I have never been the passive aggressive type. It’s probably why I can count the number of real friends on one hand. I can’t help it. It’s the truth or nothing with me and I think my daughter’s school district is learning that lesson the hard way.
It’s the end of the school year and I thought it would be the perfect time to again broach the subject of Extended School Year (ESY). ESY in our school district is activated during the summer and is designed to help students retain academic/social/communication skills learned during the school year through one-on-one assistance. (At least this is the way they are doing it in our district.)
After repeatedly asking about ESY, I was told that the kid didn’t qualify because they had given their six spots to Autistic children and she wouldn’t fit in that group. Additionally, they didn’t recommend regular summer school because she wasn’t petforming at grade level. I asked, “So where does she go?”
The answer from the IEP Team was disappointing. They responded with a deafening silence. Then came a response from the school psychologist, “the best solution is to give her ADHD medication.” By providing our daughter with medication for a diagnosis that hasn’t yet occurred, she assured us this would help the kid not regress over the summer and help her focus.
Needless to say, I was inflamed. I couldn’t believe that the very institution that was supposed to help my daughter, was failing her. I was stunned that the school felt that this was the end, that they had done all they could for the school year and expected us to just take it. Because everything had been said verbally, I sent an email to the IEP Team basically seeking confirmation. Of course they didn’t respond.
Thankfully we have Michigan Alliance for Families on speed dial. Thanks to them, my husband and I retained an advocate to help and she encouraged us to schedule a meeting with the Special Education Director for the District. That seemed to light a necessary fire under the IEP Team, who at the last meeting, hadn’t provided all of the reports to prove that our daughter wasn’t eligible. By the time we went to meet with the Director, we were armed with everything and prepared to fight.
Truth be told, we didn’t have to. At the time of the meeting, the Director had already made the decision that our daughter would receive ESY. Having not be directly involved in our case, she asked about our experience in this process and seemed shocked at the comments that the school psychologist had made. She also had suggestions for the IEP for next school year. I was glad that we elevated the situation and gotten closure for this school year.
Hopefully, we don’t have to do this again next year…
Lesson: Never be afraid to open your mouth and ask to speak to the manager.