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Dealing with the school system

September 17, 2012


 I find it funny when I go into school meetings and everyone there is very pro school.  I’ve been a public school teacher so I know some of what goes on in that world and would no way now tell a responsible, intelligent, devoted parent that THIS is the best way.  But when you are in the environment, you really do feel like this is the only way.  So it came as no surprise when the lady doing the eval really pushed preschool and how wonderful it would be for him.  Super wonderful. I’m sure. Especially when I look at how this initial meeting with the public school went.


Now mind you this is coming from a parent who has ZERO history with the Atlanta public school coming in to the special needs scene for the first time. Thank God I have a teacher background and knew somewhat what to expect. I can’t imagine what a parent who is just now trying to get help for their kid would think. No wonder so many parents don’t do this route.  Not because they are making up for it at home but because they are overwhelmed or frustrated.


I took Rett in. First.. the parking.  I have to show the guy my appointment sheet.  Then he assigns me a spot and says something about an elevator.  I park, get Rett out and the elevator is no where to be seen. I’m sort of scared to be walking around in a parking garage.  The visibility when coming around corners is basically 0 and this doesn’t seem like a safe place to be walking around with my 3 year old searching for the elevator. So I leave the parking garage and decide to walk around to the building.  The parking attendant spots me and waves me over to show me the mysterious elevator.  Adventure #1.


We go into the building where we have to pass through a metal detector (no joke) and someone with a special key pass has to let me into the wing.  Perhaps I should wear my bullet proof skirt next time.  The hearing screening is first. There is another mother and child in doing the screening so I sit down to wait. When its our turn, the lady is actually pretty good with Rett and we get the first thing done and then go into this closet type box to do the rest of the hearing eval. He’s already done one of these so I knew what to expect. Except when we go into the closet thing, the chair has a huge wet spot on it from the MOTHER that was there before me.  Who is now sitting in another one of their chairs out in the front waiting room.  I’m not sure what this mysterious liquid was but thankful they saw it before I just sat down. Ew.


With the hearing screening done, we now go onto the vision screening.  Rett has to identify pictures on cards with varying sizes. He’s already done this at the eye doctor so he’s pretty good at it. To a point. Then we start throwing semi fit because we’re done saying house, duck, bird, apple over and over.  When this torture is complete we now get to do the developmental exam. 


We’ve now been at the school for an hour getting those two things done. My autistic son has so far dealt with a new building, 3 strangers demanding information from him, two different new rooms and no snack/sippy because of all the no food or drink signs everywhere.  We now enter room #3 with stranger #4. 


This room has an assortment of toys and books in it. In plain site. Which the lady immediately tells Rett he isn’t to touch.  We sit down and she starts asking him to identify this and point to that.  There are some physical tasks.  He has to complete some puzzles.  He’s begging for a snack.  The lady tells him ‘Its not a big deal, why are you crying?’ At this point I’m wondering if she has ANY experience with autistic children. She is no spring chicken. 


We get to the parent interview section where she asks me questions about Rett and I have to rate the answers to his abilities from never to all the time.  She then tries to answer for me half the time.  Apparently I’m a delusional parent because I think my child acts differently in his normal environment rather then this three ring circus.  I seriously almost punched her when she said ‘Responds emotionally appropriate to situations. Well I’m not seeing that today.’  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?!  I hadn’t even answered at all this is just what she tells me.  Do these people not realize this is my BABY.  That we have spent everyday of his life with him. That we have pushed, cheered and celebrated each milestone and watched him fight through things that should have come easily.  Spending 30 minutes with a child does not entitle you to have a huge opinion on them. 


Rett turned out as on target with his knowledge (alphabet, counting, puzzle work, etc), behind in social/emotional and gross motor (which I think is off because he wouldn’t do what she wanted so she scored it as fail).  So we now have to go back again to have those tests done. 

You’ll excuse me when I almost laughed in her face when she told me how wonderful the preschool would be for him. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 17, 2012 3:17 pm

    I think I would have wanted to punch her too! I mean, besides having Autism, he’s THREE for crying out loud!!! Doesn’t sound like he did anything different than what my 3 yr old would have done in the same situation. Is there any hope you can get someone else next time?

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