Monday, June 29, 2009

Preparation, Schmeparation

Jack is going to special education summer school (ESY), and it starts July 7. As in Tuesday. I kept waiting and waiting for information to come in the mail detailing what would happen at ESY and when our meet-the-teacher day would be.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!

Last week the letter came, as well a letter from the transportation department. The sum total of information I got? Pick-up and drop-off times for the bus and an emergency information sheet that gets sent in on the first day of school. Oh, and this:
"If your child does not communicate well, please include a visible name tag and 3 x 5 card in his back pack with name, address, and relevant phone numbers at home and at work as well as a number for a responsible adult selected by you, to take charge of your child if you are not available."
I'm sure this will go well.

These people have never seen my child before. I have my fingers crossed that he doesn't hide his 3 x 5 card, claim to be Anita from the 30 Day Shred DVD (his new alter-ego, FYI), end up in the wrong classroom, and get sent home to somebody else's house.

They didn't even tell me if I should pack him a lunch.

Above and beyond all of THAT, which I'm just trying to not think about right now, there's the issue of preparing my special needs child for school. He won't know his teacher's name, he will never have seen his classroom before, he won't know where the bathroom is. He will be put on a bus and then have entirely new people introduce him to an entirely new atmosphere.

I might reiterate at this point that these are special needs children, many of whom don't adjust to new things very well. Fortunately Jack is fairly adaptable, but not all special needs or typical kids are. And Jack is not always adaptable. Which is why I try to prepare him for things like this.

Fortunately in the letter, the site coordinator wrote that we could contact her at a certain phone number. So I called her to see if I could get a teacher's name to give to Jack or maybe even get a tour of the classroom on a day when they were setting up.

Of course, the number was for the school, and the school told me that the site coordinator wouldn't be in until July 7. Which, if you remember from the top of this post, is the first day of ESY.

Are you kidding me?

We ended up stopping by the school today to wander the halls and peek in the classroom windows and play on the playground a little so Jack at least has some idea of what to expect. At least when he gets off the bus on Tuesday, it won't be the first time he sees the place.

Jack on the ESY school's playground, all wrapped
up in a blanket on a 90-degree day.


  1. Oh my god, reading this almost makes my head explode.

    I HATEHATEHATE stuff like this. Transition much, people? Holy CRAP.

    How close by is the school? Can you drop in on the 6th? Surely SOMEONE has to do some setup ahead of time? Is there anyone else you can ask for some inside info?

    (Think "Spy Camp"?)

    I for one hope he DOES go as Anita. Let 'em scramble.


  2. You are a great mom. I think some more phone calls are in order, also, maybe you should drive him on the first day, pop in and check things out with Jack. I can hang with the other guys.

    Maybe someone will call you. I was nervous about our summer camp, and the lady running it called me a few days before hand with instructions etc. It was surprising but nice.

  3. That is really surprising for a special ed program. (but I guess not really since it is a county program) I would think that this goes against everything that is helpful for these kids. Arrrgh! Sorry that you guys have to deal with extra anxiety. I hope everything goes well. Driving him on the first day may not be a bad idea.

  4. OK, pardon my sarcasm wen I say: Chances are THEY don't even know who the ESY teacher is yet.

    At least around here 1) your kid is lucky to even get ESY, 2) the ESY paras and teachers have no training in your child's disability, 3) most staff think the parents want it just for 'babysitting' and have said as much, 4) there is no communication or planning or really anything other that warm bodies (or cold ones!).

    Document Document Document.

  5. Oh. Good for you going by there and checking things out. I hope you can get a bit more information before Day One, I mean - what about the kids who AREN'T as adaptable as Ani-er-Jack is? Wow, surprising!

  6. I was summer AP for sped twice. A long time ago. There's a big reason why I stopped. Wish I could be more positive....

  7. TC started ESY today. All I got was the schedule too. He knows a little about it because he went last summer.

    I guess he did fine. The thing that bothers me is lack of feedback and TC doesn't tell me much either.

  8. That is absurd. My son doesn't have any special ed needs (that we know of yet, anyway) and he still gets nervous if he's at a new school and doesn't know his teachers' names. Hope he has a great time in spite of it all.

  9. What the absolute HELL? And they want you to send your child to them? I think I saw stars reading this. No no no and NO. Is there someone you can call to raise holy hell? Someone at the district? Child Find? Superintendent? Principal? This is wholly unacceptable. Idiots! Pure idiocy... Grrr....

  10. We had the exact (seriously EXACT) same thing happen to us with ESY last year. This year we're at a new school and their ESY program is about a billion times better. Still, I can so feel your pain on this one my friend. I'm sure Jack will have a great time once this is all sorted out but what a stressful pain in the ass this is in the mean time.

  11. I get panicky just thinking about that. That is not okay. Not surprising, but not okay. Yeesh. I hope the transition goes well(ish.)

  12. Gah! I could scream for you! I really hope that once he gets there and settles in, it goes well.

    Meanwhile, gah! aaaaargh!

  13. This is the EXACT reason why I chose not to have Oliver do ESY last summer. He was only 3 years old and would have been completely thrown by the change. By the time he got used to the new set up, summer school would be over. This year it wasn't offered, but I think I'd be inclined to just skip it again anyway. Hopefully, next year we'll be in better shape for this since I could probably use a break (can you tell I'm starting to feel anxious about my new SAHM status beginnning in a couple of weeks?)

  14. Wow. That sounds completely insane.

  15. Sounds like every experience we've had with our public school system. What's that? You'd like to introduce your child to a new environment?

    The fact that the special needs people are equally clueless is mind boggling. Good luck Jack/Anita!

  16. Call to student services director/principal/special needs director. Make it clear you had expected the letter to contain appropriate information, such as the child's teacher and classroom number. Wait 24 hours. Call Superintendent. Wait 12 hours. Start calling school board members.

    I'll do the little "jumping up and down hopping mad" dance for you on Friday. This kind of stuff is why I'm on antidepressants. I think I may actually need blood pressure meds. :P

  17. Isn't MC great? So frustrating, I'm sorry. Luckily for us, J.'s ESY team is the same from the school year, but I've heard unbelievable stories from others. I hope once you're in and meet the actual teacher that things go smoothly.

  18. dude, this pisses me off that they did that. what the heck? really? NO INFORMATION. oohh, that just makes my blood boil. I hope Jack does pretend he's Anita, and does everything else to make their first day horrible (and you should just tell them, that's what happens when they don't give you more information). But I'd hate that for JAck. Please keep us updated. xoxo

  19. You got a letter! Over a week ahead of time!! And you're not happy with that??? What's wrong with you????

    Seriously, my son starts his summer program (through the county, not ESY) on the 6th and we don't even have transportation yet, nor do I know about food, nor do I know what they would do if my husband or some stranger off the street showed up to pick him up.


  20. Un-fucking-believeable. I could say so much, but it was mostly already said.

    Now, which one is Anita? The low-impact lady, or the crazy "let's make this even harder" lady?


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