We won’t help

I finally had the meeting.  The meeting that was cancelled because of Polar Vortex #2.  The meeting that I thought would start us down the road of getting #3 individualized help.

That wasn’t the meeting that happened.

I was told he isn’t far enough behind yet. We won’t test him.

I countered with:

He hasn’t made progress.

He is far behind when you look at where he should be.

He gets further behind each day.

He is far behind if you look at his intellect.

He’s had a ton of interventions and he is still just creeping along with progress.  The interventions need to be more intense.

I was told again and again….he’s not far enough behind the rest of his peers yet.  He is behind, but not far enough.

The teacher sat there and said how he is reading at a level of a kindergartener and hasn’t made progress this year which is very concerning.  He does not know the sight words automatically.  And he knows less sight words now than he did in the fall.  Yet, he isn’t far enough behind yet.  They won’t test him.

What about writing? He can barely write his letters.

What I heard was……We won’t help.  I know this is not what they said, they told me about what the classroom teacher will do, and how the special ed. teacher can answer her questions, but this is how I feel.  We won’t help. Over and over they said he isn’t far enough behind his peers yet.  On a standardized test for the district curriculum he is not enough standard deviations behind the rest of his peers.

I sat in an office with the principal, an LD teacher, a school psychologist, the classroom teacher, and a student teacher (who I probably completely freaked out) with tears streaming down my face saying “I’ve been down this road.  I’ve already had two children fail.  I want this time to be different.  Please help this be different.  If we all work together, imagine the difference we can make. There are so many children that need help.  Let’s start here. Let’s make a difference and help him sooner rather than later.”

I was met with stone faces by everyone except the classroom teacher, who was also tearing up by this point……we won’t help.  Perhaps their stone faces were because they were following orders from people higher up.  Perhaps district office has tied their hands.  I don’t know.  My takeaway was we won’t help.

“We can’t help you because of the laws in this state.  We must follow the laws.  Perhaps you should put your energy into changing the laws surrounding this topic.”

This was their solution to the problem.  Oh yes….that sounds simple.

“Why do you want him labeled?” they ask.

I said, “I don’t want him labeled.  He is labeled.  This is the reality.  He is dyslexic.  I want him to have help for that.”

The LD teacher says, “I can’t label him dyslexic.  That’s a medical diagnosis.”

Oh, don’t get me started.  Honestly.  My head was exploding.  My insides were churning. That was a discussion for another day.

To say I’m devastated is an understatement.  Where can I go to get my children the help they deserve? I want them to read.  I want them to write.  I want them to feel successful in school….and not dread anything that requires them to write a sentence or read a paragraph.  I want them to live up to their potential academically.  I want them to not have their self-esteem crushed.

“Here is some information on why you shouldn’t label a child or test them before the age of 8.” the LD teacher tells me.

This is when my adrenaline kicked in.  Fight or flight…..I chose fight.  I couldn’t hold back any longer.  I stared into her eyes and said, “That piece of paper is crap.  Research does not support that anymore.  How dare you tell me that catching my child’s dyslexia early and fighting for him to get services is not what he needs.  I know what he needs.  I’m his mother.  I’ve been down this road 2 times already, and I refuse to watch one more child fail.  I will not do it again.  I’ve pulled 2 kids from schools where they weren’t getting help.  I’ve worked very hard to put them back together.  I WILL NOT DO THAT AGAIN!  This time I want my child to get help before he falls apart.  Before the anxiety.  Before the low self-esteem.  Before they hate school. I honestly can not understand why you believe its OK to not teach him with the methods he needs in order to learn how to read. I do not understand why my children get punished because they are smart enough to not completely fall apart academically.  I do not understand why I am being asked YET AGAIN to sit back and watch my child make very little progress while I watch the rest of his peers learn how to read with relative ease.  I have a diagnoses.  I have paperwork saying he needs intensive and individualized help.  I do not understand why we can’t work together and get him the help he needs.”

And then I started to cry uncontrollably, put my jacket on, and shoved the papers in my purse that told me why they won’t test him.

Meeting over.

My heart is broken.

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Another lost day

We’ve been vortex’d…..again.  And, looking at the weather forecast for Minnesota, there is more bitter cold on the way for next week.

While many people are cheering because there is no school today, I am filled with anxiety and sadness.  Today was the day I was going to sign the paperwork to allow #3 to get tested by his school.  I’ve been asking for action since September (actually, I’ve been asking for attention since September of his kindergarten year), paid a large sum of money to a private tester, had meetings, phone calls, e-mails, written a letter, more phone calls, supplied the classroom teacher with information about dyslexia, had other conversations…..and finally I had broken through.  I’ve been asking for a team to sit down and discuss #3 since December.  And now, near the end of January, I was finally given the opportunity to share my opinions and sign a paper that brings all this to the next step, getting #3 closer to the education he deserves.

And now….it’s cancelled.  The process has frozen.

Perhaps it will be rescheduled for next week.  Maybe the week after.  The entire time I hear the clock….tick, tock, tick, tock….and see time wasting away.

1st grade is half over.  #3 has made very little progress.  He doesn’t have weeks, days, or even hours to waste at this point.  I see the other kids in his class making progress, while he stays at the same exact level he was at in kindergarten.  The gap becomes bigger by the day.  Education matters.  School matters.

I can see the future.  I’ve been here before.

He will be tested…eventually.  Results will be questioned.  There will be more meetings….but after spring break.  There will be a lot of head scratching.  I will have a lot of tears.  At some point its the end of April and I’m told, “Maybe we should just put something really minimal in place and figure it out next year.”  Summer school will be suggested….because if the approach didn’t work for 9 months, let’s try it for 2 more!  That sounds logical.  At this point I will lay my head down on the table and ask someone to wake me up when its all over.

How many other children are out there needing school to be in session?

How many other parents are filled with dread because of the lost days?

Time for me to focus on things I actually have some control over.

 Today #3 will weave potholders,

build with legos,

and perhaps make cookies.

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And pray for warmer weather.