Monday, October 11, 2004

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

My son may have a learning disability. Although, I think it is just a speech disability, and whatever learning disability there was, he's outgrown or just never had one to begin with.

He had the same teacher for 1st and 2nd grade, and she had mentioned that she believed that he had a disability, and asked if I would mind if she brought in a specialist to observe him. Here's the gist of the conversation:

Me: "Um, okay, if you really want to. But I don't think it's warranted."

Her: "Oh, really? Why?"

Me: "Well, he's doing fine in every other subject, and is even doing excellent in most of them."

Her: "Yes, but his writing skills aren't very good."

Me: "I know, but he's really very stubborn. If he doesn't want to do something, he will do everything to NOT do that."

Her: "Yes, I've noticed that. Whenever I get after him to do his writing, he comes up with one excuse or another."

Me: "Right. So, that's why I don't think it's a disability, I think he just needs to start doing his work, whether he wants to or not."

Her: "So. I'll bring in the specialist then, okay?"

Me: *blinks* "Um, okay ... "

Did you catch it? She AGREED with me, then went ahead and completely disregarded everything I said. Because, I clearly had my head in the sand, and was completely blind to the fact that my son was bound for the short bus and special helmet, and had done absolutely no research AT ALL about ADD, ADHD, Asperger's, Autism, Dyslexia, speech delay, cognitive development, NOTHING, and I was just a big, dumb girl.

So, fast forward to this summer, and I get a very insulting letter from the school adminstration, basically implying that I can either willingly consent to having him tested, or I can have the decision made FOR me. Now, before I even received the letter, we had decided that we would go ahead and get him tested. Then that letter came, and I damn near pulled him out of school and homeschooled him just because of the letter and it's not-so-subtle threats. I calmed down, signed it, and he started the pre-evaluation the second or third week of school, to see if he qualified for an IEP (individualized education program). Then, the ink is barely dry on the page, when he starts doing his writing. And doing it WELL! Very interesting, especially since he has a different teacher this year, and, hmmm, maybe he WAS just bored? And, stranger things have happened, I suppose, but maybe his mother did know him better than a bunch of over-educated dillholes?

So, he was tested, his writing skills have improved drastically in the interim, but they're still having a meeting this week about his eligibility. Um, okay. I do agree, there may be some faulty wiring where his speech is concerned, but they have asked for information that seems like they are looking for information if he's a serial killer. They asked about my pregnancy, if there were any complications, how long it took him to sit by himself, when he started walking, talking, if he ever bit off anyone's ear and mailed it to them ... (OK, so they didn't ask this last question. But I could tell they WANTED to.)

Then I get a letter detailing the meeting to determine his eligibility, when and where it will be. It also ran off a whole list of people who will either be there or they are encouraging me to bring. This part was a little unclear, but the roster was quite impressive: Teachers, para-professionals, social workers, speech therapists, a NASCAR pit crew, the entire cast of Cats, and Emeril from the Food Network. I don't know, but doesn't this smack of being just a tad overdone? I mean, I almost expect them to wheel my son out on a hand cart wearing a hockey mask and a strait jacket.

And, still not sure how much of this testing is because they are truly concerned about him, or the No Child Left Untested monstrosity. Not to mention the insulting implications that I have no concern toward my child, that I have no valid reasoning behind questioning the Great and Powerful Oz, and, this most significantly, the scare tactics and outright bullying if I fail to comply, that really gets me.


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