Must be MY SIDE… ;)

The big brain on my son, that is…  (my side ;) ). 

I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way… but, I am pretty psyched and wanted to share. We just got AC’s first report card from middle school today. He got strait A+’s!! . =) We’re so proud of him!!

I thought he was doing well… but, I wasn’t sure just how well.. and half expected to have at least one class or teacher that he might be having some problems with.  So, when he called me today (obviously pretty pleased, himself) and he told me he made high honor roll – well, can you say “ecstatic?”.  =)  This was just wonderful news. =) A relief even. Like, “Whew! Maybe middle school won’t be so bad.” sorta feeling…

He has Hearing Aids and uses an FM at school  No IEP – but, has a 504 plan. He’s always done well in school (with a few minor issues in 3rd grade) – but, I was a bit nervous starting middle school.  Middle school meant more kids… more noise… new teachers.. more teachers.. more responsibilities.  He’d have to carry the FM from class to class and give it to each teacher. I was 2nd guessing the 504 plan we have in place.  Was he all set with that? Was there anything else he needed that we were missing? SHOULD he have an IEP?? Were his teachers going to work with us enough with just the 504??

We had a little bit of a rocky start when the day before school started I received a phone call from his school (from the one person I had NOT met in person yet) saying they had “made a mistake” and were changing his team of teachers to a different group due to his “special needs”.  ???
I was like, “What?!?”.

This was AFTER I had made a point to go to all the open houses… meet all the teachers on his team… and also attend a meeting that morning with the district audiologist where we met briefly with his “team” and she went over his 504 plan, and using the FM, etc., with everyone on his team.  I felt comfortable with this group, and like we had done the prep work to get off on the right foot.  AC was also happy he was on this “team”.  He was a bit anxious with starting middle school, but, he too had gone to the open houses with me to meet his teachers, and he was thrilled that he had some of his best friends on this “team”. 

Then I got that phone call – the day before school starts… not asking me… but, telling me there had been a “mistake” and that they were changing him to a different “team” of teachers. Teachers I had not met. Nor had my son met, or his audiologist met.  There was obviously some confusion – and I don’t think they were basing this decision on anything other than the fact that they had suddenly realized he was on a 504 plan.  I’m not even sure if they knew what a 504 plan was.  The person calling certainly didn’t seem to know what was on his 504 plan (basically – using the FM system).  She also didn’t seem to know that he was in accelerated classes, or know anything about his academic history. 

So, I pretty much insisted he stay in the group I had already met, etc.  I could see no good reason or benefit to anyone by changing.  I threw in there that he was not suppose to be placed based on his 504 plan, and even if he had an IEP – he was suppose to be entitled to the least restrictive setting based on HIS individual needs,etc.   

It seemed like they were trying to lump any kids with any kind of disability together – which simply doesn’t make sense.  AC has a hearing loss – and is the only kid he knows that has one or wears hearing aids.  I believe he’s the one in his grade.  How would putting him in with a group of kids who have other types of disabilities, with TOTALLY different needs – benefit anyone?? 

Why does it seem that  schools want to either totally go to one extreme or the other?  Either they  assume a child with any kind of disability is not capable of doing well without a ton of support – or they assume he is perfectly fine and shouldn’t need ANY special accommodations at all.  ?!? Why is it so hard to get some folks to realize how capable my son is, but that he needs, and deserves, some accommodations and considerations??  

I’m sure that if I had not insisted he stay in the original group I had already met with as planned – that they WOULD have moved him to the other “team” of teachers.  Not that the other team of teachers are “bad”…  but, I hadn’t met them.  I had no idea if any of them knew anything about how to use a FM system, or what teaching a hard of hearing child entailed.  That, and the whole idea that they were changing things – simply because he HAS a 504 plan really didn’t sit well with me. 

At least, once I did insist, she/they agreed to leave him in the same team. And, to be fair, I know this person that called, and most people, simply have no idea what Aaron’s situation is – and, I can’t expect them to just know. 

And, now… seeing his report card, is just like one big confirmation to me that this decision worked well…  and I’m so glad they didn’t move him.  Plus, I’m just bragging cause I’m a mom… and I’m really really proud of our boy.  =) 

Hopefully, now that he’s sort of “proving” himself – we won’t go thru the same “placement” issues again next time.  We are all just in continuous “live and learn mode”. 

=)
Deb

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6 Responses

  1. Debcny,

    I will read your blog as soon as I settle down, but I wanted to let you know that I replied to the comment that you left on my blog (Shel: A Deaf Canadian’s Thoughts).

    :-)

    Shelley

  2. Hi Shelly –
    Thanks for letting me know, I will go check it out.
    DebCNY

  3. Congrats AC!! WAY TO GO BUDDY!!!!

  4. Hi Deb,
    I finally got around to visiting your website. It is one of the very best I have ever read covering a child in school with a hearing loss. And I must admit, it reminds me of the issue I endured many years ago with my own hearing loss experiences. I look forward to reading more of AC/DC and family!
    :-)
    Jimm

  5. Jimm,
    Wow. How nice of you to say so. Thank you very much. I’d like to read more about your experiences also…. Do you want to share a link here?
    Deb

  6. Danielle –
    Thank you to you too!
    I’ll give AC a pat on the back from you. =)
    Deb

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