The district has agreed to mediation for our son. This is the step that would precede due process. Nobody wins in that game. Our advocate and lawyer wanted a certain mediator and she had a cancellation/opening for November 7th and we were able to snag it. Otherwise, we'd have had to wait until late December.
Meanwhile, our child is NOT in school, nor is he receiving services from the school at home. Our homebound request was denied and when our lawyer and the district lawyer spoke about mediation, we even asked for homebound until the mediation date and NOPE. I simply do not feel that it is us who are keeping him from school.
He is not getting any work sent to him from any of the schools. In fact, they have simply stopped responding to emails and once they agreed to mediation, I stopped sending any. We are having him work through a store-bought workbook since he has completed as best he can, all the work provided at the beginning of this ordeal at the very end of August. I have pulled some 7th grade English materials from my middle school teaching days and that's what he'll begin this coming week with Matt. He has the educating duty because, while we both have active FMLA requests, I carry the insurance and earn a few sheckles more.
Remember, we cannot send our child to school because he continues to be threatened. The ONE day he was at the alternative school, he stared too long and got a, "What you staring at, nigga, I'ma kick your ass." He was asked, "What are you in for?" And he told them and thus got taunted again.
We have now completed the IEE (Independent Education Evaluation) which consisted of 9 hours of in-person testing, one on one and 6 questionnaires for each of us and 3 each for two of his teachers. We were only able to get one to respond to our request, but she is a firecracker so we both feel confident that she SAW him accurately.
We are in the process of scheduling the findings meeting, a three-hour investigation of his new diagnosis with recommendations from his testing psychologist. We trust her. She is highly qualified and comes well-recommended. She also spent ten years within public schools. She has leaked a preview of what we will learn, but that was a three-minute conversation. To say we are on the edge of our seats would be an understatement.
Rewind to Summer of 2015, when the beautifully talented Ann Sharp, MCS/SCS, evaluated him the summer before his last year in elementary school. We were so grateful for her keen observations about his working memory, most specifically. It was in this evaluation that we finally had a glimpse of the "something else" we had been chasing his whole young life.
Seeing your child in numbers and words from another person is an interesting experience in itself. It's like watching a movie. Seeing that person pick up on things you have been trying to convey to others for YEARS is on a whole other level. Again, I am not a counselor, a special education teacher or a psychologist. I am a 20-year educator with a master's degree in education and an undergrad minor in psychology and recreation therapy and a BFA in Theatre - Performance Studies.
I have studied and studied and we have gone to appointment after appointment. More than one doctor and therapist over the years have said, "He's a tough nut to crack." I see his natural performer and I try to foster that but then see his crippled by the crowd.
We are nervous yet hopeful. We believe his prognosis will be good. We are certain she will have some suitable and reasonable suggestions that we can employ to help him live his best, most independent and happy life. We are simply so eager to learn of them.
Meanwhile, with the support of his counselor, we have created an official schedule of his homeschool days. For now, his weekends will have a little more leeway, but we are looking to lean pretty heavily on what it says on the page. There's no arguing with that.
He likes to help and we are using service to others as a driving force. He has begun cooking again. He loves to share what he has made. AFTER he's had all he wants, sometimes. But, more and more, he'll make enough to share on the front end. Yesterday he made a nice grilled cheese sandwich for each of us (and warmed some soup, too).
We are allowing him a little closed-door bedroom time and I caught him singing again and realized that it had been months since he listened to his tunes and really felt free to belt one out. I needed to hear that.
He has been reaching for hugs on his own and being polite and kind more often than not so I believe we are beginning to get him back to himself and not the twisted up little boy trying to take on the personalities of the kids who are picking on him so he will be liked. We are seeing his guard come back down and ...wow...we caught it this time.
We caught it. We have done what was best for our child, despite the cost, the stigma and the pressure to just take what is handed down to him through this process that takes no consideration for the human being involved.
OUR human being, our kind, generous and loving young man who needs a nurturing, yet structured place to learn. Finding that is ordered next.