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Living in Bizarro World November 21, 2006

Filed under: Family,Teacher Gifts — katy @ 7:34 pm

That’s what it felt like today.  We had Cameron’s IEP meeting and it just went–so bizarrely.  11 of us were in attendance.  Which, of course, included the principal and sped teacher from the class we visited on Friday.  I couldn’t even write about that.  It was just so disturbing.  Lovely teacher–great strategies.  However, it was a multi-aged class–Cameron would be the only 3rd grader with other 4th and 5th graders who ranged from mentally retarded to ADHD.  Cameron is not a behavioral kid.  He’s really a doll–and I am not just saying that ’cause I am his mom.  It wasn’t even remotely appropriate.  And, of course, the district refused to let us tour the integrated program.  I did tour a private school last week but at just over $11K–I am not sure we can swing that. 

At this time, Cameron is staying at his current placement and they have increased his speech to 5 times a week.  They say he has a severe communication disorder.  I don’t see it.  Really, I don’t.  Yea, he didn’t get "Button your lip" on his IQ test but who says that in this day and age.  And on his auditory processing test he couldn’t answer "A ball bounces because it…"  Even I had to ask.  The speech teacher says because it is round and it has air.  Well, the mirror on my wall is round and it won’t bounce.  A football isn’t round but it will bounce.  Maybe I am just too literal.  The only explanation they could come up with for why he scores so low on these tests is he must be brain damaged.  Or neurologically impaired.  HUH?  We were going in asking for an independent evaluation but the meeting just turned so bizzaro that we were dumbfounded. 

The reading teacher has been very encouraging.  She is a reading specialist with a real vested interest in beating odds.  It is nice to have her on Cameron’s side.  And his resource room teacher continues to find new tricks.  I am tired of fighting but grateful to have Kevin beside me.  It was our 13th wedding anniversary on Monday.  Despite the hardships, we love each other deeply and strongly.  And continue to rely on each other to make it through the challenges.  And always with a bit of laughter. 

The cast party went really well.  The kids were so well-behaved.  No complaints except they didn’t eat enough pizza! 

Knitting…work on the Shetland Triangle Shawl continues.  I am nearly ready to add my second ball of Naturespun.  Christmas gifts have begun for the teachers.  I am working on washcloths and Fetching mitts.  I plan to make a scarf of some sorts for the principal.  Seaman, maybe?

I will try to add some pics later…Thanks for listening and always the support and wisdom.


23 Responses to “Living in Bizarro World”

  1. Starfish` Says:

    I have no words of wisdom on kids, but I would just say, never give up and never settle. Keep pushing them until you get what you want. I’m sorry it was so bizarre, I don’t get people sometimes.

  2. Mary Beth Says:

    I am sitting in those meetings these days on the other side of the desk, and I find most of them to be bizarre. It always seems like they take their own direction and stuff comes up out of the blue – never what you expect to happen.

    So glad you and Kevin are working as a team – that is the best thing you can do for Cameron!

  3. Lorette Says:

    I have no words of wisdom on this one either, having neither kids nor expertise in this area. You’re a strong woman, though, and obviously you love your children intensely, and know them better than anyone else. That makes you their best advocate in the world. Hang in there, and don’t quit pushing for what is right.

  4. Chris Says:

    Our support is easy, we just type and hit post. Your end is the hard part. I pray for you the strength to keep finding the laughter and the love. Not that it takes strength to love, but sometimes to continue to fight for the love.

  5. Vicki Says:

    I admire you, Katy. Hang in there.

  6. jody Says:

    Hang in there. It sounds like you’ve got a good balanced view — and trying to focus on what is working.

    Even though it’s a tough time, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving — full of family, love…and lots of great food 🙂

  7. Kim Says:

    They refused to let you tour the integrated program? They’re not making much of an effort, are they? Katy, I’m so sorry your wonderful family is going through this. Thank goodness Owen has you and Kevin as his strong (and smart) advocates. Keep fighting the good fight, honey.

    Happy belated anniversary, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Nancy Says:

    I’m feeling like I’m in bizarro world too. My son who is “lost and can’t function” in his current classroom came home and counted to 50 by twos. He then preceded to take some blocks and showed me how to count in groups of two. What the hell are they not seeing that we do? I think they perceive the kids one way and they can never break out of that box. So we have to keep fighting them so our kids don’t have to spend their entire school careers in the teacher’s damn box…

  9. marti Says:

    i totally understand your frustrations about the school system. my daughter tends to dance to her inner muse, is in the ordinary sense organizationally challenged, and is bright as a whip if all of her learning were to be auditory/oral. but she just doesn’t get standardized tests. we are screwed. sigh.

  10. sprite Says:

    I have a colleague who’s been fighting for several years to get the D.C. school system to provide appropriate placements for her son who suffers from dyslexia. (The school system acts as if he has some rare disorder that no one knows how to treat.) Her son is now in 4th grade and he still can’t read, but he is the sweetest boy and has big dreams of what he’s going to do once he does learn.

    It sucks when the school administration gets in the way of giving good, eager kids the help they need and deserve in order to grow.

    Good luck to your family and to Cam. I hope you find the right path for you all. And congratulations to you for being the tenacious fighter and advocate that you are.

