Thriving School Psych Thriving Students

An Ounce of Prevention costs $2650

Now that it’s summer break, I have time to do those pesky little things that get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list. I took my car in for an oil change and was informed that I needed a full service that would cost $395. I smugly said, “the warranty should cover that.” She said, “Okay, let me just check my computer, clickity-clack clickity-clack, right, your preventive maintenance warranty expired when your car turned 50,000 miles and clickity-clack your odometer is at 50,325.” Awesome. The good news is you can extend your maintenance program another year for click-click-click$2650. That’s the good news?!?

I explained to her I already bought a very expensive 4 year extended warranty, but then she said that it didn’t cover prevention, only mechanical failure. I asked her, “So if I wanted my brakes checked, that’s not covered. But if I was on the highway and the brakes went out, as I was careening towards a guard rail over a cliff my last thought could be that my brakes would then be covered.” She said, straight faced, “Yes. They would be covered in that situation.”

I got to thinking, this is how a parent might feel when I present to them my assessment for special education findings that their child isn’t “behind enough” to qualify for services. In special education, you don’t get services for prevention, only failure. Sorry, your child is only one grade level behind in reading, so the law doesn’t recognize them as “disabled” yet. No resource support yet. Sorry, your child is depressed, but not depressed enough under state and federal law to be “disabled” so they don’t get any services under special education. That would be like going to the dentist and having them say they wouldn’t clean your teeth because technically, there aren’t any cavities yet.

We are waiting for our children to fail enough to get help, meanwhile, some are metaphorically heading toward the guard rail with no brakes and gingivitis. Okay, mixed metaphors and drama aside, I hope our school district makes strides toward the Response to Intervention model next year, so we can change the way we allocate services to all students in need, even those who don’t “qualify” for help.

And if you see me on the highway, rest assured I did get my brakes checked. Because I do believe in prevention in theory and in practice.

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