Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Another School Year Starts Next Week- Already Problems

I hate confrontations.  I hate drawing attention to myself.  I hate having to question authority figures.  I was always the intentional wallflower and was happy to just observe life.  I wish I could stay hidden in the background.  

Last school year was a near disaster for my autistic son.  It was his first year in high school.  The school had ignored my requests for a spring planning meeting to help with his transition.  Nothing was done to smooth his way.   The teachers were not informed of his needs or learning styles.  My requests concerning the scheduling of his classes were blatantly ignored.  The first half of the year nearly destroyed him and me.
The teachers that paid attention to him and actually interacted with him, thought he was a great student.  His grades reflected that.  The teachers who couldn’t be bothered to check if he was understanding the material they presented, considered him a failure.  They said he refused to do any homework or anything outside of class.  
My son stayed up until 10 or 11 pm attempting to complete the assignments.  He was so stressed that he could not sleep.  Several teachers are under the impression that they are to present material, assign homework, and give tests.  They bear no responsibility to ensure that the students understand any of it.  They say that they can’t be expected to know if the student is following the lecture or starting his homework in class correctly.  Really? Why not?  As a substitute teacher, I do all those things as best I can given the short amount of time I have with the students.
One teacher actually had the nerve to call me and tell me I just don’t understand what it is like to teach.  Funny thing is that I have taught her class.  I do know exactly what it is like and what is possible.  I was a better teacher than some of the regulars that I was replacing.  After one long term stint, I was no longer allowed in the high school or middle school buildings.  
I requested information from the special education teacher in Februaury and have not gotten it.  I requested a team planning meeting in the spring and it never happened.  I requested a team planning meeting to happen before school and have heard nothing.  I have sent numerous letters to the teachers, the special ed supervisor, the principal and the superintendent.  Nothing has happened.  
Another school year starts in exactly one week.  I will not allow them to send my son into another downward spiral.  I was scared to death that he would do something drastic.  All the talk about wanting parental involvement is sometimes just talk.  For there to be parental involvement, the school needs to talk to the parents also.  
For years I have tried to be nice.  My sons face the possibility of backlash for any problems I cause.  I was hoping to make a career of subbing or get a more stable job in the district.  Instead, I do not get any jobs except from one tiny K-5 building.  
Teachers and administrators like to make things sound like they are doing everything possible.  Many teachers are wonderful and caring.  The few who could care less about the students ruin it for us all.  It only took one teacher to convince my son that he was worthless and would amount to nothing.  One teacher undid years of progress in a few short weeks.  As a parent my concerns were dismissed and my requests ignored.  I will not be ignored any longer.  
Many people have said I can’t change anything.  This is a small town and things are the way they are.  Watch me.  I will move out of the shadow of the wall and confront people in authority with the federal and state laws.  I study the laws of the the education of children with disabilities.  I know autism.  I stay current on the research.  I know my child’s rights and I know mine.  
My son will NOT be on the brink of a nervous breakdown again this year.  I no longer care who I offend by defending him.

Amazon.com: Striving for Independence: Ways to Help Children with Disabilities Learn to Function More Indepedently eBook: Kristan Payne: Kindle Store