Saturday, September 20, 2008

TGIW (Thank God It's the Weekend!)

Sorry I haven't updated as to the outcome of my meeting, etc. In the midst of all the chaos and drama, I also came down with something which has contributed to wiping me out completely. I am sure that my immune system was completely shot with the stress, etc. By yesterday, my left ear was completely blocked - how annoying is that?!?! I could barely hear all day, and when I spoke, I could hear myself echoing. Thank God that was gone when I woke up this morning!

So anyway - the meeting on Wednesday went well - the special ed chairwoman who chairs the meetings pretty much called the assistant principal (the one who seems to have it out for Trevor) an asshole who violated Trevor's rights by suspending him for behavior that was a direct manifestation of his IEP not being met, which it was not. Part of Trevor's IEP says that he must be involved in ongoing social skills therapy, called Life Skills. Instead, they had him in a "Behavior Disorder Language Arts" class (which is an English class), AND English - he does not need 2 English classes. There was no reason for it. They all kind of sputtered and mumbled about it, as if there was a reason - ultimately, there was not.

What's "funny" is this - technically, the school can suspend him (or any child) for up to 10 days for any reasons they want, anything at all. They don't need proof, they don't need real reasons - they can say anything they want and call it whatever they want and suspend children for up to 10 days. Anything over 10 would be against the law due to Trevor's "disability" - which is Asperger's. So basically they can suspend him for up to 4 more days and there's not much I can do about it, EVEN THOUGH his behavior is a result of his Asperger's. Nice, huh? And it's funny, because I say "his behavior" and then I read that sentence and it sounds like he has a behavior problem. He truly does not. He was tormented for so many years, and when he would go to the people who were supposed to HELP him, they'd tell him "ignore it" or "get over it" or "he's smaller than you" etc. He learned not to bother. He learned to retaliate or fight back. He learned to have his guard up and expect the worst.

So - I cried a lot during the meeting. I was sick, I was tired, and I was just a basket case. I am so stinkin' SICK of starting EVERY year off like this. Both my sister Michelle and Trevor's counselor, Fran, came with me - they both said some good things that I was thinking but just couldn't say. I was so thankful to have them with me, usually it's just me surrounded by all these people who know what they are doing and they can just be so intimidating, especially if they don't agree with you or seem to understand the underlying issues! The outcome was that Trevor can go back to school next Tuesday. Obviously, everyone is concerned about his ability to stay out of trouble especially with the assumption that this assistant principal does not like Trevor and seems to really have it out for him. They seem a little nervous because they know they violated the law by not following his IEP, and technically I could file a lawsuit. But part of the TEAM's job is to make sure that TREVOR is safe and being provided what's called a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), and that other children are also safe.

It's all so weird - like everyone was so nice, and they seem to be in agreement with me that this school doesn't seem able to provide Trevor with the educational services and social skills and support that he needs - and the Worcester Public Schools must arrange for someone who can. This means a couple of things - the chairwoman said that we will meet again next Thursday after she has a chance to review everything and talk to a few other important people and try to figure out what would be best for Trevor. She doesn't think a school with 1200 students in it is necessarily best for him. See, she was wicked nice and so understanding and I agree! And his teachers - wonderful, I love them, wish they could follow him to someplace else! The head of special ed at the school - WONDERFUL man, called Trevor "big guy" and you could just tell he loved kids. But then there's the assistant principal and others whose main roles are as disciplinarians. And Fran, the therapist, she doesn't trust ANYONE, LOL - she was shocked that the chairwoman admitted they screwed up. She said to be careful, not to be too trusting - she is afraid that they are going to try to put Trevor into some behavior disorder school - and that they mask it by calling it a school for kids with "emotional disorders." And I admit, I can be naive - I am always so freaking optimistic and hopeful, it's why I get shattered so easily, unfortunately.

So the chairwoman asked all of us involved to put our thoughts and feelings about our concerns about Trevor into writing and to please get it to her that day. I wrote a long letter about everything he's been through, all the help we have tried to seek with no results or poor results - all the doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social skills groups, - all the letters I've written and phone calls I've made. I said it makes you feel helpless. And Trevor - he's learned that you're either picked ON, or you join in with the ones who do the picking on. How could he not? I said that it's not appropriate for someone who does not even understand Asperger's to be able to judge or discipline Trevor. And I said that people who don't understand Asperger's often think he is rude or disrespectful, and this can lead to a lot of problems for him. I said that I expect Trevor to be offered a placement that is appropriate for a student with Asperger's, NOT a student who is oppositional or a behavior problem. I made it quite clear that I will not accept anything less than that if they expect to move him out of his current school - and that they had already tried putting Trevor in a classroom with kids with emotional and behavior disorders before the class he's in now (which is for kids on the autism spectrum), and he failed miserably both academically and socially.

So - now we wait. Trev's teacher gave him a paper with a bunch of questions to work on while he's home. I am fortunate enough to be able to take time out to deal with these things without getting in trouble at work. I am so appreciative of that. Jeremy started a new job yesterday - not perfect timing because he's going to be gone for weeks at a time - he's helping to build a windmill farm up on a mountain in New Hampshire (he's a union iron worker) and he will only come home on Saturday nights and leave again Monday morning, so it's going to be weird. But he needs the work, we need the money, and it's a good opportunity for him.

Today I am off to my nephew Josh's 11th birthday party, I'm looking forward to relaxing and having a good time. Tomorrow I am not leaving my house, I really need to rest so hopefully this damn cold will go away! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and just hope for the best possible outcome for Trevor - I truly only want what is best for him, whether that means he stays at the school he's at with further accomodations, or we move him into a different school (I was looking at the Perkins School in Lancaster), I just want him to be happy, to be educated to the level he is capable of (he's quite bright), and to be able to enjoy his high school years!

Thank you, my friends. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. I sure hope you wake up feeling much better and then have good news this week about what is next for trevor.

    Lots of hugs, ME