Exhaustion and Aggravation

Today was a day of aggravation.  Not really anyone’s fault in particular. It’s just the grueling process of getting Little Bear’s sleep cycle back to a day/night “normal” people routine. Which involves both Little Bear and I not sleeping at all at night several nights in a row and trying to stay awake as long as possible during the day. Well more specifically trying to keep HIM awake during the day so at some point he will fall asleep at night and stay asleep all night, hoping that this time the rhythm will stay that way forever but knowing that it never will. Tonight was finally that night. The kiddo made it through the entire day without a wink of sleep and passed out by 9pm.

The only problem with this is I had a slug of errands to run and about only half of them made it on the completed list. Somehow while getting Scholar Owl reestablished as a patient at the hospital I forget to sign the release forms that I needed to while I was there so they could send Little Bear’s IEP recommendation packet over to the school. So now tomorrow I need to make the extra hour drive over there to take care of that. I also had to attend the elementary school’s open house to learn that not only do they want him to do Kindergarten yet again for the third time, Little Bear has been assigned the exact same teacher he had last year. The good news is they finally have two special ed teachers. Unfortunately one of them is the same one I locked horns with when trying to get Scholar Owl an IEP two years ago. The other nice piece of info I got today is that if you can’t get a case manager, you can get an IEP advocate directly from the State Dept. of Education. This I found out from the intake staff from the hospital. I’d like to know why no one has told me about this before. So now I need to find out how to go about getting that set up. The sooner the better.

I’m unbelievably exhausted and I am tired of fighting this battle with this school. The depressing thing is that school hasn’t started yet and already Little Bear has started screaming at me about not wanting to go to school. This is a really bad sign. I seriously hope that the people at the school will listen to me this year because my husband is dead set against homeschooling Little Bear. If Little Bear destabilizes again it’s very likely that he will end up being inpatient rather than intensive outpatient care. The part that pisses me off about it all is now I know that the school’s policy is to not approve the funding for his education while he’s in there. So what the hell am I supposed to do if all these people are not willing to work together to support this child? He can’t be in Kindergarten forever and what they have been doing hasn’t been working.

And this bullshit of an IEP is only for those with a learning disability is just that bullshit. There is a reason that mood disorders are on the list of qualifiers for IEPs. Because of things just like what happened to Little Bear last year. His mood destabilized and had to be pulled from the regular school program. So now what? Thanks to a lack of an IEP no education happened AT ALL. None, nothing. No funding was approved and the district office said if he had been in the special ed program he would have been granted the funding. This is complete bullshit all around. They were given funding at the beginning of the year to teach this child and the moment he was shipped off due to his mental health they basically say “sucks to be you, we aren’t sending you a dime for your education.” I don’t understand how this is even legal. The hospital tells me this school district does this all the time with the children that don’t have IEPs. They also told me that the children from that elementary in particular cycle in and out of their intensive outpatient program quite often.

This tells me a couple of things. Namely as someone that lives in the area I can already tell you the support system here sucks. If you live here and you are a special needs family you are driving at minimum an hour away for anything you need. Pray like hell that someone can come to you. And people wonder why I don’t ditch my family. Not everyone has family like I do with the medical background like they do. Yes they can be stressful and we have a complex past, but damn you can’t beat the supports like that. Anyway the other thing that concerns me about hearing that the children are continually cycling through the day program is that it suggests there is something wrong with the school’s staff too.

Just last year it hit the Channel 5 news that parents in our school district petitioned for legal action to be taken against a teacher in one of the other elementary schools for 11 years worth of reported physical abuse towards Kindergarten students. The same school I was thinking about switching Little Bear over to since it was 5 minutes down the bus route. These complaints had been filed and filed and administration over the years had been turning a blind eye, doing nothing. My therapist informed me that the news channel showed photos that were filed in the complaints and everything since I had missed it personally. Last I heard the teacher in question was suspended at the end of last year for investigation after that. This year district wide there was a scramble to hire teachers. Not entirely sure what that’s all about but from what I understand it’s mostly due to bullshit over the budget. The towns that are part of the school district are seriously not happy with the fat on the top level – especially since those were the people that got caught misappropriating funds a few years back and putting the district in the red that we are still trying to climb out of – and want it cut, but every time cuts are made it happens to the teachers. So the townsfolk around here are pretty damn livid. The teachers are pretty damn livid too. And in the end we’re expecting a quality education out of this mess? All I can say is the cards are seriously stacked against it.

