Yet another 504 Mtg update...good overall!

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 6:50am
MattsMommy's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

First, the advice I've received here, particularly last week, served me well today, very well. My dh attended and we really feel like we've made progress. We are "this" close to a final document that says all we want it to say.

We made sure to keep it all business. We reviwed the Plan we had submitted last week.

They just didn't understand why we wanted things in the plan that are redundant (the statement on bullying, stating the Principal will enforce the 504, etc...). In fact, they consulted the district 504c who made a point to state she could not approve or deny ANYTHING in our plan as she was not part of the team, however she had recommendations. She stated much of what is in the plan is already school policy and used the example that the Principal enforces the 504 becuase that's his job and it is in his job description and is listed at least 3 times in various documents (administrator's manual, job description, etc...).

My answer? If it's repeated in other documents, why can't it be repeated here? What's the harm in specifying it in Matthew's plan? For the bullying issue, we pointed out how bullying a child with food allergy is/can be different than the typical bullying that occurs and that is why we want it included in the plan.

We kept repeating, rewording our point of view and to an extent, the "wear 'em down" method worked! lol

The "interesting" part was the nurse. I've felt from the beginning that she was the one that changed the tone of things. She was the one disagreeing with active voice, with statements that were in her opinion, redudant. Well today she showed her cards.

She teared up, raised her voice, and was very confrontational. She finally said (what I could already see) that she was "insulted and taking it personally". She went on to say she is the nurse and she KNOWS her duties and she KNOWS what to do for Matthew along with several other children with life-threatening conditions, etc...and again stated she was personally insulted that we felt the need to TELL her what needs to be done for Matthew in this document.

She said things like "we could make a 500 page document talking about how he can't be line leader because he has to touch doorknobs because some child might have eaten peanut butter and touched it earlier in the day but if you are bound and determined to have this included and you will not be satisfied until we do, then I'm done..I'll just sign it and you all will be happy. I mean, we can't foresee every situation and there is no way to make him 100% safe and we don't need this little detailed list because there is no way we can cover it all."

Later in the meeting she asked "do you take Matthew ANYWHERE?" Do you go to the movie theater or McDonalds or?"

I was fed up with her but I calmly responded to her the entire time, as did dh. We said yes we take him places. We said "yup, we go to the movie theater and wipe down the seats, and we only fly peanut free airlines no matter the cost and we go to McDonalds and we go on playdates and he plays soccer and we do eat out and...we simply take precautions EVERYWHERE we go." I made a point to say "we are not asking anything of you all that we don't do at home..we do that and more."

We reiterated that just because you can't make it completely safe, doesn't mean you do nothing. Our goal here is to lower his risk as much as possible while making his life that of a typical 5 yr old boy. I said the document we've presented covers the issues we feel are critical to him accessing a FAPE in a LRE.

With the nurse I did say (although I know I can't change how she's reacting to this) that this is not personal, it's not about her, it's about us advocating for Matthew. Dh pointed out that this document covers staff changes, that we believe the nurse and the teacher have the best of intentions, but we can't have him in school and be protected by people's "good intentions."

We really kept it level and the nurse sorta lost it. I kept thanking you all in my head thinking "I'm so glad I was advised to keep it professional and not try to make this a personal relationship...this would be a disaster on MY end right now if I were in that mindset."

The nurse left as she had another meeting and the principal made a point to say he did not see our plan in the same way she did. The teacher seemed to have a better understanding of where we're coming from as well. I was able to tell them that we were/are happy with the basic plan we devleoped before school started. But when we put it in active voice and put in a formal document, and everyone seems to backpedal, it throws up a lot of red flags.

I think we all came away with a better understanding of where we're coming from. We had copies of our plan given to everyone again (we'd edited it again and they already agreed with some of what we edited..made it a little "softer" in spots, but we still kept active voice..a MUST). We will meet next week and everyone said "to finalize and sign off on the final 504 plan.

We're close and in the end, we will get what we want. The principal wants each member to go over their "section" (the teacher read over the "The Classroom Teacher will [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] and make any remarks and next week we'll meet to finalize it all.

I'd be surprised if the nurse carries her behavior into the next meeting. But if she does, any advice on what to say? I think we did what we could, but I'm always open to more suggestions.

Thanks again and sorry so long...thinking aloud as I type (per my usual). Your advice has been invaluable and once again the Principal told us we're breaking new ground. He's right and so there will be bumps along the way..just have to perservere!

