Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"

Monday, February 19, 2007

And That's What It's All About!

First ... I wanna complain about having to switch to the new blogger ... don't like having to switch ... their experimental journey into Beta blogger wasn't all that successful ...forcing everyone to switch ... is rather ... um ...shall we say ... hard handed? I hope they don't have as many problems with the new blogger as they did with Beta!!

Ok ...grouch over.

We had Benjamin's IEP meeting on the 9th. I think it's taken me this long to get over the shock to my system to write about it.

We fought really hard to get into this district.

We worked hard to move here ... we've been working at moving here since Benjamin was 4 years old. He's 15 now. We exhausted every means possible to get out of our mobile home (paid for, lot rent only) and still be able to afford to live ...
We tried ... over and over and over again.

In the meantime ... we fought the district we were living in ... tooth and nail ... for every service Benjamin got. We took them due process two times, mediation once ... and we fought ....and fought ...and fought ...

We fought hard to keep our son learning ...and we were told over and over again .."we don't have to do that" '
"special education doesn't provide for that"
"we don't accomodate for that"
"he doesn't qualify for that service"

We were told some outright lies ....
we were told some half truths
and we were told some white lies

we were told some shocking truths that we couldn't believe they had the GALL to actually say outloud ....

"We don't accomodate for any one individual child, we accomodate for the whole classroom"
"Our LD classrooms are overcrowded, we just pay the fines, it's easier on the school district"
I think the worst ... and most appalling ... and if I had it on tape, I'd have done something about it ... when I complained that Benjamin was failing, and there needed to be something done ...and done now... we were told
" You know, statistically, with his age, gender, learning disabilities and socioeconomic background, no one really expects anymore than the level he's performing. His grades are not going to raise any red flags with the powers that be, so there isn't anything more that we have to do." (referring to the state and federal agencies and No child left behind)
Excuse me ... because he is a junior high boy ... with learning problems and he comes from a poverty level background ... he's statistically expected to fail ...so you don't have to do anything other than let him fail because no one is going to see any red flag when he does fail?????

Well ... I saw red ... I can't remember if that was before I had a blog, or after ...if it was after, it would be posted some where on this blog.

So ... we wanted out ... and finally Habitat came along ... and we applied. Our pastor, didn't have a lot of hope for us ... physically ... it was a lot of work. There were financial requirements ...and quite frankly, he wasn't sure we could meet them. So, while he sadly agreed it was worth applying, he didn't think we could do it. So ... we applied. We, much to everyone's surprise, were accepted ...we barely fit the bottom of the financial qualifications .... we weren't sure about the physical labor ... we'd only have the shot ... we'd have to do our best and see ... our sons education was at stake ...

so ..for 3 years ...we fought ...unfortunately ...some of the fight with the school was going on while some of the fight with Habitat was going on ....

Finally ... we got the house. We moved in ...and after 2 months, I had the nerve to put my son in the school district that we fought so hard to move into.

It took them 3 days to decide what took the former district 4 years to decide. He needs help. It did not take a court order to give that help.

They had originally decided to carry on the former IEP ... until they read it ... they had to re write it because of class time ...then realized ... it wasn't adequate anyway ...so it got re written all together. They kept apologizing to me for having to carry on the behavior plan. I knew he'd had one ... I'd not seen the last one he'd had ...they'd done it without me there ... I couldnt' figure out why the new school kept apologizing ... why in the world are they apologizing ...it's just one to insure his work gets done!

I get to the meeting ... the IEP is unlike one I'd ever seen. Benjamin is 15. We've been dealing with special ed and IEP's since he was 3 ... and it was unlike one I'd ever seen. I'm given this form to go over and I'm overwhelmed by it all ...and the teacher looks at me kind of funny ..I should know this ...

I've never seen this before.

she is very surprised ...she knew she couldn't find it in his file, but she thought it'd been missing ... but not there ...ever? It was a state form ...not a school form ...

