With extreme caution, I say...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    the meeting was productive.

    We got there and the school's portion of the team was behind closed doors withe the atty. We were invited in about 15 minutes late.

    It pretty much went, from there, as one would expect it to go when the school has called in their atty. Attitudes were flying, and tension was high.

    We read thru the IEP, making adjustements as we went, and spent a LONG time on present level, parental concerns, etc. Things got really hot when I told him what I wanted added to the parental concerns, and the atty and one of the advocates really got into it.

    ExMIL interrupted them and said that we were here to help her grandson, and if they wanted to have a pissing match, to take it outside, and that really calmed both of them down (the adv. and the atty have gone head to head before...) The atty's argument was that he wasn't going to have a lot of extra frivilous stuff in the parental concerns (severe dyslexia, etc) that wasn't supported by a medical diagnosis. So I whipped out my records and showed him in multiple places where those adjectives were used, and that I believed the severity of his disability needed to be addressed in the parental concerns because when the average person hears "adhd, dyslexia, seizure disorder" they do not associate that with a child who's reactions are of the caliber of Wee's.

    And the atty did an about face. He and I sat next to each other and I was able to hand him documentation and evaluations and references the school could not, and I really think, ladies and gents, that he walked in there today expecting an irate mom insistent on a lawsuit, and walked out of there understanding the degree of disability this kiddo has and realizing we need a good document.

    He shot down more of the school's ideas than he did mine. He supported the FBA from an outside agency and subsequently, training. He supported the recomendations of the school-lead assistive tech evaluations. He supported not throwing him back in the mainstream classroom all day, or 10 flippin transitions, and he supported me in that Wee may not be able to learn in the mainstream setting, so it makes no sense to throw him to wolves entirely by sticking him there for hours on end. He support throwing out the baselines from the end of last year when I showed him Wee's writing from July - in which everything is reversed again.

    He was very adversarial when that meeting started, and when I left, he shook exMIL and my hand and said "That was a productive meeting after all. I am pleasantly suprised. It was a pleasure working with you." And I am trepidatiously saying I think he meant it. I think he was expecting 2 screaming banshees and he got a parent desperate to teach her child.

    We didn't get anywhere near thru the IEP. There was a LOT of really good, really productive, conversation about realistic goals, how to measure them, how to write them, who was accountable for them. GOOD goals. We meet again in a few days to hopefully finish it up. We haven't addressed the paras yet, or the BIP, but he has made reference to the fact that it needs A LOT of work. But I can't see him supporting 5 paras when he knows transition is one of Wee's triggers, and its in the school's own documentation stating that, and we know the BIP is useless as it is.

    So I am, once again, cautiously optimistic. It just may be that the school's own attorney might just hold their feet to the fire on this case. The scarey part is, he seems to get that Wee's problems, at this point, are a chicken and an egg scenario...which do you address first - behavior to make him more conducive to learning, or learning, so the frustrations that lead to the behaviors aren't so much in the foreground.

    Very cautiously.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow Shari-I agree with being cautiously optimistic! It sounds like a fantastic meeting and I bet the school personnel got an earful from the attorney when you were gone! Hugs:)
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Wow..I am cautiously optomistic as well..will he be at the next meeting? He probably took one look at the case and reliezed that they would be toast in a due process hearing.
  4. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Proud of you.
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I'm with- JJJ on this. I think atty got an earful before the mtg about how difficult you were, yada yada yada, how Wee is fine, etc., party line, etc. He may well have been expecting a "frivolous" (in the eyes of SD) lawsuit. I also think that when you pulled out your documentation, atty probably realized that SD has completely dropped the ball with Wee, repeatedly. He probably feels like he won the lottery with you *not* threatening Due Process right now. Hopefully he had a very educational discussion post IEP with- school staff. Will be interesting to see if they are smart enough to listen to their atty. I do agree - I think cautious optimism is called for. SD staff haven't proven to be the brightest bulbs in the batch.

    This success is squarely on your shoulders. You have done a fabulous job of educating yourself, of getting good supports for *you*, and of documenting what Wee's needs are. If you had not been the resourceful, determined warrior mom that you are, this mtg could have been a slaughter. Outstanding job, Mom!!!
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ditto to all of that!!
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow! That is awesome! I hope this thread makes it into the permanent archives so that other parents can learn from your wisdom and tenacity. FANTASTIC!
    I hope it all continues to move in a positive direction. (And good for mother in law for intervening, too. :) )
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    He still mentioned thru the course of the meeting if we had serious disagreements with the final product, that I had the right to due process...thus the caution...really...we ALL walked out of there 2 1/2 hours later and agreed that we had witnessed a total about face.

    And I could have done NONE of this without you guys. I can't thank you enough!

