Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Filling In The Form


Wow! It's the first day of the new school year, and I couldn't be happier. Everything seems to be going right. The bus showed up ON TIME this morning, and the aide on the bus actually started signing to Ashley as she approached the bus. Ashley was thrilled. There were lots of other children on the bus, and Ashley sat next to a young man in her class.

I got a text message from the teacher a little later saying that the bus arrived to school on time, and that Ashley's new aide - yes, late last Friday, an aide with proficient sign language skills was hired to be Ashley's one-on-one aide - had really clicked with Ashley.

The teacher then went on to tell me that the school district had finally been able to hire two new vision teachers, and Ashley would begin receiving services immediately. The teacher wants to schedule an IEP meeting so we can finally get Braille instruction written into the IEP.

Yes, it's looking like it could be a really good school year….IF ALL THE ABOVE WEREN'T A COMPLETE SET OF LIES!!!!

The bus, as I expected, was 30 minutes late, meaning Ashley was late arriving at school. No aide has been hired although Ashley's IEP calls for 6.75 hours of instructional assistant support from someone who is "sufficiently proficient in sign and speech so as to provide a language role model." The classroom aide is "filling in" as the assistant principal told me two weeks ago, filling in when she's not helping other children or doing other administrative work that classroom aides are required to do. When the classroom aide is not filling in, NO ONE else in the school knows sign language. Sign language is Ashley's only means of communication. That fact makes me feel all warm and fuzzy - kind of like I just ate a quart of wooly catepillars. The email I sent to the Director of Special Ed has gone unanswered, and no one has mentioned the support of a vision teacher.

So, it's actually looking like every other school year - rotten and full of battles. Today I printed out the complaint form from our state department of education, and I will be submitting at least one of those by the end of the week.

Yea, I'm really, really happy…

13 comments:

Amazing_Grace said...

Oh, how I wish I was there to help Ashley! I was a teacher for the blind and multihandicapped and know braille, sign language, Orientation and Mobility, etc. I'll keep praying that things will get better for you guys.

Ashley's Mom said...

Amazing Grace, can I help you move? Find a house? Whatever it takes to get you here to work with Ash :)

I just hate, hate, hate that we have to go through this each year.

terena said...

Argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, what more can you say?

Hang in there, Mom. You can do it.

Marla said...

Oh no! I was so hoping I was reading reality at first! I wondered though when you said the teacher texted you...I immediately thought, "You have got to be kidding me! Where do people find these incredible schools?!" Then, once I read on I thought....ha! Then, of course I felt sad for you and Ashley. How totally frustrating. Signing should be taught to more people while they are in high school. I learned it then and still retain a lot of it. In Iowa it was counted as a foreign language credit. In Indiana it was not even offered. Argh.

I so hope the year gets better but it does sound like the struggle is just starting. I have feeling mine is just beginning as well.

I am so glad Ashley loves the body sox. I was worried it would feel different from her t-shirts and she might not like it. Wonderful!

Amazing_Grace said...

I'll help you all I can. Just let me know what I can do. :)

I remember going through it year after year with my son. I never thought they would get it right. Anyhoooooooo, I therefore have to do everything, write the IEP, give the Training Meeting before school starts, etc. The list goes on and on, but it is done right and he's a senior now and has been on the honor roll since 6th grade. :)

little.birdy said...

The fact that your school system thinks that this situation is acceptable is disgusting. Sending up a prayer that Ashley gets the language support that she needs and deserves...

loonyhiker said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I am a special education teacher and this is so wrong on many levels. I do not understand why a school feels it is alright to lie to parents. There is absolutely no excuse for this. If you do not get an answer from the director of SpEd, I suggest you email the superintendent, and your school board member. Also, please contact Protection and Advocacy who might help you.

Ashley's Mom said...

Amazing_Grace, do you ever do any consultative work? I don't believe you are that far from me (you're in Maryland, correct?).

LoonyHiker, I have gone as high as the sped director, but she has not responded to me. The superintendent may be my next stop, but I also like the idea of the school board member. I am already working with my Protection and Advocacy group. In fact, they helped me win a due process over ESY several years ago. I'm expecting a call from them today on this new issue.

p.s. I LOVE your education site, and will be including it in my list of favorites.

loonyhiker said...

I know that some of our parents get results when they contact school board members so it might help. The people elected them to represent you (their constituents) so make them do their job! Here are some of my posts that you might be interested in: Following Special Education Regulations – it’s not an option; it’s the law! http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/2008/02/following-special-education-regulations.html and If they would have just called back http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/2008/08/if-they-would-have-just-called-back.html. Please keep us updated on what is happening!

mommy~dearest said...

OMG- that was so mean! I was getting so excited for Ashley!

Move to Michigan- I have a degree in Sign Language and have worked with Deafblind kids before (and loved it). Then again, do you think one state could handle the both of us? ;)

kristen@nosmallthing said...

Hang in there...change only comes through those who strong enough to fight. From the short time I have "known" you, you seem more than strong enough!

CC said...

this is horrible news! I'm so, so sorry :( :( Wish I could help :(

Kristine said...

I am so sorry they are not giving your child the education she has the right to recieve. My youngest spent almost 3 years in the school's preschool program due to a severe speech delay and they were able to obtain a grant to purchase Signing Time DVDs in order to help the children learn sign language. I also purchased these dvds and am teaching my daughters sign language. I want them to be able to communicate both verbally and by use of signs.