Stepping Up

I think everyone has seen, through the two plus years that I have been blogging about being the father of a child with Autism, about how I advocate for my son in the schools to get him the resources he needs to succeed.  You’ve seen my struggles and frustrations, and the occasional victory, all while I’ve groaned and grumbled about how the school district seems to be rigged against children like my Monster and that they don’t seem to hear us when we complain to them.

Well, it looks like I’m about to have more of a voice.

I mentioned a few weeks ago (see Daddy Downtime) that I was going to interview for a position on the Parent and Community Advisory Board.  I found out last Friday that the Maryland Disability Law Center has offered to appoint me to the board, and I have accepted their gracious invitation.

Obviously, PCAB is just that – an advisory board to the Board of School Commissioners.  The major reason I have been offered this opportunity is to speak up for all children with disabilities who are students in the Baltimore City Public Schools.  I think everyone can agree that I’m hardly shy about my opinions.  I’ve seen enough in two years in the public schools, and heard enough from other parents, to realize that the Monster’s experience thus far has actually been fairly typical, save for when we’ve squeaked and pushed back to fix issues.

And that’s where I can do some good.  I squeak very loudly.

Granted, I come to the table with just one set of experiences, and I do take seriously my responsibility to be a voice for the students of all abilities in the schools.  During the interview, I was given a good view of what the job entails – that the board provides parent and community feedback to the Board of School Commissioners regarding policies and issues in the school – and that’s a good place for me to fix my lever to help try to make changes for all students.

Transportation definitely comes to mind as a first spot for me to get involved, where we’re seeing that the busses are constantly tardy and yet nothing ever seems to be done.  I’ve heard from plenty of parents – and even the school staff – that this is a perennial problem.  It just begs for someone to push on the board to do something about it. Late busses mean lost opportunities for interventions, therapies and education… and it’s just not acceptable.  Now just to find the right committee to get myself involved in…

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