  11. Norma Says:

    Ugh, I will write you an email. It’ll come thru my old AOL address, because Gmail is down.

    But suffice it to say….BIZARRO is right. There is a wonderful educational resource up here whose motto is, “All great minds DON’T think alike.” We had similar issues with Abigail getting things on tests marked “wrong,” when if you asked her to explain her answer, it pointed out strongly that the question was hugely ambiguous, and her answer wasn’t wrong at all – just DIFFERENT.

  12. Norma Says:

    Oh, crud. I see your email address is a gmail address, too. I’ll wait to write to you after it’s back up. XOXOXO

  13. Kris Says:

    Sorry things went so bad but I am glad that you avoided the really inappropriate placement for Cam. I know you’re tired but keep fighting. The school district is counting on you getting tired, discouraged and giving up. Prove ’em wrong.

    Ask for the independent eval. Ask in writing. Any chance of using the district’s placement idea against them as proof that they don’t have an appropriate placement and therefore they need to pay for the private school?

    Stay strong! I know you can do this.

  14. Orli Says:

    the multi-aged class you described sounds like something they placed my youngest brother Aviad in. he had LD’s…, after a year the school realized this was wrong, it wasn’t benifiting anyone, the bad violent kids were sent to special schools, kids like my brother were kept down a year an intigrated in a regular class with extra help from privte teachers…that’s more expense but it’s not like sending to a privte school. Turns out Aviad isn’t an academic type, but he’s doing okay, he’s working as a sales person in a computer shop and he can fix computers also. His LD’s are mainly in spelling. I hope things work out for Cam. I’m astounded by how some teachers describe children.

  15. Sara Says:

    Ugh – as you say, sometimes the ongoing “battle” just gets tiring. Keep at it – WTF is UP with not considering the inclusion program??? It’s more or less mandated unless there’s a strong reason NOT to do it – usually coming from parents or from serious behavioral/disruptive issues. Shoot me an email if you ever want to bounce some ideas off of someone – Toby’s special ed “stuff” is quite different but you never know.

    Happy Thanksgiving – ignore the worries for the day if you can and focus on Cameron’s unique perfection 😉 B/c he is perfect…

  16. Kathleen Says:

    If you do not agree with their findings, ask for an independent evaluation – it is your right and it sounds like the right thing to do! Do you have a special education advocate to attend these meetings with you or give you advice? We have a LDA (Learning Disabilities Association) here in Calvert County that will send a special education/IEP specialist to these meetings with you – to advocate on your behalf. I highly recommend them. I would have like to have known about them when my son was younger. By the time we found them, he was in high school and really floundering. I wish you the best in getting this all figured out for your son.

  17. Orli Says:

    I could have sore I commented…why do my computers never corporate.
    I’ll have to post again when my head is clearer…chest cold

  18. Sheila Says:

    My daughter was tested for learning diabilities in 7th grade. When the results were in, I was told “something” was wrong. She tested at grade level for all the academic but was a College freshman for the Arts. This had to be wrong. She knew what origami was…duh! We went to NYC every Christmas to see the Origami tree in the window of a Japanese owned bank. She is 30 now and works in the Arts field. Not all tests are accurate. Keep advocating for your child!

  19. Peeve Says:

    “Button your lip”?? It’s really not a current phrase, is it?

  20. fleur Says:

    Don’t desperate about the people trying to put you on small boxes. I had the same kind of issue with my twins who didn’t “pass” the medical exam last friday (3 years, and not very talkative…). These awful people want everybody to be the same. I hate them, bad, machine people. (from France)

  21. DivaKnitter Says:

    Your blog caught my eye above all the others because I am about to go to an IEP meeting for my son in about an hour and a half! It’s really nice to find a fellow blogger with the same interest (KNITTING!!) and dealing with similar issues in their personal life. My two oldest sons have Autism and are currently in the process of being tested. It’s just proceedural for us because I’ve worked with Autism a lot and already am sure they have it. Anyway, I can relate with being frustrated when it comes to the school. Even with the awesome school district and team that we work with, there are still things that I have to push as a parent. I don’t agree at all that they wouldn’t let you tour the integrated program. That just screams “bad” to me. Make sure you know your legal rights, they should have copies for you, ask for one if they haven’t offered. And in our district, I’ve known a lot of parents who all they had to do was mention that they would talk to their lawyer about something(not necessarily about suing them, probably just about finding out your legal rights) and then the school jumped and did whatever they want. I personally haven’t used that tactic, but I have it ready if I run into a brick wall with them. Even though I have no intention of suing anyone 🙂 Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog some more! I blog about my sons and my experience with Special Ed also, so feel free to check my posts out. Good luck!!

  22. Boudica Says:

    Boy schools today have really perfected the art of edu-babble. It seems they just don’t have the patience to deal with real children and their educational needs, so instead they are really expert at making parents feel crazy. I love your assessment of some of the test questions. What the hey? Don’t let em get ya down Katy – you’re observations are much more valid than theirs.

  23. Kathy Says:

    Hey there. I am hoping that you are doing okay. I know that you know this, but you remain your kids best advocate. That said, it’s not easy. Thinking of you and wishing you a happy belated anniversary.

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