Monday, November 9, 2009

Fighting for your Gifted Child. Mom vs. The School District, a true story. Part 2

Part One

Part Two

As I drove to the school, every thought was bubbling in my head as to why my son was acting out. Never before had I experienced such pains of helplessness.. the teacher had kept insisting that everything was going well. It was just the "transition" from preschool to kindergarten. I didn't believe it, and felt that the transitional time had passed. There was something deeper, and I wouldn't rest until I found out what it was.

When I met with the administrator, I informed her that I was not going to stop until we figured out what was wrong with Alex. I had plans to meet with our Pediatrician and ask for a referral to a developmental pediatric specialist to help figure out what is going on. What she said not only surprised me, but knocked me off of my rocker completely. "We think that what Alex has wrong is in his head. He needs to see a neurologist and a psychiatrist, as these behaviors are not normal. In fact, I believe that he has Asperger's Syndrome, may be mentally challenged or autistic. Only a psychiatrist can completely diagnose him, but we've seen many children like him at our school. We recommend transferring him to another school* because it has the specialists that he deserves, and would be able to better understand him."

Are you kidding me?! Three years before I had my son, I worked in a school with children who were severely behaviorally challenged, mentally and physically disabled. All of my parenting choices from birth until now flew threw my head and I began to question everything. Are you telling me that I missed all of the detrimental signs and symptoms for five and a half years? After asking a handful of questions, the response I got was simply, "I believe that you are in a state of denial, many parents in your predicament are at first." I was flabbergasted, and left shortly thereafter feeling like I had a boulder in my stomach, yet just got ran over by a steam roller.

I came home, vented to a friend, and listened as she blew up on the phone with me. "Get off of the phone now, Lauren, and call this doctor. She will help, and if she can't, she'll tell you who will." I hung up the phone and stared at the Early Intervention Developmental & Behavioral Pediatric Specialist's name. I called and spoke with her directly, explained that I was at the end of my rope, and needed someone to help direct us. She advised that in the meantime I should see a child psychologist to start testing him, and she set up an appointment for December. It was the earliest appointment she had, and the agency my pediatrician recommended wasn't available until April. I asked about the specific test my pediatrician recommended, and she said that the psychologist would be able to help.

I fought with our insurance company for three days, trying to find a psychologist that they would cover, that was within decent driving distance, and that would be willing to answer our phone calls and see my son. I finally found someone to agree to meet with us- over 30 miles away and an hour traveling distance, as it was close to the heart of our nearest city.

Alex was still having issues at school, every day was being reported as a "red" day, and his night terrors were out of control. I began sleeping on the couch, (if you'd even call it that), waking at every tiny squeak or thud. I tried calling the principal of the school, as the more I thought about the way the assistant principal presented herself in our last meeting, the more it wasn't sitting right. I called one day and left my name, and within 15 minutes, the assistant principal called me back. I then began calling and saying I'd call back- conveniently she was always in a meeting, at bus duty, off of campus. Off of Campus was a popular one. Some days I stayed on hold for awhile, some days I just hung up. It was frustrating to say the least.

I took Alex to his first psychologist appointment, and at the end of the hour, the psychologist told me exactly what I was thinking- Alex was bored. He had to do official tests to confirm it, but he seemed "extremely intelligent", a little hyperactive, and very inquisitive. Praise God, I could handle a little hyperactivity.

I left the appointment content with the fact that the psychologist was going to give him an IQ test, and some behavioral assessments, but the fact that he was just a smart kid made my day. I couldn't have asked for a better report. As I drove home, the words the assistant principal spoke to me at our meeting echoed in my ears, and my blood began to boil. I was beyond infuriated, I needed my son out of that school, but I wanted to make sure that he would be ok with that. Over the weekend I let my temper cool, and planned the events for the week.

In the morning, I took my son to drop him off at school. He started to cry, and told me he didn't want to go. I took him, and asked him why. He said he just didn't want to. I told him that he had to tell me what was going on if he wanted me to help. He dried his tears and told me that he would try to make it through the day. I continued trying to get in touch with the principal, but again, had no luck.

I began to call the district office, and ask them how to go about transferring him. I got passed from one department to another, to another.. it was rediculous. I began to get even more infuriated, feeling as if all fo my options have been exasperated.

To be continued....


clenna November 11, 2009  

Your experience sounds terrible and very frustrating. I don't understand why administrators, doctors, insurance people can't listen to us!
We have struggled with one of my grandkids and finally (after two years) put him on meds and now he's in the A range in school! Wow - it was quite brutal while we were going through all the stuff.
Good Luck and keep fighting for your son's rights.


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