Bipolar daughter participation in sports, etc

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Suzy, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Suzy

    Suzy New Member

    i was here long ago for my step son...left ..came back regarding my frustrated and left again to wing it on my own....AND I :censored2: AT THIS.

    My daughter 13 is I have known for years but refused to get that "label". ::pride dropped:: She is so typical rapid cycling bipolar.. right to my problem.

    My daughter is doing good with all her teachers but I am having problems with a cheer coach. She attacked myself and my daughter the other day because she believes my daughters problem is ME. I enable her and need to do tough love. I have a 504 meeting followed by a meeting with the principal on this issue after. I want to be prepared. This cheer coach does not like me or my daughter..she fabricates things she sees, twists stories about others to be about my daughter, etc. I know the principal sees it, but his job is to defend his school/ I want to have my bullets in place.
    My daughter does not have an iep she has a 504, I am working on the iep, but playing thier get there.
    Thru 504 I view that she has a right to be involved in extra curricular activities... subject to the same discipline as "normal" kids...(she has not been disciplined she has been ridiculed and taunted which is not discipline)
    Okay If my daughter only had one leg... accomodations would have to be made for her to participate with ONE leg. My daughter is bipolar. She does not have the sneaky gene or the sugar coating gene... but she is respectful. She is just loud and wants answers. She works hard at cheer. Without details this cheer coach has a problem more than my daughter does, but she is the coach and in order for my daughter to be on the team...I have to make sure that my daughter has some protections against her coach.
    I know a teacher cannot tell a child to quit a class because she is not a team taunt her for calling her mom when she has a problem and needs a "sounding board and good advice"...etc. Do I have the right to have her extra currular teachers offer her the same as her class room teachers? should the same safeguards be applied for both? In class..if my daughter feels a melt down she can leave to gather herself... should i expect the same of a coach?
    Everyone makes a big deal over this coach, because no one wanted that job and she took it... they have elevated her to a point that I think makes her feel she can do anything...and honestly I am not sure that she cant....they dont want to anger her... I on the other hand...don't care. I want everyone to do what is right for my daughter. She is paid by the state... my tax dollars are paid the same as "normal" kids moms and dads are...

    I want to find things that I can print out..for this meeting to show that my daughter has a right to participate...with adjustments made for HER DISABILITY...she has two legs but has the ability to anger this coach (honestly not sure it is my daughters fault of if this coach has some undiagnosed problems... but i have to deal with what i have here). I dont want to bash this coach..I instead want to make her have to do her job and deal with all the kids ...even my BIPOLAR daughter in a respectful, professional manner.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    What exactly is your daughter doing to anger the coach? How exactly is the coach responding? Without specifics, I'm not sure we can help you figure out what to do.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It sounds like your positions are very adversarial. I think it goes beyond an IEP or 504.

    I would approach it firmly but cooperatively. I like what you said about the need to deal with-your daughter in a respectful, professional manner. Use those words. Then say that you are doing your best to help your daughter deal with-things in a respectful manner and want her to respect the coach. That should help put the coach in your corner. I hate to sound manipulative, but you've got to work with people, not against them.
    I'm not sure what is going on about ridiculing your daughter for calling you ... was it in the middle of a cheer class? IOW, something your daughter was supposed to resolve on her own? Perhaps you can discuss with-the coach specific ways in which to distance yourself and allow your daughter to make her own mistakes. Tell the coach you are willing to do that as long as you are assured that she is being properly taught and coached rather than ridiculed when she does make a mistake. (Eg in baseball, when a kid messes up a catch, the moms yell, "Good try. Shake it off!")
    I would also be careful not to use the word "you" if you can help it ... it will put the coach on the defensive. Use as many objective phrases as you can.
    It stands to reason that your daughter will be monitored or judged in cheer, on her movements, coordination, voice, etc., so you want this to be an educational experience. I'd tell the coach that, too.

    The main question for me would be, if the coach thinks your daughter needs Tough Love, can your daughter hold herself together in Cheer with-o your intervention or will she quit? If the coach believes that Tough Love means ridicule she is mistaken. It means clear boundaries and rules. And sticking to them.

    Others here can give you info on a 504 or IEP.
  4. Suzy

    Suzy New Member

    well to my knowledge there was nothing going on..till last week i was at cheer practice and i witnessed this coach GOING OFF...on my daughter... all cheer practice my daughter had tried to get her attention regarding her position. Coach ignored her... at end of practice daughter approached coach who then yelled at her for not asking during practice. me being a momma bear asked for a meeting and this woman at first put her hand in my face (lucky she is not to have a stump there now). finally all the girls left and she said:
    *daughter is always problems and its moms fault for enabling, try tough love
    *daughter cannot keep a friend (based on her not hanging with her best friend that particular day)
    *she didnt participate in the dances that day (wrong i was there, she did)
    *she needs to play tennis or something as she is not a team player
    *she misquoted me and the principal twice on things that she should not have even known, but somehow does...but she knew the WRONG version, i think based on her dislike of my daughter
    *she has witnessed other teachers yelling at my daughter an is embarrassed because she is a cheer leader. I spoke to other teachers..who said that was wrong.
    *My daughter left practice one day to call me becasue she felt this coach was picking on her. When she came back the coach made comments about how "you have to call your mom" and even told me she should not be allowed to do that.

