Information for parents of disabled children

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Special Education SchoolImage by kvitlauk via Flickr

Indiana is special when it comes to special education. It has a dream. That dream comes in the form of a law, but it's far from being a reality. Article Seven dictates to schools how disability should be handled in the state. Placement should be appropriate and definitions of what is or is not appropriate run us aground each and every day.

My experience of case conference committees has been both sad and typical. It's a battlefield whether it should be or not, whether that's right or not. It's parent against school, and the things you don't know are the hardest to overcome. Funding, politics and even individual egos, theirs and yours, must be navigated like a mine field.

So I treat Article 7 like a beautiful dream that must be realized and, even tweaked, now and again. The bottom line is that these aren't rights until you no longer have to ask for them. Maybe I'd be more patient if I was asking for my own, but it's Darrel I worry about, the time he's losing, the things that need to happen before too long. Not a cure, but a life lived with minimal assistance would be nice. Speech might be good, but I'll settle for coping skills, his and mine. This leads to all the conflict with schools I can handle because some things are just right.

Where do schools fit in all this? If we're the dreamers, are they the dream? Article 7 is all about education, and therefore depends on teachers, administrators and even local government to become reality. That's the rub. Parents and students depend on them, so they need them to be dependable.

My frustration probably comes from that, but also from the dealings I have every day with people I perceive as my son's best hope for functionality, and I forget that they may not see it that way. They may see it as a job, maybe one they love. But they go home to an autism free zone perhaps, and turn on the TV or help their kids with their math homework. Meanwhile, I'm at home trying to interpret a screaming fit or medicating someone. Sometimes I'm dodging teeth or fists because that's where we are that moment. Those professionals don't often live where we live. Living with severe disability isn't something you can turn off, so we're always in crisis mode.

Learn patience is the lesson for the day. While everything may seem immediate to us, it's really not immediate for everyone else. Get up each morning and move firmly forward with purpose, but don't run over anyone. "Here endeth the lesson."
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]