A week ago today, we had our mediation meeting that included our advocate, members from the district, and a mediator from the Department of Education. The purpose of the meeting for this part of the process is to have a mediator try and facilitate an agreement between the two parties so that it would not have to go to court.
Because the district views Colin's education in the least restrictive environment completely differently than we do (a self contained setting), an agreement could not be reached leaving us in a position we never expected to find ourselves. The next step of this process is due process in which we are currently in a 30 day "cooling off" period and then we will end up at a due process hearing in front of a judge. While the judge will not be making any decisions, he will also be trying to facilitate an agreement, just with a little bit more authority than the mediator had.
Financially, we are finding ourselves in a situation we weren't quite prepared for because of the preparation involved on our end to show that a general education classroom IS appropriate for Colin as long as he has the right supports in order to be successful. Part of me wants to cry and complain that it's "just not fair" that we need to do this when it is extremely challenging to figure it out based on our budget and because we are fighting for something we shouldn't have to fight for. However, when you are a parent, you do what you have to because it is what is best for your child. And so, onward we move...
Ironically, the day of the meeting that left Chris and I emotionally drained, was the start of "Buddy Week" at Colin's Karate school. Colin's "buddy" was Kailey and so she joined him during his class. At the end of the class, all of the students that brought a "buddy" were presented with a medal that said "Together We Can" on it along with a star for his uniform. Together we CAN...as long as we can find a way to work together for what's best.