Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shake Your Groove Thing

One of the hardest parts of being the parent of a special needs child is learning to speak up and fight for what you believe your child deserves. I have had to argue with doctors, teachers, and therapists many times. At the beginning of this year, I gave Alexis’ teacher a long letter about her special needs and side effects to look out for with her medicine. I also included a prescription from her psychiatrist with all of her diagnosis on it. I asked her to schedule a meeting to talk about the fact that I believed she qualified for 504 accommodations. I kept asking her all year, and she kept putting me off.

About a month ago, Alexis got her 3rd nine weeks report card. Her grade in Math had fallen from an A to a D. On the report card was a note from her teacher stating that she would like a conference. My first thought was… “Well SO would I! It’s about time.” I went in for the meeting and the first thing she asked me was “Do you think Alexis might have ADHD?”. I sat there stunned for a moment, and then asked her if she had read the letter that I gave her at the beginning of the year. Her response made me furious. She said, “Well, honestly I did.” “I didn’t see any of the behaviors you were talking about so I decided not to worry about it.”

I was polite when I wanted to scream at her.  Mostly because in that letter was a very important side effect from the medicine that Alexis could DIE from. I had thought that she was watching out for her all year long, when in reality she wasn’t. She didn’t even remember that the child had ADHD. I doubt she even read the letter. It made me so upset that the teacher took it upon herself to decide that MY child didn’t need accommodations and MY child was “fine”. I demanded to have a 504 meeting within the month before school was over and actually threatened to meet with the principal with a lawyer. The meeting was scheduled within 5 days. It left me wondering why she couldn’t have done this at the beginning of the year?! Ugh.

They approved for 504 her based on her ADHD as a disability. Next year during the iLEAP test she will get extended test time, and someone will read her the directions. For regular class she will get extended test time, reinforced directions, and the teacher will keep an eye on her to make sure she’s actually paying attention to her tests. She gets distracted very easily. All I want is for her to have the best learning experience possible, which is what she is guaranteed by law! Anyway, sorry for the huge rant. The point I wanted to make is that if you feel your child needs something, don’t be afraid to stand up and make a little noise. (Or in my case, it took a lot of noise. LOL) The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

I also have some cute videos to share with you all. As you know, my Mom and I took the kids to Global Wildlife while Ronnie was in Talladega. I finally got the video I took uploaded. Youtube doesn’t like me sometimes. Please excuse me for being loud and Southern in this video.

Yeah, my Mom pulled hair off of the animal. I promise she didn’t hurt it though. The guide had been around a few minutes before showing us that they were shedding their winter coats.

I have one more that is sure to make you smile. Miss Jordan LOVES Rhianna. Every single song that Rhianna has made, I’ve had to buy for my ipod on Jojo’s demand. Here she is dancing to “Rude Boy”. Pretty good for a kiddo who was told she would never walk huh?!

That’s my girl! Check out those super cute Ni Hao Ki Lan pajamas too. Hehe This was early in the morning. She wakes up full of energy. I, on the other hand, do not! If you listen closely, you’ll hear Alexis singing in the background.


Karen said...

Hi Heather,
I found your blog through a post on's a weird karma thing. I have a 16 year old gymnast daughter. I can relate-I have written those same letters that the teachers have never read. My dd was finally classified last year-took all this time. You are right about the squeaky wheel.
Gymnastics was a wonderful gift for my dd. The gym was the place where she excelled.She could focus on physical things like tumbling, and not sitting still is a GOOD thing.
Now on to the karma-I work for Beacon Adhesives, the makers of Zip Dry. I would love to send you a bottle so you can play with it. You will be hooked! So shoot me an email to and I will be happy to send it out with our compliments.

kim said...

cutest dancing! yeah I am tired of fighting with ppl over my 6yr old son w/add/hd and autism and his diagnosis was only in this past nov and I am already tired of arguing with ppl for him. Its very draining. My husband is much better at dealing with ppl for him than I am since I am a very "no-rock-the boat" type person.

how terrible that the teacher disgregarded your info.

Elizabeth said...

OMG! ACK! That teacher... so not okay! Grrrr! Good for you, and way to go for the dancing J!

Nancy aka Homesclscrapper said...

Hugs.....stupid teacher...ya know I would have flown down there to bust you out of jail if needed. love, love, love all the vids. hugs.

~*~ Stephanie ~*~ said...


Oh geez... don't know what all to say here.

After working in a special needs and alternative setting myself before Nick was born... I can tell you with some teachers (no matter how much it annoys them) you have to remind them CONSTANTLY about what your child's needs and such are. You shouldn't HAVE to but in reality you do.

I've read and kept up with your story for as long as I have been a member of You have always fought for your kids as hard as anyone I have seen. Keep at it! You are awesome.

I am finding myself in the mix of this now as the parent too. The week after next we have a meeting about Nick's eligibility for services (he is dangerously close to losing them because of the progress he has made this year... but he still has SOO FAR TO GO.)

I just have to keep reminding me that for now I am his voice and I am the best advocate for him. I will be thinking of you when I am fighting for him and what he needs.

Amanda Sevall said...

Glad you stood up for her and got her what she needs. Momma is always RIGHT!! Cute videos and super cute new blog design!

JadeCook said...

Parents with children that need a little extra help, already have enough to deal with and then having a teacher who just doesn't care, is not acceptable. You would think teachers and doctors would be the ones who understand the most, but in actually they have other students or patients and you have to be on them. I'm sorry you had to deal with all this. When we first came here our first cardio visit landed Westin in the hospital with heart surgery. I did not agree with him and neither did the cardiologist at the hospital. I wanted to change docs, but he was the only cardio the army had! So frustrating. We have other people in my husbands unit that take their kids to that cardio and complain about him too. We are pretty much done with all that stuff and I can't imagine to go though that everyday. Frustrated that no one understands. And you are an admirable person to adopt your kids and fight for them!
I love the wildlife place! I haven't been there in forever. That place is awesome. And I love hearing your southern accent :)
And Westin loved seeing Jordan dance! She was getting down!!!

Helen said...

wow Heather ... what a post. What fun videos! As to the whole school issue ... *sigh* ... you are an incredible mother and do an amazing job. Don't forget that!

jacqueline said...

oh no! that teacher doesn't seem to know what she is there for. aside from teaching, she's supposed to be like a second parent to the kids, making sure they are fine. in her case, she should have paid attention to your letter.

anyway, i hope that won't happen again.