Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-08/27/2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 08/20/2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wheelchair For A Day!!

     You know when something is constantly on your mind, you have to get it out there, so to speak.  Getting it out there can be talking about it, writing about it...whatever, however.  As long as it is o-u-t!  I made another Facebook post about the fact that Kerstin is at school, in an already snugly fit wheelchair, yet there is no another way for her to sit that is supportive.  

Very similar to Kerstin's chair!

     The beanbag she used for years before moving on to middle school is now flattened.  We were told by the special ed coordinator that "if it was purchased with special education funds, it can be used by any student".  Kerstin being the only user of that beanbag was NOT a problem until I went to the newspaper on the horrible accessible issues at the school.  Never-mind the fact that Kerstin and one other child were the only ones in wheelchairs.  He wasn't in attendance much this past school year.  Nonetheless, I was able to borrow a Tumble Form chair from CRS.  Kerstin used that chair until she went home on medical leave, prior to her spinal fusion.   

    After surgery, Kerstin had extra inches and pounds on her and quickly outgrew the borrowed chair!!  We've been seeking funding and sources for a chair that is big enough for her now.  It's coming soon, like the newly ordered wheelchair, they take a little time.  

     The back-story came to say once again...if these school leaders were in or had to be in wheelchair all the would they handle things?  No other seating option.  No way to get out of the chair unless she is being changed!  NO, Kerstin will NOT be in attendance for the entire school day without another way to sit!  You know once I said that, letters are needed!  I already saw that one coming!  
Therapy/changing table.  Can't sit here unsupported!

     Kerstin's ortho specialist said something that I will not forget.  At her appointment last month when we were talking about school and seating, he said "It seems like so many people in our schools have lost all common sense."  That was powerful!  I haven't been seeing much common sense lately.  The people within her school system that seem to have it are often treated badly, and please don't form a decorum with Kerstin's mom.  Some have questioned how one could be nice to me after my going to the media.  Makes me laugh!  

     "Wheelchair For A Day!"  I would be willing to do the leg work to find chairs for a day.  Would the superintendent, special education coordinator, all central office administrators, and every board member be willing participants in "Wheelchair For A Day?  Our friends in the media will also be invited!

Inclusion!  That means,  YOU try a Wheelchair For A Day.  Share your experiences!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is Self-Contained? How would you handle it?

     I often wonder how many parents actually give that a thought.  How many whose child(ren) have special educational or healthcare needs actually know what a "self-contained" classroom is all about.  Oftentimes, these classes are called "special classes", the "special ed[ucation] class".  At the same time they are looked upon negatively. 

     In my research and coursework, I recently read something that made me think about Kerstin's school.  "Many of the students who were in special education were often isolated in the least desirable locations within the schools" (Losen and Orfield, 2002).  Previous posts and letters submitted to the local paper can attest to this being a sad reality in my daughter's school. 

     Special education classrooms or the self-contained classrooms are defined as: 

 Self contained classrooms are classrooms specifically designated for children with disabilities. Self contained programs are usually indicated for children with more serious disabilities who may not be able to participate in general education programs at all. These disabilities include autism, emotional disturbances, severe intellectual disabilities, multiple handicaps and children with serious or fragile medical conditions.

These classrooms are NOT designated to be an afterthought, a catch all storage area, a place to put students because they have behavioral issues.  There are areas for all of those.  They are called an actual part of the school environment, a storage closet and the behavioral management classroom.  If that type of class is not available, maybe one should be invested in.  

     While wondering what other parents knew and thought of the self-contained classrooms, I also wondered what would happen if others, particularly the decision-makers had to spend a day in these classroom that are placed in the "less desirable parts of the schools?  Can you imagine that?  I cannot count the times I've pictured the special education coordinator especially and maybe even other school board and leaders, having to use a wheelchair and not being able to get out of the chair unless it was the for purpose of using the restroom.  How would you handle it?

     How would you handle an entire school day in a wheelchair with no other seating option in the "self-contained" classroom?  Bean bag flattened and no longer supportive for a child with little to no trunk control.  How would you handle being segregated from your peers and not interacting with others that do not have a disability or special educational need?  

     I don't think that would be a comfortable feeling!  I'll say it again, my daughter does NOT live a self-contained life and she will not attend school and on a daily basis be expected to do so there.  

     Please do not misunderstand me on this.  The classrooms are needed!  They need to be an environment that is conducive to learning and tailored to assist with the needs of the students that they are there for.  Not an afterthought!

More to come...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer break is over!!!

     Well, today was Kerstin's first day as a 7th grade student!  I am still in disbelief!  My daughter, my baby is in 7th grade and will be a teenager in December!

     Today was interesting.  I am amazed at how district leaders know how to avoid you when things aren't fully in place.  This is NOT the post for that and I will not "go there" now!  I hope they know IEP's were written at the end of the 2013-14 school year!

     Kerstin wanted to sleep in late!  Like always, I had the lights and TV on...nothing was working at first.  Eventually, we got the day started!  She was happy to see her teachers and the students, only for a while too.  She was ready to go.  I knew she couldn't stay long anyway because of the seating arrangements and her chair being a snug fit.  Hopefully the new wheels will be here soon. 

Here are some pictures from Kerstin's first day of school!  

All loaded up, ready to go!

"I'm ready to go home now!" 

More to come...