Last year, our sweet G-man started Kindergarten. What a big year for us! October of last year was also when we got our Tourette diagnosis.
Being the strong, advocating, proactive parents we were, we immediately met with G’s teacher, and the Developmental Specialist of the school. Although G wasn’t having any “trouble” per se in school, she urged us to go ahead and jump on the IEP process, getting a safety net in place for him should trouble arise. I thought this sounded like a fabulous plan, so I started jumping through the hoops of obtaining the necessities for the process. I obtained a letter of diagnosis from G’s diagnosing Neurologist and pranced back to school. PIECE of CAKE! I had read so many horror stories of the IEP process, about uncooperative school personnel and school districts and endless denials and appeals. This was going well and I was feeling good.
Then the trouble began.
My letter wasn’t adequate, said the Developmental Specialist. It only named his diagnosis, not the “issues” he had. But wait….. we just discussed that he hadn’t had any real trouble yet … (in Kindergarten, no trouble arose because his teacher allowed him to spend unlimited time sharpening the classroom pencils and sorting them, point down, with exactly 10 pencils in each of the 6 containers …. but that’s a WHOLE different post)….
So I trek to a Child Psychologist, with whom I waited for about 4 weeks to get an appointment. G-man performed beautifully in his interview, earning himself a hefty diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which often accompanies Tourette Syndrome. And I earned myself a hefty four page letter spelling out every single complication with school that G-man might EVER have until college. Into the school I marched, triumphant as ever. THIS was the ticket. It was a little harder than I originally thought, but we were on our way! The Developmental Specialist glanced over the letter, and VOILA! It was golden. So the next step is to hand it over to the principal to continue the process.
At this point, it’s Christmas break, so we had a bit of an interruption.
I never heard a peep back. SO, at the beginning of March I approached them again. It’s spring, we all have a fresh perspective. And we are still waiting on the principal to look it over. After three face to face visits in a three week period, I get my call from the principal. She will address it FIRST thing after spring break.
~~ big deep cleansing breath~~
And finally, the day comes. She calls. She leaves me a message. I return the call, only to hear that there is NO reason in the world to LABEL our G-man. He’s brilliant, he’s having NO trouble, there are NO COMPLAINTS from teachers, WHY would we want to put something in place that will follow him until he graduates high school, when this might NEVER even become an issue? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder doesn’t even qualify for IEP coverage (skimming over that minor little TOURETTE diagnosis).
And at this point, we are in the last week of school, and I can clearly see now it’s a much larger uphill fight than I ever thought. So add me to the list of those people who the IEP process has failed, at least on the first attempt. Perhaps I could’ve been a stronger, in their face type of advocate from the beginning … but my child has to walk these halls for the next 5 years, as well as his two siblings right behind him. I have read ALL the legislation pertaining to IEP and Tourettes, and exactly how and why it qualifies.
So now, we have a brand new school year beginning. Where do I go from here?
Deciding my next move,
Cape Wearing Mommy