Maddy

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 7:47am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

So glad to hear this!
I'm curious, do you feel that they respect you?
I bet they see you as a [i]wonderful parent advocating for your child[/i]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] What do you think?
As for the nurse, well, you can always whip out Rhonda's outline. There are several of us who have shared our 504 plans off-line. I'd be willing to send you mine. I wonder what she'd think of it (I think it's 18 pages total). [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 8:33am
MattsMommy's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

Hi ya Gail,
Yes I think today they as a group have a better understanding about why we are so adament which lends to a mutual respect among us. I walked away feeling better about all of this than I have in awhile. We tried to make it clear after the nurse's outburst that we do trust the teacher/staff. A few times we stressed that while we feel they have the best of intentions, he cannot be protected by good intentions alone.
At the end after the nurse left Andy brought out Rhonda's outline. He explained what it was and how it is used. He pointed out that we have simply drawn from it what we feel is necessary for Matthew at this time, at this school. It got the point across and the principal actually asked to keep it. He again stated that we're breaking new ground here.
I get the feeling they see the active voice as a "set up"...a way for us to sit and wait for them to mess up and then be held accountable. We agreed that this legal document DOES provide for accountability, but it isn't done with the intention of getting someone in trouble or the assumption that they don't know their jobs well enough, etc..it's simply how 504 provides access to FAPE for a child like Matthew and that as his parents, we feel it is in his best interest to pursue it.
I will add that I had signed up earlier to help with vision screenings at the school. That requires a 3 hr training session on vision screening and it happens to be tomorrow morning and it will be taught by none other than the school nurse. I have had a rough week (I'm sick, infant with double ear infection and this meeting today) and planned on backing out.
However, after today I didn't want the nurse to think she ran me off! lol I'll be there tomorrow with a smile on my face and treat her in my usual, pleasant manner and fulfill the obligation I signed up to do. I think I want to show that what happens even during heated discussions in that 504 meeting does not/should not affect other non-related activities, at least not on my end.
Dang it, I really wanted to skip out! lol lol
Thanks again Gail to you and the others that have kept up with our journey. It truly helped me today to be in the mindset you all suggested. Really!
Maddy
[This message has been edited by MattsMommy (edited September 27, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 10:10am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

It is funny how much easier it is to keep your own cool when someone else becomes irrational, isn't it?
We also just kept repeating the idea that we wanted there to be "no gaps" in terms of who was repsonsible for what-- even in the event of staff turnover. We were PROTECTING them, in other words.
Here's a hope that your appearance tomorrow won't prove too much to bear!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
I hope you are correct and her behavior will improve. At least you know she isn't calling the tune for the rest of the staff, however.

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 10:52am
MattsMommy's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

LOL it should be survivable tomorrow. Yes I'm glad it was HER not me that behaved that way. In large part to you all!
And Gail, thanks for your encouragement. If I was too busy rambling before to say it, I'll say it now. When others who've run this gamut before can say we're on the right track and doing a good job, it means a lot! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 7:47am
Gail W's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

So glad to hear this!
I'm curious, do you feel that they respect you?
I bet they see you as a [i]wonderful parent advocating for your child[/i]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] What do you think?
As for the nurse, well, you can always whip out Rhonda's outline. There are several of us who have shared our 504 plans off-line. I'd be willing to send you mine. I wonder what she'd think of it (I think it's 18 pages total). [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 8:33am
MattsMommy's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

Hi ya Gail,
Yes I think today they as a group have a better understanding about why we are so adament which lends to a mutual respect among us. I walked away feeling better about all of this than I have in awhile. We tried to make it clear after the nurse's outburst that we do trust the teacher/staff. A few times we stressed that while we feel they have the best of intentions, he cannot be protected by good intentions alone.
At the end after the nurse left Andy brought out Rhonda's outline. He explained what it was and how it is used. He pointed out that we have simply drawn from it what we feel is necessary for Matthew at this time, at this school. It got the point across and the principal actually asked to keep it. He again stated that we're breaking new ground here.
I get the feeling they see the active voice as a "set up"...a way for us to sit and wait for them to mess up and then be held accountable. We agreed that this legal document DOES provide for accountability, but it isn't done with the intention of getting someone in trouble or the assumption that they don't know their jobs well enough, etc..it's simply how 504 provides access to FAPE for a child like Matthew and that as his parents, we feel it is in his best interest to pursue it.
I will add that I had signed up earlier to help with vision screenings at the school. That requires a 3 hr training session on vision screening and it happens to be tomorrow morning and it will be taught by none other than the school nurse. I have had a rough week (I'm sick, infant with double ear infection and this meeting today) and planned on backing out.
However, after today I didn't want the nurse to think she ran me off! lol I'll be there tomorrow with a smile on my face and treat her in my usual, pleasant manner and fulfill the obligation I signed up to do. I think I want to show that what happens even during heated discussions in that 504 meeting does not/should not affect other non-related activities, at least not on my end.
Dang it, I really wanted to skip out! lol lol
Thanks again Gail to you and the others that have kept up with our journey. It truly helped me today to be in the mindset you all suggested. Really!
Maddy
[This message has been edited by MattsMommy (edited September 27, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 10:10am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

It is funny how much easier it is to keep your own cool when someone else becomes irrational, isn't it?
We also just kept repeating the idea that we wanted there to be "no gaps" in terms of who was repsonsible for what-- even in the event of staff turnover. We were PROTECTING them, in other words.
Here's a hope that your appearance tomorrow won't prove too much to bear!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
I hope you are correct and her behavior will improve. At least you know she isn't calling the tune for the rest of the staff, however.

Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2006 - 10:52am
MattsMommy's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

LOL it should be survivable tomorrow. Yes I'm glad it was HER not me that behaved that way. In large part to you all!
And Gail, thanks for your encouragement. If I was too busy rambling before to say it, I'll say it now. When others who've run this gamut before can say we're on the right track and doing a good job, it means a lot! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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