What’s the deal with this IEP flip out?

February 15, 2010 at 10:57 am 2 comments

So, yes, I’m twitching about this IEP. I wish I didn’t have to. Seriously. BUT, I just want to explain WHY I’m twitching. This hasn’t just been an overnight “Oh, my sweet Lord, here comes an IEP, let’s get all hot and bothered about it,” but has been a cool run up of debacles, missed chances and excruciatingly painful non-access to the core curriculum.

I’m all sorts of disenchanted with this school district and the services it provides special needs kids. What’s the use of being in a “good” district when you can’t get a solid, quality education for your child? It just doesn’t make sense.

Here’s what’s happened…
I’ve spent the entire school year fighting to get information on Isaac. He’s on Adderol, and I really NEED information about how he’s surviving his day, so we know if we need to change dosing times or what have you. After the Vyvanse issue (depressed kid-it wasn’t pretty), we need to be very on alert. It took nearly 2 months to get them to realize that I wasn’t kidding. I needed this information and I was going to get it one way or another. They finally instituted a “notebook” and it was so disgustingly subjective. We’d get a note saying his day was “not well” and no explanation. We couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. We didn’t know when to speak to him regarding his behavior, or reward him for good behavior.

We would also constantly get notes from his PT about how awful he was for her. Umm..we warned them. We also told them how to get him to be compliant for PT, and the PT poo-poo’d us. Well, fine. Then don’t complain.

Then, came the entire crowning glory of everything. We were asked to let them run the consequences of poor behavior at school and not even give him any consequences at home.

WHAT? You’re kidding me right?

Nope. They weren’t kidding. They wanted us to lay off.

Wanna hear what ticks me off about all of this? If we really had laid off, they would have been the first ones complaining regarding the lack of follow through at home. They would have lamented the fact that there was no home support.

Then, when I registered Isaac for hockey, I emailed the PT to see if he needed to wear AFOs with skates. I got back a huge diatribe about how bad an idea this was-to put him in hockey and how awful it would be for him, because he wouldn’t be able to negotiate with a stick and puck. She only relented after I sent back a quite curt, pointed email with the fact that this was a LEARN TO SKATE FOR HOCKEY program and that it was developmentally appropriate, and please answer the question-AFOs or not?

I had meetings and meetings and emails and phone calls, and all of that. I thought things were ok for a bit. Isaac was having good days, things were going well, people were doing their jobs. I could finally relax and know he was getting the best stuff he could get.

Then, in January, the final straw hit.

I had been noticing that the aide was doing tons of writing for him. Writing in his sight word books, his stories, ect. I was a bit concerned, but wasn’t really too sure. I figured I’d give it a bit and then maybe ask a polite question, as I had questioned the goals for OT from the start.

Then, a worksheet came home with a date on it of mid January. It was work that Isaac had been doing competently (if not excellently) in Pre-K over at his old school with his old OT, Pam in JULY.

This is when I fully and totally hit the roof. I fired off a polite, but pointed email to the OT and a less polite and no less pointed email to the consultant teacher and waited for responses. The OT was canned, and evasive. It was the largest cop out email I’ve read in a long time. She even CC’d the consultant teacher on her response. I also got a mail back from the consultant teacher explaining some things, angering me even further with their lack of pushing Isaac to give him full access to the core curriculum (which is required by federal law)

A list of suggestions from the OT followed the next day for things we can do at home to increase fine motor skills. This was a complete and total insult, as we do all of the things on the list. This is not what we asked for as follow through for home. We asked for actual work, letters, numbers, ect. We got a list.

Yeah. Nice.

Knowing that Isaac was no closer to writing (short of an I and a circle and some intersecting lines), I demanded a plan be put in place for him to write more, do more and possibly make a plan for at least the beginning of first grade for written responses. I made it clear that he could NOT have someone scribe for him at all times and it was unacceptable anyway. I suggested a keyboard or something (I can teach him how to type-he knows all of his letters…as evidenced by the fact that it was a goal for him and he achieved it by, oh, OCTOBER…told them…) that would allow him to do his own responding. I also made it clear that the lack of writing and pencil control at this point in the year was quite unacceptable, and we can’t follow through at home if nothing is being done at school.

The consultant teacher said she’d work on that with the OT, and everyone else. Ok. I’ll let that ride for now. She’s usually pretty good at this stuff.

Then, at the latest PTA meeting, I asked the principal when I could place requests in for next year. I’m concerned about peer grouping, ect. Plus, there’s one teacher I want him to avoid, because I KNOW the two of them won’t get along and it will be MISERABLE. I can’t do miserable.

