Monday, September 11, 2000

Leave her alone

Every day, on the e-mail lists I belong to for parents of kids with challenges of one sort or another, I read about struggles to get children more services. Battles with child-study teams, hotly contested IEPs, near fistfights with teachers or principals, tireless efforts to make sure what’s promised is what’s delivered.

Which makes me kind of embarrassed to be fighting to get my daughter fewer services.

Well, it’s not really fighting, yet. It’s sort of specifically not fighting. Our old child study team appears to have bungled my kids’ transition to their new school by not delivering their IEPs on a timely basis, so nobody knows what support my daughter is supposed to be getting in her mainstream class. Nobody knows how strongly the old child study team felt about her having an instructional aide to hold her hand. Nobody knows how they thought she would be destroyed to be left in a cold cruel class all by her little sweet self. And I’m not going to be the one to tell them.

Probably I should be screaming bloody murder because she’s not getting something that’s spelled out in her IEP. But frankly, I’m delighted. I’ve always wanted her to go it alone. She’s never been given the chance. So I’m taking this small document-less gap to let everyone know that we’d rather work with her furiuosly at home to help her keep up than have her shadowed by an ever-helpful grownup in the classroom. She’s been so proud these first few days to have done well without an aide. Why not let her keep doing so, even if it means we have to paddle like crazy below the surface?

So far, the teacher thinks she’s doing fine, the child study team is clueless, and the one resource-room person who did call me seemed amenable to doing less. Goodness knows, the school does less when it suits their purposes; why can’t they do it when it suits a parent’s? This week, the dreaded document should finally arrive, and then we’ll see whether the new child study team listens to me or sticks with the opinions of their colleagues. If so, I’ll have to fight for our right to get nothing.

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