Thursday, May 03, 2007

How It All Went Down

So. I got a call from The School mid-morning. One of the director’s assistants said that the director wanted her to schedule a meeting with us for next week.

“Does that mean that D. was accepted?” I asked.

“I’m not privy to that information,” she replied.

“OK, well, can you tell me what the meeting is about?”

“No, she just said she wants to meet with you.”

O-kay. So, I get Mr. WG’s attention and we decide on Monday, deciding in the process that D. will miss his school trip. Fine. But after the phone call ends, Mr. WG says, “I want to know what the meeting is about before we go.”

I called The School. “Can I speak with the director?”

“Um, she’s in a meeting.”

“OK, well, I need to know if my son has been accepted.”

“Well, hold on a moment.” I wait. She comes back and tells me that she just spoke with the other assistant who is surprised that I am calling and asking questions since she already scheduled a Monday meeting with me.

“Yes,” I say, “but she couldn’t even tell me what the meeting was about. So, I would like to know WHY we are meeting, and I would like to know whether D. has been accepted.”

“Oh. Well, I can certainly have the director call you.”

Shortly after lunch, I took D. to speech therapy, at The School. I figured the therapist would tell me what the decision was, even if she had to do it off the record. Well, I got there, and she points out the director and someone else making their way towards us. They sat in on the first part of the session to talk with me.

“My assistant told me that she had set a meeting with you for Monday but that you were very anxious to know our decision and that you requested that meeting be moved up to right now,” said the director.

“Um, no, that’s not exactly what I said.” I relayed the conversation.

“Well, the meeting is to discuss our decision. I’m sorry that was unclear.” You know how sometimes people say they’re sorry, but what they mean is “I’m sorry you’re A MORON”? Yeah, that was the kind of apology she offered. But anyway.

“So, at the meeting,” she says, “we had many people present.” She names them all – which was just plain weird, since she prefaces most of the names with “You’ve never met so-and-so” – whatever. “And we just feel that the ratio, ten children in the classroom, that’s a lot for D. right now.”

I pretty much stopped listening after that. She babbled on about behavior therapy groups and maybe we could try again in a few months and we aren’t closing the door, and have I looked into the special needs program at the JCC?

Oh, you mean the one FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN???

“Oh, really? The children are all autistic? I didn’t realize what children it served.”

So, she thought it would be a good fit based on the fact that we are Jewish? What IS that?

OK. So. After she left, the speech therapist made it clear that she felt the decision was the wrong one, and she strongly encouraged that we work towards reapplying in October.

And then I came home and fought with my husband, who apparently thinks I should NOT homeschool, who thinks we should put D. at the DaySchool with the other kids and hire a full-time shadow for him. Apparently, he also thinks we have become very wealthy. (We have not, in case you were wondering.)

In any case, I am most appreciative of all of your kind comments and notes and I am SO TIRED, and I will try hard to finish this story tomorrow, but realistically it may have to wait until Sunday.


3MGA mom said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry that this is playing out this way for you. I think the therapist is right and Mr WG is wrong, if my opinion counts for anything :)

Meira said...

I mean, I guess it's nice of them to want to give you a full de-briefing of why they've rejected you, but considering all the things you'd have to to go to attend the [debriefing that alleviates their guilt] . . . So the way they went about it is a huge annoyance, and then there's the reality of their decision . . .

I'm very sorry. I hope that it ends up being a positive thing in the end. But what a blow to deal with today. Sigh.

eager reader said...

Hi WG,

I follow your blog faithfully, but I have never commented. Sorry to put this in an unrelated area.

I have a 12 month old son who is pretty huge--his height and head circ. are over the 100th percentile. He has mild hypotonia and the accompanying gross motor delay. He says about 10 words and his fine motor is okay for the time being, although that may change. His eating is great.

I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I should pursue investigations for Sotos. He has had the FISH array and it came back okay. The ped thought we should maybe do a bone age scan since it's non-invasive.

I am really struggling with the question of whether I really want to know if he has something or not. Would it really change anything?

Do all kids with Sotos have delays in more areas than one?

Thanks for any input on this, I am making myself sick with worry.

WriterGrrl said...

Meghan -- Mr. WG is ALWAYS wrong. :-) And your opinion TOTALLY counts.

