Friday, September 30, 2011

Taking a Break

I don’t have much to report about my ongoing battle with the school system. I wrote a letter summarizing our meeting from last week and included requests for specific information on the budget as well as answers to several questions. I am still waiting for a response. In the meantime, I’ve made phone calls to attorneys and advocacy groups and am learning what my options are. Rest assured I will be taking action soon!

Navigating the legal and political bureaucracy when facing problems like this is extremely time consuming. You have to take breaks and step away from the situation to clear your head. Fighting an organization as large as the school district is a long process, and, just like in a marathon, you have to pace yourself. From my experience, organizations, when faced with challenges from those they serve, strategically hide behind their many layers and levels of management. They hope we will eventually become frustrated enough to give up our cause. Private insurance companies, State Medicaid offices serving the disabled, and school systems like I am now dealing with all employ these tactics.

As parents of special needs children, we have many extra issues to manage. Taking an occasional break from advocating for a cause is not giving up. It’s a necessary means of balancing your life, completing other projects, and enjoying your family. Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to watch too many days go by without a resolution for Peter. The FM system he used in school for the last three years is collecting dust somewhere in an office simply because he is enrolled in a private school. It’s saddens me that we have such a limited ability to govern where our tax money is spent for education. To me, “equitable services” as outlined in IDEA law means that private, public, and home-schooled students should all have equal access to assistive technology as needed. To our local and intermediate school districts, it simply means a balanced budget, even if it comes at the expense of kids with special needs. How sad and pathetic is that!

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