Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First the good news...

Today I was able to wear a belt for the first time in a loooong while.  It made me feel happy.  After putting on my belt (my belt!), I left the house, went to Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee and a pumpkin doughnut. (The calendar says "September" so let all of the foods be infused with pumpkin).  Caffeine was needed this morning for fortitude because I had a 504 Meeting with my daughter's elementary school.

For those of you not familiar with the abbreviations and secret language of a child who has learning difficulties, a 504 is needed when there is a disability and accommodations for that child's disability must be made.  I have more experience with my other daughters' IEP Plans but they're more instructional based than "my child needs to hear the teacher so please provide the equipment, thank you very much".

Darcy failed four hearing exams at CHOP (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia).  Granted her loss is at the lower end of the spectrum, but it is really hard at times for her to hear us and participate with her friends.  The School District, naturally, performed their own tests and considered her "not failed" but (here is the but) they don't test down to the decibel levels that CHOP does so CHOP's findings "win".

Last year was a nightmare, in so many words, getting the equipment assigned to her, working, charged, teacher non-cooperation - the works.  I blew my top around June (yeah, I am impressed too) and filed a formal complaint that the 504 Plan was not being followed.  I have been dealing with the Special Ed people since Cady was in Kindergarten (she has Asperger's).  I believe, I have given a lot of latitude when things got forgotten or the plan isn't followed to the crossed t's and dotted i's.  The Plan is a guide.

It is also a contract.  The District agreed to provide the equipment and training to Darcy's teachers last year.  It is a real, honest to blue, contract.

I go into my meeting this morning, full of pumpkin and coffee, hoping for the best.  New year, new teachers, newer principal - maybe things will go well.

First, there were lots of excuses (from the people I dislike) on why the system doesn't work or is always broken or why there are limited number of units.  I boldly stated, with the modifier "I am sorry but..." you agreed to provide these things, you are not, you need to do these things you said you were going to do.

Then, the District lady says as an aside to Darcy's new teacher, "Well, you know she passed the hearing test."  I immediately went to level magenta and said that CHOP failed her 4 times and that is what is in the 504 and that is what you will accept.

After a lot of wrangling over that, please don't fall asleep, the fun part of my story is coming up, we discussed "where the heck is the ear piece Darcy was given at the end of the school year?"  I stated we never had it at home, it was offered once via a phone call, there was no follow through.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, we never had it at home."

"Are you really sure?"

"Yes.  They have new backpacks and I helped them transfer their things to the new bags."

"Well, it isn't in the box here."

(blank stare)

"I don't have it.  I have never seen it.  In the classroom or at home."

Thankfully the principal interjects at this point to the annoying District lady that maybe the unit is in her office.  She mused over that possibility.

"Are you certain she didn't bring it home?  You know..."

And this is where I lost it.

"I really resent your implication here.  I have never, ever seen the unit you are talking about.  Darcy didn't bring it home and in reality only wore it for a week before it broke and she had NOTHING for two weeks."

Sigh.

Belt, coffee, doughnut = good.
504 Meeting = not so good.

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