After we got Princess's first diagnosis of severe ADHD, we needed to get the school on board with us. This is no small feat. Even now almost three years later there are days when I feel we are all on the same page and other days where I feel the school either has no clue how to meet Princess's needs or they do but it is a money issue.
Some kids withdraw when they are overwhelmed with school or life in general. Others like Princess act out. In Kindergarten Princess had this fabulous teacher who really knew how to connect with her students. She has a very easy going manner but her students knew what was expected of them. Princess did well in her class until the Student Teacher assigned to her class began assuming more responsibility. Then things began to go south.
About this time we asked for an SIT (Student Intervention Team) Meeting with the school psychologist and the classroom teacher. This is was to be our first of many meetings like this. At this meeting the school felt Princess's problems were perhaps based on parenting skills that we needed to work on. We were encouraged to seek out family counseling. Well this is where we met Miss R. who encouraged us to get a doctor's note from our pediatrician stating that Princess had ADHD. Once we had this in hand we returned to the school to set up a 504 plan to put some supports in place. This initially got us through the rest of the school year.
Princess was able to go to the RSP ( Resource Specialist Program) room to cool down and the RSP teacher came into Princess's classroom to provide extra support as well.
In first grade Princess did OK but had problems in the on site daycare program and got lost once in the classroom. I have to laugh now because the Gen Ed. teacher and the RSP teacher could not find Princess anywhere. They finally found her hiding in a corner of the classroom.
During parent/ teacher conferences in the Spring I requested that Princess be placed in one of their special enrichment programs. The class that they put her in in 2nd grade had students in in K-3.
Before the start of Princess's 2nd grade year I requested and was denied a meeting with the new teacher and the RSP teacher because Princess was having some issues that I was pretty certain would carry over into the classroom. The RSP teacher told me that we'd have another 504 meeting in the first few weeks of school.
Call it mommy instinct but Princess did have a lot of trouble transitioning back to school that Fall. Within the first week my husband and I were called into an emergency meeting. At this meeting I requested testing for Princess to get her some additional supports. We were again denied something that we requested. We were told that we should have Princess at home and have a teacher come to our house until things calmed down a bit with Princess. Our therapist strongly advised against this as it would not be solving anything. It was just a band aide for the school. It would make things easier for the school but not us.
A few days later we were summoned to the school because my husband had sent a formal letter requesting testing in a number of very specific areas. The school agreed to test Princess but sent her back to her home school. They said the special program was not working out for Princess. They also told us that there wasn't any room for Princess in one of their regular 2nd grade rooms.
Wow! What a shock! I was elated on the one hand because they were finally going to test Princess but saddened on the other because my child got kicked out of school. I was a classroom teacher. These things aren't supposed to happen to my child.
Before Princess started at her home school, I demanded a meeting with the school personnel so we could have supports in place before Princess even set foot on campus.
We were blessed to have a wonderful and very knowledgeable school psych that year. He did an awesome job at looking at all sides. This man got Princess a lot of extra supports.
We also hired an advocate that coordinated with the school and us. She knows the law and what Princess is entitled too. It was so nice going into our first official IEP meeting knowing that someone was there to represent us.
That first IEP carried Princess through until the beginning of third grade. More of our story to come soon.