The form ...modifications to be made by the teachers FOR the student ....

The only thing we've ever done before is what BJ would do ...

So ... we get this whole list of what THEY are going to do for HIM to help HIM succeed. Probably one of the best ones for him ... assignments and tests ...read to him orally ...and he gets to repeat them back to the teacher so the teacher gets to make sure he understands the questions!


The behavior modification plan comes out ...apologies start again ... I see it ... the old district has 2 things
Not completing assignments

My face went numb ...really numb ... badly numb ...with frustration and anger ... as tears welled up ... I described to the teachers what they were saying was laziness ..and how it was really being overwhelmed.

His english teacher verified that he does exhibit that behavior ...and it is in fact overwhelmed.

This regular ed teacher, had him for less than 2 weeks, and had already figured out that it wasn't laziness ...yet these people had him for 2 years and called it laziness.

Last week, I got phone call ... we're sending a new behavior modification plan out ... we had to rewrite that ... we can't ... we CAN'T have laziness on the form ..it's against policy. We've talked about it and went to our special ed director with it. We don't use that word in this district. Especially not in writing ... to label a child as such is destructive.

I expect to get the form with another adjective to replace lazines .... 2 behaviors on the behavior modification ... but when I get it ... there is only the one ...

and it says Student struggles to turn in work ...

I cried .... tears of joy ... This ...is what we fought so hard for. This, is what it's all about!


  1. Fabulous -- I couldn't be happier for you and your family. And I think your haircut looks terrific!

  2. What a beautiful way to find out it was all worth it. Congratulations :)

  3. ((hugs)) Yay! Even though my kids are in private schools, I went through something similar because my son gets special services through the public schools (he has an IEP). His former school (public--different district) wouldn't even test him; now he spends an hour each week with an OT in the public school and has other accommodations at his private school.

  4. Thats wonderful news. I hope that he is as much happier in his new school as you seem to be:) The new blogger isnt bad at all. You might like it

  5. This is fantastic!!! congradulations... i bet he is so much happier here.. i know you have said how much he wants to learn so very much!!! yaya;)

  6. It is shame you didn't have that on tape. At the high school level I have come across lazy students, but we would still never put that in an IEP! If I had had any idea the fight you had been through... I hope my comment on Under Cover was OK, I meant to encourage, I had no idea... What a blessing to be where you are now.

  7. I am so glad things worked out so well for both of you. It sounds like your new house is agreeing with the entire family! BTW, I love the new haircut. It's really cute!

  8. I find the new blogger harder for me to personalize. Alas, it's a free service, so I'll just follow the fold.

  9. Thank you all for your comments!

    Sandy, yes, your comment at under cover was encouraging to him! He loved it! His goal, since he wasn't able to stay in the regular ed class ...is to work his way into one.

    He's had a bit of trouble (academically) already, even with the IEP ...and it was so refreshing to get an email after just a few days saying "we have an issue, how should we address it without him shutting down, because we're seeing him shut down"

    I'm so glad they see his staring out the window as shut down! (it is, part of the OCD? )

    Not sure how we're going to approach it yet ...but ..they didn't wait till semesters end and then blame it on him. They're blaming it on his disabilities. I'm so tickled.

    As far as the laziness goes. Don't get me wrong ... I've seen it, too. In his older brother. Drives me batty. As long as he's got the highest grade in the class, doesn't matter how well he's actually doing!! ARGH!!!
    (unfortunately, my OLDEST got his learning style from his Mamma. I was one of those A/B students who never cracked a book and just got by and was happy with getting by, and was lucky enough to get good grades doing it. So is he. I don't think it's serving him anymore than it served me!
    I don't care if you have a 29 on your ACT. I don't care if you're in AP classes. I don't care ...if you're swinging by with A/B's and occassional C..you're not getting into Pre Med in 18 months. You'll be settling for a chemistry major!

    Which, is still more than I did. I settled for waitressing)