Paloma starts school next week. I started the special needs preschool placement process in May while still in Utah. I had visions of dropping Paloma off at school while I went off to yoga or sat in my car and read a book uninterrupted. We've had to learn many lessons the hard way the past few years, and it seems like navigating the public school system with a disabled child will be no different. I'm no stranger to IEP meetings, as my oldest has a brain injury, but her needs have always been very minimal and for the most part, schools have been happy to accommodate her.
I knew cannabis would be an issue. When I called the head nurse for the whole district and asked her If I would be able to dose Paloma at school, she refused. I knew better than to ask if the school nurse was willing to do it, but I thought because we live down the street from school I would just hop over during dose time or when she has a seizure to put the oil under her tongue like I've been doing for a couple of years now. The nurse stated she was concerned about losing federal funding since technically cannabis is illegal federally. A few months ago I probably would have called her out on that bullshit line, but hey in this current administration who knows what the angry little cracker will end up doing.
I explained several times how THC has been almost miraculous for us, how before we got our hands on it we were having to use twice the recommended dose of Versed to stop a seizure and with that comes breathing issues and calling 911 on a monthly basis....I asked them if they would rather deal with me running over putting a drop of oil in her cheek and having the seizure stop with minimal side effects or the possibility of a large dose of benzodiazepines which will likely call for the paramedics to be called and the spiral of awful behaviors that happens every time she gets it. They didn't care.
A few months ago I asked the preschool IEP coordinator if I could possibly go to school with Paloma for an hour or so, just to see how she does and if she has a seizure I could whisk her seizing body up and drive home before giving the oil. Oh no, she said. That would be out of the question. So I agreed to homebound care. I felt defeated but I wasn't ready for a legal battle or trying to change the law here.
At our IEP meeting last week the preschool coordinator suggested we let Paloma come to school for an hour or so with me, you know, just to see how it goes......I agreed and felt sense of peace. Before I go off ordering the school to give us a permanent aide for her or trying to change the cannabis laws I need to see if she can handle a school setting. With the over excitement, heat (the school is in a trailer with only a swamp cooler) the germs, the outside recess, etc. I honestly don't know that she will be able to handle it.
I was feeling pretty good in the meeting until I looked over and saw the preschool teacher's face. She was clearly not happy about this placement and she made it known. She's worried about being responsible for Paloma in case anything happens to her, she teaches 11 special need preschoolers by herself already and wasn't looking for one more and she's not thrilled about me being in the classroom with her. It’s a horrible feeling knowing your child’s education and wellbeing is in the hands of someone that views them as an inconvenience.
I don't know the answer right now. But Monday morning, I'm going to put Paloma's backpack on and we're going to walk over to the school and start this new journey.