Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Little Wars

My blogbattical is still in place, but I thought I would drop in this post.

The Girl...

On February 25th we had our first IEP meeting regarding her transition from Early Intervention to the school district. Some of you may recall the battle fought to get the district to step up and take her in. The little visit to Palo Alto in January for substantive clinical diagnosis, though costly, forced the district to see the errors of its ways and grant the Girl an IEP.

We (my wife and I) have been told by friends within the program that the district has a term for parents such as ourselves: "high profile". Essentially we're informed, know the law, prepared, fiercely advocating, and not easily dismissed. There are probably less polite terms they use to describe us.

At the IEP, the plan was laid out for the services the district would provide for the Girl. Most prominently was Speech Therapy twice a week. The district asked that they be permitted to do further assessment to determine her needs for Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. As the district does not have a physical therapist on staff (physical therapy is rarely granted due to the difficulty in justifying it "educationally), they agreed to contract with a private PT for the assessment. They have 60 days to do the assessments and adjust her IEP according to the results.

All in all we were tentativly pleased with the services offered and the general outcome of the meeting. We were told later by several people in attendance that it was unlike any other IEP meeting they had ever been to. When I asked why, they laughed and said, "because you got so much." Evidently the district tends to run roughshod over a lot of parents who, perhaps less informed, less fierce, lack the means to dedicate one parent to exclusively fight the dragons, or in some cases having poor english-speaking skills, are left to accept much less than their child needs.

The OT assessment took place the following week and the district's OT agreed with the Palo Alto assessment that the Girl would need at least on session of therapy per week. The district was to get in touch with us once the PT assessment was scheduled.

Weeks passed - 6 weeks to be exact - and no word. In a desire to keep from coming across as genuine pains in the ass we waited for the call rather than harping, but after 6 weeks I dialed them up. "You haven't heard from the therapist yet," they asked incredulously, "We faxed them the request. We'll look into it."

We heard back from them with an appointment scheduled and an apology - the district had just forgotten to make the request. They also added that they doubted the assessment would justify therapy.

Last week we (the Girl and I) toddled off to the private physical therapist to see what she thought. I stayed relatively quiet, only answering her questions regarding the Girl's history, in the desire to get an unbiased opinion. Tough luck for the district - the therapist said she felt two sessions of therapy a week were absolutely needed if the Girl were to have any hope in succeeding in occupational therapy or to be safe in a school (the therapist mentioned the simple liability aspect if the district denied her therapy and she got injured at school).

So there you have it. ST, OT, and now PT - the district has little choice but to provide the Girl with what we requested.

The speech has been going on for 8 weeks now and we have seen a little progress. Certain sounds are now being made (not necessarily well or consistently) that weren't there before and we can hear her throughout the day trying to make them as she speaks. Cheer the little things.

Her shins are a roadmap of bruises, new and old, from falls 3 or 4 times a day. Her elbows and arms also show the details of her disasters. She goes down, cries, gets up, moves on. It's suprising how it is such an accepted part of our days now.

We have no doubts that the wars regarding her and the district have just begun or that the services provided will remedy her in anything approaching an expedient manner, but we are on the road now, have our cannons loaded, and have finished our basic training.

Game on.


Blaize said...

She is lucky to have you two to fight for her. Though the fact that it IS a fight is really awful.

arlopop said...

thanks Blaize

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Way to go, HP dad!