It was supposed to be a simple meeting.
“Ten minutes,” the e-mail read from the school district registrar.
We’ve decided to go ahead with registering Zack for Kindergarden so that we may have another evaluation, receive recommendations on where he would best learn, tour a couple of the local schools and THEN make a final decision.
First of all, wow, What a process! We’ve met with a Special Education team shortly after we updated his IEP. They were completely torn on whether to hold him back another year (since he JUST started his new school and JUST got a new IEP and JUST added Occupational Therapy and JUST started receiving help from his aide) or have him start Kindergarden in September (because he would do well with routine and structure and he’s improved so much just in a couple of months, etc).
So after I assembled his birth certificate, social security card, immunization records and completed a 30-minute long online application, I made the ten-minute meeting with the registrar just to finalize and formalize and move ahead.
A very polite woman in her 40s gave Addie some coloring books and sat me at her desk at the district office. I smiled, nodded, gave the paperwork.
She came back from making copies and said, “OK, so your home school is… ”
The answer should have been Dana Street Elementary. It’s five blocks away. That one or the State Street Elementary, in the next town, with a great LifeSkills system in place, are our two options. But the key thing is we have at least two options.
This woman interrupted herself, mumbled, “Oh, that’s right, IEP… hmm, Down Syndrome…”
And then said.
“It doesn’t matter what his home school is. LifeSkills, right?”
Like it was nothing.
Like she didn’t just say something that made me want to punch a stranger. In the face. In front of my two-year-old daughter.
I kept my Jersey in check and didn’t cause too much of a scene, although I did make it very, very clear that we are looking for an evaluation, considering both possibilities and will pretty much be leading the process based off of what’s best for Zack.
To which she replied, “Well that’s not typically how we do things with… this… sort of thing.”
I didn’t even question what sort of thing or why there was a “typical.”
But gosh, last night was just exhausting. Mentally exhausting. Because there are a thousand fights to be fought for ZMan just to make sure he is given a freakin’ chance. For my beloved potential and possibility.
In six months, Zack may very well enter a LifeSkills class and never look back. Or he might be in a regular classroom down the road. Or we might wait another year and enjoy Pre-K some more.
But whatever decision we make, it will be based off of looking at ALL of the options. Not just what’s “typical” or what might seem obvious to a 40-year-old polite lady in a crowded office.