Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Virtual OT - An Epic Fail

Due to length I had to break this topic down into smaller post. In my last blog post, Receiving Special Education Services I talked our process of getting Yang evaluated and our results.  

As I stated in my last post we where to start virtual OT. I was very reluctant to start for several reasons. Yang often has to use all of her senses when talking with someone - hearing them, seeing them, often touching them and even the way an individual smells. Combined together these senses help Yang to communicate as well as remember them. While we use a virtual school to homeschool, she is only required to attend on class connect - virtual classroom session - once a week, and that is with her Intervention Specialist. It has taken a lot for her to not have a meltdown when it is time for class. They are now very seldom. Now we only incur bouts of anxiety during certain task. A lot of that has to due with the relationship her IS has built with her. Her quick observation to pick up on the cues from how Yang is acting and changing pace quickly. Always having a back plan ready.

Unfortunately, OT was NOTHING like our weekly intervention. Now I understand that everyone has their own methods as well as tricks up their selves, but we had all of 5 OT sessions online before I called it quits (not officially yet). Her OT was not engaged. Often sat there waiting to see what Yang would do. The system she uses for her classes is different than the one used by K12, and is delayed. Causing her to ask Yang to do things over and over than she had already done. This only created frustration for Yang and she would end up melting down. During our last OT session before Thanksgiving break I felt the OT was being harsh with Yang. The icing on the cake was when she asked Yang to do something that was written into her I.E.P. I was outraged! How had she not read Yang's I.E.P.? Even skimmed over the parts that did not have to do with OT. Thursday's are our therapy days. She would have OT in the morning, Intervention after lunch and then speech in the afternoon. During Intervention our IS could tell there was something wrong. I tried to brush it off as nothing but her IS knows me to well. I stated that I was considering withdrawing Yang come Christmas break. I just felt like she would work better at her own pace on subjects that interested her vs having to complete a certain percentage of work each week/month. Her IS is very kind, caring, loving and understanding so she didn't give me grief about it. I asked her speech therapist if she had read all of Yang's I.E.P. and she stated that she had no read it in depth but had skimmed over it all. I asked her if it was normal for an OT or speech therapist not to at least skim over it. She told me it is something they should be doing since they where all working separately but together.

The following week I finally told Yang's IS what had happened during OT and that I wanted her to get the copies of the OT sessions, listen to them and give me her perspective. Of course there was issues getting the recordings and then all where sent expect the last one I was upset about. So, on November 29th I decided to finally stop complaining and put things into action, and called a higher up in the SED. After a few go arounds and me cornering her about calling the OT I recommended, she said she told me she had not but would check on somethings and call me back. Two days later I received an email that she had contacted the local OT and was awaiting a call back from the owner. On December 7th I received another email stating that she had spoken with the owner and would be sending a contract over for review on Monday. By the time Christmas break came on December 19th, I had not heard anything back and knew I wouldn't until after the first of the year.

The first official day back from Christmas break was January 2nd and we are playing a waiting game with the local OT facility. A contract was sent over before Christmas break for review and despite very urgent and detailed message, there has been no response. Part of me feels like our school has finally been putting in the effort I expected so I can't back out now and withdraw Yang. Other parts of me feel like this facility is not acting professional and I'm not sure I want to deal with them. Then other parts of me feel like I should hang on and see what happens. And still I know that no matter what I will not be continuing with K12 next year. Am I hurting Yang by keeping her in K12 right now?


As parents it is our job to stand up and speak for our children since they are unable to do so for themselves at this point. Had I never withdrawn Yang from public school it is hard to tell the things I would have had to do to get her tested. By law the school has 30 days to respond to a parents request to have their child tested, and 60 days to preform the testing once the parent consents to the testing. I had already spoken with a Parent Advocate who informed me that she spent more time at the public school Yang went to than any other in our county! Some parents do not know their rights and that is why we must educate ourselves. While K12 is a great school for our family and we have loved it, virtual OT is not what Yang needs. PLEASE, if you do not know what steps to take ASK. Ask a friend, family member, your doctor, the school - ME. Google is your best friend. Check your states Dept. of Education Learning Disabilities laws. A great place to start is by reading I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). One of the saddest parts about it all is that often schools recognize there is an issues but have their hands tied when it comes to telling parents to request to have their child tested. Often times schools don't want to do the testing, or provide services due to the cost and funding available. It can often be difficult for parents to get services approved through insurance companies.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed Parent Advocate, nor do I claim to be one. Should you need help feel free to email me at mariettahomeschoolingzoo@gmail.com and I will be happy to provide you will useful links to get the assistance you need.

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