02 03 Notes from the School Psychologist: Special Education: The Department of Redundancy Department 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Special Education: The Department of Redundancy Department

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This is the post in which I realize that crazy has become normal. Since I’ve been immersed in crazy for 7 years, I didn't even realize what I was saying today was crazy until I said it to a new staff member. I actually found myself in the following conversation:

New Administrator: Can we make a referral for mental health services for a student who may be a student special education? I think the student needs some counseling.

Me: Sure, I just have to fill out the paperwork. First, I will send out a notice of intention to assess the student, distribute the paperwork to document the prior interventions, then once that’s signed by the parent, I can then send out the actual assessment plan to the parent, which they will need to return, then we can start the assessment. Then, 60 days later, if the student qualifies, we can initiate another referral for mental health, in which I document the same information on a new form, then mental health will send out an assessment plan to do essentially the same assessment I just did, then the parent will return that and they will do the assessment, and in 60 days, we will have a meeting to see if we can get the student mental health services.

New Administrator: (stunned silence)

Me: I know, it’s dumb. Let me just get permission to check in on the kid this week.

This is the problem with my job in the public schools. It takes over 120 days to get something easy done. Over the years, I’ve learned that the biggest gift I can give to those I work with, especially the parents, (many of which do not know the process, are rightfully intimidated by the process, don’t speak English, and did not obtain special education law degrees) is to streamline the redundancy for them. If I can cut out a dumb step legally, I’ll do it. Sometimes though, I’m bound to the redundant dumbness.

And I’m bound to the redundant dumbness too.

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