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Monday, December 24, 2007

Chapter 7 : Leaving the School System Part 1

The Lost FilesPrologue
What a Difference A Year Makes Part 1
Chapter 1: What a Difference A Year Makes Part 2
Chapter 2: Background Influences
Chapter 3: What Am I doing? Part 1
Chapter 3: What Am I doing? Part 2
Chapter 4: Best Laid Plans.... Part 1
Chapter 4: Best Laid Plans.... Part 2
Chapter 5: Socialization? Part 1
Chapter 5: Socialization? Part 2
Chapter 6 : I thought I already knew my children! Part 1
Chapter 6 : I thought I already knew my children! Part 2
Chapter 7 : Leaving the School System Part 1

Perhaps I should not have informed the teachers I planned to pull my children out of school so early in the game. I believe it did more harm than good considering the steps one teacher took to keep my child in the system. This caused a lot of frustration on both my part and the teacher’s.

I was at a conference with my daughter’s teacher when she really got under my skin. She hinted strongly that my daughter needed to be tested for ADHD and medicated. She talked about how she ignored her own son’s problems until it was too late, and how she did not want the same thing to happen to my daughter. She was a sweet woman really, and prefaced every single word with "bless her heeaaaart" when referring to my daughter. Finally she sighed and said; "I don’t know how she will be admitted into second grade without medication." "Fine", I said, "then we’ll homeschool her". This was the end of peace at the school for the remainder of the school year.

Later I received a letter stating there would be a meeting at the school to discuss my daughter. A time had been set without consulting me, and I was livid. I did not agree at this point so late in the year that any intervention was necessary. My daughter was passing 1st grade in spite of behavioral problems, and would not be returning next year. I happened to know my daughters principal so I sent her a note explaining my concerns. My husband went to school the following day to have lunch with our daughter. He ran into her principal, who we happen to know from our previous church. From what he understands after talking with her briefly, is they went ahead and had the "meeting" about our daughter anyway, although we requested it be moved to a time when we could attend. What she directly told my husband was she had received my note, and it seems like I am concerned and upset (understatement) and I should not worry. She did not feel Jordan was a problem. The teacher also missed the meeting because she was tending to a sick
child at home.

I felt a bit relieved by the fact that the principal did not feel she had an ADD problem. The psychologist, and counselor, saw no problems as well, but as a parent, I would have liked to be included in this "meeting". I have to also wonder, if she, the Principal, did not know us and had not actually spent time with us and Jordan, would she have agreed with the teachers’ diagnosis. It had to be difficult to evaluate a child if you only know one aspect of them, like classroom behavior only.

Once we had made it clear we intended to homeschool Jordan the next year and were not
going to let the school test her for learning disabilities, my daughters speech impediment suddenly became a huge issue. I received a call from her teacher informing me that she as this speech impediment, as if I had not picked up on it myself. She went on to inform me that even though she knew I would be homeschooling, I could receive "free" speech therapy from the school next year if I allowed her to get screened now.

At this point, I did not want anything else to do with public schools, but on the other hand her mispronunciation of everything "R" is getting past the cute stage. I informed my husband about the testing and he insisted we give permission. I did as he requested, but in the back of my mind, I had to wonder if this is not the schools ploy to hold onto the stipend they receive for each student who attends the public school,(even if this is a very part time capacity). In addition, I had learned they could use this therapy to gain control over my daughter’s education. I am not normally paranoid about anything, but I have heard some scary stories about the truant officer, the state prosecutors and homeschoolers.

After giving permission to meet for the tests, I had second thoughts and I wrote another letter to the teacher, principal, and therapist voicing my concerns about having a label attached to my daughter. I show up for the "meeting" to talk about speech therapy testing, only to run into the teacher in the hall after it was over (No one in the office could direct me to the meeting location). I was visibly aggravated. The teacher ran to get the "speech therapist" and they ask me to sign a couple of papers for allowing hearing, vision, and speech evaluation. I signed them and noticed they are thanking me and backing away without giving me a copy.

I demanded a copy of the papers. The therapist then signed and dated them and gave me the pink copy. She then said I could email her if I have any questions. I was ever so suspicious. Upon closer examination of the papers (in my car), I noticed that one of the forms was the exact same form I refused to sign for ADD testing. The only difference is that the words hearing, vision and language/speech skills were circled. This was the exact same form and did not read as if there was a multiple choice, pick the intervention type thing. It read that this is an evaluation for ADD. WHO DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE? I fumed.

I emailed the teacher and therapist to let them know that I did not agree with the language of the consent form. They both sent me email stating that it was my decision to have her tested and that I could change my mind if I liked and that they would put my emails with my concerns in my folder. They both expressed that diagnosing her with a speech impediment would not give her a Special Ed label, but it would get her a therapist. I finally agreed to have the speech, hearing, and sight tests done, but I kept asking myself why we needed a free speech therapist when I can afford to hire one myself. In addition, just as if I could teach her myself why could I not train her to pronounce the letter "R"? Not wanting to seem like a paranoid parent, (and to hide the possibility I could be overreacting) I went along with the screening, but stayed present during the tests. The speech and hearing tests went as expected. She had no problems with either. As for the speech test, which I also stayed in the room for, the therapist tested my daughter on speech, concentrating on her problem words and then went on the test her on ability to follow instructions and other things that did not seem involved with a speech impediment. I stayed silent until my daughter left the room to return to her class. I then asked the therapist why she evaluated Jordan for anything other that speech. The therapist assured
me that it was just a part of the test, and according to her job instructions, she had to do the entire battery. She also informed me that though Jordan had a problem pronouncing "R’s" that the test showed that she was advanced in the other areas of the test. I then signed some papers stating I was not interested in using a school therapist even though my child’s "disorder" allowed me to use school services as a homeschooler. Signing those papers closed that chapter for us. (I would not have known I could refuse public school assistance had a veteran homeschooler not informed me.)

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1 comment:

fawn said...

My son gets the speech therapy. BLAH! I really don't notice much difference.

What I do notice is his written work had misspelled words. It corresponds with the way he mispronounces words. His speech teacher does not see most of his regular work.

So, Besides finding words like rub, roll, rock, radio to have him repeat often. I can show him how his wrong words are spelled and really pronounced. Like correcting anyone who says pacific instead if specific. The repeating words over and over is his speach teachers recommendation for home practice.

So, For twice a week, I have to stop home school and work his therapy into everyone else's homeschool day.

I don't think it is worth it. I think he will get more out of my catching his misspellings and teaching them. Though he passed all hearing tests I think somewhere his speech is messed up in what he thinks he hears others say. Not just the shaping of his mouth to form the words.

Plus, The school system used the scare tactic to keep me from withdrawing him when I saw no improvement.