As a parent of children who qualify (or are being evaluated) for special education services, neuropsych evaluations, and/or any related services, I have been subjected to piles and piles of information gathering forms. Of course, this includes the form informing me of my HIPAA rights, sped processes, and district disciplinary guidelines. My next blog may address acronyms associated with such forms, but I digress.
I, said parent of complicated children who require forms, have patiently filled out a small forest of forms over the last ten years. Apologies to the trees!!! However I have to declare my most recent foray into the land of forms rubbed me the wrong way. It may have been a timing issue (aka: hormone induced mania) or perhaps the addition of a second child to the sped form party, but I lost my cool and got irritated. I think the underlying assumption that my child’s newly diagnosed acronyms and learning differences are somehow associated with number of chores, type of discipline, variety of foods and relationships with various family members is insulting. I almost veered toward passive aggressive and answered the “What activities does your family do together” question with the following response:
“We enjoy watching R-rated movies together late at night. We schedule this quality time after the children have been home all day unsupervised with a pantry full of Mountain Dew and Cheetos to sustain them as we have heard a colorful diet is important. We encourage creative play including running with scissors, playing with matches and swimming after a large meal. When not working the streets to support my crack addiction, I enjoy reading Penthouse Forum aloud to my children before putting them to bed without bathing or flossing.”
Don’t fret, I answered appropriately (and honestly) instead.
My middle girl had to fill out her own goals for her ALP (advanced learning plan) as part of a gifted program in her middle school last year. The facilitator of the program sent out forms, collected forms and did nothing else. My girl was acutely aware of the bureaucracy of the program and chose to simply not fill in her goals. I think she figured she could monitor her own goals better independently. In another moment of parental form frustration I suggested to her that she just write the following response:
“When I get particularly bored in class, I find it helpful to answer the voices in my head as they are more supportive than this school’s g/t coordinator.”
I thought it would be entertaining to see if the forms were actually read prior to filing?!? My smart girl did not take my advice and chose to ignore the request to fill out the form altogether. Either way, the form was filed without being read anyway. ARG!
The form that put me teetering on the edge this month was the one informing me that my son had not passed his vision screening at school. I asked him if he wore his glasses that day. He said no. DER! There was a section of the form that was checked and highlighted, please return with a doctor’s signature proving you have followed up on this issue. Perhaps a hormonal response, but really, you need me to prove I am taking him to the eye doctor? I’m tempted to take a video of the entire eye exam, which has already been scheduled by the way, and email it to the school district.
In my moments of insanity this week, I contemplated creating some forms for my child’s teachers who are not doing a stellar job of providing his IEP accommodations. I would now like them to sign the highlighted line indicating this week he was provided with copies of notes and extra time on tests. They can check the box on a scale from 1 to 10 that they Agree, Strongly Disagree, or Have No Opinion about the importance of my form. Again, I digress.
I still fill out the forms thoughtfully, but I know I can’t possibly be alone in my form frustration!! Anyone else out there? Bueller? Bueller?