A couple of quick things first.
Welcome to Kevin and Zac on the Gallery page … have you added your picture?
I noticed a few new readers and they came from Love-NOS (Love, Not Otherwise Specified), a blog with a couple of authors, and a post that, in part, mentions Pearlsky and me. Looks like a blog worth following, or at least checking out. “LOVE-NOS is a group blog which explores the nature and construction of disability and ableism and their intersection with and impact on people’s lives.”
There is a new co-teacher in Pearlsky’s classroom this year. He looks very young and always has a “deer in the headlights” look about him. Turns out he was a sped teacher for nine years in a private school before this job. I don’t really know him, although he was key to this debacle (I will be referring to that incident where Pearlsky was changed for swimming and made to sit there and watch. If you don’t remember, go re-read it since it is vital to the rest of this post).
With the IEP coming up tomorrow, several people (well, ok, two, but they are important) asked me to be nice to him. It turns out he is rather sensitive, and the email I sent him (in that post to which I just referred) really really upset him. They told me that he really is doing a good job, and personally asked me to go easy on him. OK, maybe …
I went to school today to speak with him. I told him that, yes, this time I may be a bit strong in the meeting, but I did not want to direct anything at him. Then I went on my soapbox a bit.
You know that I am really big on empathy … “the intellectual identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” This is what separates great people from everyone else. If you can imagine, understand, what the other person is feeling or their point of view, during an argument, discussion, or anytime, then you win. Big. In life.
So the teacher mentions the swimming incident. I told him that the incident itself was 100% the fault of the physical therapist who did not show up nor did she call. BUT, how the incident was handled show no one, zero, zilch, no one had any empathy for Pearlsky. He just looked at me with that puppy dog look.
You could not let Pearlsky in the water for safety reasons, I get that. But did anyone, at all, for an instant, think of what Pearlsky was thinking? Did anyone realize that she was stuck there, sitting and watching everyone else do the one thing she enjoys most, dressed to join in, and no one even explained to her why? Did you apologize to her? Explain? Did you think to remove her from the situation to at least distract her?
He just looked at me. I was not attacking, not nasty, just explaining, and he got that.
That’s empathy. That’s what will make you a great teacher, or not. Pearlsky lost because no one bothered to see her point of view. No one cared to. I’ll see you tomorrow. But if I do go a bit crazy, try to see why. Try to see my point of view. And it won’t be aimed at you. Probably.
I don’t know how much sunk in. We will see.
My goal tomorrow is to not let them take away any services, as they tried last year. I will be reviewing how horrible this year has been (remember the summer? the canceling of PT and OT illegally? the nurse stuff?). And I am not going to let them get away with anything. I’m tired.
In case you want a peek, here is my crib sheet so far for the meeting … these are my actual notes as they are on my sheet so if they don’t make sense, well, they do to me! And yes, the “r” word is on the notes, I may or may not use it, depends if I have their attention.
This has been an awful year for Pearlsky. Her PT was abruptly and illegally stopped in April, her OT was abruptly and illegally stopped in June. There are multiple investigations by the state, the Office of Public Protection, and the Attorney General’s Office. The Chief of Civil Rights for the State Attorney General had to contact the town lawyers a half a dozen times on Pearlsky’s behalf.
Pearlsky was treated in ways that would have mortified her if she wasn’t a retard. Things must change.
(attempts to hide who is medicating, the pond, medical abandonment and neglect, violations of 504 FAPE)
goals / concerns
dignity, civil rights (multiple interventions by Attorney General’s office; Office of Public Protection)
respect, both Pearlsky and me (Rebecca castigating me…)
Participating in any activity with others, not left in classroom (summer) or sitting in bathing suit at pool
abrupt total cancellation of PT in April
abrupt total cancellation of OT in June
rebecca: removing shoes and socks to check temperature? DO NOT remove her clothes other than to diaper or swim.
drinking by syringe? WTF?
Nothing to stop hands from mouth, email of May 16 ignored
socks on hands around Thanksgiving
simulation of mouth or hands?
only thing she can control
not her problem if you don’t want to touch her
GOAL: sticking out her tongue on request, NOT via operant conditioning
PT 2×45 (missed twice week of 10-4, and 10-27, never made up)
potentially body jacket
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including federal funds. Section 504 provides that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”
The Section 504 regulation requires a school district to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified person with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s disability.
Single Dad, voracious advocate