Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Meeting Before the Meeting About the Next Meeting

Yep, you guessed it: IEP season is upon us. In fact, it has taken us by storm. And when I say "storm", I mean "seized by the throat and shaken vigorously in a tornado about to crash into a tsunami."

I told our new case manager that our IEP meetings tend to take about 3 hours. She didn't believe me. We're scheduled for an hour and 45 minutes. I have people hired to come to this meeting, and I do not want to have to have a continuance and try to coordinate these people again. Fortunately, they are there for a single purpose: the get Joey's placement right. And that is just one facet of an IEP meeting. Hence, I want to have our ducks in a row for the other stuff, like goals and accommodations. I want those all drafted and ready, so we don't have to have a long discussion about them that takes, say, an hour and a half.

Or maybe I do. Then I can just pop up and say, "And your school can't do all this, so here's a form to sign to send him to Awesome New School. Sign here. Thanks. Have a great day!" And the school folks would sign it and we would merrily be ready for next year.

Like that would ever happen.

What this means is that we- being the teachers who actually care about Joey- and I are trying to work in time to get the goals and accommodations hammered out properly. Or at all. I think its time for an independent educational eval, so we get a better look at Joey's education as a package- and have a clearer view of where he is, where he should be, and what skills he may need support with- including gifted support. We definitely need some notion of what needs to be in this IEP- its for Middle School, and I want everything spelled out exactly. IF we get stuck in the school, this will be a whole new world of people, a whole new culture with a whole new attitude toward accommodation. It is important that we leave nothing vague, no guesswork, no "well, I know what you mean by that, we can fiddle". They don't know Joey. They don't know me. And I am not a whit convinced they know what they are doing or getting into.

So we're having a meeting, to start hashing. Right before the meeting where we work out the ESY. Then we have the Big Meeting next week.

I think I really need a nap. But I have a meeting to go to.


Katie said...

So interesting. That can't happen in my state - a placement can't be determined in an IEP meeting. A programmatic change can be made (eg 6:1:1, 8:1:1, inclusion etc) but placement in a non-public school can't happen then. In fact, placement in a public school outside the particular school system the child is currently enrolled in can't even happen, just the initial step for the district to make other placement recommendations (within the district). In order for the student to be placed into a non-public school setting, the family and school would have to either go to mediation or (most likely) an impartial hearing (ie family sues the school - that would be the time you pop up and say (and prove) that the school can't meet Joey's needs.) I really hope your state is different from mine, but if not, want you to be prepared what can and can't happen.... please keep us posted! Thinking of you and Joey.

Joeymom said...

If the district agrees to the placement as being the LRE for the child within that IEP meeting, there is no need for mediation or to sue. And there must be someone at the meeting that can make such a decision, or it is not a proper IEP team. OUt-of-system placements are usually fought by school who think it is more money than doing an program in-house; but that is not always the case. If the team determines the needs of the child cannot be met by the school, they can determine where those needs can be met.

Katie said...

Interesting. Definitely not the case in my state.