This morning was Andy's annual IEP. I wasn't really dreading this one. Andy's got a rockin' team, and they know him and his needs well. We got a draft sent home to look over, and we were ready to go. We got to the meeting, and we talked about Andy, what he has accomplished, what he will need to succeed in school, and we got down to writing the IEP.
All was going almost party-like, until the admin looked at the screen and brought it to a screeching halt. See, Andy's official special ed category is LD- writing disability (dysgraphia). Apparently, instead of being able to consider the needs to the child as an individual despite the specific labeling, we instead can only address items directly related to the label- ie, to writing. As most folks are apparently ignorant of dysgraphia and do not understand it is a pervasive disability, and as it was written specifically as a "disability in writing", the IEP can only address problems with writing at this time.
And the entire team choked, coughed, and sputtered, and then turned to me and said, "well, we need to get his ADHD officially diagnosed..."
And I had a bovine. I pointed out that not only was he officially diagnosed, the school had the record of it. Although not mentioned in the eligibility meeting that was successful, it was recognized in the pre-kindergarten child study when we were turned down. And I said flat out that I believe that had we been given appropriate and adequate service then, we would not be having these meetings now. Early intervention really does make a real difference.
So without missing a beat, the other folks said, this is wrong, and it needs to be fixed. Immediately.
We closed down the meeting, and set up the next one. We put in requests for evals and testing. We return to eligibility, and get this made right, so that we can write his IEP properly, and his needs can be met. The organizational goals and sensory supports we had discussed could be put into place. This needs to happen, so he can access his education.
This is how it should work- the teachers and therapists see there are needs, the parent sees there are needs, and the paperwork is fixed to be sure it reflects those needs and the required accommodations. The case manager steps up and says, "this needs to say this, let's get it done." And then we put the cogs in motion to get it done. The team works as a team, not as a battle.
Yes, folks, this is the way it should work. You discuss the needs, and then make the paperwork say what is needful- not the other way around.