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 know, this story is getting tedious. It was tedious going through it and it is getting tedious retelling it. I guess you could say there is a life truth in what I just wrote and that is, well, sometimes life IS tedious. Sometimes life can be outright drudgery. I have come to accept if my life is a bed of roses, then those beautiful and fragrant roses are also full of pokey thorns.
The idea, I think, is rather than fight the existence of tedious, to accept that it exists, work through it and remember, when in it’s throes that, “This too shall pass” and on the other side of tedious, there will be better times. The secret, I believe, is to know how to be content through both the good times and the tedious times. Easier said than done, I know.
But you see, that is one reason why I shared this story, tedious as it may have been, because it was from these events that I learned “This too shall pass” – because, dear reader, it did. From the horribleness that was 1st grade and 3rd grade for my son, good came. A wrong was righted. A school district that thought they could ignore the needs of a child learned they couldn’t. They learned they had to do the right thing. They had to do their best to help my child. And finally, with force, they did. But from that force, came an underlying attitude change, and even though there were still problems along the way, those problems were more easily solved. A depth of caring that was not there before, emerged. It changed for Teddy, the first child diagnosed with Aspergers our school system ever served, and maybe, because of Teddy, the system and the environment improved for the next child with Aspergers.
Just the thought of that brings tears of joy to my eyes.
Maybe, just maybe, because we fought, because we didn’t give up, because of what Teddy endured, our local schools are a little better for a child.
There is nothing tedious about that.
* * *
May 2. 2000
To our attorney from the School Board’s attorney
Re: Teddy v. County Board of Education
This letter will serve as the settlement agreement in the above-referenced due process hearing request. If your clients are in agreement with the settlement as detailed in this letter, please have them execute the letter and return the original to me. I will have the Superintendent execute the agreement and will forward a copy to you. The terms of the settlement are as follows:
1. The school system has convened an IEP meeting to develop an IEP for the remainder of the 1999-2000 school year which focuses on one or more of the behaviors relating to anger management. It is agreed that a functional behavioral assessment will be conducted after the 2000-2001 school year begins.
2. It is agreed that the IEP for the 2000-2001 school year will be developed prior to July 1, 2000.
3. It is agreed that the school system will provide in-service training to the teachers and principal who will be dealing with Ted during the 2000-2001 school year. It is further understood that a minimum of four hours of in-service training will be provided and the in-service training will be completed before the 2000-2001 school year begins.
4. It is agreed that Ted will be provided with an aide for the first eight weeks of the 2000-2001 school year, with the IEP committee to determine at the end of that time to what extent an aide continues to be required.
5. It is agreed that the school system will reimburse the parents for one half of the cost for weekly counseling sessions. The cost to the school system for the weekly counseling sessions will not exceed $55.00 per week for a period beginning April 10 and continuing through August 21, 2000 with the understanding that the total cost to the Board for counseling will not exceed $1,155.00. It is further understood that the parents will submit invoices showing the date of the counseling sessions to the Special Education Director. It is further understood that the agreement to fund counseling at this time and under the terms set forth in this letter shall not be construed as an agreement by the Board to fund counseling in the future.
6. It is agreed that the Board will pay reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses in an amount not to exceed $1,913.44.
7. It is understood and agreed that this settlement constitutes a settlement of any and all claims which could have been brought on behalf of Ted by his parents in the due process hearing request. It is further agreed and understood that the parents of Ted will dismiss the due process hearing request.
Next: Leaving 3rd grade and lawsuits behind to meet Rainbow Woman and HIV Guy. A funny special education story about how life reminds me to have a sense of humor while simultaneously showing me what I’ve got really ain’t so bad.
I am posting this ‘almost there’ correspondence our attorney Suzanne sent to the school board’s attorney for two reasons…
Reason #1 To continue sharing the paperwork involved in a due process hearing.
Reason #2 This particular letter shows how Suzanne “gets it.” SHE UNDERSTOOD what I had been feeling, what I had been saying to the school for almost two years and to be understood by an attorney, with the influence to get the school to listen, meant Teddy was finally going to get the support he needed.
Let me get on my soap box for a moment… 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