From Emotions to Advocacy
The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright
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AT Solutions: Persistence (and Effective Advocacy) Pays Off
My son was in 6th grade. He used leg braces, as well as a Gait Trainer walker.
A Gait Trainer walker is not your average fold-up-and-go walker. When folded up, the walker still takes up a great deal of space.
Our Story Begins
One day the school told me they would like to discharge my son from Physical Therapy services.
I contacted my son's outpatient therapist. I asked for a list of skills and activities that were important for him to work on at school. I obtained a copy of the doctor’s prescription for the file at school.
Once I provided the school with this information, they agreed to continue my son's PT.
On to the Next Issue: Transportation
My son rode the bus to school. The school told me I was responsible for transporting my son's walker back and forth to school. They could not transport the walker on the bus.
I responded that I was not responsible for transporting the walker. "In this event" I said, "the school will need to provide a walker that my son could use at school."
Of course, the school denied being responsible for purchasing a walker or transporting the one we used at home.
Documentation of State Law
I provided the school with documentation of our state law. The law clearly stated that the school was responsible for providing my son's Assistive Technology devices.
A short while later, I received a phone call from the school. The school told me I could use "county funding" that was available for "various medical purposes" for my child. The school said we could use these county funds to purchase a second walker for my son's use at school.
What? Wait!... Were they trying to allot county funding that our family was entitled to for a purchase that the school was responsible for?
I politely refused this option. This county funding was funding that may be needed in years to come for my child's well being. Once again, I presented the school with documentation that stated the school was responsible for providing my child with Assistive Technology.
After much hesitation and discussion involving the Special Needs Director, the Transportation Director, and a Principal, we finally resolved the problem.
The Principal made a trip to our local hardware store. He found some padded twist-ties. We were able to attach my son's walker safely to the bus. In this way, the bus transported my son and the walker to school where he could use his walker for therapy services.
Was it easy? No. Did it happen overnight? No.
My son was entitled to assistive technology services. I used the law and effective documentation strategies. By persistence and continued advocacy for my child, I worked with the school to solve each problem they presented. Now, we have a workable solution.
More Information about Assistive Technology.
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