Saturday, September 10, 2011


So it's been a bit quiet around here the last few weeks. Meaning quiet at Free Falling. Not exactly so quiet in my life.

Having made a very last minute (although not because it was left to the last minute) decision to try and get the Kit Kat into our local, extremely expensive private learning disabilities school, it has, in fact, been rather crazy around here.

This was something we had been contemplating two or three years ago but because our school board refuses to give IPPs to students with learning disabilities and, without an IPP, a student in Nova Scotia isn't eligible for the substantial chunk of funding available through the Province's Tuition Support Program ... it pretty well seemed out of reach at the time.

So imagine my surprise when, sitting in a meeting with the Minister of Education a couple of weeks ago on what I thought were totally practically unrelated issues, I happened to spontaneously bring this issue up in a  discussion concerning inequality between school boards and I was told that students in our particular school board didn't need an IPP to access the program.  After picking my jaw up off the floor, I made a valiant effort to move on with the meeting because, trust me, I couldn't actually say out loud what I was thinking at the time. 

You see, back when this issue had come a few years ago I had approached the Dept of Education with the fact that our Board refused to provide IPPs for LD students and was told that no, I must be mistaken, that wasn't allowed but they would check into it and get back to me. When they finally did get back to me, a few months later, I was given the brush off with some comment to the effect that perhaps my daughter didn't require an IPP. 

Given that my Mom had been recently diagnosed with a terminal condition (this was about six to eight months before she passed away), I wasn't in any position to take on the battle so I let it slide.  And then, suddenly there I was being told that this change in requirements about the necessity of an IPP had been made right about the same time as I had made my enquiries of the Department. Imagine that ... funny how no one had bothered to let me in on that little secret.

At any rate, such began the mad rush to once again check out the school and begin the stack of paperwork needed to 1) apply for admission; 2) apply to the government for Tuition Support funding; and 3) apply for a bursary.  Because given our current financial situation, unfortunately there's very little we can contribute at the moment to the cause. Although I might point out that, ironically enough, back when I had initially inquired about this (and was turned away), we had actully been in a position where we could have contributed something to the cause.

And, oh yes, lest we forget, one more little detail to be taken care of ... the person who had advised me in that meeting that students from our Board didn't need an IPP to qualify for the Tuition Support program quickly backpedalled when I phoned him up a few days later; no, of course, he hadn't said that; what he had had meant to say said was that new program parameters now allowed a student to be "working towards an IPP".  Whatever that means. 

Well, apparently that meant that I had to very quickly call a meeting of the Kit Kat's Program Planning Team at her former school (wait, did she even have a Program Planning Team??!!) to see if they would agree that she should be working towards an IPP. 

But all things come to those who wait work hard enough ... or so I hope, anyway.

The private school agreed that the Kit Kat could start with the other students the first day of school even though we didn't (and still don't) know if we will get any funding from the Province.

And the Kit Kat ... well, let's just say she's working on "adjusting" to her new reality, tenuous as it might be.  She had been completely behind this move and I had warned her to think long and hard about it before I put the works in motion because once I started, there would be no turning back. I had also pointed out that her biggest challenge in the new school would most likely be her lack of friends.  Because it's hard for any teenager to change schools and make new friends.  And it's even harder for a kid with a learning disability. And harder again still for a kid with a nonverbal learning disability.

So, while we still don't know if we will get the funding to make this work, we remain hopeful.  And if the answer is no, there is, of course, always an appeal process. Oh joy, oh bliss.

In the meantime, while we await word on that and the Kit Kat adjusts to some very big changes in her life, I have now begun the even larger stack of paper work necessary to get some additional services for the Blue Jay. Because, one thing about my kids, they never want to play second fiddle to the other. Meaning if one is demanding all of my time and attention, the other one will be sure to soon follow.


Pogue said...

Wow, you are busy. It sounds like there's a positive trend developing. Good for you!

MMC said...

Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed for us, please.

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Anonymous said...

I applaud your tenacity as a mother and as an advocate for equality in our school system to provide for our youth especially when the educational enforcers of equality lack the ability or knowledge to effectively enforce said equality and provide programs, maintain them effectively and not just a success story on paper for the school board but as an actual success story for our students. You are a positive force for the disabled community and for all parents who struggle with navigating their children through our school system.
Raylene S

MMC said...

Very kind words, Raylene. Thank you muchly.