First let me begin by making excuses. I really enjoy this blog and look forward to the day that I can keep up with it. The past weeks have been filled trying to get my mother in law's online store up and running in time for holiday shopping. It has been a rewarding experience. She is truly talented and I have learned a lot about different aspects of her work. Someday I hope that maintaining her store will provide me with the piece of mind I need to stay home and take care of Lian and his needs. Then perhaps I will find that extra moment to update this blog more than once in a whileAnyone who has followed me here, on Facebook or on CafeMom, knows how hard we have tried to find help for my son. He needs to be officially assessed, diagnosed, treated. At the very least, he needs to be given the tools that will help him navigate through a neuro-typical world. It has been an ongoing circle of frustration.
The pediatrician says he needs to be assessed by a therapist. The therapist says the school needs to make the assessment. The school, before we knew they had to help us, told us there is nothing wrong with him that a time out once in while wouldn't cure. After we pointed out that they have to test him based on state law, they told us that they could only test if he were at risk academically. It would seem that my son, who can barely read and write at grade level and state tests below basic, doesn't qualify. There have been a myriad of other excuses from these people as to why they won't assess him but long story made shorter. We finally just went to a different school.
We love Connections Academy it has provided Lian with the flexibility to learn and succeed at his own speed. However, several times a week we run into extreme prejudice about our decision to put our son in a virtual school. I am always amazed at the misconceptions. I keep joking about making a top ten most asked question flyer just to hand out to people.
- Yes, he does go on field trips, more than your student probably does. Class picnics even.
- Yes, he uses all the same text books, workbooks and reads the same authors as your student probably does.
- Yes, he is required to take ALL the same state testing required each year and for graduation as your student does.
- Yes, he has access to great enrichment programs like, Study Island, Reading Eggs, Khan Academy, First in Math and many more. Just like your student hopefully does.
- Yes, he takes PE, he probably spends more minutes doing physical exercise as part of his curriculum than your student does.
- Yes, when he graduates from high school he gets a real diploma, just like your student will. His school even has college visits week (for all grade levels)
- Yes, there are electives such as foreign languages and music available to all grade levels.
- Yes, they have honor roll.
- Yes, there are fun clubs like robotics, chess, math, science, book club, photography, creative writing, school paper, service clubs and so on. Many are open to students in any grade, rather than just the upper grades.
- Yes, he does have a very real teacher. She teaches classes, monitors his progress, gives him extra tutoring, grades his papers, offers encouragement.
She also goes above and beyond. She was Lian's teacher last year as well. She has watched his progress carefully and always been there to offer advice and support. She is terrific at getting him to focus. She been amazing at giving him extra tools to get school done.
Finally, we have been able to set in motion the needed testing to get Lian assessed. She has kept track of the various things we have tried and the conferences we have had along the way and even offered to be available during my conference with the special ed resource teacher. I was pleasantly surprised, when talking to the special ed teacher, to find out she had already been brought up to speed by Lian's teacher and we were ready to proceed to the next steps.
In the next couple of months we hope to be getting some answers. I could write a whole other post about how accommodating special ed at Connection Academy has been over the last few weeks(it would of course be as long as this post is). I don't know where this is going to lead, but I am truly appreciative so far. All I have ever wanted for my son was to know how to help him make the best of what he has been given. I have nothing but respect for teachers in general, but I give kudos to Capistrano Connections Academy for having snatched up Mrs. Vazquez and having the foresight to make her a PACE teacher. I know my son is a better student for it. I am certainly a less stressed mom.