The IEP was finally held for the student whose grandmother is concerned about the fact that he likes “girly” things…Despite my previous distaste for her clear sexism, I warmed up to her a tad at the IEP meeting. I know plenty of people have the ability to dismiss all immigrants to this country (for whatever reasons they think are valid), but when you have a woman speaking to you through a translator about how much better the education system is here, and thanking you for supporting her grandson – while his mother continues dabbling in the drug trade in Mexico – it is hard not to feel at least a little empathy. The child we were meeting for was born very prematurely, is developmentally delayed, and is being evaluated for other medical issues (because someone finally convinced the grandmother that a physical evaluation and medical care was worth the risk of deportation). The grandmother told us through tears how grateful she is that he even is allowed in school – in Mexico, she explained, the child’s older brother was expelled for epilepsy.

The heaviness of the meeting was interrupted by an unexpected fire alarm. While standing around waiting to be allowed back into the building, I asked our speech therapist if she knew why one of our students wasn’t coming to speech therapy, thereby preventing me from ever completing an assessment on him. The speech therapist explained, “His mom said she has very bad gas and has been on bed rest for it.” I’m not sure how she managed to relay that information to me with a straight face, but the mother is not pregnant, and truly has not brought her child to speech therapy because of rumored gas issues. Awesome. 


So. Much. Writing

I typically have 10 or less IEPs in progress at a time, meaning I have received notice I need to do a health assessment on a student but either have not done the assessment, or finished my report, or tied up any loose ends.

For the last two weeks I have been holding steady at 25-28 open IEPs…AGHH!!! I got slammed with requests and just haven’t been able to finish them up completely. Why? Examples:
  • Turns out one of the kids has seizures but has never had a health care plan written for him, so I need to do that and then get it signed by the parent...Which should have actually been done several years ago when he joined the district. Oops. This is what happens when caseloads are too large. 
  • A significant fraction are due to parents not turning in the required form on their student’s health history that I need
  • A student needs glasses according to her grandmother, but passed my acuity tests without them, and continually leaves them at home “on the counter” so I can’t complete my assessment.
  • A small fraction are preschool students, which involve getting in touch with their parents. No easy task when I have access to a private phone line about 1.5 days per week.
  • One of them is a 4th grader whose teacher brought him to the office because his left upper lip appears paralyzed in speech. He couldn’t cross his midline easily either: ask him to touch his right hand to left ear, no problem; left hand to right ear was slooooooow. A call to dad via the translator prompted an immediate doctor’s visit. His parents had also noticed “slowed speech” recently in this student. No word from what transpired at the doctor’s yet (and parents do claim they took him), but when I called him into my office the following week, he had zero difficulty crossing his midline. He told the translator his dad had helped him practice the movement….Huh? Suggestions, anyone? Needless to say…still an open case.