We are fighting with Xavier’s school. A short while ago I posted about the school not pushing him sufficiently. The situation has continued and it reached a point where I sent a letter to the principal insisting that in certain areas Xavier is not being pushed. We know that in certain subjects he is weaker than in others and feel he is being overstretched there.
Let me put it this way. If a kid is battling with basic subtraction, you don’t give the kid multiplication, and if the child can spell “library”, you don’t constantly set the bar at words like “can.” This in essence is what is happening here and given that he is supposed to have an IEP, we can assume that the IEP has been designed like this – demand way past his limits where’s he struggles, and where he has strengths diminish those skills. Really, the principle should be to push more gently where he battles and stretch where he has skills.
So, I wrote a letter complaining and demanding that we be allowed to participate in drawing up his IEP, and requesting a meeting with the principal. The upshot thus far has been as letter back suggesting meetings at times when I cannot make it, due to work pressures, to say that we were welcome to discuss the IEP, but that as professionals they would make the decisions regarding the IEP, and noting the criticism which characterized our relationship with his teachers.
This last part really gets my goat. In essence it is saying, “do not fight on behalf of your child.” It isa statement which diminishes our role as parents and devalues anything we say, because after all they are the “professionals.” Where Xave is being under-served, we must put up or shut up. I don’t know about elsewhere in the world, but in South Africa, people with titles such as doctor or teacher buy into the belief that the title imbues them with infallibility and places them beyond reproach. It also creates within them the notion that no one else can possibly have the slightest knowledge in their field. There are wonderful exceptions like our GP who offered to show me the protocols for her treatment of Xave’s asthma. I respect her for that.
Xavier is our son and if we do not engage, and where necessary criticism after having made numerous requests is to fail him. The implied idea that we should not fight the school is then, in essence, the implication that we should not fight for our son. Not fight for better service to him. So not going to happen! How dare they suggest that we should not struggle for better for him, oh and say that we can contribute to his IEP, by providing as we do, private OT and speech therapy for him, the same therapists whose annual reports they ignore, for after all they are not professional educators. But to say we contribute by providing therapy outside the school agin effectively dismisses the notion that we can contribute to the development of the IEP.
My response? To reply saying that I could not possibly make the suggested times for a meeting ad explaining why and asking that in the interim, I be sent a copy of Xave’s IEP in order to prepare for the discussion when it happens.
But wait there’s more! I had promised that I would send the school information on IPad apps that served educational and therapeutic purposes, so I have prepared a brief list with explanations of each and the value they bring, (Am I the only one who sees the irony of their asking a non-professional to provide input on educational apps?) As a little extra I made a suggestion about the use of a score for socially acceptable interaction in rubrics involving forums online, mentioning this was a practice I often suggested during the courses I gave on educational assessment. Perhaps they might realize that (is it possible) I know something.