Thursday, August 28, 2008

Not Such a Great First Impression

I am trying to be fair and balanced y'all - but even BT the OT, who is very good at balancing these things was a little perturbed yesterday when I recounted my first impressions of 2nd grade.

Let's backtrack first ok....

Last year was LMNOB's first year with a 504 Plan at school. It was also her first year at said school, so I was the one who'd contacted the school with all our registration and special accommodations questions.

The day before school started, the school's OT, BT the OT and I all sat down and had a little talk about things we could 1.) expect to see out of LMNOB, 2.) an offensive game plan (things that would be proactive and prevent melt-downs) and 3.) a defensive game plan (things that would be in response to a melt-down).

This information was then disseminated to LMNOB's teacher, Ms. M. I love Ms. M! Even before we had our 504 plan meeting, she listened, but moreover - she ASKED QUESTIONS! She was and is great, kept the lines of communication open, took the sensory suggestions we wrote into the 504 and RAN to incorporate them into the WHOLE class rather than singling LMNOB out, and well, she was just awesome.

So...a 504 plan follows your child from grade to grade.

I thought that when classes were determined, the assigned teacher might see the 504, which would trigger him/her to contact me, her parent who knows her best, and/or her weekly OT, with whom there is a signed release of information, before school starting, etc.

I were wrong. Also, yes, I know, I probably should not have ASSumed but should have just initiated the damned thing myself - but you know, I wanted to give the school the benefit of the doubt?!

Tuesday, at the ice cream social/meet your teacher festival of chaos, we met Ms. R. Many other children were streaming in, so I knew that we had to be mindful of other kiddos who'd like to meet Ms. R, too. HOWEVER, that said, I was not going to walk out of the class without having talked to her SOME.

We walked over and introduced LMNOB to Ms. R. I asked if BT the OT had gotten ahold of her yet (BT the OT had said she would try on Friday).

Puzzled, Ms. R said, "Don't you mean School OT? Because she has talked with me and I've read the 504, it looks like Ms. M had great success last year!"

I wanted to say, "No, you dumb#$%^, I meant BT the OT - you know, our weekly OT who is mentioned throughout the 504? Oh, but I thought you'd read it."

Instead I answered, "Yes, Ms. M was great last year, and it is very important to me that we have ANOTHER great year. School OT is great and helpful, but does not know LMNOB like I do nor like her OT whom she sees weekly does. This first week is very critical, and..."

"Oh, excuse me, I have to go talk with this student," she interrupted and whisked off to another parent.

My jaw was on the ground, y'all.

A few minutes later, Ms. R returned, apologizing, " crazy and chaotic with school just starting, ya know?"

I smiled, tensely. "Yes, I do know. I'd like to discuss the 504 and strategies to help LMNOB out with the transition of starting back."

"Oh well we have a meeting set up, don't you know?"

I shook my head.

She waved her hand with dismissal, "Oh this time of year, so crazy. Uhm, it's set up for 8:00am on September 18th. Yeeeeaaah, and you know, in the meantime, I thought I'd just like to really get to know her, " as she nodded her head.

The unspoken message was, "Thanks, we're done. Buh-bye!"

So whaddyou do, right? Make a scene?

No, I exited quietly, wondering WTF?

Also; Why in the hell are we waiting to discuss strategies for LMNOB's success until 3 WEEKS AFTER school starts? Without an offensive game plan, you'll get to know LMNOB all right; LMNOB the FREAK SHOW. I want her to know LMNOB, the amazing little sweetheart. Oh, and maybe she will get to see the latter, but then our home life is reserved for the Freak Show because she'll regress to the situations that led us to the SID diagnosis in the first place. HAVE YOU NO EFFING CLUES WOMAN?

Then, school yesterday. LMNOB did her typical separation anxiety routine with Charlie Brown and I there to drop her off. Everyone else was sitting down on their own. As LMNOB whimpered, I told Ms. R, "You're going to have to take her from me - she will not let go unless you help." I believe I said this 3 times. And she just cooed to LMNOB, "Honey, you're going to do great, here, come sit down," which is about as effective as me hoping for a fairy godmother. Seriously, in the past, teachers have had to pry her off of me and bear hug her until I'm out of the room. In other words, talk is cheap, use your damned hands!

Charlie Brown got her off of me, and I rushed out of the room. Apparently, he got her to sit down by giving her a "job" - he reminded her, "Don't forget to make sure Punkinhead gets on the bus with you this afternoon," and with that she sat quietly at her desk.

Not a huge deal, no, I know. But how much better could it have been with some foresight and planning that could have completely pre-empted this? Yeah, mmhmm..

So, poor BT the OT - she got to hear me vent about this for the first half of our session yesterday. She like me, gets that LMNOB is not "high needs" and therefore not "high priority," but, what the teacher and school OT are is missing is that if they she does a little bit of leg work for LMNOB, she is EXTREMELY high-functioning, and therefore a small amount of work now pays off big later.

As I told Mrs. Tantrum in an e-mail yesterday:

LMNOB is really high-functioning when everyone is on their game, and I'll be damned if their lack of planning/resources makes my kid regress, you know?

Soooo....had to get that off of my chest before I write the concerned but HELPFUL parental e-mail to Ms. R today. Wish me luck!

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved


  1. That is really frustrating. I would want all the details ahead of the game to make the best of the management of my classroom. Diagnosed or otherwise, it's pertinent that communication is made between parents and teachers and you are very insistant on it. Most parents are not.

    I sure hope it gets better and in these 3 weeks of waiting LMNOB has some positive experiences. She is lucky to have you as her advocate!!

  2. I'm so sorry you're having such a difficult start to the school year. You and your daughter deserve better.
    I'm praying that Ms R gets a BIG clue, real soon!

  3. It all sounds incredibly frustrating. You're doing the right thing though, being so proactive, and I hope it works out for the best!

  4. Well, you COULD write the letter to Ms. R. Or you could just give her your blog address.

    Just sayin'.

    Kick some ass, Mama Bear!

  5. Dangit Heath.... ((((you)))

    Been there, been there, been there.


  6. Thanks for reminding me why I homeschool!

    I'm so sorry that the teacher is so oblivious on purpose. I can't imagine the frustration you must be having.

    Good luck with everything.