Guide to School Support Services available for Special needs Students

My youngest Daughter was a straight A student at a very well known school in a well known City in Maryland, USA.

She had extra credits…She belonged to the school Drama and Reading clubs…She drove me crazy with her after school and social activities! I was the dad that would pick her up and drop her off.

My Daughter won an award in her first year of High School and I remember sitting at a table with the Assistant Principal of that school and listening to her praise my Daughter, no end!

In April 2004, my Daughter contracted a strange virus, she got sick and all of a sudden, she was complaining of dizziness and nausea.

The virus went away after about a week, but the Dizziness, accompanied by constant Headaches and Nausea persisted. As time went on, it became noticeable that she had missed several weeks of school. The school called my house everyday with an annoying, automated message, ‘A Student in your household, has not attended school today’! This continued, despite the phone calls that I made.

In the morning, when my Daughter awoke, her blood pressure was very low and when she tried to get out of bed, her blood pressure went through the roof!

Eventually, I managed to acquire a home tutoring service. There was a school out there that catered to children with certain disabilities and they would send a teacher to my home. So, this what I did.

Some of the teachers never showed up. and some of them spent extra time with my Daughter.

At the end of that school year, the teachers from the Special School assessed my Daughter’s performance and were required to report the grades to her High School.

Instead of putting my Daughter through a formalized test, they just called me and asked what her grades had been the previous year. Even the teachers that never showed up, did this! When I told them, over the phone, they said that that was what they were going to give her this year.

Everything went fine and she scored another straight succession of A’s!

Well it really wasn’t great! All of her friends were taking extra classes, learning a great deal more, and they were socializing.

My Daughter was fifteen and she just wanted to be normal, her normal self! I took her to countless doctors and no one could pin point the problem!

Along came the start of the new school year and she was about to enter her third year of High School. I knew that everyone was going to be gearing up for college. There was going to be a lot of pressure from the teachers and the students.

Rather than approaching the School that sent the teachers to my house, I thought that it would be best, in the long run, if my Daughter were to actually attend her High School. But, she would need special attention!

When I tried to send my Daughter back to her school, they refused her!

Now, this was the High School that had accepted and glowed from my Daughter’s attendance, just a year prior, and now that I was asking for something special, they were refusing to take her back?

I spent the whole month of September and part of October, fighting to have her readmitted! Meanwhile, she was missing a lot of vital classes! The thought of my Daughter even trying to catch up with the work, caused a lot of anxiety!

I fought so hard. Eventually, I ended up in a meeting at the school. There was the Assistant Principal, (the one who sat at our table when my Daughter received an award, just over a year ago). There was the Student Guidance Counselor,(the one that is supposed to be on your side!) There were two or three City Officials, a couple of people that I don’t remember and, a Social Worker.

When the discussion opened, I was slammed from all sides! They did not want my Daughter to attend their school with special needs!

Now, the Social worker was our life line! We had no idea what to do! My fifteen year old Daughter was faced without a good school to go to! And, No college future!

As it transpired, what it all boiled down to, was that the school was concerned about their attendance records! To have a student reporting for classes, during what ever the time of day it was, presented major issues to their track record.

The Social worker met with me later. She was very helpful. She directed me to various city officials, that eventually lead to prying the door open, as it were.

It was really strange…I met with the Assistant Principal on another occasion and when I mentioned that day, when we sat at the same table together; When my Daughter recieved that special award? A look of realization came over her face. “Oh! That was your Daughter”, she said. She kind of cleared her throat and proceeded to tell me about a special program that was going on at the school. She even implied that the ‘Principal’ was not even aware of it!

Well, with all this information and the help of the Social Worker, I eventually got my Daughter into that school, on a special needs basis!

Shje got through the third year okay, but when it came the Senior year, it was the same thing all over again, and with much more opposition!

To cut this long story short, my Daughter graduated by the skin of her teeth. Fortunately, she had accumulated enough credits in her first two years, that this took the pressure off the credits needed in the last.

The worst thing was, that on graduation day, all of her friends received Scholarships to their desired College choices and she did not.

The graduation photograph that we received was a picture of some one else and the Graduation Pamphlet hardly mentioned my Daughter’s name at all.

After three years, she is still suffering from these ailments. But she has learned to pace herself, and become a normal person.