When I asked her about when requests have to be in, she snapped at me “Isaac will be in the coteaching classroom because he has an IEP!”

umm…so, since when does that matter? They use a consultant/push in model. Does it really matter what room he’s in?

And the PE teacher can’t seem to do without his aide (who he only has half time) because she won’t redirect him to the activity by herself, which his hockey coaches can do just fine with 3x the number of kids!

Honestly, I think the only thing they have right is the fact that I’m not going to tolerate any lowball goals like I did last time. They won’t even try it…

Now do I have permission to be twitchy and flip out over this impending meeting?

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Entry filed under: district incompetence, insanity, Kindergarten!, randomness, school, shrimper.

T-two weeks to IEP and I’m already twitching Itch, itch, wheeze, wheeze

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  February 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

    It’s amazing the differences in the elementary schools. I tend to have excellent communication from the therapists, and they are receptive to my suggestions and ideas. I am sorry that you aren’t getting the same level of services. 😦

    A notebook is a good idea, if it’s being filled out thoroughly. I would recommend you add something to the IEP about this notebook, but I KNOW it will not be allowed. I sat in on an IEP as a parent rep (at your school) and the parent wanted a notebook added. The CSE chair was adamant. She said it’s nearly impossible to assure it is always done, thereby it would invalidate the IEP. The best advice is to just push constant communication. Maybe have preset questions you need answered each day. Go so far as to make a binder with a sheet for each day with the questions already written. It will just be a form they fill out. Make it as easy as possible on them.

    Make the consultant teacher your ally. If she is the best one to get things done, direct all your communication to her. Have her be the one doing all the work in coordinating the therapists.

    If you are still seeing issues with the Adderall, have you considered trying something else? I know Vyvanse wasn’t good for us either, but there are other meds. We are using the Focalin XR now. There are NO peaks and valleys to his tempermant. He is very even keeled, even when it wears off. The neuro said all ADD meds have two parts, the part that does the good and the part that gives the side effects. With Focalin they have figured out how to make the drug with the two parts, but then they are able to “remove” the bad part. I totally don’t understand how, but it works. Maybe it’s something you can ask about?

    Have they tried a behavioral (reward system) plan? I know that is always something they recommended for Austin. I honestly rejected that option. For Austin, it’s not that he doesn’t WANT to do the work, it’s the follow through that’s hard because of the processing delays. Therefore, a reward doesn’t help him to finish his work. But for some kids, the reward system is good. It’s even something you can follow through with at home. Maybe make hockey his ultimate reward for a good week?

    Writing. This is a hard one for us. I see a lot of teacher writing also. Last year (1st gr) was really bad. What I finally figured out is they wanted to keep him working with the class, so they’d let him verbalize his answers (TA would write) when all the other kids would be writing on their own. I finally requested that HE do the writing. I asked them to give him half the workload of his peers. Writing was a big thing for me too. I knew he could do it, but it was a longer process for him. Example- if the class has to write 10 sentences in 20 minutes, make him write only 5. It wasn’t the quantity, but the quality I was concerned with. This is something we have carried over into 2nd grade. Maybe this is something they can try.

    I know you have asked about a communication aide (computer). I know the OT and I know she will not support this. We talked about this a lot last year, at exactly the same time (IEP time). This is why we chose to go with the modified workload amount. It has worked well.

    Psychologist. Ours always comes, but she honestly never says anything. Unless she is getting in the way at the meetings, I’d just overlook the fact that she is there.

    Principal. I don’t know yours all that well, but I have heard comments. Ours never comes to IEP meetings. Again, unless she is getting in the way, overlook the fact she is there. In regards to requesting a teacher. Calmly explain that you are trying to ensure the easiest transition into 2nd grade, with a teacher that would mesh well with his needs and the most appropriate chance for a successful year, for Isaac AND the school. Sugar, pour it on. Try to make her see you are doing this in the best interests of the SCHOOL!!

    Have I touched on everything? Things are just a few ideas. Also, have you heard about Nisky CARES? I urge you to get involved. At a minimum you will interact with parents who can help give you ideas. Check it out. http://www.niskayunaschools.org/district/SpecialEd/NiskyCARES.htm

    Oh, one last idea. His team should meet once a week to discuss him. Ask if you can conference call in for this meeting so you are completely aware of what is happening at all times. I have no idea if they will let you do this, but it’s possible.

    Good luck, and keep me posted!

    Reply
  • 2. Jen  |  February 16, 2010 at 9:33 am

    hmmm, my comment is almost as long as your post 🙂

    Reply

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