Thursday, January 15, 2009

Does not respond well to criticism

Whether implied or direct, when I feel unjustly criticized, I can get my back up so fast you might mistake me for the Incredible Hulk.

Ellie brought home a Salt Lake City School District Vision Screening Referral Form, again. Every year the same drill: Could not see the line on the chart appropriate for child's age. But this time, the district staff person who conducted the screening test checked and circled "3rd Referral!!" on the Symptoms line item and I can't help but feel criticized by that, like I'm somehow to blame that my kid with the glasses thicker than pop bottles can't see the eye chart and shouldn't I be aware of that and what kind of parent lets their kid go to school without 20/20 vision and good hell woman, this is the "3rd Referral!!", so do something already, what more do we need to tell you so you will stand up and be a better parent and do right by this child already. You can see that implied criticism of my parenting in "3rd Referral!!", can't you? It seems so obvious to me.

I can only speculate that the five prior referral forms upon which I have diligently obtained the signature of her pediatric ophthalmologist (which requires cover letters and SASEs and more time tracking it down by phone and busy work I just don’t need) who practices at the world famous Moran Eye Center and who has treated her since she was four were missing from the file that the district staff member was referring to when she conducted the vision screening test on Ellie. I guess the brand new and stylish pair of pop bottle lens on my child did not give the district staff member any confidence that a concerned parent was on the job and everything that could be done was being done so this child can see the damn white board and get an education.

Here is the measured response I just dropped in the mail. The first draft was a lot fiercer, a lot, this is milk toast comparatively, but I’m nothing if not measured and thoughtful in all things:

To Whom It May Concern:

I have enclosed an unsigned copy of the vision screening referral form for my sixth grade daughter E* (Ellie) H*. I have also enclosed a copy of her most recent optical prescription dated September 12, 2008, written by Robert O. Hoffman, M.D., Moran Eye Center. Her vision is corrected to the best possible extent. Ellie is wearing a brand new pair of glasses with lens ground to the most current prescription. Nothing more can be done to improve her vision. Everything that can be done is being done for her, she is not being neglected. Ellie will continue to fail all vision screenings even though she is wearing glasses as thick as pop bottles because her vision cannot be improved any more than the current prescription allows.

I am not forwarding the vision referral form to Dr. Hoffman for signature. You can confirm that Ellie is his patient and under his continuing care and has been since she was four-years-old by calling his practice at 801-581-2352.

If you have any further concerns about the level of care Ellie is being provided for her bad eyesight, please call me at either number referenced above.

M* H*

Although the signature line would have been more accurate if I had typed:

M* H*
Touchy Touchy Touchy Parent, Back Off You Overbearing Officious Creeps

Defensive much? Who me?


Anonymous said...

I guess it's mild when I get a form at pick up from afterschool -- on a Friday--for one or the other of my kids saying, "We do not have x record on file. Your kid will be EXCLUDED from school on [the Monday three days away] if we do not have this form signed by the doctor." And the school nurse is only there on Tuesdays.


Eliza2006 said... she's going to be referred to me! ;) I only wish she could be my student.

Jeannie said...

You did the right thing and I would have felt a white hot rage, quite frankly, by the '3rd Referral!' chastisement. Your response was quite measured and appropriate. Oh, the letters I've 'thought' about sending in my life...

Amy said...

I think you're completely justified. I was in charge of hearing screenings for an entire district for several years, and goodness knows that I would have expected an irate parent or two if I wrote "3rd Referral!!" on a screening results form for a kid who is just as deaf as when they were born. Obviously they're keeping track well enough to know she's failed the screenings before - you'd think they'd keep track well enough to know the kid is well cared for in that regard. Stupidheads.