When I graduated from high school – from this very same district I might add – I didn’t have much faith in the public school system. I was burnt out completely. It wasn’t until I entered college 10 years later that I rediscovered my joy in learning and that thirst for knowledge hasn’t quenched since. My sons do not have that quest for learning at all. The only time I ever saw that questioning gleam in Scholar Owl’s eye was before he started school. Even now, although he has started to question it’s only the topic at hand. He doesn’t launch an epic journey of knowledge of his own, just for the sake of finding out. Little Bear complains that Kindergarten is boring. And my middle son? I don’t know. As far as I know school is just one more routine that he’s supposed to do. It’s just work. This makes me sad. It took me hitting high school to hit that burnt out point. My oldest son hit that 4 years ago. My youngest hit it in Kindergarten! Say whatever you want but there is something fundamentally wrong with the Common Core if this is what it’s doing to our children.

I remember looking forward to the first day of school as a kid, even in high school. My children never do – save just one. Scholar Owl is looking forward to his first day of school this year for the first time since Kindergarten. Doesn’t matter that we have promised to up the ante this year because it’s high school, he’s still looking forward to it. We’ve already discussed possible routines. He’s leaning towards a 6 day week which should give us greater flexibility while still roughly following the public school schedule. Kind of hard having different school holidays, but we’ll see. If push comes to shove, I can always homeschool the other two to supplement public school stuff. My middle son has already expressed an interest in taking cooking lessons with Scholar Owl. I see no reason to turn him down and cooking from scratch is an excellent skill to have. Maybe we should throw Little Bear into the mix a few times and teach them all some tolerance and patience while we’re at it. Let’s pray we don’t blow up the kitchen while we’re at it! 😉

Anyway, we’ll see what the future brings. I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself here. I’m just not going to hold my breath with this school. They have let me and Little Bear down too many times already. I just wish my husband would understand that and stop living in denial about what’s going on with our son – or what ever it is he’s telling himself.

5 thoughts on “Exhaustion and Aggravation

  1. I wanted to comment on this because of the hells I went through with my own IEP stuff. My mother, no matter her faults, always had to fight with the various school districts I attended for my IEP. On my IEP, I was supposed to be allowed to attend small classes in the Special Education rooms so I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed in the mainstream classes. When we moved to the school district I attended for the last bit of my public school education, they tried to pull the “we don’t have that option here”. The first few weeks were terrible because the new school district was refusing to recognize that I even needed an IEP. I ended up in the principal’s office a lot. I didn’t tell my mum because I thought it was a test to see if I could handle ‘normal kid schooling’.
    Well, one day, the office called her because I refused to stand for the pledge. My mother blew a gasket and totally reamed them out and went to the superintendent and told them that my needs weren’t being met and that she’d consult a lawyer if they didn’t follow my IEP. I don’t know all the details or regulations or stuff like that because I never really cared so long as I got to go to a quiet space, but what they were doing was super illegal. If a student has special needs that are well within reasonable accommodations, the school has to recognize them, even if they don’t have “funding” and they can’t just kick kids out willy nilly unless they pose a real threat to themselves or others.
    My mother still has a bunch of documents from all the IEPs and school stuff throughout the years for me in case I need them for college. Anyway, the point of this huge thing was that, schools often try to pull this sort of stuff. You also don’t have to attend a school within a certain district. I know it can be a huge hassle, but I know you can appeal to attend a school that you feel would be able to attend to the needs of your child better.
    Again, this is from the perspective of a kid who was on an IEP since grade 2 or 3. It’s whatever you feel is best for your child. It’s also whatever your child thinks is good for them. I wish my mum had let me attend the smaller schools for gifted kids because I hated the big schools. They were too loud and too busy. The smaller schools I attended had me excelling both academically and socially. Again, just the perspective of an IEP kid.
    I hope this wasn’t presumptuous or unwelcome. I know I don’t normally comment on your blog. Please let me know if you think I was out of line.
    -The Sarcastic Autist

    • By all means your input, and any other person that has been a student with an IEP, is always welcome here at my blog! Always always and forever! <3 I have one son that has had an IEP since the very beginning so this is why this has been so frustrating that this school is pulling this nonsense with me. When my middle son got his IEP we lived in a different school district and they set everything up for us. When we moved they tried to wiggle themselves out of it but we qualified for a case manager back then and the case manager fought for my son's rights for us. Then they found out it was my uncle that had set up their Autism education program in the district and everyone started singing a completely different tune. My youngest son isn't diagnosed with Autism or anything they call a "learning disability" so they have been particularly difficult about this. What makes me angry about all of this is that Federal law clearly states that mood disorders qualify for IEPs when they cause disruptions in learning. This clearly has happened for Little Bear when we have had to pull him out of Kindergarten twice – once to put him in the hospital for mental health care. We shouldn't have to fight this fight to keep anyone stable just so they can have the head space they need to learn.

