This week has for me been a week of frustration with policies that clearly don’t make any sense, and that make my situation even more difficult than it already is.
First, I’ve been periodically getting in touch with the university parking office since I started my job to ask for parking reassignment. I have been assigned a spot in a parking garage that is about a 7 minute walk from my office. Like most university garages, it seems to have been competing for a “most inefficient” design award, and it can easily take 10 minutes or more to wind up or down the darn thing. And, the location of the garage adds about 5 blocks of congested downtown driving to my commute each way.
About half of the faculty and staff in my department have permits for the lot just outside our building, which I will call the good parking lot. The university charges less for these permits than for my garage permit. This week I complained a bit more loudly to the parking office, including pointing out that because I have a toddler with autism, I sometimes have to leave midday for appointments or urgent issues. This time I was escalated to the head of university parking – who told me there is nothing they can do. University policy assigns good parking lot permits based on seniority, and once assigned, they are never revoked. If a faculty member retires, they can choose to keep their permit – at a retiree price of $24 per year, or essentially free. We have two retirees in our department who sit on these permits and only use them very rarely – but with pricing like that, why give it up? I’m 8th in seniority order for a permit currently, in a lot with something like 10 spots. So I’ll be stuck paying a lot more to park in a ridiculously inconvenient garage while the retired professors get to park right next to the building on the rare occasions they chose to grace us with their presence. What a wonderful university policy that is.
Second, Husband and I have been preparing for a while for our daughter to turn the big Three-Oh (3.0, that is) because she ages out of the state early intervention program and ages into the public school early childhood program. The transition is going to bring a lot of changes and stress for all involved. This week I learned that, like all public schools, the early childhood program that serves toddlers with disabilities is out of session during the summer. And their summer, for some reason, begins May 8. So she’ll start this program, be in it for 1.5 months, and then for 3.5 months she’ll get nothing. No supports, no services, nada, and we’re on our own to arrange care for her. What preschool wants to take an autistic toddler just for the summer?! The early intervention program for children under 3 is year-round for obvious reasons, so I was genuinely surprised to learn that the public school program isn’t. Does my child somehow magically not need autism services over the summer?! It just doesn’t make sense to me.