I write this in hopes that other parents will not face the same battle, and if you do, learn how to fight back for your whole family.
My eleven year-old daughter started in Kindergarten with special services. The school system came to her childcare center and helped us there. It was very overwhelming! We had to learn a new language and customs to help understand her - before we could even begin to think of helping her.
Over the years, she progressed through the system, received testing through a psychological/psychiatric center, and through the school system itself. She started out as DD, Developmentally Delayed. Then when she was nine, moved to OHI, Other Health Impaired. At the date of the last testing, she had an average IQ. (about three years ago)
My mom recalls the special ed teacher vigorously objecting to the results of the testing, saying they seemed backwards. At that, and every IEP ever since, we fought for academic goals to be included in the IEPs. The counselor always told us it was not possible, the system would not allow it. She even brought out a book one time of regs and showed me what she said was support for her choice.
In the three years since being tested, the normal range for our state, my daughter's IQ dropped more than twenty points! Full testing verified this at the hospital where is now. It is her fifth stay, and hopefully will be her last.
The people at the hospital recently told us that academic goals can be included in an IEP where the child is labeled as OHI! Years later, we just found out that the school counselor chose to ignore this, and the system backed her up.
I don't know why they did this; I just want to make sure it does not happen to my younger daughter too. She gets services too.
My older one has suffered greatly and it is now believed that a majority of her issues stem from frustrations at school. She has a difficult time understanding directions, remembering them, and organizing herself to complete a task.
Plus, she feels bad because she knows other kids are further along, where she could be if the school decided to do what was in her best interest, and not what they did instead. Her therapist says she is motivated to learn, curious, funny, sweet, likes to help others and wants to succeed.
She will attend a private school, thanks to the generosity of my grandparents, and I feel that they will actually help her. The principal retired from the system, and knows what they do to kids. She has made herself clear that she is there to help them, not label and push them aside.
I only wish I could bring the teachers along that tried to help my daughter, the ones that truly care. Life is hard enough for someone like her, and this counselor - and the system- helped ensure her failure in school. Now, we are left picking up the pieces.
Please parents, do not believe everything the schools say, without doing some checking. Get online and find advocates in your area that are independent, and will help you fight for your child's rights. Do not wait until there is a problem to know the facts. Learn the language now, and ask questions.
Children need us to help fight for them. Remember, if this seems like alot to us, what does it seem like to the children?