New here - seeking weaponry for IEP meeting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mamachino, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Mamachino

    Mamachino New Member

    :twister2:Hi All: New to the site, found it while checking out IEP protocols. I was sucked in by this statement:

    "Chances are that if you are a parent that just found our site you probably aren't having a great parenting day."

    And how. Last night, I actually told the children that I couldn't stand the sounds of their voices anymore and that they needed to go away to the basement or their rooms. I tried very hard to give it that "it's not you, it's me" spin, but you know how it goes sometimes.

    We have our IEP meeting for Webster in two weeks. This is the meeting where we decide on the plan and put it in place for the first day of school. Forget the point that I've been after them since last January, after we'd gotten the diagnosis of Cerebral dysfunction - neurodevelopmental disorder with limbic dysregulation for our 10 y.o. son. Webster displays symptoms of ADD, AS, BiP, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and a dozen other behaviors - he's just one big psychiatric stew. The base of the stew is that he's a great, sweet, funny kid, but all those psychiatric veggies in there make for a crowded plate.

    And now as we approach a new school year, our frustration with the school is so huge, I already have a stomach ache and a headache.

    I've heard all the war stories of other parents in our district and elsewhere. When parents in our district told me in January not to expect anything in place before the end of the year, I thought "Well, you have no idea how much of a b**ch I can be." To my surprise, that wasn't an effective strategy. In fact, I never got to that point, because you can't yell at the people who have the power to help you, but it is difficult to think of going into this next meeting NOT loaded for bear.

    There are so many protocols they want to use, so many matrices and state-specific **** they want to go through before we get to the things that will actually HELP Webster. At one point, they scrapped the behavior inventory sheet that his teacher and I had come up with, to switch to "their sheet," which had 80% less information on it, and the 20% that was there evaluated things like "safety" in math class? What? Like not poking himself in the eye with a ruler? There were no parameters for these scales of behavior, and yet at the end of the day he was rewarded or, more often, not rewarded for his daily behavior. Without anyone (parents, teachers, child) knowing what the parameters of any behavioral scale is, WTH? So these are the kinds of "evaluations" they want to go through before anything becomes remotely helpful.

    Did I mention we had an independent evaluation done last October? Full-on neuropsychologist evaluation, PLUS educational evaluation, outlining strategies for environmental changes, therapy, etc., and yet the school wants their own crack at it. And I get that, I really do, but they finally told us they wanted to do their own evaluation. 3 weeks before school ended for the year.

    In the meantime, no one understands that every single day is a WHOLE DAY for Webster. He is struggling every day to keep it together, and we are struggling everyday to either watch helplessly, help, or duck (every hour of the day is different). So this endless waiting and waiting and waiting is just plain mean.

    Complicating things, is that Webster has the IQ of a rocket scientist, scoring 99.9% on many tests. He's been up-leveled since kindergarten, and next year, in 5th grade, he will be going to the jr. high for 7th grade math. Then there are the tests where he scores 1%, on things like short-term memory, non-verbal stuff, etc. So the challenge for the school is to get him to the point where he is learning comfortably now, then be ready on the other side, when he shoots into space. They can figure out how to help kids on one side of the bell-curve and on the other side of the bell-curve, just not on both sides at once.

    Does it help or hurt that my background is in education? I have a master's in curriculum development and am currently unemployed. The unemployed part is financially way-beyond-inconvenient, but time-wise, it's a god-send. Between dealing with the time Nick needs and the time my dementia-plagued, assisted-living mom needs, I'm tapped out. Unfortunately for the school, the unemployment part also means I have all the time in the world. I have nothing but time to pay attention and foucus on how they are not helping very much or very quickly, and that even when they do help, it is not what I would consider to be adequate or appropriate from an educational standpoint. Not that I'm obsessing on them, but really, I am not good at waiting for something so critical.

    And how has this year affected the rest of the family? Little 7 y.o. daughter Petunia has, in the past year, gone through a remarkable amount of shifting. First, she was jealous at the amount of time spent on and with Webster, so she was cranky. Then she figured that her bad behavior could catch attention, too, so she was naughty. Then she thought that maybe it was her job to keep her Mommy happy (it's not), so she was a butt-kissing do-gooder. Lately , she is settling into a co-parenting role. She is the BetaMommy. I am of two minds on this, first, that it is not her job to help me parent, and I do want her to take on that responsibility and equality with me. Two - I could really use the help. Not that I'm not getting help from my husband, but he is not home All. Day. Long. like I am with the kids.

    Webster's therapist suggested to me that I may have PTSD, which means something in the past, not right now, and also trauma which doesn't ring true, but maybe Bulls**t covers it, so I might actually have RNBSSD. Meanwhile, BeauHunk husband has been recognizing certain behaviors (haven't we all?) and is thinking maybe he needs an evaluation.

    The cat seems to be doing okay.

    So my question to you, those who have gone before, is: what weapons can I bring to the IEP meeting? Do I need to memorize the code? Do I bring brownies? Do I need to be able to throw down legalistic statistics? Do I wear lots of perfume and a short skirt? Do I weep uncontrollably? How do I go into this meeting calmly without being loaded for bear?
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome to the board!
    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Whatever you find works. LOL

    I'm still struggling with IEP meetings and don't seem to get them right. I think a big part is knowing EXACTLY what goals and accommodations you want to have in place and have them written out, and insist whey be added to their "useless" plans. And if they refuse to add them, then they need to satisfactorily explain why your ideas are not practical, effective, possible etc.

