MPACTYou all know that our road in public school since January has been rocky to say the least. Luckily, I did know of some resources already and was able to contact them right away for help. Here in Missouri it is called MPACT, but I found out from them that ALL STATES are required to have a “parent training and information” group.

So what does MPACT (and the other states groups) do? They provide help, information, support, and training for parents trying to manage their way through the education system with a child (or children) with special needs. These groups are there to help you be the best advocate you can be for your child and not let the schools bully you or “persuade” you into doing what is just easiest for them. Our school district has already been trying this with us, but luckily now I have more information and that will no longer be happening. I’m not saying that all school districts do this at all – but there are plenty that do. Also, just because part of the school district is telling you something it doesn’t mean all the staff of that district has the same beliefs on this subject. There will be plenty of supportive staff as well – but unfortunately more of the ones that are the “powers that be” are far less supportive and untruthful (even if just by omission of information).

Now “special needs” really covers a HUGE range of things. In our case we are dealing with Taylor’s bipolar, his “disability” (I hate that word) makes things much harder at school for him because the chemical imbalance in his brain impacts his frontal lobes of his brain and his executive processes. This physical changes in his brain makes for some hard times in a traditional school setting. Obviously, there are all types of special needs for kids that are physical, mental, emotional, and a mix of things. Some disabilities it is much harder for the schools to deny, but just because it may not be visible to the naked eye doesn’t mean the disability doesn’t exist. Regardless, the schools are required by FEDERAL LAW to provide certain services to our kids including a free and public education!

For Taylor we are working hard on getting things on the move with the school district. We are ready to go and it feels like they are dragging their heels, but they have certain time guidelines they must follow so hopefully that will happen. While in an ideal world Taylor wouldn’t need any accommodations, right now he does. In school is the ideal time for kids to get extra tools when they need them and then work towards goals of using as few as possible in the end. Schools also need to allow students – our children – to make mistakes and learn from them, not treat them as criminals when they do make mistakes (I know there are a few exceptions to that of course). That is a big part of being a teenager especially, spreading your wings, making your own decisions – both good and bad – and learning from those decisions.

I have some training classes coming up over the next couple of weeks through MPACT and I am going to try to share some of that information with you all as well. If you are in Missouri I strongly recommend you contact MPACT if you need any help – don’t rely on the school to give you all the information you need. It is a very complicated maze to go thru. If you are in another state, please search for the parent training and information group within your state (feel free to leave links if you know them for other states in the comments).

Oh – and MPACT is also on Facebook!