    The game's not over. But I'd say its a tied ballgame right at the moment.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Shari, you have worked long and hard for wee. Keep up the good fight. We're all behind you.
  10. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member



    wee is lucky to have you....
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    You really really should take a moment and be proud of yourself... you did do this! I am optimistic, cautiously as well.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sounds promising...glad the atty listened to you!

    Many hugs.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What an AWESOME meeting!!! The credit goes totally to you, of course. I am sure that school didn't just tell him that you were an adversarial and difficult parent - the school likely made you sound totally unbalanced and nuts and out of touch with reality, which is why your child has problems, according to the school. Of course their documentation would try to support that. One of my high school/college friends is an attorney and has stopped representing our local SD because they pull stuff like this with almost every parent who doesn't know the laws.

    You are doing an amazing job with all of this!!!! mother in law's comment was right on target also - and I am sure it shamed both the advocate and attorney at least a little bit!

    Be sure to go and check the IEP about 6 weeks after you sign it. I know it may sound paranoid, but I have had it happen and heard of it happening frequently that someone at the school goes into the IEP and adds/deletes things after you sign it. In my case they added pages to Wiz' 6th grade IEP and took out almost everything that would have helped him keep in touch with reality - they even added time on a pokemon website as a reward for him - when he was to have NO contact with computers OR pokemon because he was so delusional about being able to catch a real, live pokemon if he could just get to Japan. They tried to forge my initials, but the sp ed teacher who did this didn't pay enough attention to how I write my initials. I put the symbol for my middlle initial AFTER the initial for my last name (middle name is Star, so I draw a specific type of star instead of an S) and have been doing this since my sophomore year in high school. When I took PROOF of this to the school superintendent I ended up with a whole lot of concessions if I promised not to sue them.

    Had I not had to take the IEP to the psychiatric hospital I might never have known. Just don't forget to check - esp after all the koi the principal tried last year.

    I am sure the the attorney had a LOT to tell the school about record keeping and the law after the meeting. I wouldn't be surprised if he tells the board of ed about this and has the principal at least spoken to about it. The school is WIDE open for a lawsuit thanks to the actions of the principal and school employees. Esp with those half days all last year.

  14. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    sounds like the addition of the attorney and your cool head helped make this a productive meeting. So, I imagine the next meeting is scheduled soon since there is no quality working IEP? Wee is not back at school yet, right? The emphasis should be on getting this IEP and BIP completed ASAP so Wee can be at school with his peers. At his age, he knows everyone else is in school.

    Good news!

  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shari, you stuck it out and followed through even though the thought of the lawyer being there sounded a worry. A lot of parents would have backed down at this point, especially parents without the support this site brings.

    This is what happens when you stay calm, rational and have all your ducks in a row. And follow through.

    It does sound very productive.

  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    That is correct, Wee is not in school yet, (and there was no push by attorney to have him there before the IEP is a usable document). Wee is visiting my mom for a few days. The kids there are not in school yet, so we hoped it would be a little less "in your face" there because he is upset about it. The next meeting was scheduled at the same time this one was, and we hope to have him school starting next week. We'll see how the next meeting goes.

    If I were to venture any guesses, I would say the attorney was called in by the principal. After her near panic-attack at the previous meeting, she walked into this one with her usual calm, cool, collected, "I'm gonna kick your ___" attitude, again. So I suspect the attorney's info came largely from her. The only other player at the table that has any history with us was the SpEd director, everyone else is new to the situation, so whatever the principal would have told to the attorney prior, no one there really could have countered, even if they wanted to. They haven't worked with us. But, she had even turned the corner prior to the end of the meeting, although I can't say when because my focus was on the atty, and had a few contributions about her observations that were useful.

    I can't let my gaurd down for the next meeting, but I will go in hopeful, again, that we will have another productive meeting.
  17. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I would have loved to have been a mouse in the room to hear the earful the attorney gave the school staff after you left!

    I know this has been a long, exhausting battle you've fought. Going from believing that the sd had his best interest in mind to demanding his rights with legal backing are worlds apart.

    You done good.
  18. Shari,

    I am so proud of you as well. You have represented warrior moms well.

    I conduct mediations in my job, and I just love it when emotion simmers down between differing parties, and the facts begin to emerge and prevail. Most attorneys spend their days working with the facts , albeit often manufacturing a special spin on them for their clients. You were well-prepared, cool-headed, and armed with the truth. That's an awesome combination!

  19. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You deserve a huge pat on the back for all your hard work. Good for you! It sounds like you were incredibly calm, collected and professional. I'm so proud of you! And you should be proud of yourself!

    Now you KNOW you can handle the next step...
  20. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    A fine example for warrior moms everywhere!!!