IEPs Can Make You Cry

But I did not.

They said it would take an hour. It took three. Last year they said two hours, when it took four. I left work early, tried to budget enough time for it, and still got caught short. I am glad I get a chance to review it before I sign.

The team we had assembled from the school he is currently in was really caring. It took a long time, but they have begun to understand my son. It seems a shame to take him from an educational team that is trying so hard to accommodate him without coddling him. The special education representative asked me why I was moving him to her school, when it was obvious that I was happy with his team and how they were working with him and providing him with what he needed to the best of their abilities.

This is mostly what I said: He is seven. He has to switch to two more schools by the time he reaches seventh grade if I leave him here. Your school is K-7, and I assume you will be adding middle school by the time he gets there. He does not like change. Transitions regress him horribly. Keeping him in place is smarter.

He has a team of three therapists, a caseworker, a doctor, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. More than one of the members of that team has mentioned that your school lessens symptoms in other special needs clients similar to him. He is so strong on his academics and his tech that he does his work effortlessly- after a half hour argument about why he has to do it. Your school is a science academy, the only subject he finds interesting. You teach subject mastery and Singapore math. How many special ed children are passed along from grade to grade? Not at your charter school, not with mastery. I have to try it. If he does not succeed, I send him back to his team, and cherish the time he has left there before graduating to the next school.

The charter school rep seemed a bit daunted by the amount of time he requires out of the mainstream classroom. I reminded her that we just don’t know how he will be when he gets there.

The social worker offered social skills classes three days a week all summer. I passed. My son wants his vacation. I think he has earned it. He has improved tremendously on handwriting, accepting correction, and being present in the class. He no longer escapes into a world in his head. I did not know this. I thought he was still spacing out. So his coping must be improving, and his awareness. Now we just have to keep working towards that Theory of Mind. Once he grasps that, everything should be golden. Anyway, last summer he taught himself to read and I want to see what this summer brings him.

I have a social stories book for him, we started on it this morning. This summer each child has to go through mommy school and learn to help around the house. I think for him I should lean hard on recipes. It will help with his tendency to skip in reading. You just cannot skip recipe lines!

The largest change I made, from experience rather than from diagnosis, was to have teachers and paras introduce themselves to him every day upon meeting him. He does not know faces. He recognizes people only in predictable clothing with the same hairstyle in the same setting. I can teach him tricks to recognize people, but the school can accommodate, too.

One IEP done. Now I need to put a 504 in place for the other son.



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4 responses to “IEPs Can Make You Cry

  1. I’m going through IEP “fun times” after the 12yo’s learning assessment results. He has his final 4 hour session tomorrow. What should be his final…if he chooses to cooperate instead of choosing to behave defiantly…Sigh.

  2. jeffreymhartman

    Having chaired a few hundred IEP meetings, not many have lasted as long as the ones you’ve described. Those that have were mired by some drastic issue that slowed the proceedings. I’m happy to read you were part of a cohesive team that kept the best intentions in mind throughout and that the time invested seems to have resulted in a potentially beneficial plan. Best of luck with designing the 504 plan.

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