Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I.E.P.'s, 3rd Competition, and Contact with My Sister.

So very much has happened since my last blog.  I have been in constant contact with V's Day Therapy program, and the elementary school we are trying to transition her into.  Through that contact and countless meetings, I have learned a few things:

-  the charter school we were trying to get her into won't accept her until she is in 1st grade and has an I.E.P.

-  if you have a special needs child, and your school district has a "parent mentor" such as ours does, you are blessed.  Call him/her, get in touch with them, and let them help you!

-  the elementary school V will be returning to is doing their best to help her, HOWEVER, they do not have the resources to effectively help her.  Their time out room has real glass windows, and cabinets, which can pose a danger to any child throwing a temper tantrum.  They do not have any extra staff that can help assist the teachers when V is having a "moment".  They just aren't equipped to handle it.  I spoke to V's therapist at the day therapy school, and expressed my concern about this because I am certain that V isn't the only child who has had these issues since the school was built.  She told me that a lot of the time, children are pushed out on "home instruction", or just let slip through the cracks.  If you have a special needs child, don't let this happen.  Please advocate for them.  It will be a long hard road, but it will be worthwhile.

-  if you have caught these issues early enough, and you have worked hard enough to help this child, it will make everything easier.

-  day therapy schools are amazing if they are used right.  If you make the decision to put your child in one, please make certain that they will do everything within their power to transition the child back into the school district, and won't just dump them back into the river and hope they swim, so to speak.  If you live locally to me (southwestern Ohio), then please contact me and I will refer you to our day therapy school.  If you don't, I can also recommend the franchise of Behaven.  Amazing place, but you must get them enrolled young (before the age of 8).  Although V hasn't improved 100% like many children who complete these programs, she has come a long way, and for that we are so very grateful!

Now I will tell you a little bit about our I.E.P. testing.  For those not familiar with the acronym, it stands for Individualized Education Plan.  This plan is made possible by laws such as I.D.E.A.  In the state of Ohio, if you suspect that your child has a disability, then you can request in writing to your public school district that they test your child.  They have 30 days to respond to your request.  I started this process in the end of March when I e-mailed the school psych and told her that my daughter was going to struggle when she starts back, and I want her tested for an I.E.P.  I also involved our school's parent mentor.  She talked with all of the important people, and learned that they were going to deny my request.  She let me know about this last Thursday, and I was heartbroken, but I knew I tried, and I can try again once they know their interventions that they plan on putting in place didn't work.  I hate to be so negative, but given her history, I have no where else to go.

We had a meeting scheduled on Monday (4/15) with the school, and the public school behavioral specialist was going to V's day therapy school to observe her.  On Monday morning before the meeting began, the parent mentor called me and let me know that the public school had reversed their decision, and would indeed move forward with the I.E.P. testing.  I was shocked, asked her what changed their minds, and she said a lot of it had to do with the behavioral specialist observing her in the day therapy program.  I believe in my heart it had a little to do with the parent mentor helping me advocate for her.

The meeting was long.  Two and a half hours long.  At the end of it I understood  even more the gravity of V's situation, and how I need to do my best to help her.  I signed all the necessary paperwork for her testing to begin.  They school scheduled another meeting for us to discuss the testing results on 5/20 (day before the last day of school).  We will begin transitioning V into the public school district on 4/29.  She will be doing 1/2 days, with me picking her up after lunch and driving her to the therapy school that is 20 minutes from where we live/work, then driving back to work.  M will then pick her up in the afternoon like usual.  It will be a hectic few weeks for me, but if it helps her transition, and makes her life easier, it is what it is.  Although this isn't all ideal, we have the right contacts in place, we are moving in the right direction, and V is happy.  That is all I can ask for.

DQ and her dance company had their 3rd competition last weekend.  They didn't perform as well as they usually do.  I don't know if it was nerves, or if it was due to being tired, bored, hungry, etc.  But it wasn't their peak performance.  They seemed to have fun, though.  Most little girls love getting all dressed up.  This competition, like the two we have attended before it, has three levels of awards, Gold, High Gold, and Platinum.  Then they have the overall awards for the category that the children dance in.  Our girls won a High Gold for their tap number, Gold for ballet, and Gold for jazz.  They placed 9th overall for their tap number.  This competition was local, but the next one will be away, and we will be staying overnight in a hotel again.

Here are a few photos I would like to share from the competition!
At breakfast before Make-up

Tap Costume - little miss attitude!

Ballet, such grace!

Before awards, exhausted but smiling!

The kids all did the Harlem Shake and other fun songs before awards.

Last but not least point in my blog (sorry this is so long!!!)

I was sitting on a couch in the 1st floor of the convention center watching DQ and her fellow dancers warm up for the competition.  She looked so beautiful.  I was so full of pride.  Then I get a text message from my sister saying, "Hey sis, I just wanted to say I love you and miss you.  I love and miss the girls.  You don't have to respond if you don't want to.  This is my new number."  Please keep in mind, I haven't heard from her since October, maybe September. 

I sat there for a second.  Thinking about the timing of her text.  Then I simply responded, "Can you receive photos?"

In no time, my phone buzzed.  I looked at the screen to see, "Yes!"

I texted her 4-5 of the photos I had taken that day of DQ.  I take a lot competition weekend.  I want to remember every moment.  She responded saying, "she is gorgeous you have done good, how's V".

I texted her 4-5 photos of V, told her she is doing well, and I am nervous because she will be transitioning back into school soon.  Her response, "That's good i have faith you will get it worked out you smart and caring :)"  Then she said, "Sis - V looks a lot like you"

She texted me a photo of Brayden, and I told her how much he looks like Z-man.  She then thanked me for the photos and said it meant a lot to her.

This all occurred around 3:00, at 8:30 after the competition/awards were all over, and we were sitting down to dinner at Friendly's, I showed mom the exchange.  She started crying.  I don't know if it was because I had a big enough heart to share all of this with my sister, or if it was because mom hopes we can mend our fences some day.  I felt bad for making her cry, but felt like she needed to know of the exchange. 

So that is where we stand right now.  I hope to keep up with my blogs better over the next few weeks.  There will be a lot to talk about with competition, school, and all the other fun things we are doing.  Thank you all so much for your support.  I haven't enough words to express what a constant comfort you all are to me.

 Aunt TT

No comments:

Post a Comment