Like an errant child avoiding homework, I’ve been putting off something important for almost a week: writing Bob’s 504 Plan.
Wait–isn’t someone affiliated with the school district supposed to do that?
One would think.
During the last week of school prior to winter break, I met with the “team” to discuss my 10-year-old son, Bob (now in 4th grade), his diagnoses (bipolar disorder and ADHD, possible high-functioning Asperger’s), and his eligibility for services under an IEP or 504 Plan (blogged about here). As I mentioned in my prior post, I was less than happy with the results of that meeting, and the conclusion Bob’s learning deficits aren’t great enough to warrant implementing an IEP. We did, however, make a list of some basic accommodations that might, at least, help him get through a school day without boiling over and, hopefully, allow him to spend more time in the classroom learning. The counselor told me she would put the plan together and email it to me after the break.
Last Wednesday (the day school resumed), I received her plan. One page, titled “Accommodations,” with eight such accommodations listed. No specific reasoning for any of them. No goals to be met. There was no description of the behaviors necessitating the plan, nor any objectives. In short, it was about as far from any sample 504 plan I’ve seen.
I was, of course, annoyed. This “plan” says nothing to teachers or administrators about Bob, nothing to give them any reason to actually implement the accommodations listed. It doesn’t communicate this is a serious issue and should not be ignored.
I wondered–was Bob’s the first 504 Plan she’s ever written? Surely not. And if not, did all the other 504 plans in our district look like this? I checked our school district’s website for a blank/sample 504 or IEP–and came up empty-handed. (I obtained several samples from school district websites across the country.) This discouraged me even more–is our school district trying to discourage parents from seeking help for their kids? If not, why isn’t this information available on their website? (I found no information regarding IEP/504 anywhere on our district’s website.)
So, sample plans in hand, I determined to just rewrite the thing myself and email it back to her with a copy to the district superintendent.
Yet, here we are, almost one week later, and I have yet to begin. I don’t know why, exactly. I think part of it is my own being pissed about having to do it at all. My taxes help pay for public education. My taxes helped pay for the legislation that brought IDEA into being. Why aren’t my taxes there to help me when my child needs help? I’m also angry at the assumption I would simply accept the draft as-is, sign it, and move along (which, I’m afraid, is what most parents likely do).
That said, I suppose it’s time to get over myself and start writing.