“How to?” and IEP meetings

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101 Archives' started by Sheila, May 25, 2007.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I get a lot of questions related to “how to?” and IEP meetings. It works best for me to handle IEP meetings as one would any other business matter. Everyone has to develop their own style, but I thought maybe this writing may help some readers.

    difficult child’s IEP was originally scheduled for April. I called (and faxed notice) to reschedule it because:
    1) I needed/wanted his progress report and they hadn’t come out as of the date (weren’t even due out),
    2) I needed the written results of his TAKS tests to help me determine needs for his IEP (results don’t typically come in until mid to late May),
    3) I knew the language re-evaluation I had requested a couple of weeks earlier hadn’t even been started. (Needed the re-evaluation to measure progress and for developing next years goals.)

    Diagnostician called and pressed hard to reschedule it for the first week in May – said they’d get in trouble with-the SEA if they didn’t hold the meeting on time. I assured her I would cover them by advising her I’d get her “parent permission” to hold the IEP meeting at a later date. (And I followed through.)

    I agreed to the May 4th date as long as I had the TAKS results prior to May 4th. I explained that I would have to have the meeting rescheduled if that didn’t happen because I can’t “meaningfully participate” without needed info. I also explained that if they insisted on holding the IEP meeting without me getting the results, I’d have to have the meeting reconvened. She said she had to do some checking and she’d get back with me.

    She calls back and said they were sure they would have the results by the 11th; the first available date that we were all available was the 15th so that's when we rescheduled the meeting.

    I called the school on the 11th; front desk “thought they were in – not really sure.” (I know they are in by this comment.) I asked, “Who would know?” I was connected to difficult child’s counselor’s office. She’s not in, so I left a message. Called her later in the day and left a 2nd message. (Still haven’t received a call back from her.) Then I called the principal. (Still haven’t received a call back from her.)

    difficult child arrives home without the TAKS results on the 11th. I send an email to Diagnostician cancelling meeting until I get the info requested, then copy and paste the email to a fax cover sheet and fax it.

    Diagnostician calls first thing on the 14th. She doesn’t have TAKS results either, and “by the way,” language evaluation won’t be completed in time for the IEP meeting. Almost in the same breath I receive email from Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) “can’t get it done. Can we do it at the very beginning of school in August?” I let it slide; emailed Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) that would be ok with me as long as I could be assured it would be done at the very beginning of the Fall Semester. (difficult child’s medication isn’t working, so it may be best anyway. Mentally prepared for a fight at IEP meeting anticipating that they would want to drop language therapy. According to Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) “he’s met all his goals,” “he’s done so well in therapy,” etc. )

    Diagnostician sends an email. School is out the 25th; if I have everything I need she can schedule for 21st? Emailed her back; still don’t have TAKS results, but if someone can get the results to me, the date will work for me. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from the Language Arts teacher that difficult child passed two TAKS – Reading and Writing (mom did the happy dance). No word from Math teacher, so I know he failed the Math TAKS (not unexpected by mom).

    I arrived early for the IEP meeting still without written TAKS results. I politely announce that I must have them or we will have to reschedule. Diagnostician disappears and brings me a printed document with only pass/fail notations. I apologized for the inconvenience and relay to her that this document doesn’t tell me what I need to know, and again explained that I need to see the written breakdown. Diagnostician finally is able to retrieve a copy for me. This took about 30 minutes – we are well past the scheduled start time at this point.

    The written results are important because each test is broken down by subject and Objectives/Essential Skills for the grade level, and reveals student strengths and weaknesses per Objective. For example, 7th Grade Reading TAKS consisted of 48 questions from various stories pertinent to the following Objectives:

    1. Basic Understanding (comprised 12 of 48 total questions on the test)
    2. Applying Knowledge of Literary Elements (comprised 10 of the total test questions)
    3. Using Strategies to Analyze (comprised 10 of the total test questions)
    4. Applying Critical-Thinking Skills (made-up 16 of the total test questions)

    The “score” is a scaled score, however, if familiar with the meaning of the Objectives a parent can zero in on the child’s strengths and weaknesses at a glance. Example: A student could do well on Objectives 1, 2, and 3 but bomb 4. You’d know right away that the child has a comprehension and/or inferencing problem even if the student passed the test.

    Primary agreements:

    I agreed with school district’s recommendation that difficult child needs “math tutorials.” They agreed with my recommendation that “math tutorials” is too vague, and that the tutorials should be geared to his specific needs. We agreed on daily tutorials being “targeted at specific weaknesses as denoted by the Math TAKS.”

    They agreed that the duties of his Daily Coach needed to be clarified in the IEP, and agreed to use my recommendations on verbiage.

    school district personnel kind of acted like they wanted to change his BIP. I said, “I don’t want any changes.” They agreed to no changes in the BIP and we moved on.

