Wednesday, March 28, 2007

And The Winner Is...

My son.

First off-- thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post.

Armed with all of your excellent suggestions and many words of encouragement-- I sent off the following email to the school psychologist (whom I've discovered is the on-site coordinator for 504s):

L____,

Could you give me an update on the status of my son's 504 plan? Did you receive the paperwork I signed and sent back to you?

It's been nearly three weeks since I've heard anything, and I'm extremely anxious to get this thing put into place before the end of the school year. Is there anything I can do to help facilitate this process?

If you haven't yet received the medical information you requested from Joseph's endocrinologist, I could give her a call.

I'm sure that Dr. C____ would be happy to help expedite your receipt of Joseph's relevent medical history-- given that many of her diabetic patients have 504s and she strongly agrees that Joseph needs one as well.

Thanks for all of your help!

I then receive a note back saying that they are "waiting for a letter from Joseph's doctor."

Hmmm.

You see, I already got a letter from Joseph's doctor-- in October.

Back when the school nurse balked at my insistance on including accomodations for academic testing in Joseph's Health Management Plan.

(She just didn't see a need-- expressing disbelief that, for example, a very high blood sugar could affect Joseph's academic performance.)

At the time, frustrated by the nurse's response, I'd gone to Joseph's endo and asked her to review the plan I'd prepared.

And to write a letter approving its contents.

Here is what she sent me:

Dear School Officials:

Attached please see the individualized diabetes care plan for Joseph ___. I have reviewed and approved this plan for his school time diabetes management. Recent research has underscored the significant effects of both low and high blood glucoses on learning retention, mood, and academic performance. Diabetes care must thus be individualized to maximize glucose control in each child with diabetes. The attached plan meets Joseph's care needs.

The school nurse knew I had this letter, yet she told the school psychologist that she was waiting for Joseph's endocrinologist to send a letter describing "what needs to go into a 504 plan" for my son.

Again-- hmmm.

So.

I call the nurse.

"Hi, B-- I'm just checking in on the progress of Joseph's 504. I got an email back from L telling me that you're waiting for a letter from Joseph's doc and-- "

"Well, Sandra," she says, "Dr. C was very busy when I called her on this, and since spring break is next week, I told her there was no rush."

Hearing this made my blood boil.

(Just last week, Joseph's teacher made it clear to me that if we don't get a 504 in place soon, folks at the District will see no point in going through this process until next year.)

"B-- there is a rush," I say firmly. "We need to do this now if we want something established before middle school- "

"Well, I don't know... Joseph's been doing really well with his Health Management Plan-- and there are plenty of other kids with diabetes out there in middle school who are doing just fine."

"Yes, you're right-- Joseph has been doing well with his current plan. But that's precisely why we need to do this now.

"Because if something goes wrong-- there isn't going to be any grandfathering 504 protection."

I go on to describe some of the worst case scenarios, and then:

"B-- what exactly are you looking for from Joseph's doctor?"

"Well, we need to know what she thinks is necessary- "

"But I already have a letter that should cover that-- "

"Well, I'll be getting something back from the doctor sometime after the break... we'll let you know... "

She's not hearing me.

I tell her "thanks," hang up-- and call the psychologist.

And read her the letter.

"Sandra-- that's exactly what we need in order to move forward on this."

"Beautiful-- I''ll bring it by in half an hour."

And despite the fact that one is sitting in the nurse's office (just down the hall from the psychologist), I decide to bring along yet another copy of Joseph's plan.

Shortly after my arrival, I hand the psychologist both the letter and plan. She quietly looks through the latter document, commenting that she's "never seen it before."

(Yet another "hmmm.")

"Sandra," she says finally, "would it be possible for you to send me an electronic copy of this? Then I can just cut and paste the whole thing right into the 504."

"You bet I can."

Then I smile for the first time at this wonderful, wonderful woman.

"And, when we have the 504 meeting-- which should happen the week after spring break --" she continues, "we'll only need to discuss possible additions to what you already cover here."

