Friday, May 02, 2003

Do I have to write a MEMO?

Work on Mothers with Attitude's new "Parent's Porfolio," as introduced last Thursday, are moving along, with more of my dusty file archives posted and an index growing. There are also plans for a message board on which parents can share shorter, occasion-specific notes to teacher and commiserate about all those silly little school bloopers that cause steam to come out of our ears.

Like this one: My son is not supposed to participate in gym. It's in his IEP. The Child Study Team agrees it's inappropriate for him at this time. At the beginning of the year, it was arranged for him to have his physical therapy during gym time, but then the PT changed her schedule and he wound up sitting on the bleachers for one of the weekly gym periods, being entertained by his one-on-one aide and the classroom aide but not participating in the activities. I had every reason to believe that everybody was on board with this plan. Except that yesterday morning, when I asked my son what he was going to be doing during his gym period that day, he said he was going to do gym with the other kids. He and the gym teacher had talked about it, and he was going to try something they were doing today. He said he wanted to, and was it okay, and far be it from me to discourage him when he wants to be included in an activity. But why the *&1%# should I be put in the position of doing that? Why should I be hearing about this from him, on the morning of? Why did nobody think this was something to mention? Or did they not mention it on purpose because this child's evil mother is trying to keep him from good healthy physical activity?

I let my blood boil off for a little bit and then calmly called the gym teacher, who not surprisingly never called me back. I thought about calling the Child Study Team leader, who had assured me often that he wouldn't do gym, wouldn't do gym, wouldn't do gym. I thought about calling the school nurse, who's agreed with me on the anti-gym edict in the past. I thought about calling the classroom teacher and yelling at her for a little bit. But instead, I did nothing, on the theory that a) I might have misinterpreted my son, since he was actually talking as his imaginary dog when he spilled the phys-ed plan beans; and b) if he did indeed participate and if it was the disaster I suspected it would be, I'd be able to use this transgression to knock heads and get sworm promises to never let it happen again.

So of course, he did participate, and everything went fine. When I picked him up and asked the classroom aide about his gym participation, she merrily told me how well he had done. And when I mentioned that, well, he's not supposed to participate in gym, she seemed genuinely surprised. While admitting that he usually doesn't participate (and why the heck would that be, does she suppose?), she was happy that he wanted to and did okay, and had no problems for the rest of the afternoon, and the whole thing was no big deal.

And so, fine, I'm happy that my guy felt like he wanted to do something, tried it, and was successful. But how is it possible for people who work directly with him not to know it's against his IEP? How is it possible for nobody to think, "We should run this by someone." How hard would it be to send me a note about it? I've made every attempt, at great personal stress, not to be a mad fire-breathing mama. Why do I have to hear about this from the bleepin' imaginary dog? Do I have to put out a weekly memo for these people spelling out everything that's supposed to happen and not supposed to happen? At least now, if I do, I'll know where to post it afterward.

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