Feeling very bad after IEP meeting

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by pepperidge, May 23, 2008.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    I am feeling like I really pushed it at my son's IEP meeting and am feeling conflicted--I like the school personnel very much and don't much enjoy being a hard-headed IEP warrior mom. Don't know if I did a good job or crossed way over the line into obnoxious. the tenor of the meeting was quite polite and constructive, but I felt like I was pretty hard headed.

    Basically my 7th grade son is in a mixed 7 and 8 grade remedial math class. He got a B this year, did not meet expectations at the end of the year in state math assessment. He tests more of 5th and 6 grade level of WJ (subject for another thread) because I think largely of calculation difficulties. I hadn't realized he was quite that far behind (he has been getting B's all year) in the class. They wrote in his goal that he would be at a 7 grade level next year, which was his goal of this year. I would like them to try to catch him a bit more, now that he is more receptive, they said that typically they only look for a year's worth of progress. There doesn't seem to be a concerted effort to try to make up for lost time, as it were,

    I tried to get them to tell me how the math class worked, how in the mixed class they could get him to meet at least some of the 8 grade benchmarks, asked if at some point they could give me an indication of the various benchmarks along the way. While I think they understand what I was talking about -- the staff is pretty savvy, I didn't get any sense that there was much beyond, well he will take this class and end up where he ends up. Now the class is a good one and the teacher is good, but I wanted more in the way of intermediate goals. I said I wanted to know more about intermediate benchmarks as in math so we could judge whether the interventions were working sufficiently

    I also asked for a second class during the day of some sort where he could work on both his math and language arts homework (more than a study hall since he will need more one on one attention to keep on track). We agreed that maybe he doesn't need his social studies class, if in exchange we could have a period of more focused instruction to make up some of his language arts and math deficits. That seems more important to me with one year before high school and the social studies content.

    We didn't even get very far on the language arts discussion, where it seems even more difficult to define benchmarks along the way.

    I clearly had the Special Education teacher distressed. Her view is that they are constantly assessing and remediating--she does alot of writing in a special resource center class. Again . It was all very squishy.

    I felt bad for pushing so hard --my husband said I was very tenacious, but I don't think he meant it as a compliment. I feel so conflicted because I feel like I was trying to advocate the best I can, but I have two kids in Special Education at the same school and don't want to get on the wrong side. some of the typical female thing of wanting to make nice. We left it that they are going to think about programming and what might be the best way to get him some additional intensive instruction. I didn't sign the IEP (my stupid husband signed the draft that was passed around) but we said that we wanted to review it at home.

    I am torn between trying to write a short note to the Special Education teacher trying to smooth over things, and sticking to my guns, though it is probably not either/or.

    We have a meeting next week with same people on my youngest son, so will have to think more about strategy. He will be in regular 6 th grade math (all they have) so will need support in class and after class to keep up with curriculum. And he has reading comprehension issues, which I am sure they will say is being remediated in his Special Education pullout class. I will ask how they intend to measure progress, what approach they use, what his regular teacher will focus on. But he too will need more small group work during his day \(probably instead of his electives) to get his work done and mastered. We have been paying for tutors this year after school, but it is too long a day I think.

    Whew. sorry for venting. I guess I don't know what in the way of benchmarks I should settle for.

    Any thoughts about how I can keep the staff on my side but advocate in a reasonable way for benchmarks etc?

    thanks for listening.
  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Is this difficult child 1? Keep in mind that the Topamax can cause severe cognitive dulling and might be interferring with his ability to learn.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you did fine. I am concerned that the draft IEP was signed. If you don't get another one coming to you soon to sign, you need to ask for another meeting.

    The only thing I'd like to throw out-this might be different at different school district's, but I knew my son needed some one'on'one attention to get caught up at the end of this year and at first thought he would need to stay after school. They switched him from regular study hall class to a class for kids on an IEP, which happens to be run by difficult child's cm. This isn't a real class- more like a special study hall. Anyway, the cm is helping difficult child with work that needed to be caught up and with any class work that difficult child might currently be struggling with. It is amazing how fast it is moving. The assignments that were redundant and difficult child already had a grip on- well the cm has "authority" to throw those out so as not to spend more time on those. difficult child gets a good grade written for them. It is based on "quality" not "quantity". I was surprised that the school district agreed for this- maybe they only did because I was asking for other ways to accomplish the same thing that would actually have cost them more.

    If you can get an arrangement like this, it seems preferable to giving up a needed core class- like social studies, in my humble opinion.

    I didn't see anything in your post that sounded too demanding or rude or unreasonable. I think you should stick to your guns.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    We "good girls" tend to feel bad when we stand up for ourselves. In your situation, I think you have to be as tenacious as you can be to get what your kids need. Keep up the good work, warrior mom!
  5. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    I wouldn't feel bad either.You are your difficult child's best advocate.Don't ever feel bad for trying to change things in the best interest of your difficult child.I think your husband could be overwhelmed and possibly he hasn't seen this firm side of you.Everyone needs to have input on the IEP.If you need to ask for a meeting then I would request the Special Education Director attend.That usually gets the school district pushed in the right direction to resolve any issues and concerns.

    I have been firm with our school district and everyone seems to understand.If they dont,they are in the wrong proffesion.After all we are moms 1st and we try extremely hard to do what is right for any of our kids.

    I would think the school district would set higher goals so that the teachers can work on catching your difficult child up.I would as a mom be concerned with my difficult child repeating alot of the same work.This can affect difficult child's self esteem and confidence,in my opinion.The IEP team needs to look at the emotional side of your difficult child when putting the IEP together.Keep us updated.
  6. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    thanks for the shot in the arm. I need to toughen up my warrior armor so I appreciate the votes of confidence a lot.

    I wrote Special Education teacher a nice note telling her I would review the IEP and when she has had the opportunity to think more about staffing and scheduling next year, that we could meet to discuss some of the specifics and then add whatever revisions are necessary.

    Sometimes I think it is harder when you have good relationships with the staff who are genuinely interested in helping to advocate for things that shake up what they are doing. But I don't give up easily.

    I can't tell you how much I have learned here and how much I value the support I get from you all.

  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I don't like to have to be pushy either. The school district makes it hard -- they should know more about how to intervene with-academics than we do, but when you find sds don't get concerned until a student is 2 years behind and 70% (D) is sufficient for goals, parents have to be vigilent.

    You did good!