We often hear success stories from parents. But here’s a good one from a special ed teacher that we wanted to share with you.
I am a very busy special education teacher in a private school. I attend all conferences with parents so that the district knows we are informed and won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.
Recently, I attended a meeting for one of my private students. The district had previously denied resource room services to this student, although he was receiving occupational therapy and counseling.
This mother, following my very specific instructions, had kept an excellent record of all correspondence with the district. Request for evaluation had been made in early October. The conference took place in late February, after I had called and informed them that the district was out of compliance.
Strike 1: The day of the scheduled meeting was very rainy and windy. A district representative called the mother and told her that she shouldn’t bother to come because they weren’t going to give the child services anyway. The mother called me, hysterical, and I assured her we were going to the meeting, and that the district had just gotten on my bad side. I had about an hour before the meeting, so I got out my handy IDEA handbook and did a quick read through looking for points that I might need to bring out during the conference.
Strike 2: We were kept waiting for more than an hour while the team that had been assigned to us got everything back together after believing that we weren’t coming.
Once we were called into the conference room, the team had to scrounge around to locate a parent member that was free, and took out their paperwork. I noted that the page of the IEP stating that no Resource Room intervention was being offered had already been filled out. Hmmm…I recall that the parent is supposed to have a say in things……and that brings us to strike three.
Strike 3: Reports were read, and occupational therapy and resource room services were denied. The school psychologist, trying to play “good guy”, turned to me and said that I should give him any reason….any reason at all….that this child should receive services…and he would try to help. Very calmly, I stated that just because the child performed at what they considered an adequate level when in a 1:1 situation didn’t mean that he was performing in a classroom setting. So I asked to hear the results of the classroom observation.
Side out! Everyone looked at each other as if someone was hiding the observation in his or her back pocket. It had never been done. At that point, I gather my things together and informed the team that the parent and I would be happy to return when the evaluation was complete.
Almost six weeks later, we attended another meeting with a different team. Not only did we receive resource room services, we were also given occupational therapy and counseling services as well.
Being that the district was so out of compliance, we have now requested summer make-up sessions for counseling and occupational therapy.
Thank you for teaching me to have a cool head and a perceptive ear.