Friday, May 15, 2009
My job as Maddie's parent is to make sure they do THEIR job. And I take MY job very seriously.
Well...you can't say I didn't warn ya.
Or that we hadn't warned ourselves.
My worst fears about moving back to the Emerald City were confirmed yesterday morning...and I'm tellin' ya it was all I could do not to absolutely lose my cool.
We had Maddie's transitional meeting yesterday. It was a conference call between the Emerald City school district and Grab-Your-Lasso.
It went just about as well as I expected. Not that I'm a sooth-sayer or anything, but I know the Emerald City. I know the kinds of services my kids got there, and while I'm sure the providers have the best of intentions, its the bureaucrats I'm not so sure of.
It all started out well enough. There were several friendly, familiar voices on the line...which was wonderful. Everyone listened to my spiel about Maddie's history...where's she's been, where she's at now, blah, blah, blah...
Stephanie, Maddie's speech pathologist went over her part, Melissa, the preschool teacher went over hers..and we skimmed through the PT and OT recommendations because its all written out in the plan and both of those are obviously not a HUGE concern.
And then it happened.
The director of the county educational cooperative mentioned the district will only provide two weeks of extended school year education this summer. Two weeks...out of 12!
And he's not even sure if Maddie would qualify. They have to show regression, after all. And what kind of proof do we have that Maddie would regress?!
All of my fears about moving back to Kansas were confirmed in that one little sentence. In Grab-Your-Lasso Maddie would be getting weekly speech help over the course of the summer. In Kansas they said they would need documentation she would regress over the summer and not just stay stagnant or miss out on some good progress just in order to get ten days worth of help - even though her speech pathologist had included it in the report...and confirmed it by phone...he still refused to budge.
I didn't react well.
'Four years in an orphanage,' I calmly replied. 'Is that not proof enough?'
Yea. Not one of my better moments.
'Mrs C., are you yelling at me?'
'No sir,' I snidely replied (see I told you it wasn't my finest moment). 'I am not. I am trying to get you to understand what you are doing to my daughter. She has been fighting an uphill battle for the better part of a year. Trying her little heart out (insert sob here) to learn a language and make correct speech sounds, despite a severe hearing loss. And YOU'RE PUTTING ANOTHER BOULDER IN HER PATH. If you lived with this child on a day to day basis you would know the enormity of the pitfall you are about to drop her into.'
'Mrs. C. as a Wyoming resident you couldn't possibly understand the financial strain this school district is under. The state has cut back on all kinds of education funding. Things aren't the same here as they are in Wyoming.'
'Sir...I was a resident of Kansas for 20 years..I lived in the Emerald City for nearly six. I'm still a homeowner, and a tax-payer. My tax refund was nearly withheld because of Kansas revenue issues, so don't tell me I don't know what's going on. I am perfectly aware we are leaving a Utopian situation here. If we were to remain in Grab-Your-Lasso my daughter would have all of the services she needs...no questions asked. My husband and I have debated and argued, pleaded and agonized over this decision. Do you think any parent in their right mind would WANT to leave Wyoming and come back to a state where their child wouldn't receive the same quality of care? I think not. So please don't sit there and tell me I don't understand. What I understand is that my child will not have the same opportunities afforded her here in Grab-Your-Lasso and despite what I am sure are everyone's good intentions, we are setting our daughter up for, if not failure, at least ultimately not reaching her full potential. As her parents we have had to choose between (insert big sob here) putting a roof over all of our family's collective heads or staying in a city where our special needs daughter can have all the opportunities she needs...but our family goes bankrupt."
After a moment one person on the other end of the line asked for some data....
our speech pathologist started talking...
and I sunk back into my chair.
The preschool teacher patted me on the shoulder, the speech pathologist sent me a sympathetic look and Maddie blissfully played with her puzzle, completely unaware of the mean, mean man on the other end of the line.
I called later and apologized for my outburst. Don't get me wrong. I didn't apologize for standing up for my daughter - and I reiterated some of my finer points - while leaving out a lot of the emotion. I simply apologizing for losing my cool. I mean after all, I wouldn't be doing Maddie any favors by getting on these people's bad side. She NEEDS these services.
I made sure they know I'm serious about helping my daughter reach her potential...and while I'm sure they have the best of intention of helping her, my job as Maddie's parent is to make sure they do THEIR job.
And I take MY job very seriously.
I went half-way around the world to find my daughter...I'm not afraid of doing what is necessary to make sure she has EVERYTHING she needs to succeed.
He thanked me for being such a conscientious parent...blah, blah, blah. And mentioned that after our conference call they had talked about sending the kindergarten teacher to a sign language class...and possibly contracting with a private agency to give Maddie a couple of extra sessions of speech therapy over the course of the summer.
So ALL is not lost. They seem to be willing to work with us.
At least we've won part of the battle.
I'm just afraid this won't be the last.
But you can be DARN sure we won't lose the war.