I am a mom of a sensational kid who has a unique perspective and experience with the educational system. First, I work with pre-school kids and have worked with a wide range of special needs kids and have seen the inside working of identifying a student with having special needs and jumping through the right hoops and making sure all the t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted on documentation, getting parents’ permission for further testing and then trying to see if the child will qualify for services. The program I work for is unique in we try to be very proactive in trying to get students we feel would benefit from services and trying to get the right services lined up if the child qualified for the services. And sometimes we are unable to get services for a child and more often than not they may just be border line or just barely make the cut off for services at this young of an age.
Second I am working on earning my degree in Elementary and Special education and after four years of hard work, sweat and on occasion tears I am approaching the finish line. When my son first was identified of having sensory issues at school I still was working on mostly non major courses so with the first few meetings I had to go with what I knew from work experience and my sisters with my two nephews. I knew that it would take a few months and countless meetings before anything definite would be decided and even with knowing this I found myself getting frustrated with the process and even at one meeting pointing out that we all agreed there was issues so why not take the next step of the formal evaluation. Which thankfully about a month after that the formal evaluation started and an IEP followed and I signed off on my son’s third IEP this past spring, but I have gotten off track a but here at my main point.
As I said my role of student has also has an impact on my view of the process of what it takes to get students services and through this I have learned to be thankful and appreciate the process. I even have a little more respect for the laws in place that ensure the rights of my son to receive services and the ones who were involved in setting up the legislation that provides the rights for all of our kids to receive such needed services to help them succeed.
Why do I have this view you may ask? Simple. I am currently learning the history of special education litigation and law and learned that just a mere 25 or so years ago my son would have never qualified for services and even though I would have fought that with every ounce of my being with the laws that were in place then I would have more than likely had a heartbreaking loss and who knows what would have happened, more than likely I would have to home school my son. On the flip side it’s encouraging to see that we have come a very long way in the past 20 to 30 years and while the system is still far from perfect we at least can see what we can build on to build an even better system.
I think about those parents, teachers etc., who were instrumental in getting law makers to change the way kids who need just services not special education to make the law so they can get the services they needed without limiting their educational opportunities. There is no way I could thank those who took part in that groundbreaking change enough in that they gave me extra power to my fight for my son.
I know many parents and some of you reading this are still fighting to get your child the services they need and I don’t want my story sound like it was all perfect peaches and cream because I have hit bumps in the road, stood toe to toe with a principal refusing to back down and even made a phone call to the superintendent. But that is a story for another day; I just wanted to offer some encouragement that even when we feel like we have no fight left and our back is against the wall we need to keep fighting. For the fights we win today for our children just may help change the system so that another parent may have an easier battle to fight. I
know we would all like to have the easier fight but compared to 25 years ago we do have fight that would have been a lot tougher to win then than it is now. Hang in there and keep fighting the good fight!