    For example, we (the IEP team) know that son needs to hand in his work on a timely basis, but NO ONE has ever come up with a plan on how to do this. It is set up as a goal, and he gets extra time to hand it in, but that's it. It's up to son and each individual teacher to figure out the "system" With most teachers this is not a problem, they figure it out, but each term, son has one teacher that he just doesn't click with, and so for that class a good "system" never materializes.

    It only helps if you have sufficient education and experience to draw on for your specific situation. ex " I have a master's in curriculum development, and several times I dealt with a child similar to Webster. I found that doing _________ was very helpful in achieving ____________, so I would REALLY appreciate it if this approach would be tried with Webster" Of course, that gets you stuck in the dilemma of "questioning" their abilities.

    Others, more skilled in IEPs, will be by and add their own opinions and experiences.

    by the way, I'm glad your cat is OK. Ours has 'issues' just like the rest of us. :sigh:
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're not going to get anywhere close to everything that's documented by other specialists, on the first pass. Frustrating, I know - yet, there is a little logic in this, because these kids come in "layers", and it pays to make changes in a controled fashion so you know what works, what doesn't, and hopefully, why.

    This means YOU have to prioritize the requests... Pick your top battles and stick to your guns on those, then have the next layer where you can give them a little "flexibility" if they will cooperate on your "hit list" issues, etc.

    Not familiar with that diagnosis... can you give us a few more details?
    Because if it entails some of what I suspect might be involved, it might provide a starting point for your IEP strategy...
    - how are his motor skills? both fine (dressing, writing, etc.) and gross (running, riding bike, learning sports)
    - how are his listening skills? does he do well with verbal instructions, or does he miss parts of it? does he do better one-on-one or no difference?
    - is he worn out by the end of the day?
    - does his behavior "track" on some level of expectation? for example... worse at end of day and/or end of week and/or after certain activities?

    If these questions seem to fit at all, then I'd make fatigue "enemy #1". What, on the list of accomodations etc., will significantly reduce the fatigue? Keep in mind that there are multiple levels of fatigue - physical is just ONE of those... there's mental (how your brain feels after a 3-hr university final exam), emotional (you know what THAT's like!), neuro-motor and other command-control modules (motor coordination, executive functions like planning, organizing, self-control, etc.) Any one of these can throw a difficult child for a loop - and if you've got a difficult child with ALL of these at the same time? (been there done that)

    Given all of those options... I'd suggest something we don't have access to here... but others on the board do, and it seems to work. In a really loaded situation like this, it really pays to take an ADVOCATE. This person doesn't have the emotional involvement in the situation, but is on YOUR side. They can be professionals on the education side, or on the medical side, or just someone who comes across really professionally and can hold it all together WITH you. (I'm still trying to figure out how to get this into OUR system because it would really help) But it has to be someone you trust, and who respects where you are taking this, and who will work WITH you.
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    First, let me also welcome you. have SO found the right place and I get the feeling you will fit in juuuuuuust fine.

    Hee hee hee

    Ok now....onto the IEP. With your background you've already got a step up on most parents. still need to know the educational laws in your state. Do you have any friends or former co-workers/associates that work in the Special Education area? Anyone with inside knowledge will be a huge asset. But, as I said, make sure you have a good handle of the educational laws. Somewhere here there is a link, I believe, that can help you find the laws for each state.

    If it would make you more comfortable, you can also see if there are advocates in your area. They can go with you to the IEP meeting and help keep the school on task. Kind of like your walking, talking law book.

    You may also want to browse posts over on the Special Education page and/or archives. I'm sure there is a lot of info there that could help.

    The only other useful information I can suggest is documentation and organization. Some of us here have binders with everything they need. Reports/letters from the psychiatric docs, medications, past dealings with the school(s), testing....anything and everything. Take copious notes of who, what, when, why, etc. Heck, they can always say no but you could even take a mini recorder and record the meeting. This accomplishes two things; helps you remember all that was said and also helps to keep the "officials" honest because there is an irrifutable record of what was said.

    So, welcome again! Sit down, take a look around....I think you'll like it here. And if you're not sure...well, we tend to grow on you. Kind of like a warm, fuzzy fungus. :bigsmile:
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi Mamachino! Welcome to the board! I would suggest that you post in the Special Education 101 forum as well...the moderators over there TRULY know their stuff and will really be a lot of help.

    And believe me, I feel your pain...I got laid off in 2004 and I'm chomping at the bit to go back...unfortunately, my little one is 2.5 and her limited vocabulary is holding me back!

  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with what has been said so far. First, get to know your laws. I found ours under our state's Dept of Education. On their site I searched for Special Education Laws. It was a little complicated to read in places but I gained some knowledge. Second, get an advocate. Someone with Special Education knowledge like a SpEd teacher, PACER advocate (if there is one in your state), someone from the Dept of Ed. Third, every idea you present and they shoot down tell them you'd like their denial, with reasoning, put into writing. This tactic scared our school reps enough to watch what they denied. Go in with a recorder, seriously. They will be even more careful to not just push your ideas aside. Put everything you have in a 3-ring binder. Every report you have ever had done, every email you have gotten regarding Webster's condition, documentation of every phone call you have ever gotten from them, etc. At the meeting, take copious notes. That also unnerves them a little. Knowing that what they say is being recorded and noted might make them a little more copperative. And
    That is VERY good advice. If they refuse them, then you tell them you want ALL their objections and reasons IN WRITING.

    Good Luck. You HAVE come to the right place. There isn't much that many people here have not dealt with. I would definitely post over on the SpEd forum. Welcome to our little (actually not so little and growing) family. You won't be disappointed. {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}}
  7. culturanta

    culturanta Member

    Hello - SpEd teacher here....

    How are things going with Webster?