Meira -- Yeah. It really is incredible that they want me to come in so they can reject my kid in person. UGH.

WriterGrrl said...

Eager Reader,

OK. First off, 10 words at 12 months is great. Mild hypotonia is also much better than severe hypotonia.

I would absolutely do the bone age scan, and I would also go for the full-blown gene sequencing, since the FISH test may be inconclusive or negative even if your child does actually have Sotos.

It is important to know if your child has Sotos or another overgrowth syndrome, because each syndrome has accompanying "side effects." For example, we need to check D's heart, kidneys, eyes, and something else that I can't remember regularly, because Sotos kids are at higher risk for problems in those areas.

I would say you should call your local Children's Hospital and get a consult with a neurologist and a geneticist who can make more accurate recommendations.

I hope you'll keep me posted!

Anonymous said...

Oy, so sorry that you are going through this. If you are thinking of putting your child in Day School, as in Jewish Day School, I would think long and hard about this decision. If they don't have the staffing or ability or know how, it could be a disaster. My kids are all in day school, and our school as wonderful as it is, is not good with special needs. Often, a child who needs services is accepted, and will have to leave because the school cannot provide what the other institutions can, even with an aide. Unless, the school has indicated that they can provide services, the Day School might not be the best option for him. A lot is going on in the Boston Day schools to provide more special needs services, hopefully that is the case where you live as well. Good Luck!

WriterGrrl said...

I agree that the DaySchool is not the ideal choice. Even with the aide, I don't think they can meet D's current needs. I don't think our school has any intention of ever being able to meet real special needs. That's incredibly unfortunate, because there is a real need for it.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry you had to go through all that. I can't imagine how hard it it must be for you to figure out the schooling thing. Hang in there (and by the way I think your blog is GREAT)

Anonymous said...

Can you put him in your local public school preschool? I know someone who has a 4 year old who had some behavior issues and they decided to hold off on day school until kindergarten, since we all know that day school was only made for the perfect child with no behavior or learning issues. They have him in a public preschool, and I know that my local public school also has a special needs preschool classroom with a wide array of kids with different needs. Unfortunately the Jews are way behind in special education, but you have to do what's best for your kid.

WriterGrrl said...

Anon 10:29 -- Thank you on all counts.

Anon 10:48 -- It is a possibility, but I don't know how good the public schools are with SN here. I have tried to get information, but it is not easy to track down. You would think it would be MUCH simpler, but it is absolutely insane.

What I don't want is to stick D. in a class for SN kids that plays to many vastly different kinds of SN. He needs a language-focused program. That's his need. He doesn't need PT, OT, etc. They wouldn't *hurt* him, but a lack of focus on language would.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,
after reading the comments to you and from you, I would suggest that you need to get some help from your public school system. While many Jewish Day Schools are looking into and providing special services, it seems that your son is going to need a plan and a program that HE is entitled to from the public school system. While it might not be the best, it will certainly be better than what any Day School can provide, or what you can provide at home. From what I understand and from what I know from friends who have kids with an assortment of special needs; including, Aspergers to being hearing impaired the public school system is there for your son. You and your husband must be the best advocates that you can be for him. Another friend of mine is the person who deals with placements and programming and testing for a wide range in a local public school system here. You must find out who that person is in your community and get going. I know that it is not easy but you must be strong and take care of this. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. Good luck

Meredith said...

Wow, this bites and I am really sorry. Are they basically saying "try again next year?"

I am glad that they at least gave you face time instead of a "Dear Parent" letter.

WriterGrrl said...

Anon 10:39 -- Yes, we are starting to pursue this, but we are really not sure that the public schools are the proper route.

Meredith -- yes, that's basically what they're saying, and yes, I think that "it bites" is the technically accurate phrase. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Again,

Even if you decide that the public schools are not for you, you might want to see what they can offer your son. Especially since the public schools can provide a LOT more than the private programs. Most likely, he will end up in a private program, I cannot imagine that you wouldn't want the public program to help you find the right program, especially since most likely the public school will pay for the program. Several friends' have used the resources that the public school provides and have their kids in private programs that are geared to their childrens' special needs. They have found the placements with the help of the town school system. Bear in mind that these various friends of mine live all over the country. It is a full time job, making sure that a child who needs services receives everything that he/she is entitled to.