I have not sat down and blogged in a number of months. I have a few partly done posts in my dock, but haven't had the groove to really write anything. But, I am going to try to update on some Tyler stuff right now.
First, let me say that taking these steps are very hard for me. I go back and forth continually about whether or not we should even be acknowledging these things, and whether or not we should be pursuing the avenues that we have been. I've been told "we don't believe in labels", "the doctors told us (blank), but we just trusted God", and "be careful about letting the government and doctors into your home." I've also been told "spoil the Egyptians", "get as much help as you can", and "there is nothing wrong with carefully using the resources and medical information that is available to us."
When in doubt, I remember that before we did anything else, we sought the wisdom of our Pastor. His wonderful advice was "Get help and be careful". He also advised to set the question before the Lord and follow his direction, seasoning everything with prayer, prayer, and more prayer.
So that is what I endeavor to do. When faced with a possibility, if I don't have a clear "NO", I put the question before that Lord and allow him to lead. And, when I get sick feelings, I pull back and wait until I feel assured. I will never forget one of the things Pastor said to us during our meeting "I trust you because you are careful people."
I don't know if any of that made any sense, but I'm hoping you can see my heart here. This is very hard for me.
Okay, where were we...I think the last time I mentioned anything significant, we were on our way to tour Gateway Academy in hopes that Tyler would go to school there. Suffice it to say that the school was not a good fit for Tyler.
We've continued with Connections Academy this year, even though I was very frustrated with them at the beginning of the school year and came very close a few times to just dropping the whole thing and trying to go alone. Several things stopped me, not the least of which being that curriculum is expensive and I don't have the funds to purchase my own at the moment.
The other thing that kept me at Connections was that I really wanted/want to apply for an Empowerment Scholarship Account, which is a scholarship that is given to Special Ed students through the dept of Ed. Basically, the parents agree to take their child out of the public school system, the government gives the parents the up to $20K a year that was given to the school system for their student and the parents use that money to arrange for the private education of their child. Sweet, huh? But in order to apply for the Scholarship, we needed several things in place that we didn't yet have, one being a 504 or IEP.
Tyler had a 504 made up during the 2011-2012 school year, but it was for the express purpose of allowing him to do his AIMS testing one-one-one, at his own pace. Being naive, I didn't see any other reason to have a 504 since he was being schooled-at-home and I controlled his accommodations.
This year, I have realized that these accommodations and verbal agreements that I have with his teacher are the exact things that need to go into a 504 plan (which I needed for the EPA), so I began working towards updating his 504. It's interesting to me that, even though his 2011-2012 504 was expired and the school had told me that we needed to update it, getting the actual meeting with school proved to be very difficult. Finally, after three or four months of asking for a meeting, it was scheduled.
That meeting consisted of myself, Tyler's teacher and the assistant principal. I had made a list of the accomodations that I wanted Tyler to have, which was basically things that I was already doing for him with verbal approval from his teacher. These are things like "ability to use a scribe" or "does not have to complete assignment, just has to show mastery". The meeting went smoothly and I had not problem getting everything onto his 504 plan.
Then I asked "I know that if Tyler was attending a public school, that he would be able to receive Occupational Therapy and other needed therapies from the school during his school day. Since you are a public virtual school, are you able to provide those resources for Tyler in other venues?"
I was told that the school has an agreement with providers, where, if we qualified, I would take Tyler to the providers office where he would receive therapy and the school system would foot the bill. Sweet!
Now to qualify...