Friday, June 08, 2007

IEP Aftershock

The meeting went pretty smoothly. The school OT kept her mouth shut, but also offered no actual goals. She managed to put her name on something so she can be put down as a consult, but that's probably just because she'll be in teh classroom anyway; I suspect she has to clock her time or something, so the more "consult" she has, the less actual work she has to do. But perhaps I am being ungenerous.

Anyway, we got some goals, mostly social interaction and language stuff, and we've got the good teacher. I'm going to chat with my private OT, who went to the meeting, abotu the OT situation before I sign this thing. I'm not crazy abotu having the school OT messing with my child, but I'm also worried about having direct OT off the books, and maybe he needs some goals that got swept under the rug?

The new administrator is a no-nonsense, get it done kind of lady. This made the meeting go at lightning speed. Another reason to not sign anything- what didn't get discussed, because we were distracted by pre-drafted goals and the march to signatures? We're in no hurry. The teacher I already know is the best our system has, and we seem to communicate OK. The new SLP seemed OK, and friendly enough. So this might be OK. That would be nice. We'll see.

The new team was very interested in a powerpoint I put together about Joey. It's a little too detailed to be posting on a public blog, but mostly I used Kristina's (Autism Vox) suggestions to put it together, so that we could communicate how we view Joey, the role of the school in his education, and highlight his strengths and abilities instead of the deficits- since most of these meetings dwell on goals for thigns he isn't doing so great with. The preschool staff would see my computer and roll their eyes. These new people wanted printouts to distribute to the staff who would be working with Joey- all of it. There's an interesting change in pace.

One thing that kind of bugs me is the whole system made manifest by the meeting was clearly geared to absent parents. It was like a great machine, and you either said yes or no. I wonder how much of the smoothness is because someone has told people to back off, or if they've just figured out ways to keep me at bay, so I have to go home an dthink about what actually happened and whether it is worth hiring a lawyer and checking everything top to bottom. Or maybe they know I'm likely going to do that anyway, and just aren't going to put out more energy than needful. Or are these new people more efficient, being used to having lots of kids show up at kindergarten with no intervention and disinterested (or overbooked) parents? Or did someone put a fire under someone's butt and tell these folks to start at least appearing to obey the law and quit making fusses? We've had so much trouble, I am still inclined to be suspicious. I want to know what is going on for there to be such a dramatic (apparent) attitude shift. But for now, I'm jus going to go over the IEP with the proverbial fine-tooth comb and start from there.

Shame we dont all live closer so we can get together for an IEP party and pull apart each other's IEPs and ask questions and stuff. :P


mcewen said...

What do you mean by 'geared to absent parents'? That the parents don't turn up? Maybe I'm mis-understanding you as I don't think I've ever come across a parent who wasn't champing at the bit to get to the IEP.

I hate all the second guessing - it really hurts my brain.

Joeymom said...

No, you read that correctly. Apparently, many of the parents in our system don't show up. But, knowing how they treat people who DO turn up...

Anyway, its really beyond my grasp why you wouldn't at least make a show of trying to advocate for your child, but apparently there is a large problem around here of parents tossing their kids at the school, saying "fix it" and disappearing. In fact, the meeting everyone was headed to after mine was one where they already knew the parents weren't coming.

Very strange.

Club 166 said...

Your experiences very spookily mirror ours (at least as to what I see publicly posted-if we sat down over coffee we might find lots of significant differences). Because this may influence what I say, take this with a grain of salt.

At this point, I'd say you're on track. Go over the IEP in total with a fine tooth comb and talk with your OT.

If their are no things that are way out of place, then I would be inclined to go with it.

Good will is very important, and it sounds like you may have some at this school that you don't want to squander (unless necessary). The good thing about IEP's is that you're not locked into them if they're obviously failing. You have the ability to call them back to the table later if it becomes obvious that it's just not working out.

I've come to think of IEP's as legal forms first, and educational guides second. That's not the order of import that they should have, but seems to be the order of actual importance they hold. It seems that the most important role of an IEP is it's evidentiary value of "evidence of harm" against your child when it was NOT followed (thought I'd never actually use [and not just reference] the "EoH" phrase in a sentence).

If the people in place at the school are good, they will be flexible and do many of the right things along the way, even if they're not spelled out in the IEP. If they're not good, then all the good verbiage in an IEP won't make them do anything at all. The document reverts to its primary import, as a piece of evidence in hearings against the system.

Niksmom said...

Did I understand correctly that the team came to the meeting with everything pretty much prewritten? If so, you might want to check out the WrightsLaw site ( about "Draft IEPs".

I am taking copious notes from your experience as well as from Steve's input as I prepare for Nik's IEP over the summer.

Sure do wish we all lived close enough to have that IEP party...

Niksmom said...

Oops, Sorry Club166...I had a "brain fart" as Niksdad calls 'em and got you mixed up with Steve D from One Dad's Opinion. My bad. :-0

Joeymom said...

Yes, Niksmom, you read that correctly, too.

I came out feeling a little breathless, which is once again why I didn't sign yet. I have a lot of checking to do.

I don'treally mind people coming with "draft" goals, and we carefully went over them and considered them, and even changed them. It wasn't a "we made a draft- sign here" situation, but it was still a little too quick for me to be comfortable about signing without some serious thinking and combing. Also, there are only 6 goals.

However, I am also not shy about calling meetings to add goals. And there was a LOT written in teh accomodations section, especially abotu the sensory problems. I have also seen the teacher deal with autistic students with sensory problems, and I have confidence that she can handle it. The OT can't.

Another intersing development- the administrator, who is also the vice principal, and the classroom teacher apparently told my private OT that she is welcome to come into the classroom to observe and consult anytime she likes.

How much of this is because we stomped our feet and screamed like banshees? I have no idea.

kristina said...

Stay suspicious---we've always been presented with an IEP and when we say, gotta think about it, we get the response of "Oh, if you have to......". But you have the 15 days to look it over and call for changes and there is always something----last year I had a back and forth with the case manager about revisions while we were at the beach (not easy with the mail situation) but it was still possible. You can always ask for another meeting---no rush. No rush. I'm really glad that site was helpful----I am looking it over now in preparation for our meeting.

The Powerpoint is a great idea!

I find my tape recorder---now I've graduated to a device on Charlie's iPod----is a good thing to have, as a "nonverbal statement" that you mean businsess.

An IEP party---IEParty?----sounds like a great idea......

Stimey said...

My first IEP meeting for my 4-year-old son is Tuesday. I feel like I'm totally behind the eight ball because they know what's up and I have no clue.

These people won't even get the psychologist's report to me until Monday and we can't put off the meeting because apparently they don't work during the summer.

Frustrating. But I think I'll take from your post that I'll not sign it until I can look at it with a calm head, because as much as I don't want to, I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose it one way or another when I'm there.

Thank God for the virtual community out there. I get a lot from it/you.

Joeymom said...

Welcome to the world of special ed. If you're feeling lost, confused, overwhelmed, or just want to chat- we're here to help. We'll be thinking of you on Tuesday!!!