Last week was ridiculous. Valentine’s day was a nightmare, and it seems that we simply cannot find a resolution to problems that should have been solved MONTHS ago.
I have told you all before that last spring, Lucy was diagnosed with Asp.erger’s. It is a form of high-functioning autism. The key here is “HIGH-FUNCTIONING”. This diagnosis has been a double edged sword in every way. Most children who have an autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed before they make it to public school. Lucy was only weeks away from turning 10 – meaning we are at a significant delay in teaching her to cope. No matter how many times I try to explain this to her public educators, it falls on deaf ears.
The week before school started we sat down with the administrators at her school, as well as with her teacher. The psychologist that we had been working with since April came as a support to us, and spent over an hour discussing things we have learned about how Lucy ticks. She offered solutions to how to handle behavior issues that were sure to crop up over the course of the year, and ways to prevent melt-downs all together. VERY simple things. Things like, sending home a weekly progress report with completed scores and highlighting missing work. Lucy very often forgets to turn in her completed work, so this is vital. It helps me, as her parent, know where she is truly struggling, allowing me to offer extra help at home. It also give Lucy instant accountability. She has to learn to turn her work in. If her teacher and I are on the same page (something our psychologist stresses emphatically) we are much more likely to teach her.
Pretty simple, right? Just a note on Friday explaining what was not turned in. So far – 6 months in to the school year – I have received exactly TWO progress reports.
All of our requests that were AGREED to, where written into a 504 plan. It is a legally binding agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is to ensure that Lucy has the same chance to a fair education. Basically, we are trying to compensate for some of the things Lucy has not learned yet to do on her own because of the combined ADHD/Aspergers. We are not trying to make excuses for her. Eventually, she will HAVE to learn these skills, but it takes time. We are working hard to teach her, but we NEED TIME!
Last Thursday I went in to the school to check on Lucy’s medication. She should have run out on Feb. 8th, and I had not heard anything about it. When I asked the school secretary (who despises me) she huffed about having to look it up, then told me Lucy still had 16 pills left, or 8 more doses. Mind you – this was 3 days after she should have run out completely, for a total of 11 missed doses. The secretary then gave me some BS excuse that they reason she had so many was because she didn’t get them during the week of parent-teacher conferences because school was out at 1:25 each day. Also, there was a snow day. Oh, and a holiday. Here’s why that is absolutely unacceptable: 1) I account for school holidays when I send the medication. It is a controlled substance, and I can only get 30 doses at a time. I do not have extra, so I a meticulous about sending the correct amount of doses to the school. 2) Lucy is supposed to get her medication at 1:00 everyday. The early out excuse is ridiculous. Also, see reason 1. I don’t have extra for the days they don’t give it to her. At most, there should have been 3 extra doses because Lucy had been sick and missed 2 days of school, and also because of the snow day. 3, not 11.
On Valentine’s Day, Lucy was supposed to be getting a ride home with a friend. Because she is in a full-time Gifted and Talented Program, we do not live within her school’s boundaries. It is almost a 45 minute walk to the school, which she would have to do alone. Well, her friend’s mom forgot that she was supposed to be bringing Lucy home and left without her. When Lucy asked to call home for a ride, she was told that she couldn’t use the phone because “not wanting to carry your Valentine Box home is not an emergency, and you can only use the phone for emergencies.” End of discussion. Lucy walked home. She walked in at 4:10 pm. School is out at 3:25.
The same day, she was bullied pretty mercilessly by her classmates. He Valentine’s Box, that she had been so proud of, was now a source of ridicule. She made an adorable monster-themed box. The kids told her it was “a perfect self-portrait.” After she left for home, one of the kids threw snow all over it in order to smear the color.
I emailed the teacher about what had happened. She replied that the students had apologized, but that the kid that threw the snow denied it, and because Lucy didn’t SEE him do it (he was the only other kid outside with her) she didn’t do anything other than warn Lucy about making “false allegations.” Seriously.
I emailed the principal about the phone policy and the issue with the medication last Friday. I have yet to get a response.
My sister-in-law is a 2nd grade teacher in the same district that Lucy attends. She has been appalled by all of this. She has assured me over and over again that the things we have asked for are so tame. She doesn’t understand why we are having such issues at this school. Last Sunday, she was at my inlaw’s house visiting. She and my mother-in-law were discussing all of this, when my brother-in-law chimed in. He asked what a 504 plan was, then after my sister-in-law explained, proceeded to complain that “people who use those for ADHD or Asperger’s are abusing the system.” My sister-in-law defended Lucy, and tried to point out his ignorance, but still came home angry. She told me about it a couple of days later.
We have known for some time that this particular brother-in-law, and his wife do not like Lucy. They think she is a bad example to their kids, and have called her a “brat” on many occasions. At one point they even told their daughter (the closest cousin in age to Lucy) that she couldn’t play with her anymore. I don’t know why they are so mean to her. Lucy has never been cruel to their kids. They have been in normal little arguments about who had what toy first, but never anything serious enough to warrant his behavior. It’s just awesome that my daughter believes her uncle and aunt “hate” her.
I am ready to explode. I am fighting battles to my left and right, and can’t seem to win. I really don’t know what I am doing wrong. I am trying to be fair, but I’m about to just let the bitch out, and let her do her worst.
I have had enough! Poor Lucy is so sad all of the time. She is trying so hard to please everyone, and feels terrible because she just can’t do it. She told me the other day that she “ruins everything”. She wants so badly to be treated like the other kids so badly! It is so ridiculous that she is punished for things that are out of her control.