It was a very bad parent teacher conference yesterday.

I left the P-T conference sick to my stomach and I don’t even know what to do about it.

I met with special needs preschool teacher and my daughter’s speech-language pathologist at the school today.

It started off okay, her teacher telling me that about the written program to show goals/progress. But I asked, but even though she’s progressing here, what about the lack of progress at the other school? How do we document that? I said, nobody is doing any observations over there except me. I have provided a short dvd of her at that school to give them an idea of what it’s like at the regular preschool. The teacher didn’t even look at the video. She didn’t even show the SLP it either.

The teacher said, “well, I tried, but the school was on a field trip. I can only go over when I’m not teaching”. I said, “it doesn’t have to be you, what about the SLP? Can’t she come over and make notes? Can’t I just add my own notes about it to the file. Just so it’s in writing somewhere in her file?”

The teacher said something like wouldn’t go in the file anyway, or the file won’t go with her to K or something like that (I got confused what she meant).

At one point, I said to her, sure, she is making some progress here at the special needs school, but not as dramatic of progress in her other school. I wanted it notated somewhere, so that if she has problems in K or even just in the K screening test, it would be understood why. I didn’t tell her specifically why I really wanted it, but mostly for insurance that they won’t try to take away her IEP.

Then she said she felt insulted, like I didn’t trust that she’d provide an accurate account of her progress. She also said told me that I should not damage the relationship she has with me, because we have been working so hard with her. Then at some point, she tells me to look at what time the printouts were made. She said they say 12:50 am. And I told her I understood and respected she was busy. I could not for the life of me understand why she couldn’t tell me she has plans to call the other school and check on her progress or see if they had questions. I also really felt like the comment she made was a thinly veiled threat.

I really believe my daughter’s progress has less to do with anything specific they are doing and more to do with the sensory activities she gets to do. The teacher admitted dd uses the trampoline to re-focus between circle time and the next activity. Honestly, my gut feeling is that my selectively mute daughter needs sensory therapy to help her to speak. The trampoline helps her to open up and speak better than anything else can.

Then, I was going to address some more, but I dropped it. At this point, my face was all red and I was feeling more than a little bit unsettled and threatened (like she’s going to treat my daughter differently because she’s angry with me).

She tried to tell me that because my daughter has an outside diagnosis, that should carry some weight and she’s not going to be able to come in and say she’s fine now. Then she said that I needed to lighten up and not transmit my anxiety to her. She saw how anxious dd became when I was in the room for the observation. She said dd picks up on my anxiety. And that I need to trust my daughter more to progress. (Yes, except for ever since school started, dd’s been falling apart, having multiple meltdowns a day outside of school. Clearly, she is not progressing because school affects her whole life).

***
I had remembered an important point about my daughter’s increased anxiety when I was in the S/N classroom for observation. My daughter was actually very fine up until the time I told her to stop running when I saw her start running in the classroom two feet from me when the teacher’s back was turned. I just spent $1000 for an emergency room trip in August that was caused at that very same school because she was running in the hallways and slammed straight into the corner of a wall and split her head open. She had to have an ambulance trip to the ER to get her head glued back shut. So, yeah, if I see my daughter running indoors, I’m going to tell her to stop. Only, because I did that, she became really embarrassed and started getting upset and she cried.

***

Gee, thanks for blaming me for her issues when you don’t even know the whole story.

Also, when I suggested that she might do well with a Kindergarten placement with a particular teacher that my oldest had in kindergarten, the teacher told me that parents do not get to pick who their teacher is. (That’s partly true. But I was able to get my oldest daughters K teacher to help my daughter – who has ordinary shyness levels in comparison to her sister – in with the first grade teacher who would understand her shyness most and help her to thrive. So I know there is some wiggle room).

At this point, I’m almost livid, but I shut my mouth. I’m not in a place to let loose a torrent of anger, because most of it would be useless and it would hurt my daughter more. So I let it slide.

Then at some point she gets up to go outside the class to meet with another parent who came in, and I spoke with the SLP.

The SLP spoke with me a little more compassionately, and said that she thought with the diagnosis she already has, things will be worked out if they need to be in the future (with the elementary school). She said that the elementary school will probably not have a problem understanding her condition. She also told me she did not know there was a video of my daughter in her other classroom, and she told me she would view it and take some notes.

I really appreciated hearing that. At least the SLP was really getting what I was saying. A notation is all I wanted. I told the SLP I didn’t expect them to help dd in the other school, but that the teacher at the regular preschool doesn’t have special needs training, and there is no helper teacher, so my daughter is all on her own. The regular teacher has to teach the class, and can’t do anything one on one with dd to help her adjust. I told her any progress she is making is purely on her own. And I did make sure I told SLP that she can hold herself together at school, but then the stress of it comes out at home as meltdowns, which affect my husband, her sisters, and me. That’s why I’m so concerned (not least to say about the future issues SM sufferers face with lifelong anxiety and risks for depression).

