IEP, Anyone?

So I dropped by the school to talk to one of my son’s teachers before school started. No dice, they were out of their rooms and I cannot just wander around looking for them. I called, left a message and sat, tense and working and running my mouth about inane things all day, trying to let off a bit of steam.

I wrote down my points the night before, and again in the morning after I spoke to his county caseworker, to keep it all straight. I have a habit, when emotional, of forgetting what I need to address.

The caseworker offered to do it all for me, but I told her I would pull her in if it came down to a formal meeting. I wanted to give the teacher and the school another chance. I want to work with them, not sue.

She called back during recess. I explained to her how my son does handwriting in OT. I directed her, gently, towards the IEP, where this process is laid out and the supervision of the school Occupational Therapist is mandated. I reminded her, again, that my son does not have a brain that works like mine or hers. She said she had no idea he was so rigid, so black and white. I don’t understand how you can teach autistic kids and not notice this trait in them. I advised her on how to work with this, creating flexibility by going over schedules, schedule changes, calendars, and sequences. It really can be used in your favor, and it can be fun, too. I advised her to switch paras, because his PTSD, once triggered, is going to get in the way of his learning.
The call lasted half an hour. When I got off the phone I was covered in sweat and I felt the sort of relief one has after a good crying jag. Because it was that important, I was that intensely focused on it, and also because I think she is going to try. She is going to remove that para from his lineup. Thank goodness.

I just don’t understand how his teachers do not understand him. I know they are not his mother, they have not lived with him, etc. But my son is so classically autistic that he is an Asperger’s cliche. If you read one accurate book on Asperger’s, you are reading about my son. He fits exactly into the definition and has every trait and characteristic that his Aspie peers do.

Tonight he sat out on swimming class, glad it was dropped. I don’t care about the money. He was happy. He played a video game and talked to me occasionally and leaned up against me the entire time. He told me he loved me. He doesn’t say it as often as his brother and sister, so I know it is not a casual phrase for him. He is fantastic, fascinating. I want him to be happy. I don’t want him to be afraid anymore.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “IEP, Anyone?

  1. Doesn’t sound like the “right” teacher. I hope things get better or he gets someone that will actually work with him, not “on” him. -OM

  2. In my work as an advocate for students, I attended IEP meetings at many different schools and districts. A few places did such a wonderful job, bringing everyone along and making sure everyone’s focus remained on the student’s needs. Far too many, though, went through the motions to be legally compliant(ish) without any deeper commitment — unless and until the parent insisted on more.

    Good for you for advocating for him — and for doing what you need for yourself to be sure your efforts are as effective as you can make them.

    • Thanks! My caseworker is still on backup, and I have a summary of the conversation typed up and signed and dated by me to deliver to her, so she is in the loop. This is exactly why I involved her in my son’s life. In case he needs advocacy and no one is listening to me.

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