Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Read My Hands
At the start of the second week of school this school year, I filed a complaint with my state department of education alleging that my school district was not providing the sign language support listed in Ashley’s IEP. Letters flew back and forth between the school district, me and the state department, and the result? The school district was found to be in noncompliance. In other words, they agreed with me.
So, the state department of education directed all parties to have a meeting, play nicely, and talk about compensatory services for the times that appropriate services were not delivered. The school district interpreted that to mean compensatory services only up until the complaint was originally filed – which to them meant 4 hours.
Of course, since that time, the school district has failed to provide the services for at least three hours each week, and just two weeks ago, they missed a week and a half total.
The school district contends that they have provided the services because the classroom assistant, who is a fluent signer, has been assigned to assist Ashley. My concerns arise when that person is not available (those times I listed above). The school district says they continue to provide the support even then. Obviously we disagree.
So where does this leave Ashley and her IEP? Well, Ashley’s teacher says she can communicate sufficiently with Ashley through verbal means. Ashley is profoundly deaf in her right ear and has a severe loss in her left. I believe the teacher is mistaken.
The substitute aides the school system says they provide (which I’m not sure is always the case), know little or no sign language – maybe signs like yes, no, help, hurt, if that, but definitely not enough to ensure Ashley receives appropriate academic instruction.
So here we are almost half way through the school year, and Ashley has not received the services listed in her IEP the entire time. My next plan of action includes asking for the sign language qualifications of the teacher and the substitute aides and filing another complaint with the state department of education. That will probably waste most of the rest of this school year. Ultimately, I believe we are headed for due process again.
It really, really does not have to be this difficult.