Saturday, April 17, 2010

why can't all decisions be "paper or plastic"?

Punkin's preschool, where I also work, is inside an elementary school. Part of what made me so nervous about kindergarten was that I had a decision to make about which school I wanted him to attend. He could go to his home school, which has an appropriate program for him, or I could ask for a principal's agreement for him to stay in the same building he's in now.

Obviously the transition would be easier with him in a familiar building, and pick-ups and drop-offs would be nice because it would take all of a minute to walk down the hallway to his classroom. He's familiar with the cafeteria, the gym, the music room, the playground, and the bathrooms. He knows the nurse and has even had some exposure to some of the adults who work in the elementary wing.

But this school works on a balanced calendar, which means that the school year is slightly longer with more breaks during the year while his home school operates on a traditional calendar -- the same as his Oma. You can see where THAT is going, right?

But his home school, by all accounts I've heard, has a good program. And maybe it's a disservice to Punkin to keep him chained to me for five more years. Plus, the teacher at the building he's in now is likely leaving. So we'll have no idea who's taking over until sometime in July, whereas with his home school we would be able to foster a relationship with the teacher throughout the entire summer.

His occupational therapist would stay the same at either school, and the speech pathologists at both schools are exceptionally good. He would be able to share some expensive sensory equipment with other kids we know are going to his home school, and the regular education kindergarten teachers at both places are great.

So I decided to send him to his home school. But I still hadn't met anyone there or visited, so I felt uneasy about the whole thing. Well, Punkin's kindergarten transition meeting was the Monday we came back from Seattle. The Monday of Death. We missed the meeting, which apparently went really well. The team made plans for us to visit each other and do video modeling to help ease the process, and I started to feel better.

And then some higher-up in the district decided, no, we think he needs to stay in the building he's at now. They didn't call me -- still haven't contacted me in any way -- and I only know about this because I happen to work in the district. This happened the day before kindergarten registration.

He's still not registered for kindergarten and it makes me kinda sad; I was getting excited about it, which is exceptional progress!

So is this God's way of telling me that I need to reasses my original decision or is this God's way of telling me I need to practice my advocacy skills?


Umma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Umma said...

Oops, tried to fix a typo and lost the whole thing. I didn't know you couldn't copy and paste :-)

What I said's advocacy time. You'd thought about the positives in each situation and had made a choice that wasn't necessarily the "easiest" (limited changes) or the "safest" (keeping him near you) and you were feeling good about it. That tells me it was the right choice.

When we were in a similar situation regarding a therapeutic approach our advocate told us to ask for a meeting with the team and whoever made the change. Outline all the reasons why you made the choice you had and tell them you'd be willing to agree to the different plan IF they can convince you that their reasoning is better than yours. And best of luck to them on that ;-)

Kristiem10 said...

I agree. It's advocacy time. THye can't just up and decide to make a change without getting the whole IEP team's consent. And I'd make a formal request to reconvene to discuss this *possible* change to his placement.

Umma's advice is excellent. You don't have to do it just because they try to make it seem like you do.

Holly's mom said...

I agree this is a perfect opportunity to practice your advocacy skills, he will do great at the other school, and they can't just change things on you without you and the team being part of the process, so push back and get what you want or have them convince you why something else is better.

Punkin's Oma said...

I'm glad you have made your decision. Hays will be a good place for him.