Sooner Success’(found at this url http://soonersuccess.ouhsc.edu/ ), originally the way I understood this it was to be a; formative innovative concept to help the disability community including the person and family in Oklahoma …on a personal spin! Oklahoma would place a coordinator in every county.
Another word for this coordinator that sums up my understanding of job is a liaison or go between. When parents were stressed locating the necessary resources for their child or adult child with disabilities getting a hold of the Sooner Success County Coordinator was the end all to problems encountered by families. Whatever the community needed this person could do. Some examples might be help filling out forms, simply giving out information or helping get necessary training in the county. I thought this meant, believe I read this at one time, that the Coordinator would contact other agencies and programs or see what the hold up seemed to be. Also, I thought this meant going with parents if needed.
How many know what the Switcheroo is in a con game? Now, I realize verification is best. Heck, if I had known this was coming, I would have taken down the exact specifications listed by Sooner Success. My memory is darn near close to pretty good to excellent on the scales. But because I believe this agency is pulling the old bate and switch with their mission statement I can’t prove this. Sooner Success as a baby agency that already learned to downsize their programs to a limited amount learning the term “referral” very fast.
Here below are some other “referral” agencies or groups funded by either the state, federal or both:
Oklahoma Family Network (has been rolled up into this program somehow I think)
Oasis (which has been rolled up into this program somehow I think)
Oklahoma Autism Network
Center For Learning and Leadership
Disability Law Center
Possibly Disability Council?
Office Disability Concerns
There are other groups that act as “referral” agencies. Many that refer people provide trainings and a few other services. MY MAIN POINT IS THAT THE INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL SERVICE of being a liaison aiding the disabled community with resources while cutting through red tape disappeared in puff of smoke. I know because when trouble cropped up during an application process my phone call to the coordinator wastes my time during my efforts locating services and resources for my son with autism..
Theoretically, a county coordinator can start a job without a college degree and a salary higher than a teacher. Do any of you own a business? If you use a professional do you always seek out another to check their work? Why as a tax payer, would you want to waste this much money in duplicating services where the end produces little improvement in service to the target client? If duplication, triplification or quadruplication of agencies were cut with the a state question mandating the savings were to spent on services to the target clients in the form of therapy, transportation or things that improved quality of life in carefully worded language; would you vote for this measure? How about the same area serving elderly?
Pretend for a moment your profession is one of investigations. This time the target is School Support Services (found at this url https://www.oumedicine.com/department-of-pediatrics/department-sections/devbehav/child-study-center/programs-and-clinical-services/school-support-services) is another agency or group set up to support those with learning disabilities or developmental delays. My comprehension of this program is funding comes from both federal and state governments and Oklahoma school districts also required to pay to use the services. A number of years have elapsed since dealing with this group. Here is another url http://autismcenterok.org/ to go to if interested; I EMPHASIZE THIS IS A MUST!
Rephrasing of mission statements and websites reworked for optimal eye appeal known as marketing resulting in changes to this area have occurred since my last visit. I recollect words to the effect that a child in need or family without the resources for school support services or early autism treatment would receive treatment regardless of financial status. Agencies or groups wise up. You see I liked what I read on this site about evaluations. Insurance didn’t pay for these things back then and expensive was stamped all over the services.
I inquired of my son’s teacher at the time. Of course his teacher said she was in fear for her job. Requesting services that cost a school district money are doubtfully the way to get on the escalator to a promotion for teachers. My mind went to questioning a few things. You see my resume contains a manifold list of skills, jobs, education and volunteer areas. As a pharmacist, I am familiar with the concept of “capitation.” This process is where an insurance group, usually a health maintenance organization (HMO) pays a provider (doctor or medical group) one fee to cover the medical needs say for instance you own a business and you purchase insurance from this HMO to give medical insurance to your employees. Another form of this business arrangement is if in your business you pay one fee a year to a maintenance provider to keep all your machines like printers and computers working. If your machines never break down it is basically an insurance to keep you up and running. However, if you have multiple breakdowns the cost to you for this expense is the same.
