Friday, August 3, 2012

Minor Vent.......But It's A Good Thing, Too....

If you have followed this blog or the other blog, the one I have now made private, or you know me from another forum, you know that LGA has been in a Special Ed day class at another school since Jan of this year.  We were told by the Special Ed person from the Special Ed department at the school district, that LGA had to continue at the school she was at because there were no openings at schools near us.  We were ok with it, as she is comfortable there with the kids she knows.  It's 20 minutes away from us and a long freeway ride to get to the school, but LGA gets bussed, so the only disadvantage was if we needed to get to school to pick her up (which only happened once during the time she attended).

LGA has an IEP and we meet frequently to go over her goals for school, etc.  We didn't get to do an end of year IEP as I like to do, so I know what is going to happen for the new school year, due to my mother passing away and me having to go down to Southern CA for a week and a half.  So I was disappointed, but managed to email LGA's very nice teacher and find out who her new Program Specialist was for this school.  I then asked the teacher if it was possible to transfer LGA to a school here closer to our home for next school year.  I emailed our former Program Specialist (for the Special Education department) to ask him if we could move her.  He said no, but that we could move her to the school across from BGA's (which has later start times and later ending times, which is not what I want) in another year.  So we thought, okay, she'll go to the school she went to, and it will be ok.  When my mom passed I thought some stability would be good for LGA.  She still wants to go to her former school, BGA's school, but they do not offer Special Ed day classes. forward to yesterday.  We went out to a fab pizza place that is supposedly the best in our town (came highly recommended from Dave's co -workers and online recommendation from of course, Facebook) and had a great dinner.  We still have leftovers for tonight or tomorrow as well.  We went to the mailbox (which due to the 100 degree weather, I had not felt like trucking out to the mailbox.  The air quality is bad, and I'm a preemie that feels it in my lungs so I stayed in) on the way home and found the letter stating LGA would be moved to another school.

Another school. That makes 3 since January, one for the Jan-May period of school, one for summer school, and now one for her school year.  She panicked.  I don't blame her.  I now have to enroll her in school number 4.  Which means of course all the forms you need to register her.  It means trucking two kids to the dr. to get the physical form, it means trucking two kids down to the school.  It means a new teacher AND new kids for LGA (who just got used to the kids she had in her class) however, if the letter is correct, maybe some of the kids from our area (which it appears there may be 3 or 4) will be going to this school with her.  It means that there is a new teacher, although based on the school website, the teacher she had at her first school, who she also ended up having in summer school, may teach there (she won't be LGA's teacher but she can be a familiar face).  It means going through all the stuff again, that we go through each year, so that the teacher can be familiar with LGA.  It means a new speech teacher (and I'm hoping it is not the first teacher she had at her first school.  The one she had from Jan-May was awesome!  I could see LGA learning a lot - contrary to the one she had for 2 years at the first school).

I am glad she will be close and I can drive there (on back roads) and be there within 10 mins.  But I am really having a hard time with no stability for LGA.  She just keeps going from school to school, teacher to teacher, speech teachers, friends, etc.  So I am really hoping that the kids she got to know at the other school (and some went to summer school) will be there at the new school also. I feel LGA is not getting to make any concrete friends and this bothers me.  Although she has a hard time making friends, but is trying and really seemed to have made a friend with a down's girl named E. And I wanted her to continue with this friend, I thought it was positive that she made a friend with someone who had some similar issues as LGA.  She seemed happier and talked of this girl a lot.

Just to keep track we have:  transition from preschool to grade school.  Two years with her sister and in mainstream school (kinder to second).  Transfer in Jan to Special Ed day class, with all new teachers and students.  My mom dies in May and we had to go to my mom's for 18 days away from home.  Immediate transition (like next day) to summer school for a month.  Luckily she had a few students from her class and a teacher she had had at the first mainstream school (in first grade).  Now we have another transition with a whole new team. 

I know that transitions are part of life, but they are so hard for special needs kids.  LGA did well in summer school, though, and being closer to the school I might be able to volunteer if it's possible (the other teacher would not let me as LGA was a new student).  So now I need to email the previous program specialist we had at the first school (who is always so helpful.  I need to know if he is now the current specialist since the one we got assigned to in Jan was at the other school) and find out if LGA can stay at this school for awhile. I'm concerned that she will be transfered each year and I really do not want that. 

So my vent I guess would be that instead of notifying me personally, to ask me if this fit our plans, etc., they just notified me with a letter, and now I have to call and find out all the details.  I might not get them till after school starts, either, because I don't know if the speicalists work during the summer.  I need to set up a new IEP meeting so I can meet the Program Specialist, the teacher, principal (if applicable) counselor (if applicable), speech teacher, and school psychologist (and need to see since we are back near our house if any of the previous team we had for the first 2 years are our 'team' again, if that makes sense, or if we need to aquaint ourselves with a new team)etc.  We all need to be on the same page for LGA's goals.  It means meeting a new 'team' possibly.

I also have to find out if the new school is a uniform school as the previous school (from Jan to May, school #2 I guess we could call it, it's all getting confusing with all of these schools LGA has attended) was a uniform school.  Luckily I had uniforms for LGA that BGA wore when the school they both attended was a uniform school (they gave it up last year).  But that means that LGA will now need clothes she can wear to school and not the uniforms (which I can't give up, just in case there is another school transfer!) she wore from Jan through summer school.   I do believe, due to how hard LGA is on clothes, that I will hit up the thrift stores next week and let LGA pick what she wants.  She is so hard on clothes, that it's hard for me to justify buying expensive stuff for her.  I did hit up Target's clearance, but didn't buy her anything because I thought she was wearing uniforms. 

