Wednesday, October 16, 2013

31 for 21: The dreaded re-eval

The school psychologist called me on Monday to let me know that they want to split Ella's IEP meeting up into 2 meetings.  The first to discuss her re-evaluation results and get a game plan as to what her services will look like based on these findings. The second to do the actual IEP.

For those who don't know, or those whose school districts may be different, our children in this school district get re-evaluated every 3 years. Technically. Unless you fight with the preschool to hold your kid back a year, that moved our re-eval up to 2 years. This year Ella's eval is due in May, I think, and because her IEP is due November 14th they asked if they could just do it now. Makes sense.

Anyhow, the school psych called on Monday and told me they had scheduled the meetings for Nov 7th and Nov 12th. There is one big problem, Chris (my husband) will be out of town on the 7th. In years past I have always done all of Ella's meetings by myself, except for the one when we plead our case for Ella to stay in preschool an extra year. But this year is different. First grade is when the intergrated classroom setting, which has been perfect for Ella, ends.  The school had plans for Ella that included a whole lot of time in the extended resource room, (think self-contained because that's how it felt) and lunch and "extras" (music, library and PE) with the gen ed classroom. That was simply not going to work for us. Very long, nerve wracking story short we currently have Ella in about 50% gen ed and 50% special ed. It seems to be working. I cannot, however, shake the feeling that the results of these evaluations are going to be used to pull Ella out of gen ed time.

I should note that even when Chris did attend a meeting he was basically silent. He didn't really know what to say. He didn't know what the laws are, and didn't know really the day to day involvement of therapies and special ed teachers etc. Well, we all went to the Down syndrome conference in Denver this past summer and apparently that really opened his eyes! It's been great and so nice for me to have a partner (other parent) in this that has the same long term goals for Ella that I do and is now very vocal about it. Love it.

So, I told the school psych that I wasn't really comfortable with that first meeting because Chris will be out of town.  She said that it's just to discuss the evaluation results and how they effect Ella's services.  The school psych is VERY sweet, and really seems to be on our side, if you will, but she doesn't get it. I don't think any of them do, and really couldn't unless they are the parent of a child with a disability. I explained to her that this meeting will SUCK for me. It is not pleasant to sit and listen to a speech therapist tell you that your child speaks like a child several years younger, the physical therapist tell you in all the ways that your child is physically weak, the occupational therapist to tell you that fine motor tasks are hard for your kid and that she needs a lot of work to help her write, heck that she can't even button her own pants of zip her own coat, and then you get to listen to a couple of different people tell you how far behind your child is cognitively. That one is the worst.  It is once again brought up to the surface that no matter how hard your little girl works she will NEVER catch up to her peers. I have been listening to these things for 7 years now. It will NEVER be easy to hear. Ever. It will devastate me every single time, without fail. I will cry. I can't help it.  They will all tell me that Ella is doing great and that she works so hard, and yet that doesn't change the outcome.  The school psych told me she will hold my hand. I had to laugh a little. It's just not the same. They just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

They really don't get it. And you are right, until you have been the parent in that situation, you can't get it. Even when you know what is coming, and you have seen the results, it hurts to hear it. And to hear it over and over again. I certainly don't have any answers but I have cried in the meetings just like you. A hand to hold is wonderful but it needs to be the hand you want to hold!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! My big sister, who has Down's Syndrome, graduated from a public high school with a modified diploma. My parents had to keep trying different thing to find situations that worked (special ed, private school, homeschool...), and sometimes it changed from year to year. She spent most of her schooling in general ed settings. So really hang in there, and keep fighting. You guys will figure something out for your sweet Ella.

Cate said...

oh, it's "just" to go over the results? effe that. make them reschedule. You would think the school PSYCHOLOGIST would be a little more sensitive - it sounds like she's totally dismissing your concern! I feel like when we both go to meetings, Scott hears things I don't and vice versa. It's totally worth it. Ugh. I'm so sorry. like it's not hard enough, they have to pull this crap on top of it??