Besides being a pharmacist, I have a Master’s of Science in Management. I taught high school for a short time of over a year via alternative certification. I went back to pharmacy for less hours, better benefits, needing family time to work with my son age three that had autism because insurance didn’t cover all the therapy needed, and I hate to say this loving most of the children but better working conditions overall. Volunteering expands my skills into a variety of other areas.
The only people that might provide an answer to some of the questions racing through my mind had to be the financial office of the school district. Thus, I called. “Does the district have a contract with School Support Services at OU? Plus, if the district does is it a per use cost agreement or a capitation contract?”
“Yes, our district has a contract with School Support Services that stipulates capitation as the agreement for services. I am sure you understand this but that means we pay one fee for the service and the number of uses is unlimited to be regulated only by making appointments that are reasonable. Office machine repair is commonly entered into in this manner. Did you understand what I said? Can I help you further or do you require more information or assistance?” Asked the lady on the other end of the phone at my son’s school district financial office.
“NO THANK YOU! I do appreciate your time and the information you have given me. I get what you said and need no explanation or further assistance. Again, thank you very much for your help and all the time. You have no idea how grateful I am to get this data. Have a nice day. Bye.” Chirping in a happy mood I hang up the phone.
Next, I call School Support Services. You see after my wreck in 2008 I had time to research and locate more resources for my son with autism. The school district my son went to offered plenty to him and the family for which I was thankful. The special education director advertised on Cox Cable’s Community Channel that was in existence at the time. The library had a weekly comment newsletter with events listed for people to take. One time I sat down to discuss this with him. He told me he advertises the school district’s responsibility to search out children age 3 to 21 with disabilities and provide necessary services for them after an evaluation process to se if they met qualifications for the program.
School Support Services says to contact them or your school district for services. During my call I asked, “Why don’t you list the districts you have a contract with on your website!”
This way parents will know in advance if the district is trying to side step issues with them. After the wreck a number of the programs like this one were about teaching me to write a lengthy IEP (Individual Education Program) detailing and trying to get the schools to pay for as much as possible. To a point I get this. What people do not realize is the schools have limited resources in budgets already. Another big problem is teacher’s are pushed to the max. I think it comes down to a piece of paper that means little if the teacher is trying but cannot execute the IEP or the school district for that matter.
School Support Services asked me how I found out the contract with school district’s based on capitation and much more. I told them it took a little thinking and asking key offices a few questions to get the knowledge I sought. Then I went on to say that I believed some parents gladly would pay or offer donations to supplement the balance I knew the program was leaking. Trust me I knew even with all the support from federal, state and one time fee from the school districts, costs for the program were over the total sum. Yet, as a parent I knew the cost of paying privately for this and seeing it reduced drastically was something I could appreciate. My suggestions for innovations or doing things different fell on deaf ears like every time I offer such a solution.
School Support Services is one example of many groups that like to hold the schools accountable for so many sins. In so many frames of times I have turned the tables to explore how a group can be or should be more responsible to most innocent, needy and helpless segments of our community in their outreach to provide a service to this community to be met with vile distaste for my suggestion in acceptance of any responsibility in this area.
Neither of these agencies or groups is alone in a sea of entities servicing the disabled. Disinformation or being given out right wrong info starting me down a journey on Wrong Street is an event of more than one date. Reaching out for services for my son that would provide basic housing and supports when my husband I die because there is no family or siblings for him to fall upon if he doesn’t reach the potential I think he will concluded in another fiasco of similar outcomes. Once I had my son in this program, which one must gain entrance before the age of twenty-one now due to changes in policy, the service, people and program is excellent for what the budget allows. I tried to call people to tell them but they are tired of what they perceive as anger and rhetoric.
It is late and I am tired but there is more. I will write about these another day. Yet, I have to talk about the good I found too. Vonda Martin, then an employee of the Center for Learning and Leadership found a social group, OKAY, for my son that ran by a special lady that retired now. Dee Blose allowed me to volunteer and help a group of young adults that gave me so much more than I gave. Jody Harlan, that works for Oklahoma Department Vocational and Rehabilitation Services, has been available to answer questions and on occasion advocate for me. Joni Bruce, head of Oklahoma Family Network, is owed a few thanks for things she has done helping me with agendas associated with doing right or locating resources for my son’s needs.