Is it best for your child?

advocacy, autism, caregiver, education, health & wellness, religion, special education, Uncategorized

A mother of a pre-school son reached out to me to find out if she could insist that her Catholic preschool provide a dedicated aide for her child where he was beginning his educational journey. With sensory integration symptoms and a possible autism diagnosis, her little guy would benefit from the redirection and assistance that a side-by-side adult could provide him.

“Having my son enrolled at the Catholic school is very important to us and our faith,” this mother wrote to me.

Morally, the Catholic church or any other religious academic school might have an obligation to fill this need, but legally they are not required to.  It is rare, indeed, to find religious educational systems who provide the full menu of services the public school is required to under the Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) legislation.

Unfortunately, in small towns choices are limited. It is even more rare to find a private school focused on a specific learning or physical disability in a rural or remote area.

what's best for himThen, the mother wanted to know if she could advocate for the public school system to send an aide to the Catholic school as an accommodation. However, the law doesn’t require the taxpayer supported public educational systems to redirect services from their entity to private schools. The law states it may be required to provide only equitable services, such as a speech language pathologist or an occupational therapist. In the public school, these professionals are engaged with students on a recurring weekly or twice weekly basis at the best.

The professional may travel to the private school OR the public school may agree to transport your child to their setting for those specific services. It’s important to know which setting the service will be provided as the burden of experiencing a disruption in the day is harder on a child with a disability who is being shuffled from one location to another than if the service is taken to where they are.

What this means is that young children who need continuous individualized support that a full-fledged public special education program can and is required to provide is best delivered in the public school.  This can be a difficult decision for families who feel a call to educate their child in the spiritual/religious realms as well as the intellectual.

The mother who reached out to me decided to enroll her son in the public school. She shared it may take up to two months for her son to receive a full evaluation for a diagnosis but “at least he will get some help in the public school that he definitely couldn’t get in the private school. What’s best for him is what’s important.”

The Being Place, PLLC is here to help you achieve what’s best for you and your family. Contact us today.


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Humans of Earth: “We’re in this together”

creative non fiction, Iowa life, Journaling, personal essay, thoughts for living, Trends, Uncategorized

flood we're in this together

Mixed in between turning off the alerts for tornado warnings, hosting friends for a night to escape flood waters, and delivering packages of care items to various reputable groups came an envelope from my friend. Inside was the photocopy of a journal article she sent me as an addendum to a message I had passed along about a group unrelated to anything Houston or Hurricanes.

flood animals

One of the many sites where donations were being accepted and volunteers were working.

The headline on the article blared the sentiment that seems to be the unifying theme in this adopted hometown of mine: “We’re in this together.” Those words enveloped me like the warm blankets wrapped around the human beings who were rescued across eastern Texas these past weeks.

Gratefully, my family and I avoided the ravages of the disaster. We experienced minor inconveniences of having a few paid workdays taken off the schedule for me, the canceling of school for my son, and working from the rudimentary home office for my husband.  Yet, this experience brought back a flood (excuse the pun) of memories of the 1993 Iowa flooding disaster. I aided my parents in helping them clean out their water-logged basement. I drove my new war-traumatized Bosnian friends to National Guard water stations to fill up plastic milk jugs for safe drinking water. And I worked for the United Methodist Church as a religion writer and reported Christ-informed relief efforts in Iowa.

Back then, we didn’t have Facebook to telephone tree unfolding alerts or changes. We had antenna receptive televisions with local newscasts and the daily mud-soaked paperboy and girl delivery of newspapers. Somehow, though, we got word through to each other as to what to do next.

Now that the height of the crisis is over for most Texans, what does come next? A region-wide disaster affects the psychological, spiritual and material well-being of everyone. Everyone is doing their best to reframe a grim situation with a positive spin (“at least we’re still alive” and “it’s just stuff”) and a grin on their faces to bolster their own and other’s spirits. Yet, there’s going to be the span of time when people are just in the thick of it.

flood iowa

News stories in which I had a hand in reporting.

Years after the original Iowa event I was writing stories about flood relief efforts and thinking “isn’t everyone recovered yet?” Obviously, the answer was no but certainly the time span was an eye-opening dynamic for a member of the generation who was on the cusp of inventing instant-gratification technological tools.

Disasters are like the drunken uncle: everyone plans the family reunion hoping he doesn’t find out. Yet somehow, he learns of the celebration and everyone gingerly succumbs to his presence. Cousins whisper in the kitchen on what they will do if Uncle Harvey does this and what they will do if he does that. But Uncle Harvey does what Uncle Harvey does and even with all the preparation, he leaves a wake of destruction of overturned tables and tipped over Christmas trees that no one could have anticipated. After all, who behaves like that? Naturally, someone tries to intervene to calm him down and gets sucker punched. Everyone sighs and gets to work while Uncle Harvey stumbles away in a blissful state of unawareness.

flood houstonianIn between the titillating stories that are retold on anniversaries and the arrival of the next crisis, is the interstices of time when forlorn people wonder how to make order out of what seems dispassionate chaos. Because the burden of our stories is  so great to bear in isolation, we are compelled to tell it over the campfire or on our blogs and in doing so, others are encouraged to tell theirs and we can incredulously exclaim, “you, too?” We piece together a journey across the rapid progression of days which at the onset seems to have a promise of a clear direction. Then midway, either through fallible personal choices or fateful impersonal cosmic events, we become more aware that our destiny seems instead to be a succession of turning from our own self-absorbed personal goals to taking trembling note of the universal interconnectedness of us and that for eternity “we’re in this together.”

flood we're in this together