    I see none of this as a blame thing for my daughter to be concerned about..i see it as a coach with a problem..but i do know my daughter is one that when she is attempting to help another child she might do it as in "you are doing this" (illustrating what they are doing, which might be ..umm..making fun of them), you should "do it this way"... we are working on that issue....

    does that help you some. regardless it is MY DAUGHTERS FAULT..i am teling is..they will make it that way so lets just go with what the coach says..and give me legal ideas that i can present should my daughter behave that way again (in the coaches mind)
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    It sounds to me as if you need a higher-up at the school (for example, athletic director, school counselor or principal) to mediate a meeting between the coach and you. I agree with Terry that it sounds very adversarial.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Is this coach TRULY a teacher? It is not a requirement here that a coach be a teacher.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good point. We've had similar, although not such severe, issues with-easy child's volleyball coach. I was glad when the season ended and the overworked, cranky mom went onto other activities. I'm sure she was glad to see easy child go, too, as easy child cannot keep track of time if she's standing on top of a clock!
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    504 is a disability rights law. No discrimination based on disability allowed.

    See for “"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ."”

    Just FYI, student's with-504 plans are also eligible for BIP (Behavior Intervention Plans) when their behavior impedes theirs or others education.

    I don't know what type of game your referring to regarding having her evaluated for an IEP, but you can circumvent it by parent referring. If you need input/recommendations on how to do this, post to the Special Education 101 forum.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Is there an activities director in your school that you can go to to mediate between you and the coach? I had a big problem with my easy child's gymnastic's coach in her junior year of high school. We ended up having a meeting between husband, myself, the coach and the athletic director. In the end we resolved the issues and this coach no longer ridiculed easy child or any other girl on the team for that matter. The next year my easy child was captain of the team and at the end of the year the coach said she had never had such a good captain before.

    Some coaches just should not be coaches. Having said that I understand what a difficult job it is for such little pay or reward. But a bad experience like that can ruin activities for our kids for life.

    I hope you can come to some underestanding.

  10. Suzy

    Suzy New Member

    this is elementary school cheer...we have only had this program for three years..they could not find anyone to take this job this TEACHER (yes she is a teacher..she was my son's teacher years ago... he had problems with her "drama" but he is well and able to handle her)...took the job. She did inform me the other day in this conversation with her that she is paid although not much to do this job.
    I have read all the 504 things backwards and fowards and I understand them... in so far as disability goes... but with bipolar I cant seem to put it in ...words. I would know what to say if my daugher had one i said above..those disabilities are obvious...bipolar there are alot of things that are not as visable.
    i am not one that says "oh woe is me..the world is picking on my daughter"..i know who she is and what she is...dear lord i am with her everyday and i catch the brunt of the load. However I am working hard with her and she so far this year has had excellent reports from teachers as for her respect in class etc. She still has MULTIPLE problems almost daily with peers. They know she cant deal with rumors and stuff and they push this...she ignores if for awhile...the BOOM she retaliates and ALWAYS gets caught. ALWAYS.
    All the parents that are verbal love this coach...but you know many parents arent involved or dont care...most of the ones that do care are the children who can do all the flips daughter is in gynmastics learning that stuff now.
    I am a childs advocate. I dont tolerate any child being talked down to by any teacher. I try to mind my own business and right now my thing is MY KID. I have great difficulty telling my daughter she must deal with this type of behavior. She is barely equipped to deal with her own. I can say..."baby everyone has days, and not everyone will like you, so you have to do your best and ignore it"....but this goes way beyond that. What i witnessed was...demeaning, abusive, taunting...bullying. I tried to respond to this "coach" by asking her to wait till other girls were gone and we could talk..and immediately before my second word came out, this womans hand was in my face....I am a calm cool person...for the most part..but I must confess... I would have liked to pull her hair..ugh. I behaved as adult as I could. It scared my daughter as I sent her and her friend out, with my jaw tight and my words tensioned. I prefaced my conversation with her by saying "what I saw today was completely inappropriate"... and she unleashed all negative statements about me and my daughter. As I said most of it was garbage she made up...but..she works for the school district and they will defend each other. I have a meeting with the principal, who i am sure has heard her side. However in my matter what I or my daughter did... this "coaches" behavior was unprofessional and not to the standards they should have been...I never threatened..I asked for the coach to to find the bad and find a way to make it good...look for her strengths (mind you this killed me cause I truely feel my child was no way deserves/deserved that)...but I sucked up. I was met with more her defensive manner...she knows she was busted.. she wants my daughter off cheer. I dont want the principal to agree with that...that is what I need some "help" wording on why my daughter needs to stay in cheer...and how we can incorporate her BIP (she has one) into cheer... with a back up they cant kick her off cheer without reasons which cannot be stock piled and unloaded at once. there has NEVER been a child kicked off cheer..they have suspended for grades, behavior etc..but never kicked off. Translate to me how bipolar is a disability that can be like a "broken leg" and things they HAVE to do to make it work. if you can....what would you do?
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Off the top of my head, cheer is (or could be ) a good means of further social skill development.

    See if is of any help for you.

    Also, "The Bipolar Child" is a very good reference for parents.
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Why don't you go sit in the stands with a small, unobtrusive video camera for a couple of practices.

    If anyone asks, you're taping the routines so that she can work on them at home. In the meantime, the coach will pull her garbage and your daughter will have proof that she's able to do the work.

    As far as bipolar coming across the same as a broken leg, it can't. What you want to do, is list her symptoms, triggers, and ways for her to disarm the situations as they arise. Does she have a Behavioral Plan? Take stuff off that.

    My Dad was having a hard time understanding my nephew for a long time. I told my sister to say the following to him, to wake him up as to how he was treating his grandson:

    "If he was in a wheelchair, would you dump him out of the chair, hide the remote and scream at him to change the channel on the tv?"

    He's treating the little guy a lot better than he had. You're there for cheerleading, not parental skills training!

  13. My son's elementary school housed a Behavioral program. These students were encouraged to join and participate in the basketball/cheer afterschool activites. The school district hired 2 paras to act as a buffer between the children and the often overly excitable coaches. Having the ED kids participate makes the school district look good to the state board of ed.