For their part, I just wanted them to observe and notate the difference in the two environments. I didn’t think that was a big deal. But maybe it is huge. Because S/N teacher said that at the end of the year, they would probably keep the IEP open only on the consultation basis. Yeah, right, I see how they consult. They don’t do that now, and haven’t even told me who the other preschool could contact for questions. I wasn’t told who I could refer them to.

I am just…I don’t know. I went in thinking there was going to be no big deal, so I told my mom (who was going to come) to stay home. Now I’m just upset and angry and not sure what to do if anything.

I’m not sure what to tell the regular classroom teacher and director. Maybe I could have a meeting with them and tell them we are on our own to help my daughter. Maybe they would be willing to let me try a few things to help (even bringing in a mini-trampoline and set it up in another room away from the other kids to do a little bit just before class starts). I don’t know.

Anyway this was partially a vent and partially a way to document my thoughts. I’m going to c and p this post to a word document so I have it for my records that I got a lot of resistance from teacher of the S/N classroom and no help whatsoever about how the “consultation with the community preschool” as it’s plainly stated in her IEP is supposed to be met if they don’t contact them at all.

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2 Responses to It was a very bad parent teacher conference yesterday.

  1. jennifer says:

    I know pain dealing with school and feeling like they are not hearing you. I read everything that you wrote and it seems they are doing what they need to – just not the way you want. I’t’s been awhile since I’ve read the blog, so it took me some time to catch up.

    I am wondering why you are opting for two preschools? It is just preschool and while I’ve always advocated for mainstreaming any and everyone, I think your daughter still has a lot more work to do in coping with her anxiety – which is the key to success with SM. I know you have sensory issues too, which is dealt with at the special needs class and not the regular pre-school. I am just wondering aside from the great field trips – which probably cause her more anxiety – why keep her in the regular. Perhaps spend this year focusing on her issues with the special needs school and then work on transition. It’s like you are doing to things at once.

    My youngest was in the self contained preschool class for two years starting at 3. Last year, we really wanted him more mainstreamed but it was the structure he needed to learn coping skills for his problems. This year, in regular Kinder with in class support, he has flourished. We had his annual ARD last month and he will be discharged from special ed next month. It is amazing to see the transformation. I hated the stigma of that class – but we learned to love it. My son has no cognitive deficits, just anxiety and speech.

    I know our kids aren’t the same and I am not there with you to really know – I just thought I would state the obvious from the outside looking in. Focus on the anxiety and how to cope – I feel like it is the only way.

    Update on my daughter (7) – doing even better this school year and started speaking on her own! She really worked on her coping skills for her anxiety all summer to prepare for a new teacher and a new set of kids. I was really worried, but she has done very well. She has even joined a soccer team and continues with girl scouts. Amazing for a child who didn’t speak one work in preschool or kinder.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    But they aren’t doing what they are supposed to. Two months into school and they have NEVER contacted the other school. It’s in her IEP that they are to provide consultation.

    And that is another point. The S/N teacher says she was told that they never offered us 5 days. The social worker I’ve been talking to at the school had told the teacher that the S/N coordinator never remembered offering us 5 days.

    And while I don’t have it in my notebook of notes, I bet I have a record of it on the blog here. So unless I fight it, and open up a new IEP meeting, I am stuck with this arrangement. My mother, somewhat experienced with these types of matters being on a school board of another school, and also going to other RTI (Response to Intervention) workshops, tells me I could fight it and then possibly need to go to due process if they stand by their “we never said that position”. That’s too far into battle mode for me.

    At this point, after being accused of being insulting, and of being overly anxious myself, I am still pretty angered by her lack of professionalism. To even leave me with the impression that my daughter’s treatment at that school will be affected by a poor rapport with the teacher is incredibly, incredibly unprofessional. I don’t even know if I want my daughter there any longer than she has to be.

    I am thoroughly insulted that she was so petty and small about things when it is well within my rights to have notations of her progress (or lack thereof) at the other school included in her IEP file. It is in her IEP that consultation is to occur. So far it’s been two months and no communication has been established with the other preschool.

    And, I have read, in more place than one, that the selectively mute child should be placed in a mainstream classroom, and not segregated to a S/N classroom. There was also no recommendations from the neuropsychologist to actually place her in a S/N classroom.

    I was so enthusiastic about this teacher, but now, I’m definitely soured by the experience.

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