Ted is back on medication. He hasn’t taken a prescription drug since July 2004 when I weaned him off of Zoloft after being told by one practitioner that the dosage of Zoloft another practitioner had Ted on was not only NOT helping his anxiety but quite possibly, because the dosage was so high, intensifying his anxiety. That was the final blow, the moment I said “no more.” No more guessing about the drugs we were putting into my son’s body. Continue reading
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo
As part of the Due Process Settlement the school system sent us a proposed IEP for the remaining eight weeks of our son Ted’s 3rd grade year.
It contained 20 benchmarks.
Can you do 20 things at once?
Heck, can you even REMEMBER 20 things?
Imagine you were a teacher and had 20 kids in class. You had 20 kids to manage. 20 kids to educate. How could you be expected to remember 20 separate IEP benchmarks for just one of those 20 kids?
That was my thought too. Continue reading
In my last Educating Teddy post, which you can read here, I did, because it’s been so long I was like, where did I leave off?
Anyway, we were in the midst of the due process lawsuit we filed when Teddy was in 3rd grade. We had gone through almost two years of the school being upset by Teddy for “making noises”, hitting other kids when they called him names, and finally shutting down because school had become an awful, unsupportive place.
But it hadn’t always been like that. No, it hadn’t.
In kindergarten, Teddy had a wonderful teacher who accepted his quirks, his noises, and embraced him for the curious, inquisitive, intelligent and unique child he was.
And you know what, he had a great school year in this environment.
It didn’t take extra money to create this success. It didn’t require special services, therapies, the stars being in a certain celestial alignment. No. It simply required compassion and empathy on the part of his teacher.
When the necessary ingredients of compassion and empathy were removed it all fell apart. Continue reading
Our due process suit was filed on February 24, 2000 and school agreed to begin mainstreaming Teddy prior to the hearing and the EC teacher would manage his case. On March 6 we returned him to school after an eight-day absence. The following event happened the next day, March 7.
Teddy got off the school bus growling and headed straight for the house.
He didn’t say hi. He didn’t acknowledge me. He was on a mission.
It wasn’t until we both got through the front door that he said his first words. They were in the form of a question.
“Where is the phone book?”
“The phone book,” I thought to myself. He has not once, ever, used the phone book.
“Ted, why do you need the phone book?” I asked.
He didn’t answer.
He was serious and extremely focused. I knew he had been planning these actions the entire bus ride home. He was so deliberate. It concerned me, but, deciding there was little harm in him having the phone book, I told him where it was as I kept a watchful eye on him and the brewing situation. Continue reading
As part of the continuing story of educating Teddy, I am sharing with you the paperwork involved in a due process special education lawsuit. We filed the suit to get our son, who has Aspergers and was in 3rd grade, out of a self-contained emotionally conflicted classroom. You can read the actual suit here. The following two letters are communications regarding some of the basic details of the process such as our attorney’s representation agreement and a request for notification of placement options for Teddy.
Correspondence sent to us from our attorney Suzanne
February 24, 2000
Re: Teddy v. County Board of Education
Dear Neal and Charlotte,
This letter is written to confirm our authorization to file for a due process hearing on behalf of your child Teddy. Our firm will undertake to represent you in this matter based upon the following terms. We are accepting this case on a contingent fee basis except as set forth hereinafter. Our fees for representing parents are $185.00 per hour. In the event you are the prevailing party either through a decision by a hearing officer or by settlement, we will be entitled to be paid our fee. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the parents are entitled to recover attorneys fees from the local board of education in the event that they are the prevailing party. If necessary, this firm will represent you in Court to recover those fees from the local Board.
As to expenses such as expert witness fees, you agree to pay those fees as may become due. These fees would include any amount charged by doctors, psychologists, psychometrists or other experts who may be needed to testify at a due process hearing.
You must understand that your full cooperation and assistance will be required throughout this case. In the event the firm believes that this cooperation is not forthcoming you hereby specifically agree to withdraw from the case upon written notification to you. In the event we withdraw for no-cooperation after written notification and a failure on your part to cure the problems outlined in that notice, the fees will be due and owing from you.
If you understand and agree to these terms for your representation, please sign this letter on the line below.
* * *
From our attorney to the school system’s attorney
February 25, 2000
Re: Teddy v. County Board of Education
I have filed today the attached request for due process on behalf of the parents of Teddy. I am faxing you a copy because there are some immediate issues that need to be addressed on an emergency basis and I am hopeful you will be able to address them now.
I am sure Katherine (school system’s autism specialist) will be able to give you the full background on this student so I won’t review it at this time. However, this student, who is autistic, was inappropriately placed in an Emotionally Conflicted class and the parties agreed on or about February 10 that he should be removed. Since that time the school has failed to offer an alternative placement and the parents have the child at home awaiting an offer of placement. The parents are missing work in order to take care of the student while they await a placement.
Please contact Katherine immediately and advise what services are available for the student at this time.
Very Truly yours,
Next: Ad Nauseam and how it applies to Teddy AND his teachers.