God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Well I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later....things seemed to be too perfect with Brenden in school. Let's just say round 1 of Dugan's vs. Berkeley County Schools is over. Let me start by saying that Brenden's IEP states that the school will provide the least restrictive environment. Which means that when possible, he will be given the freedom to use his walker when possible.

Last week after the IEP meeting was over, Brenden was in PE class so I got to peek in for about 5 minutes. Well, momma didn't like what she saw and when Jonathan found out, I knew it was about to hit the fan. The kids were playing a game with balls (I will also say that I am less then impressed with the PE teacher. ) but Brenden....well he was sitting off to the side, not involved. at. all. Then, another day last week, a private set of eyes we occasionally have at the school told us that he was in a stroller out on the playground while playing at the sand table. Um, he can stand. He can use his walker. And still play at the sand table. Least restrictive environment, huh?!?

So today, Jonathan confronted the teacher regarding our concerns. I don't think she took it very well being confronted, but sorry, when my child isn't being cared for as he should be, you're getting called out on it! Of course there was an excuse for the situations we brought up which were totally unacceptable responses. There are two teachers in Brenden's class...one special needs and the other a Head Start teacher. The Head Start teacher intervened and talked to Jonathan while the other teacher took a moment to calm down.

Jonathan made it very clear that we do realize there are times, i.e. going to the cafeteria, that Brenden will need to be in a stroller. But he also made it very clear that Brenden needs to be able to walk when he wants to. We have spent 3 years pushing him, not allowing him to give up, and focusing on what he CAN do, as opposed to what he can't. And it was unacceptable that they were confining him to a stroller when he clearly didn't need to be. After more conversation, everyone calmed down and left on good terms.

As Jonathan told the teacher, we know that the day will come when Brenden gets excluded because he's not physically able to do something. But in a preschool environment, especially one that is primarily special needs, there is no reason under the sun for him to be excluded. Hopefully our point was made. I think this was a wake up call for them that we aren't the type of parents to send our kid to school and not worry about what he does while there. The classroom Brenden is in has an open door policy so we can drop in anytime we want. We will fight for our child and do whatever it takes to make sure he's getting everything he should.

So, the moral of the story is, don't mess with this Mama and Papa bear.


KeicherMom said...

Don't mess with mama and papa bear indeed! How upsetting it must have been for you to see this. They should be encouraging and supporting him with his mobility...hopefully this will be the last battle you'll have to fight for a while.

Summers Family said...

Great job Mama & Papa Bear!! I'm sorry that had to happen as I'm sure your hearts were hurting. What a lucky boy he is to have you guys advocating for him. I hope you start to see a change ASAP!


Cassie said...

I wish I could say that this will be the last battle you will have to fight, but I'd be lying :). Even the best school district with the best teachers won't get it right all the time. We have to be on our toes with our eyes open making sure our kids are given every opportunity. And some of it may just be that they don't "know" Brendan and all that he is capable of, since he hasn't been in school as long. Good for you for advocating for your little man.

Robin said...

You go girl! People outside our circle have no clue as to the distance Brenden has travelled. You are absolutely right to confront these situations and let them know that you don't send Brenden to school as a respite for you. You are sending him for the very reason the school exists! This may also be a sign for you to pursue this line of work????? Don't let up, honey. There are likely other people out there in similar situations that don't have the nerve to protect like that!!!!