See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil
Splitting hairs...And I'm not just talking about the Doodle's new botched up haircut I gave him. No, I am speaking of the Doodle's second Progress Report for his special ed day class. I've got some issues. Again.
No surprise that something such as this would set me off. I actually got into a very heated discussion with the Doodle's teacher at a home visit in November...when I received his first progress report.
So in special ed, you write goals very specific to each child's development. Since this is my first experience with IEP's and special ed and medically fragile and autism and epilepsy, I'm pretty new to this. I'm taking it one day at a time mostly and trying my best to understand how this whole thing works.
I was pretty disappointed with the goals that the Doodle's teacher scratched out for him. I thought they were very general, nonspecific to his needs and frankly, thoughtless and lazy. For example, I found out after our first home visit that the Doodle had one speech goal for the year broken into three goals for the year. Two short term goals=to communicate five new words with 4/5 accuracy by Oct 30 2009and March 30 2010 and one long term goal by August 2010 which would be the combination of the two short term goals = 10 New Words.
So this teacher who does not specialize in autism since the Doodle is in the medically fragile class and is the only autistic child in there, writes these willy-nilly goals and then has the nerve to sit in my living room and tell me that he hit his short term goal because they thought he said Help one day back in October. Once. Never again. Never repeated. So we proceeded to go around and around about how very generic his speech goals were and how just because she thought he might have said word once, it surely wasn't with 4/5 accuracy which means the short term goal was definitely NOT MET. I told her that I didn't understand how he went from having 6 specific speech goals in July to having just one in August when the new school year started with her? I asked her if she ever even read his original In-Shape goals? She hadn't. And what was even more irritating that the Doodle's previous speech therapist just happened to be the speech therapist that works in the Doodle's medically fragile classroom...hmmmmm. Did she have zero input in writing the speech goals for a kid she just worked with for almost a year? What about making animal noises? Or blowing? Or sucking? Or taking turns and listening? Before those were all on his "speech goals" and were things he worked on with his speech therapist.
So I was mad. And disappointed. And irritated. This is the same teacher that "forgot" after 3 reminders that the Doodle was entitled to some Physical Therapy and a Physical Therapy evaluation and it took a call to the Principal to get that going 90 days later...I told her she would have to excuse my level of trust in her capabilities...So we argued and went around and around and the teacher felt like I was attacking her. Which I kind of was, because I asked her, well if I have questions or want to change a goal who the heck would I turn to? I thought it seemed pretty likely and obvious that I would bring my concerns to her since, after all, she was his TEACHER. Needless to say, that meeting didn't go well.
To make a long story even longer, I just received the Doodle's next progress report and I about crapped my pants. I turn to the speech section to look at his whopping one generic speech goal and I am reading about his progress and in it, his teacher has the audacity to list out all of the Doodle's signs as if they were "NEW"...no they were not new. He has one new sign for Thank You. All of the other signs he has had for over a year...and she knew that. Did she think she was tricking me? Or was she just checking to see if I'm paying attention? When the Doodle started school in August, I listed all of the signs that he does at the IEP meeting, she wrote them down. His speech therapist also knows they are "OLD" signs. So WTF? I get that "New" words falls into a broad variety of communicating: words, signs, pecs, etc. Regardless, she listed an old list and then stated "SHORT TERM GOAL MET".
If he's not meeting his speech goal what happens to her? Does she get taken out back and receive 10 lashings? Does she get a cut in pay? Does it go on her record? Hell no. So why not be honest and write down the truth? Obviously I know my son is not talking or learning any new signs. Do I hold her responsible? NO. Absolutely not, no one can force or make the Doodle talk. He will talk when he is ready and that may be never and that's hard. But what I do not need is a lazy teacher trying to convince me that my son is meeting his speech goal when in fact he's not. It's hard enough fighting the autism fight at home, I live it every day. I shouldn't have to now fight with the teacher about it. Just because she wrote down that he said egg once and good morning once does not meet his goal.
So now we are having another home visit.
At the last home visit that turned into a big argument, she made a comment that maybe she shouldn't come back for another home visit because of the way it turned out. I agreed with her and told her not to plan on it unless she brought a Mediator with her. And so this next meeting we have she is bringing the Supervisor and the Speech Therapist. It ought to be a good one because I will not sit and say nothing. I will, again, speak my mind because I can and I should. And the Doodle cannot speak and it is my job as his mom and his advocate to be his voice. And if I get stuck with the lable of being a bitch or a pushy, demanding mom so be it. Don't put into writing and try to convince me that my son is meeting a goal when I know and everyone else knows is completely not true. I'm sorry but ONE speech goal and 20 minutes a week of GROUP speech therapy for a completely nonverbal child is not acceptable.