The Dearborn Public Schools almost caused the Death of my Special Needs Child, resulting in an investigation by the U.S. Government for violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Because of the Damage this has caused to us, I am raising money to make ends meet, create financial stability, and then start a Nonprofit to Educate and Advocate for Special Needs Children in the Public Schools System.
I am a Single Mom with a tiny income. I have been a primary caregiver for most for the last 15 years, earning little money. This included caring for my 80 + year old father in our home for the last 9 years of his life, until he passed 2 years ago. I work seasonally at a job that feeds my soul, but not my retirement account. My employer allows me the flexibility that I need to deal with the challenges that caregiving brings, but it comes with the tradeoff that I’m not paid if I’m not there, and the work season varies in length every year.
8th Grade Graduation
Christmas Tree Shopping
Kid Helping out at My Work
When my daughter was in 2nd grade, her father moved out and my marriage ended. Almost a year to the day later, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (the Auto-Immune Disorder formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes). Later, Anxiety and Clinical Depression, and which are common amongst Type 1’s, would be added to her Diagnosis. Last year, she developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She depends on Insulin to live, wears an Insulin Pump, and pricks her finger 8 – 12 times a day to check her sugar. She has a deep and natural connection with animals, resulting in many pets, and has a core group of a few select friends.
This is the drawer in my dresser where we store her supplies. There are overflow boxes under my bed because we get three months supply at a time.
A super high blood sugar. Not a rare occurrence in our life.
The Oldest and Largest Summer Camp for Type 1 Diabetics in the Nation, right here in Michigan.
Last Spring, for enrollment into Her Freshman year of High School, I presented 2 letters of Medical Necessity and requested a Hardship Boundary Exemption to another district school - Dearborn High, instead of our home school of Edsel Ford, for the following reasons:
· She does not always feel her low blood sugars, a life-threatening situation when every second counts. The Paramedics are right across the street from Dearborn High, but miles away from Edsel.
· We have Surrogate Family living 2 blocks from Dearborn High that were willing to have her stay there after school. This would allow her to participate in after-school activities, hang out with her Bestie, Be Safer, and allow me to earn as much money as possible during my production season.
· My Daughter did not know anyone going to Edsel Ford, which was creating huge Anxiety and Depression for her, further complicating her Type 1 Diabetes. She has many friends, including her Best, attending Dearborn High. These kids are a built-in Peer Network and used to the quirks that her disabilities bring.
The Administration denied our request and appeal, never giving a real reason why.
I began learning all I could about Section 504 laws and Special Needs Kid’s Civil Rights. I tried working with the Administration, writing letters and emails, requesting meetings, and hiring a Special Education Lawyer.
I filed a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, and they are investigating the Dearborn Public Schools for Violation of my child’s Section 504 Rights.
By the time school started, I had publicly addressed the school board, letting them know how the decisions of the administration had caused my child to slide backwards in therapy, having thoughts of self-harm and suicide. The stress and anxiety of going to a school she knew no one at and nothing about were wreaking havoc with her blood sugars, raising her insulin use and further weakening her immune system. We had to increase her anxiety and depression medication by 25%, putting her dosage higher than most adults taking the same drug.
All of this fell on deaf ears within the Public-School System
Within 3 weeks of school starting she was catching every sickness that came through the school doors, always running a stress fever, and engaging in self-harm. She was having Panic Attacks that would last for hours, triggering terrifying blood sugars. Many days she was home with whatever disease she bumped into at school, or super high blood sugar, or was sent home sick within hours of getting to there. I missed a lot of work, losing a lot of pay.
If she did make it into the building, she would spend most of her time in the lobby of the Social Worker’s and Nurse’s office, live streaming her Panic Attacks to me via Text Message while I was trying to work. She was certainly not in class learning.
I requested an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) hoping for relief for My Child. The Administration interfered with the IEP Team, dictating them what they could do, corrupting a team that should be independent and free to make its own decision.
My Child became suicidal.
In fear for her life, I had no choice but to withdraw her from Edsel and enroll her in an Online Charter School, where she would get her education “at home”.
The challenges of dealing last year’s lost work, Emotional Recovery, and Online Schooling at Home, have made it difficult for me to earn money, putting us into Financial Distress. My Credit Cards are Maxed, my Savings are empty, and I am one car or house repair from disaster. I am running late on bills. Our cat needs to go to the vet, but I have no way to pay for the visit, lab work, and medication. I worry that it is only a matter of time before he is severely ill.
Until I am called back to work for my 9th Season, I am feeding us by selling personal possessions.
Once we are back on our feet, I intend to get my Certificate in Diabetes Education, and take classes for the skills that I am lacking to help me to start and run a Non-Profit that Educates and Advocates for All Special Needs Children in the Public Schools with a focus on Type 1 Diabetes, Anxiety, and Depression. No family with a Special Needs Child should have to go through what we did. I have already begun a Facebook Page to Advocate and tell our story at fb.me/T1DKidnMe to plant the seeds.
I need your help to achieve these goals. Won’t you please help me fight for My Child and Other Special Needs Kids? Any amount of donation can help. If you cannot afford to help financially, please consider sharing this fundraiser with your Social Media Network.
With Thanks, Hope, and Gratitude –