Are you confused yet??  LOL.  Well, I think if I had to sum it up, I am glad LGA is closer, and I will email and find out who our team will be and if they can keep LGA at this school for a few more years, so she can have some stability and be closer to home.  I know I am we are her advocates, Dave and I, so we'll go forward.  I think there is some relief for me that she's closer. I really did not like that she attended school farther away, but I went with it.  Both girls have close start and end times so we'll see how transportation works out.

One thing also that bothers me, on Facebook I found a FASD group (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). There was a blog article, and it was written by a Mental Health Counselor.  She and her husband had a foster FASD teen.   The husband was trying to get the SW who had her own ideas of how to raise the foster youth, to see that parenting this child would not work as she had been taught.  She was trying to fit the child into the 'normal' box of what she learned parenting wise, for a child who did not have special needs. Finally the husband says to her, "he's retarded. would you expect him to do thus/so?"  I found myself not really liking that description.  Yes, my child is brain damaged.  I disagree with saying she is retarded.  But then again, who likes the term brain damaged either?  Yet it is true.  We know this, we deal on a daily basis with it.  I don't know why it struck a chord with me but it did.  LGA says her brain gets 'stuck' and she knows this.  Perhaps she shouldn't, but she couldn't understand why things don't 'stick' and she can't remember something she learned previously.  She gets mad and upset that her sister can do more than she can.  We deal with this daily.  There are times when it's really not fun and it's tiring.  But we have plans in place, and I know we'll be making a visit to a psychiatrist this fall so we can get meds regulated. 

And just in case anyone is wondering, I was not in favor of meds, I put it off as long as I could.  It was finally when our agency Sw told me that it wasn't about what I wanted but what was best for the girls, did I re-think what I had previously thought about meds.  It was when the 3rd grade teacher wanted to give up on BGA because she (and this was not one of her better moments but she was going for her masters) said she couldn't take it if 2 mos in to the school year, BGA was going to act the way she was and wanted to transfer her.  Wanted to transfer her to a class where the teacher would handle her 'issues' but not challenge her.  I stuck to my guns (no transfer) and put the girls on meds.  Life has been better for them since.  I don't take breaks in meds either, we keep them on the meds, all week long.  The girls can tell the difference as we have talked about how they feel on/off meds and they can tell that their brains can focus on meds and how they feel. 

In other news, as I noted above, the temperatures have been in the 100+ mark here.  Because we are in a 'valley' it feels like a hot oven most of the time.  I have not wanted to cook, I have not wanted to turn my oven on or have any extra heat in the house. I have not wanted to clean my house (which has seen better days to be honest, lately) I have not wanted to do a darn thing.  The girls have been busy with some new toys and coloring items, as we did venture out for school supplies.  Me? I did a bit of beading, and organizing (and wishing to order supplies from my Etsy suppliers - not on the table right now) but mostly wishing the hot summer would go away.  We missed the boat on the small-medium patio sized pools that have a filter and pump and that the girls could play in for some water play outside, so we've been inside and we're starting to get a bit bored.  So we ventured out for pizza and ice cream yesterday and I'm glad we did.  The pizza was excellent.  I'm doing stove cooking (chicken in a skillet, rice in the rice cooker, etc) and needing to make another grocery shop for salad stuff.  The girls have been drinking smoothies from my new Ninja blender (the old one I got as a wedding present blew up mid blend a couple of weeks ago). 

Hope you all stay cool wherever you are.  We'll be heading to "Diary of A Wimpy Kid" this weekend to stay cool.  Temps are expected to hit mid to low 90's (which is a bit more bearable) this next week.  School starts in 11 days and counting. 


  1. Well, I am so glad you posted the recap paragraph because you lost me in all the school transfers! Holy smokes! Poor LGA! I'd be a mess too. Def call the school, they def work over the summer. Someone should be in the office, even if only a skeleton staff. They should be able to answer your basic questions. We are in a really small school district so maybe it works differently for you but I am surprised they just mailed you the notice about a school change like that, especially since you didn't get an IEP meeting at the end of the last year. Call them up and get some answers girlie.

    I should mail you my recipe for farro salad. You can make it with barley too if you can't find farro. Remind me and I'll send it to you. Stay cool!

  2. What she said.

    And then, raise hell. Point out that the transfer of schools, in a child with the lack of stability in her early life is detrimental. That it may be a failure to meet her needs, and despite the fact that your state is broke, they're probably in violation of some part of IDEA - especially if the need for consistency in program is in LGA's IEP.

    Then raise more hell.

    Poor LGA.

    Poor mama.

    Hugs to all of you!

  3. Thanks, ladies. Yes, 4 schools since she has come home to us, so this will be a big change. We do keep the same Program Specialist as they call it in the Special Education dept. But I never got to meet her because we didn't know that we didn't have the first one until end of year. Then we couldn't get the IEP done in time for school to end, so I emailed the new Program Specialist today. We'll see if she responds to me by next week. OH, and I have asked for an IEP meeting stat. So they better come through. I also explained to the old Program Specialist (who always gets back to me and gave me the new ones email) and new one that my mom had passed on and that it would be another transition for LGA so I wanted to meet with everyone and make sure we're on the same page. If she doesn't get back to me by next week I will be calling.