    I asked that the language therapy be given in the increments it was originally designed (2 – 20 min sessions per week vs 1 – 40 min session per week). They accepted the recommendation.

    I asked that the BIP be reflected in each “Subject” (it had inadvertently been left out of one class period last year). They agreed to accept the recommendation.

    And on it went. Based on past experience, the meeting went very smoothly and quickly.

    The Diagnostician wanted me to sign the IEP signature page acknowledging parent agreement with the new IEP. I told her, “After it’s in it’s final form, give me a call and I’ll run by and sign it.” She was a bit taken aback by that, but said ok. Meeting adjourned.

    Diagnostician called 5/24 – the IEP was reduced to writing and ready to sign. She wanted to bring it by and get my signature. (This time Mom is taken aback. I’ve never had such an offer.) I expressed my appreciation but told her I’d come by tomorrow, the afternoon of 5/25 to sign it, but I’d appreciate it if she could fax me a copy so I could review it before I got there – that way I’d be able to get out of her hair a whole lot quicker. No hesitation to fax the IEP noted.

    I received the fax. Several important things were missing and/or incorrect including but not limited to:

    1) the BIP was not faxed with the other IEP documents (reportedly an oversight),
    2) the BIP was written to be effective ONLY during his elective period instead of in all school environments (reportedly a computer glitch),
    3) “math tutorials will be targeted at specific weaknesses as depicted by the Math TAKS” was not in the IEP (reportedly an oversight).
    4) I let go the misinformation of “parent permission to do a [language] evaluation was obtained at this meeting” written into the Minutes/Deliberations section of the IEP. It’s no big deal under the circumstances; besides I have written documentation of when parental permission was given if I need it.

    We cordially went over the needed corrections by telephone. She’s faxing the BIP and will fax the corrections upon completion. We will try for a signature next week.
     
  2. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    Ah...I can't wait for the day when I can handle these IEP meetings with such confidence!!

    You rock Sheila!

    Michelle
     
  3. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Go Mom !!! Great attention to detail...I'm sure glad your son isn't in my class !! ;) What do you find as some of the most effective strategies in your son's BIP? I'm always looking for ideas and suggestions.
     
  4. Crazy-Steph

    Crazy-Steph New Member

    What is a BIP? I will hopefully be getting a IEP this year, so any info and help with jargon would be really appreciated. I am getting nervous just thinking about it. :eek:
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    BIP = Behavior Intervention Plan. It's part of an IEP.
     
  6. Mrs Smith

    Mrs Smith New Member

    They tried 15 times to prevent you from participating effectively and you have intimate knowledge of the system. It's exhausting and depressing.
     
  7. tired Cheryl

    tired Cheryl New Member

    I agree 100%!!!!

    I have only just begun my own dealing with the school district (one that I am told repeatedly is VERY difficult) and I so confused and discouraged and make matters worse the advocates and social workers are not much help.

    I'll keep reading the posts and try to learn but it seems like I'm trying to climb Mt. Everest without the proper equipment.
     
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    In fairness to the school district, I can't say that each event was an intentional attempt because that's not the case. They have a lot of annual IEPs to get done at the end of the school year. It's set up like an assembly line: schedule meeting, hold meeting, write IEP, sign here -- next, please.
    Couldn't help but to lol although I know it's not funny. I remember well these feelings when I first got started down this road.

    Keep reading and learning. Knowledge is power.

    Our school district has the same reputation. (Well deserved, I might add.) How do you think "Sheila, the advocate" came to be? Ms. XISD Sp Ed Director can thank herself for that. lol I was so ignorant of education rights -- they could have thrown me a bone, and I'd have gone on my way none the wiser. Your school district may need to take care -- no telling what they may create. ;)
     
  9. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I won't bore you with a similar tale--but because it is always the same.

    For those of you feeling like it's Mt. Everest, in my opinion you need to LEARN LAW. It's hard but not impossible--it's a lot easier than it used to be due to the Internet and http://www.wrightslaw.com among others.

    GET ORGANIZED--I have always liked Sheila's advice to "treat it like a business meeting." On the one hand that means "on top of everything," but on the other, it also mean emotionally detached. I was better at organization than emotional detachment because we of the inherent danger associated with a mistake in secondary school. I was offended by the lack of caring compared to el school, where if I didn't agree with them, at least I thought they cared about ex-difficult child's welfare. Not so in the h.s.

    So I can easily give advice that if you lose objectivity, you are less effective as an advocate for your child. However, I know first-hand how hard that part can be.

    So, work on knowing the law and getting organized. Perhaps if you do those two things first, objectivity will become easier.

    Martie
     
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