About a week and a half ago we received our official invitation for Sir Dantes’ I.E.P meeting. We knew it was time. It’s time to really get down to business. Summer is over and the school year is in full swing. Well, it’s in its third week. Let’s get ready for real! Let’s go get ‘em!
Go get ‘em. Okay. Sigh. Last year’s I.E.P was our first and we really did not know what to expect. We’d read so many horror stories about parents battling with school teachers and officials. We thought we’d better at least look good.
I wore this dress that Sir Dantes’ daddy bought me that was black and reminded me of something a modern Egyptian person would wear. I was so sick! I coughed the entire meeting which made it hard for me to concentrate on anything. I basically decided to agree with just about anything trusting the fact that they are the professional educators. All we really wanted to do was make sure that Sir Dantes did not run off and that someone would attend to his potty behaviors. We already knew he was smart. We knew that school would be good for him socially. Sad to say, that was about that.
After the meeting we went to eat hibachi. The hot soup and the sake would make my sinuses feel so much better. This year would be different! Except that I am sick again! If you have ever lived in Middle Tennessee you know that the allergy seasons are brutal. The ragweed right now is at all time highs and my allergies are giving me grieve. So, anyway back to the I.E.P.
Over the course of the year we paid a lot of attention to Sir Dantes’ activities in school and kept close communications with his main Special Education teacher. We started having questions. What kind of questions? Well, there was not any communication from his “regular” teacher or his Speech Therapist. All communications would come directly from his Special Education teacher. Most of the communications were about needing more Pull-Ups and what his behavior was like that day. So, we begin to wonder if he was spending anytime with anyone else. We also did not receive a lot of his worksheets, and when we did get some of his school work to see it came in a big bundle with no dates. We stopped receiving the monthly newsletter from the teacher that told us important dates and gave an outline of what the class would be working on. Maybe we need to look into this a little further? Between work, two children at two different schools, mileage, and so on; we had come to be complacent.
Instead of calling an I.E.P, we asked for just a Parent/ Teacher meeting to touch base. Both of his teachers gave glowing reviews of his intellectual abilities and his sense of humor. Well that’s good; Sir Dantes is smart and funny. That’s about it. So, why….Behavior.
From what I gathered at that meeting was that because they can not get Sir Dantes to sit in the classroom he is very disruptive to the other students and the teacher, who in turn can’t teach for having to keep getting after Sir Dantes.
Over the summer we started to try our best to learn more about what can we do to help Sir Dantes at school. More research on-line…attend a one day seminar about I.E.Ps…talk to others. Basically, learn to advocate within the limits of IDEA. I would like to throw in here that the language of the laws is vague and I believe it is meant to be that way. But, we felt as prepared as we thought we could be. Ready to advocate to the ends of the earth if we would have to for our son.
I as said earlier, I was sick again! So, I took some cold and allergy medicine before the meeting. This is not always a good idea because they make me sleepy, but I thought better to be a bit sleepy than coughing on everything or spewing up snot. And, I dressed professionally and came equipped with my copy of the IDEA laws and notes from the seminar. Let me at ‘em! Lol! Sir Dantes’ daddy set his phone to recorder and freaked them all out. So, they had to get out a tape recorder. Introductions made…right’s read…let’s get down to business…yawn!
I held their feet to the fire when it came down to the little amount of time that Sir Dantes is actually spending in the “regular” classroom. Thirty minutes a day is unacceptable to me and his daddy. Fix it. So, the Functional Behavioral Assessment will be scheduled. And, let’s get this boy an IPad in class. He loves it and it will keep him sitting still. All you have to do is download the lessons…He’s bored. It’s plain and simple; and it is their job to find ways to get him engaged. Overall, they agreed with about everything we said and wanted. We backed down on the all day aide for now due to some differences in opinion as what may be best right now at this moment. Sir Dantes is making a lot of strides towards being more independent and we do not want to risk that. They know we are watching and paying attention.
So, no horror story here. It was just another I.E.P with some good folks doing the best they can with a system that doesn’t want to shell out some more money for special needs. I have come to believe that, overall, the battle is not with the school but with the system. Our system is broken, so a new battle should begin.