Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Zoo

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Out in the Challenger Field

I got to stand out in the field and be Joey's buddy on Saturday for his baseball game. Apparently the Courtland baseball season is coming to a close (Courtland is first seeded!), so the volunteers are now thin.

He had a nice game, even hitting a ball to the outfield! He's becoming one of the big hitters for his team! He's also running better. It is amazing what a little focus on a skill can do for Joey, and a little motivation. He is losing that toddler trot and even leans forward a little to run to a base.

It is striking to see all the Challenger kids working so hard, even as they are having a good time. I suppose all play and activity is really "therapy" for everyone, but most folks don't call it that, or even think about it. Joey gets upset when he doesn't get to field a ball, but he's still learning to pay attention to the game enough to know when it is coming- before one of the other kids gets the ball. We have a child who goes around the bases in a walker, their dad cheering them on every step of the way. We have a child learning to pitch, working on coordination. We have a child in a wheelchair who likes to play shortstop, and lets folks know it. We have a child who can spin the bat around their hand like a fancy sword move. We have a child who is a runner, and just being out there playing a game is a challenge. We have kids who have been doing this for four years, and some, like us, who are new. They are, each and every one, absolutely amazing. Maybe I ought to write a play.

Joey and I worked on playing second base, but that wasn't really good for him, not enough balls coming his way to hold his interest. JoeyAndyDad had him more in the infield later on, and that was better in some ways- more balls hit his way- and not in others- more kids up there trying to field the ball and crowding Joey out. He also doesn't like getting tagged (he knows from school that when he's tagged, he's supposed to be out).

We still encourage him to steal home. He's our little hero.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The New School Waltz

Our little school system is set up with a split upper and lower elementary. What this means for most kids is that the older elementary kids- third, fourth, and fifth graders- are not housed with the wee ones (K-2), so that programming and instruction can be more focused on the needs of the two age groups. What it means for us is we have to start from scratch trying to claw for the services Joey needs, with a whole new group of people with a whole new attitude towards special education, special ed students, and what services should entail.

And so far, I am not impressed.

We had a separate meeting for ESY, partly because there was this huge gap called August, five weeks of black hole in service that would be a disaster for Joey. And what I learned was that our new crew believes my son's education is less important that waxing the floors. Really.

Not. Good.

I've listened to these folks at the Sped Parent meetings. The impression I get there is no better. There is a sense of dividing and isolating cases instead of a broader view of service in which the children's services and strengths are interconnected and interwoven for an effective educational netting- or better yet, fabric. You can't have social skills for one. The problem is I know they have at least three, likely more. Can't do this for one, can't do that for one. If I hear it again, I'm going to stand up and say, "You have one that needs this. Not wants. Needs. Figure it out." I'm starting to look up the numbers for lawyers again. I suspect I will need one in the next, oh, three years. And it is likely to be sooner rather than later. Better to go ahead and put in a retainer, rather than have to come up with one in a super-hurry.

As I left the meeting, the new administrator made the usual "Everything is going to be fine" speech. I think she meant well. However, if she thinks she's building any trust here, she is sadly mistaken. When your concern is about having to have a whole month to strip the floors, rather than being concerned about the needs of your students- even just one student, if you must- there is seriously nothing trustworthy there.

I'm going to have to start seeing some serious effort and creative support soon if we're to get any trust going on this side. And folks, it's looking like its going to be a long three years ahead.