In a letter I wrote yesterday, I gave the early childhood S/N teacher two weeks to address my main points regarding the P-T conference from heck. My husband helped me re-write my original letter, to help soften my words because I was really hurt and angry and I really wasn’t wanting to be nice. He actually put in a part about apologizing for whatever I may have conveyed that was misunderstood on their end.
In a nice way, I called her on the things she said to me that I felt were really uncalled for. Like telling me I should not damage our working relationship because they were working hard with my 5 year old, and that I am transmitting my anxiety onto her just like she “saw” when I was observing my daughter in her S/N class. And that it’s been two months since school started and “consultation with community preschool” has yet to happen (and not oddly enough, my daughter is not progressing at that school like she is in S/N school).
My husband wrote for me “I need clarification if the comment was a threat or if I simply misheard” her. My husband added “I would hate to think that an innocent 5 year old would be punished or treated with less compassion if there were a disagreement between a parent and a teacher”. Wow. I do love that man for coming up with a good way to say that.
For the second comment, I explained that she only got upset after I told her not to run in the classroom when the teacher’s back was turned. We’d already been in the ER with that same child when she slammed her head into the corner of a wall at that very same school just two months before and had to have her forehead glued shut (and she shrieked when the dr even simply came near her with the glue and did not stop until it was all over). I did not want her to get hurt like that again or to hurt someone else. I told her that while I understood she was likely to dislike being embarrassed in front of others, it wasn’t going to stop me from intervening when safety is an issue.
I also asked for clarification as to precisely what “consultation with the community preschool” meant and who was responsible for that. I also made it clear that two months have been wasted where I could have gotten outside help if no one one their staff was responsible for consultation.
I told her from that point on that I was going to start making my own careful documentation, and could she please clarify what she said so I would be accurate for my records.
When I picked my 5 year old up from preschool yesterday, I got a lot of apologies from her SLP (speech language pathologist), saying it was her responsibility and telling me somehow she overlooked that part of her IEP (it was on page 2 twice). She has been really nice anyway, the whole time, so I really never was mad that she overlooked it (I can see how it happens). I think she was barely out of college, so I wasn’t going to be too hard on her. SLP put it in writing that she was supposed to consult with the other school at least once a month, or every two weeks if necessary.
The SLP also told me she’d be watching the dvd I made of my daughter at her other school with her supervisor at lunchtime that day. I gave the dvd to the S/N teacher two weeks ago, to save her the trouble of paying the other school a visit. And by the way, I never once expected the teacher to pay the other school a visit. But the teacher did say she was planning to when she had an in-service day – it didn’t happen because the other school was on a field trip the day the teacher had available. All along, I just wanted some dialog (even via the phone) to occur between the two schools. Even having something in writing to take over to them so they can incorporate some ideas. Just something to give them help for her.
(As a side note: SLP didn’t even know a dvd existed until I told her I made one on the day of the P-T conference. She was there for part of the P-T conference, not all of it though).
And then today when I picked my daughter up from school today, guess what happened?
My daughter told me she made new friends today. Of course, I was really surprised, especially when I just made complaints about the IEP not being followed to help her in her other school. When I asked her how that all came about, she told me that her S/N teacher was in her class – the entire class time!!! She even read books to the entire class, and helped her make friends.
So…it seems to me that, while I still haven’t gotten any formal apology or explanation from S/N teacher, she took my letter seriously, or they finally saw the video and finally agreed that there is a big difference between how she is in her S/N class and the regular (least restrictive environment) school, or they realized they were in non-compliance and were now covering themselves or something. Or all of the above.
At any rate, I thought this was a HUGE step to saying, “hey, we may have messed up here” and they are trying to fix things so I don’t take things higher. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to do if they didn’t make any effort to address my points. I would have to figure that out.
I’m so glad I don’t have to. I really am a wimp when it comes to conflict face to face with people.
As to what happens now, I’m not sure. I am dying to ask the community preschool how this all came about, because as of last Wednesday, they hadn’t heard one peep out of the S/N team.
But, I find it’s incredibly hard to get information from the community preschool. They are nice enough people, but I think they get very busy and forgetful about stuff. Since it’s private, and I have to pay for it, I never wanted to apply pressure to them and make them kick my daughter out (not that they would, but you never know).
At any rate, I’m glad for this victory. I just wish I didn’t have to apply a little pressure to get anywhere with them.