Thursday, September 3, 2009

overly emotional plea/someone help murphy!

This is an email I sent to the School Board Secretary, Murphy's last year teacher, our Social Worker, the School Principal and the Special Education School Board (?) member, and various others professionals and family members:

My name is Kasey Hanson. I am the mother of a 7 year old child, who is on the severe side of the Autism Spectrum. He meets the criteria for Profound Developmental Cognitive Delay, Mental Retardation, and is severely to profoundly Multiply Impaired.

Prior to being in ISD #196, Murphy was in ISD #11. He was enrolled in ECFE for 2 years and then had 2 years of preschool in Special Ed. He also attended Kindergarten there in an EBD/Special Education classroom. Murphy has self-injurious behaviors and regresses-information to back this up can be found in his school records and in the County Records of Anoka (Katie Elleraas is his current disability social worker). We have been visited by Disability Social Workers for the self-injurious behaviors and were investigated for child abuse. His pediatrician and the County Investigator, as well as Social Worker (at the time Devey Dahlheimer) found his bruises to be self inflicted and we were not written up as being investigated. Murphy jumped out of our kitchen window twice in 1 year and we had a Company come in for a “Crisis” situation. He used to try to break out of our home and ripped screens off of windows and found the garage door opener, resulting in police coming to our home when he was found playing on our street in a 45 mph zone. I had previously contacted neighbors and the City of Coon Rapids Police Department and Fire Department alerting them of behaviors that could lead him to escape and cause serious harm and even death. We had signs put up on each side of the street before our home saying “Deaf Child Area”. He, nightly, bit himself and others (myself, his personal care attendants, his baby sister, my husband, aunts, visitors, animals, his older brother). We had to give our purebred miniature dachshund to the Humane Society because of Murphy’s throwing him down stairs, and off of furniture (this can be proved by the Blaine Rescue center).

We have had a diagnosis since the early age of 2, but knew at 18 months that he was disabled. We were at the point of exhaustion and a breaking point. We moved to Eagan for more family support and enrolled Murphy into the CID program at Rosemount Elementary. Comparing his records from Kindergarten in District #11 to his 1st grade records under Anne Mehr in District #196-you will NO DOUBT agree, he made a huge progression in a matter of months. He can count to 100, he can identify letters. Instead of constantly “going off like a time bomb” he has found coping mechanisms, like blowing into his hands angrily, but not hurting himself or others as frequently. He still has some of these behaviors, but not 10 times a day as before. Now we see him. We can deal and speak somewhat with him. All summer he spoke of Anne. He is a very regimented child and doesn’t do well with change.

I was called today, Thursday, September 03, 2009 approximately 3 hours before his orientation into his classroom. We were previously told that Murphy was going to be in the same classroom with the same teacher that he had last year. Her name is Anne Mehr and she has two licenses under the special education label in the areas of Developmental Disabilities and Learning Disabilities. In December she will be graduating with a Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism.

I understand the teacher he is changing classes into is qualified in EBD and Cognitive Delay, I understand that she has experience with Autism. I am not trying to insult her in any way or undermine her experience in her field. I talked to the new teacher and Anne and Principal Tom Idstrom, relaying my fears of his regression and thoughts that Anne has been his “savior”. This is a JOB for Principal Idstrom, and he doesn’t know my son or seem to understand the urgency of staying with what works with an autistic child, I also understand he was dealing with a crying woman and was probably just trying to get me out of there). I don’t know how much experience anyone I am trying to email here has in Autism, but you have access to my son’s records, please investigate them and realize the strides he’s made.

As his mother and as his voice HE SIMPLY NEEDS TO STAY WHERE HE PROGRESSES. It’s proven in his records that she brought him and our family out of the depths of hell itself and I will not go back. Mr. Idstrom has informed me he will look into this matter. I don’t know whether or not this is true, because he seemed unwilling to even consider putting Murphy back into the original classroom, and was very stiff in his responses with me. I will admit I was hysterical and very obviously upset. I cried and begged them over the phone and in person at the orientation to reconsider. I didn’t speak up for him while he was in classes that didn’t fit him for 3 years. With Autism you have to break in or they will never get out. I could never forgive myself or the school district if he backslides. I understand I am emotional and there are other children enrolled in the program to consider. But I’m NOT going to not try to get him what he needs. Why take him from the classroom who taught him how to use the potty. How to request in WORDS with his mouth orally? Who taught him “M m Mama”? Who taught him “see you later alligator, after a while crocodile”, and “M-U-R-P-H-Y, M m Murphy”

Please, please, please help me. I need my son to continue to succeed. He needs your help. He needs Anne Mehr. Even if I’m overly emotional doesn’t mean I don’t have legitimate proof that he progressed in his notes home from school and in his school records and his decrease in Emergency Room visits. Conferences with his other teachers were always negative and exhausting. Conferences with Anne were positive and upbeat, telling me about progress, not biting at recess and not being able to identify his own name written down.
Thank you for reading and considering our situation,
Kasey Hanson
Ben Hanson


Sarah Lindahl said...

I think you are doing the best thing you can do right now. Your letter is excellent. The principal wants to avoid any conflict he can, so if you make a stink, he will do what you want. He doesn't want the bad PR. He could however, benefit from the good PR if Murph is put back in Anne's class. Maybe you should remind him that the better the students do, the better he and his teachers look.

I am so happy that you are such an excellent advocate for your baby boy. And I'm so happy that you know that about yourself too. I taught school for many years and had kids who didn't have parents who would advocate for them, ever. Good luck with this, and if there's anything I can do, let me know.

kasey said...

thanks Sarah. i just can't stop obsessing over it.