Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rothkopf Infirmary expansion

Micah did stay home again today, but I thought Sam was well enough to go back to school. Since David had gotten back from Indiana late last night, he was home to stay with Micah and Sofia while I drove Sam and ran an errand. (And coughed up tons of gunk from my lungs, but at least that's better than having it all stuck there like last week).

Came back, brought Sofia to school, then hung out with Micah...for about an hour, before the day school called ot say that Sam felt like he was going to throw up.

I did ask if he actually HAD thrown up, and I asked that again when Micah and I arrived at school to find a smiling Sam (and no puke). But we took him home.

I texted both my regular sitters to see if either of them could stay with the boys in the afternoon, since Sofia had a preschool program at one of the synagogues and then gymnastics. E texted back that she was at the doctor's office, but could come afterwards (hey, what's one more sick person in this house, right?).

Took Sofia to "Thumbs Up" (what she calls the Yom Tov program at TBA, because the Rabbi does this fun dance called Thumbs Up). She had fun, but she also had goop draining out of her eyes, and she definitely did not look healthy.

So instead of gymnastics, we went back to the pediatrician (you can see the gym from the window in the exam room; she kept looking out and saying "Monkey Gym!"). Anyway, sinus infection.

Dropped her home, raced back out to CVS to fill her prescriptions.

Micah now is FINE, and will most certainly be going back to school tomorrow. I'm still not sure about Sam; he is still very stuffy. Sofia will be home. Sigh.

I am supposed to graduate on June 6 of this year. I cannot graduate unless I finish my Capstone project. I cannot write my Capstone project with all these KIDS in my house!!!!!!!!!!

Micah just came in to say that his room still smells like puke, so all three of them are now in Sofia's room (which is the smallest room in the house). I guess it's time to go clean the carpet in the boys' room...


Appended: I almost forgot, I was An Advocate this week. Seems the preschool was demanding I pay a Registration fee. Here's the letter I sent to the principal, cc to the SpEd coordinator and the State Rep.:

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has six major principles, and the one that I want to bring to your attention is “Free Appropriate Public Education.” Quoting from Heward’s “Exceptional Children” (9th Edition, page 19): “All children with disabilities, regardless of the type or severity of their disability, shall receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). This education must be provided at public expense—that is, without cost to the child’s parents.”

Recently, the school secretary has requested that we pay the $160 Registration Fee. My daughter Sofia is on an IEP, and in her IEP it does recommend an inclusion preschool classroom. Therefore, the school district is required by law to provide this service.

I spoke today with a representative from the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Special Education office. She confirmed my belief: the public preschool may not charge any fee for a student with Special Needs whose IEP specifies participation in the program. This includes registration fees.

While I am fortunate that my own family is able to afford the $160 fee being requested (and I will gladly make a donation to the school for the wonderful education Sofia has been receiving), there are many in our town who cannot afford even this fee. For some, $160 might mean the difference between a child getting the services he or she needs (and which are specified on an IEP) or spending the year watching TV at Grandma’s house.

The A... Public Preschool cannot require Special Education students to pay a registration fee. The representative at the DOE was most concerned that this fee is for “registration” because she could envision a scenario where a child was denied Special Education services for lack of registration. This would be unacceptable, by law.

While I am sure Mrs. W is simply doing her own job of keeping track of all payments and registrations for the school, I wanted to call to your attention the difference between paying students and Special Education students.

Thank you again for the excellent, nurturing environment you provide for Sofia and for all your students.


Francine Ferraro Rothkopf
, Mother and Special Needs Advocate