What Are "The Magic Words"?

Posted by: Pemberley

What Are "The Magic Words"? - 07/01/19 05:41 AM

Over the years I've pretty much mastered how to get the my 2e DD14 what she needs from our school district. It was brutal at times - especially early on - but I learned the vernacular and the law. And folks here on the boards were SO helpful with feedback and guidance and ideas. I learned to work my way up the food chain as needed and to use arguments about IDEA, FAPE and LRE to get what she needs. She is a success story. And she's reached the point where her strengths rather than her disabilities guide the ship.

Or so we thought...

I'm realizing that I have no clue what to do for her in areas where those federal and state mandates don't apply. When a non school setting clearly treats her differently, limits her opportunities or dismisses her. When it's obvious as the nose on your face that it is due to her "differences" but they simply deny it. "Oh this has nothing to do with her disabilities".

Of course they HAVE to say that. ADA and civil rights commission would hold them liable if they admitted it. So we are met with plausible deniability, willful ignorance, condescending platitutudes, blank eyes as they smile and nod and dismiss what should be obvious. No matter how she or I tried we couldn't find words to break through and get them to understand. Or even to acknowledge what was happening. What we view as a teachable moment they view as looking for excuses or special treatment. It's like being back in 1st grade with a mean spirited principal before I gathered my troops and armed myself. We feel like we have come full circle...

How have you addressed this? My focus for so long has been remediating the challenges and getting my daughter an education. We have a great school in place and she's come so far that we no longer have those worries. If there is a blip on the radar we know how to address it. But she has to navigate a world outside the protections provided by education law. And we realize we don't know how to manage that.

So what go-to phrases or arguments have you come up with when you face a wall of intentional ignorance? If you find your kid being excluded? Or more frustrating when they are "included" but not "integrated"? Not allowed to fully participate or are dismissed? And the folks doing it deny it's happening?

It is so frustrating after all the years of hard work and progress to suddenly find her once again being treated as "the special needs kids who should just be happy to participate". We were blindsided, totally didn't expect it. Ideas for what has worked for you?
Posted by: aeh

Re: What Are "The Magic Words"? - 07/01/19 05:36 PM

I am so sorry to hear that you and your DD are having to re-fight this battle, and, from the sound of it, in a venue that should be a joy to her.

As you know, my own expertise is school-centric, but this is certainly as much a civil rights violation as any flouting of IDEA. I wish I could offer you more substantive advice, but you do at least have all my sympathy.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: What Are "The Magic Words"? - 07/01/19 09:24 PM

Pemberley, I haven't been around much for years, but I remember vividly your struggles at the beginning. I am feeling both delighted that you've gotten the school situation well under control and also so sad to be paying attention just at the point that this seems to have come back to square one. Not knowing anything about US law I can't be of any help I don't think. But I am so sorry.