn how to model this behavior. It is not perfect, the families are not perfect, but the school systems are fabulous. Have you figured out we do not live in Texas. HEE HEE! Financially I could not even begin to homeschool these girls because of the high cost of all of their services. We have insurance and we still couldn't handle the cost of their care. Through the school system their services are free. As I am sure you have already figured out, special ed services and therapy go first to children who are in the public school system and if you are lucky enough to live in a state mandates that homeschooled children, or children in private schools get services they do not get the priority that the children who are in the public school system get. My girls receive PT, OT, Speech, and special education. My twins and my oldest child who is typical, get to participate in activities for free such as gardening, show choir, dance lessons, cooking lessons,story hours with costumed mother goose characters, computer classes, and music lessons, which if they were not in the school system we would have to pay privately for. It is so wonderful for their development and are learning wonderful life skills. Our school systems have a zero tolerance policy for hazing and discrimination of children. Most of our teachers truly do what they do because they love children. The teachers in our state must have their Masters degrees with a certain time frame to keep their jobs and have continuous education. I am so much more fortunate than you in that I do not live in Redneckville. My school system and their teachers are elite in their fields, and my girls have the best education and services. We collaborate together and brainstorm so they have the most up to date care, and it really has improved the quality of all of our lives. It is out there I hope you find it. I wish you the best of luck.

mom to 4gr8kdz

Tereza said...

don't let people make you feel bad if this is what you have the most peace about!