"Awesome," I say, unable to stop smiling.

So there you have it.

I'll let you know if we hit any more bumps, but so far, things are looking very good.


15 comments:

Shannon said...

I am so relieved that you have someone in your corner.....someone with clout!

But I was so frustrated reading this and seeing what you're going through. I just want to shake that nurse for dragging her heels and being so resistant.....and I wonder why people are giving you such a hard time over all of this.

I'm breathing a big deep sigh for you and am counting on everything running smoothly for you.

Minnesota Nice said...

Oh man, Sandra. I did not even know what a 504 was before reading this.
You are a stellar example of focusing on a goal and plowing ahead.
Sorry you kpet getting the runaround, but, maybe your efforts will make it easier for the next child.

Bernard said...

Sandra

God bless you for your persistence. And for now yelling at the nurse, who seemed to care more about a lot of other things besides the 504 work.

I hope it goes smoothly from here.

Anne said...

To be blunt, B seems to be an initial that fits that nurse.

My mind keeps going through nouns - nerve, gall, but none of them fit. I just can't believe the way she's looking at all of this.

I am reminded of when I was in jr high though, and the school refused to allow kids with asthma to carry rescue inhalers. Even though the school was (literally) 1/4 mile long, and the clinic was at the very end.

It's amazing how behind the times some of these people seem to be.

Nicole P said...

Awesome! Sandra. Great news.

Carey said...

Thank goodness. I see what we have to look forward to.

Sandra Miller said...

Shannon-

I really think the nurse has been dragging her heels because of liability.

Bottom line-- if a 504 is in place, she is ultimately responsible for seeing that it is adhered to.

MN-

Thanks. I hope that is true as well.

Bernard-

It was really, really hard not to yell. :-)

Anne-

Yeah, B has never been my favorite. We had a rocky beginning when we first met-- just two weeks after Joseph's diagnosis.

Thankfully, her assistant (K) is AMAZING. She's been in the school for over 20 years, knows her stuff, and LOVES Joseph.

In fact, K was supposed to retire after last year, but decided to stay on one more year-- intimating to me that she wanted to be here until Joseph moved on to middle school.

Nicole-

I'm still celebrating today. :-)

And Carey-

You are gonna know so much more than we did before Joseph began his first school year (3rd grade) after his diabetes diagnosis.

You'll hit the ground running on a 504-- and Charlie will be just fine.

Molly said...

Good job!
Glad it worked. Good for Joseph.

:-)

MileMasterSarah said...

504’s. I’ll be doing that for Gracie soon, and I’m still struggling for Sandis’s IEP. Good luck with that, be persistent, and keep a written trail. It sounds like things are going to work out though!

Jamie said...

Way to go Sandra! Your persistance is paying off :) I'm right behind you cheering you on!

Jen said...

good for you! We need to advocate for our kids as often as possible! not only does it teach them to demand the best care, it makes the community aware. Kudos to you!
http://jendean.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Sandra! We, too, had problems with our teacher this year who would not follow the 504 regarding sending home missed work when absent. An emergency meeting was called with the school psychologist. Neither the principal nor the teacher attended the meeting. The teacher sent in her aide in her place. As excuse after excuse was given (seems they don't want to bother or do not know how to attach missing work or description thereof to emails, claiming all classwork does not spring from textbooks but from "lectures"), the school psychologist told the aide, "it seems to me that they really aren't asking for that much." So appealing to a higher power can work wonders. P.S. You are lucky to have an endo who supports you. Our endo does not think "academic accommodations for high BS are necessary"! However, since we already had addressed this in our 504 Plan of last year (different endo), the accommodations were just grandfathered in. We didn't mention the endo resistance. Why do some beurocrats spend so much of their free time making life difficult? These kids have enough to deal with. So you are set and so is Joseph! Hooray for you!

Johnboy said...

Sandra, obviously nothing happens without you pushing this request through every step of the process.

What a super-advocate you are for your Joseph and how lucky he is to have you as his mother.

Great job!

Gina said...

You go girl!

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