Coming to The Table

A few weeks have gone by.  I can finally catch my breath and look around.  So, what’s the status quo?

  • Grace is finally stable.  No more paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations–for the most part.  
  • Her mood is the wild card at this point.  She still struggles with mania and depression, but the extremes have moved in.  
  • Sleep is an ever-present challenge because of the mood issues.  If Grace is manic, then she might not sleep.  If she’s depressed, then she might not sleep.  Sleep, however, is when the brain rests and renews.  It’s also one of the primary ways in which relapses are prevented.  This is a catch-22.
  • We’ve learned that Grace does better in contained environments like home, smaller spaces like the grocery store if it’s not too crowded, and a bookstore with which she’s familiar.  She cannot tolerate malls or overly crowded buildings like her school.  She can’t process the sensory input both audio and visual.
  • She will relapse.  It’s only a matter of time, but now we have more resources in place.

So, what now? Well, the partial hospitalization program (PHP) is getting ready to spring Grace, but they are, unlike some PHPs, adamant that she have an appropriate placement; and, her school district is clearly not going to provide her with an appropriate placement.  What’s going to happen? I have been collaborating with the people who provide education to the patients at the PHP, and they have agreed to perform an IEP evaluation for Grace–something her school district should have done but failed to do.  I just learned yesterday that Grace does indeed qualify for an IEP (of course she does!) according to IDEA’s criteria for educational disabilities.  On Monday next, I will meet with the IEP team which includes the facilities director of the school providing education to the PHP’s patients, Grace’s therapist, and Grace’s current PHP teacher.  The special education director of our school district will meet us at the PHP, and we will acquaint her with the ASR (assessment summary results) for the IEP.  I will then declare that I want Grace to be placed in an intermediate district that can provide her with the most appropriate education until she is in the 7th grade at which time she will qualify for day treatment.  Everyone on staff at the PHP agrees that Grace has profound needs, and a public school will not be able to meet Grace’s needs.  The facilities director has stepped in  with gusto and been a true advocate for Grace and me.  She has decided to deal with our school district herself which I appreciate to no end.

I don’t know how this meeting will go.  What I know for sure is that I will be dealing with duplicitous people who have no problem saying one thing and doing another.  They also have no problem breaking the law.  Perhaps when they were young and full of idealistic ambition they thought they were going to make a difference.  They went to college, learned how to educate special children with special needs, and, at some point between there and here, tiny compromises in ethics were made.  One white lie here.  One ethics breach there.  One little cover-up.  One federal violation…Sooner or later, one’s sense of right and wrong becomes murky, and it becomes more about covering one’s ass than it does about meeting the educational needs of vulnerable children.  I think this is what has happened in my school district.

Nonetheless, my job right now is to take care of Grace, and, unfortunately, I have another daughter who has an autism spectrum disorder whose needs are not being met either.  She does have an IEP, but it matters not.  She’s drowning, and there isn’t a soul in her school who really seems to care.  I have to make some decisions about her future, too.  Oh, the timing…

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16 thoughts on “Coming to The Table

  1. Wow—you’re in my thoughts and prayers. That’s alot going on for one family. Best of luck in the upcoming evaluations. Grace is so fortunate to have a family who advocates for her.

  2. How does Grace feel about all this? I’m thinking of the quotes you used to illustrate some of your previous posts. Any recent quotes?

    Your school district’s attitudes and practices sound like something that comes from the top.

    Do you all get some good action items out of your meetings?

    • Well, I haven’t told Grace too much yet. She is very anxious about where she’ll end up because she does want to get an education. I tell her to let me carry that worry. Yes, I do think that the school district’s issues do, in fact, come from the top. I was recently phoned at 0845 at home by the superintendent. It was not a phone call I enjoyed. And, as for the meetings we’ve had, the priority has been an IEP and an appropriate placement for Grace. The issue on the table right now is that the most appropriate placement for Grace is at an intermediate district which our school district would have to pay for. If they decide that they don’t want to pay for it and place her inappropriately, then it’s back to the drawing board. School districts often decide to place a child in a different environment, and let them fail out of it before they’ll comply entirely. It’s about money in the end, and this does seem like a district practice. I’m prepared to go in and fight as hard as I can.

      As for Grace quotes? Well, she is finally open to the idea that the Men and the Creepy Lady are creations of her brain. This is a big deal.

      • I am so glad to hear that Grace is open to a shift in perception and knowing regarding The Men and the Creepy Lady. This is a huge step for her, and for you. I will be praying for positive outcomes with your meeting tomorrow.

      • It’s nice to hear something good about the three men and the creepy lady. Being open to them being creations of her brain is no doubt going to come and go, but it’s encouraging to know that it can come, and will hopefully come back if it goes away. I imagine she’s still spooked about mirrors. I would be. I’m still spooked by the radio.

      • She’s actually doing okay re: the mirrors and even does okay in cars now! Ixnay on the malls though. Too many people…Can you blame her?

      • Can’t blame her. Me, I’d take a mall over a grocery store any day, as long as it’s not packed to the gills with Christmas shoppers, even though I tend to get lost in malls. I find grocery stores visually confusing. Here in my car, I feel safest of all, I can lock all my doors . . .

      • What kind of criminals live around you? We have some serious mofos around here. They take leave the hand lotion (and the purses) and take the iPods! Grace left our car door open once and my purse was in the car! I was running into a friend’s apartment to drop off something. I came back to an open car, purse still present, but iPod Classic stolen. Hand lotion still accounted for, too…

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