Monday, November 24, 2008

I prefer a shot between the eyes to a stab in the back any day

I have a problem. Well, I have many that I am aware of and probably even more that I am not. However, this matter touches on an issue that has been particularly challenging for me my entire adult life. Straightforwardness. I simply cannot abide the lack of it.

It's not really an honesty issue because there are many reasons in ones life for a bit of dishonesty. I won't get into them here just to save myself the holier-than-thou emails. It's more about all the damn "political correctness" and circuitous routes people take to accomplish things because the more direct route would reflect poorly on them. This drives me batty! Since you're probably completely confused as to what has be all buggered about now, I'll just get into it already.

It's the dang school district! Our Wonder Sitter is also Danny's full time aide at preschool and PEEP (Preschool Early Enrichment Program which he attends to further his self-help skills) and is paid for such by the school district. This has been the arrangement for the past year. At this point you really need to know something about our Wonder Sitter. The "Wonder" portion of her name is not just an empty title. She is a marvel. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that she is the best thing that has ever happened to us in regards to Danny. His mobility therapist can't say enough good things about her. He fairly gushes about how he only has to show her this cane technique or that once and the next time he sees Danny he's a pro at it thanks to our Wonder Sitter. Ditto with Danny's Vision Therapist. So, when the school district's people saw what a natural she was with Danny and his disabilities last year, they fairly begged her to jump through all their hoops (fingerprinting, etc) to become a substitute aide - which she did with Danny in mind.

Well, a few weeks ago (I thought I posted about it but guess not) I got a call from our case worker telling me that Danny was doing so well at his preschool that she thought he would be much better served by spending 4 or 5 days in preschool than he would only 3 days and one day at PEEP. Hello! We've been telling them that PEEP was worthless for 2 years now! Most of the kids are in there for language delays which Danny most certainly does. not. have. Yet they have insisted that it was the best class for him. Of course, I readily agreed to stop PEEP immediately and we have an IEP to formalize that on December 8th.

Then, last week, our Wonder Sitter was approached about aiding another special needs child at the preschool. She is completely non-verbal and has a feeding tube. Wonder Sitter, for all her talents, has no formal training. A child such as this is beyond her capabilities and she said as much to the district representative.

Coincidentally, two days later, she received an email from the district informing her that she needed to submit a paper detailing what it is like to work with Danny. In addition, she must list all the special needs children she has ever worked with, detailing their handicaps. The only explaination she was given was that there are other people that want her job.

What I think is really going on: I think the county only has funding for one aide at Danny's preschool. Since Wonder Sitter refused to aide for the non-verbal child with the feeding tube they now must replace her with someone else. So they have now either asked for these items as a means of measuring experience in order to eliminate Wonder Sitter from the competition or, and this one makes me angrier, they have asked for the paper on Danny so that the next aide has a heads up on working with him.

Either way, I know they are not being up front with the Wonder Sitter about the whole issue. And by screwing with her they are screwing with us (our childcare situation) and they are screwing with Danny. If she is not Danny's aide 5 days a week until noon, we certainly aren't going to pay her the same salary we pay her now for a full day five days a week. That means she may need to find other work. That jeapardizes our childcare.

It also brings up another interesting question. Did the school district really think Danny no longer needed PEEP or was that just a convenient excuse to have the Wonder Sitter at the preschool the extra days needed to care for the incoming special needs child? The timing is suspect don't you think? I can tell you for certain that I do not believe they have Danny's best interests in mind when making decisions.

Mostly, I just don't understand why they are not forthright in their motives. Everyone understands budget issues. Why not say so?

And the real question is... What should I do about this at our IEP???


Kathy U said...

Interesting. I think you have hit the nail on the head thinking that the districts motive is to put a trained aide in the classroom.

At the IEP I would point out that Danny's progress is due in large part to Wonder Sitter's ability to provide a continuum of care in and out of the classroom AND that you would like it to stay that way.

The reality is you may not be able to do anything about the school's decisions (or the way they do it) but you can be upfront and clear with your desires for the education of your child.

I prefer that people be upfront with their agenda too. It is easier to come to a solution that is the best it can be for everyone involved. Of course then I like to kick their butt!


Jenny said...

I haven't posted a comment on your blog before but I found your blog through the mothers with cancer site and through Just enjoy him's blog. I got diagnosed with IBC this last August but thought I would comment on this post as I also have a 19 yr old with a chromosome deletion causing intellectual delay etc etc that is at a special school here in New Zealand. As a parent I think you need to ask the question and put them on the spot about it and fight to keep your "wonder sitter" if you can. I learnt the hard way you cant "be backward in coming forward" with your concerns - you still may not get what you want but at least they will know not to do things behind your back again