Thursday, June 15, 2006

We'll have to adjourn this meeting then

My ass we're going to adjourn this meeting.
That's what I was saying on the INSIDE.
On the OUTSIDE, I said "Isn't that illegal?"

That's where the IEP got really interesting today.
It started off strange to begin with.

Here are some of the highlights-
*They STILL will not certify him AI, even though I now have three people/teams that diagnosed him AI. I was assured a year ago that they were going to change it after I gave them the paper work. I should've gotten it in writing.

* Doughnuts do not make for an ice breaker at an IEP, but instead, compound the tension, especially when you notice that the only person eating the doughnut holes you brought is your nervous husband.

*They were shocked when I expected more than 9 lame generic goals for the classroom. Out of my 23, I got 9. (Not including OT, PT and Speech) Most of my goals they assured me they do in class anyway. I said, "If you do them anyway, then why is it a problem to make it a goal?"

*They would reevaluate Gabe in the Fall for certification (Whatever). When I asked if anyone on the team doing the evaluating,was AI certified, they replied with"No." I could'nt believe the confused looks I was getting across the table.
My response, "Shouldn't you have someone knowledgeable about Autism if you are testing to see if a child is Autistic?" I had to control my sarcasm.
I got them to add an AI consultant and the AI team would be doing the evaluation.

* The teacher was in tears about my 9 goals. "What about the other children in the class? I can't be just with Gabe!" "This is too much."
I thought I liked her, but now I was getting pissed. I said that I didn't want to affect the flow of her classroom. I liked how every child was attended too. However, Gabe has very different needs than some of those students that need to be addressed in order for him to get an appropriate education.

Here are two of his goals. You tell me if they are over the top......
1. Gabe will participate in circle time independently.(He can do that now 85%)
2. Gabe will follow 2 step directions given by a variety of staff. (He already does this, but we are using a variety of staff to generalize the skill)

She doesn't even have to provide data!!!!!!!!! We never even got to the daily communication Log!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where is the hardship here!!!!!!!!!

*Eventhough the tension was thick, the tone was still pleasant. Tears in her eyes, we start writing speech goals with a speech teacher that is not even going to be Gabe's speech teacher next year. I don't think she even does elemenatry students by some of the comments she made. I managed to get 6 goals written exactly how I wanted them. Which is funny, because not a half hour before that they refused to add speech goals.Another long story, perhaps another day.

* Next on one aide....."Well, we are going to request a one on one aide for Gabe, so that should make the goals more attainable and free you up to help the other children in your class."
All of a sudden they throw the papers in a folder, slam it shut and pronounce with smiles on their faces..."Well then, we will have to adjourn this meeting until the fall." "When would you like to set up a date?"
Ahhhhh...What? We were an hour and a half into the IEP and my representative from GAbe's school, who was completely awesome, had already cost about $200.
They go on to say, "We can not hire a paraprofessional, so we will have to adjourn this meeting."

After what seemed like 15 minutes of them saying over and over with smirks how they are not qualified to hire paraprofessionals, "I say, I know YOU can't hire a paraprofessional. Who do I need to talk to who can?"
I so wanted to throw them aside and get to someone who could cut off the gristle, get down past the meat and gnaw on the bone with me.
"Oh that would be the Special Education Director, BUT he's sooooooooooooo busy. We would've had to make this appointment months ago. There's no way he will be able to see you." rolling eyes, crossed arms.
"So, what happens in the fall? What happens to Gabe?"
Matter of fact they state, "He will not be able to attend school until he has an IEP."

"What?" Thank God I had been a teacher for 6 years and recognize bullying by the school.
"How on earth can you not provide a public education to my son?" Isn't that illegal?" I know I have them there. I was infuriated. I have been through far worse than this with my insurance company. I was not going to be pushed around by two people that obviously were missing the true calling to teach. It also saddened me that bottom line, they don't care about Gabe. They only see him as a piece of paper with a label, an inaccurate label, but just a label.

"That's illegal. How on earth can you deny a public education to my son?" "I think we may have to seek counsel." They want to play hardball, I have been practicing my swing for almost two weeks now. I was feeling really confident.

Ten minutes later, the very busy Director of Special Education was in our conference room and we have a temporary aide until the school evaluation is conducted within the first 30 days of school.

My ass adjourn the meeting

What I learned about IEP meetings....

1. You are your child's only advocate.

2. Read, read, read EVERYTHING you can about IEPs before you go. Read an actual IEP before you write one. Get copies of other people's IEPs. Educate yourself. If you sound educated, they know that you are someone to reckon with and they will think twice about using catch phrases such as "We don't have the resources for that." or my favorite "Wouldn't every child benefit from an aide?" or even better "Sometimes they get rediagnosed when their autistic tendencies go away."
What ? Tendencies?
I said "You don't have tendencies when you are Autistic. Either you are or you are not. It's not something you grow out of."

3. If you want it, ask for it, push for it, have data, a reputable organization to back up why your child needs a service.
Example from today, Gabe has Verbal Apraxia. Now, the misconception about Verbal Apraxia is that it has to do with the muscles and motor control in the face. BUT it does not. It is a nervous system disorder that affects the ability to sequence and say sounds, syllables and words. Basically, they understand what is being said to them, but the brain has a hard time working with the mouth getting the words out. The muscles work fine, it is the signal that is being sent that is the issue. Verbal Apraxia is a life long disoder.The school speech therapist, which I found many like to do this, just wanted to use an instrument that would vibrate his face. Are you kidding me??? Maybe if he had sensory issues...
So I cited the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association and their definition that I mentioned above. The vibrator idea was dropped and I got the speech goals I wanted.

*Bring water to drink. I don't know about you, but my mouth dries up like a desert when I feel like I am on the front lines. I had a pop, but with all the doughnuts SD ate, he drank my pop too.

* Last, but not least, (I could go on forever, because IEPs suck and there is so much to learn) be respectful. You may not like the people across the table from you, you may even have short mini episodes run through your mind of stuffing a doughnut holes in their mouth so that they would just stop saying such hurtful and stupid things while they are talking AT you, but they will be with your child. It is hard to separate parent from child when there has been harsh words between teacher and parent. Bite your lip instead of letting your mouth run free.

Take care and go gentle into the IEP.