      • That sounds completely unreasonable on their part. It seems to me, and again, I’ve never been a parent, only a student, that they are purposefully and deliberately denying you and your son the helpful and totally reasonable accommodations that would help him succeed in school. That’s discrimination, in my opinion. It’s unjustifiable and a travesty that they are pulling this junk on you. I am outraged alongside you.
        I’m sorry, but there is no good reason for them to be doing this. I’ll come and raise hell if you like.
        Also, Little Bear should qualify for a case manager based on mood disorders. I once had a case manager when I was little who would take me to do all these fun things and let me have ice creams and such. She also listened and was very nice. I think it really helped me with my one-on-one communication. Of course, this was back in the late 90’s early 2000’s, so I can’t say what it’s like now.
        I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sounds so frustrating and sort of sad in a way. It made me feel bad when I was younger when me mum had to fight to get me reasonable accommodations. I felt like I was a bother and the school didn’t want me. I was also 14 at the time and more involved in the process. I don’t know how involved you let your kids be.

      • This is where my state literally sears my ass. His diagnosis qualifies him for case management BUT case management is all medicare/medicaid only and we are covered by military insurance right now. The mental health hospital helped us with the paperwork for the Katie Beckett waiver where you can get medicare coverage for a child even if you make too much money due to the child’s disability and ALL of my children qualify but they did the paperwork wrong because of the military stuff and I told them that. Sure enough we got denied. I would have better luck if I had just gone into DHHS in person, told them what I needed, and filled out the paperwork solo. As it was a lady called me from the state capital office saying aside from the issue regarding my husband’s residency it looks like income wise we qualify without the waiver. So I think I just need to go in person and just redo the paperwork. I don’t even understand why it was sent to the capital in the first place when we don’t even live in that county.

        This is where on one hand I appreciate how the military does things. I don’t miss the military life. I don’t miss growing up in it. But I do miss its sense of order, clear chain of command, and efficiency. It simply doesn’t exist in the civilian world at all. When my father retired when I was 14 years old I felt like I was thrown into a world of chaos. It was suddenly like no one knew how to behave. Here I am at 40 years old and sometimes I still feel like that.

        Little Bear would be receiving more services at home if he had medicare as well. Behavioral therapy being the biggest one. Namely the sleep hygiene. It doesn’t take much to break his sleep cycle and would love pointers on better strategies to hold the line on the nights he’s staying up all night.

        I do have paperwork to finish for Level 2 NAMI respite care. I forget now how many hours Little Bear was given, but we are supposed to be assigned someone to essentially babysit a set number of hours each month so I can get “me time” off to sleep, go shopping, study, go out, or do whatever. The problem I have is the mom guilt I have with that and the fact I have 2 other children. How is it okay to leave one child with a sitter and take off with the other two somewhere? I really can’t justify that anywhere in my mind at all. It would be one thing if this sitter watched all three, but not if the sitter only took Little Bear.

        As far as the IEP meetings go, I have never brought the son in question into them. Little Bear was brought in tow back before he could speak back in the day but once he could I found a sitter because he was distracting. It was never intentional on my part, but I have recently read the pros and cons of bringing the student into them. I think I will continue to not bring my sons to them unless they request to come – or unless the school requires them to be there. It’s quite possible that next year that the high school will require my middle son (I don’t have a blogging nickname for him yet) to be at their IEP meetings. I don’t know. As for Scholar Owl, my oldest, I homeschool him now and I have him involved with all of my planning but I believe that if I don’t he won’t try and this year he is high school now.

      • I think you’re doing splendidly. Honestly, I think you’re handling this whole situation very well.
        I’ll agree that it should be the student’s choice on whether or not they are involved in IEP planning. I was because I’m a fiercely independent person when it conveniences me.
        What ever is best for your children, do that. That’s the best you can do.

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