A Final IEP

4 Mar

While the biggest part of this blog is involved with what I do for a living, there is also another part that is invested in me as a parent.  It’s the parent-teacher combo that gives a bit of a more unique flavor to this enterprise.  It’s also what helps my blog fall under the category of “protected speech.”

I have two boys, and it has definitely been a case of diverging paths here in our household.  Today, my youngest (blogname Percy) had an IEP. I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t been to any IEP’s of his, but I do have my reasons.  One was that I learned from experiences with my oldest that whenever I walk into an IEP it can precipitate a certain amount of wierdness.They can be long and arduous affairs, as everyone is double sure of crossing T’s and dotting I’s.  So I’ve stayed away and allowed his mother to handle these and for the most part they have gone pretty well.  At least up until this point.

Percy qualified under the SDD label: significantly developmentally delayed, which is the same label his older brother qualified under.  When his older brother, Thomas, turned 7 they did an evaluation and he qualified under the Autism label.  But no had started on Percy’s evaluation which is sort of unusual considering that they aren’t supposed to be any SDD 7 year-old kids as they are all supposed to be evaluated and go therough a new eligibity by then.  But Percy did not follow a typical SDD trajectory.  He did have a lot of shyness and social deficits when he started pre-K but by the time he was in kindergarten, it was obvious that these delays were very minor.  The boy loved school, loved learning and had zero behavior problems.  Academically, he took off and he has managed to make several friend at school as well as around our neighborhood.  This year he was consultative, which means essentially no real services and he has done nothing but excel.  He’s reading a grade or two ahead, if anything.  So, Jane and I were wondering just why he was in special education at all.  It was obvious to me, that the boy didn’t qualify unless it might be for gifted.  We might have held off from doing anything until a psychological except there is some sort of policy at his school that kids with IEPs need to be in a co-teaching class.  Jane and I didn’t really want this as he did so well this year without it.  Somehow, last year’s case manager managed to keep him out of that setting but this year’s case manager seemed determined to make sure he was in such a class for next year.  I had a good mind to simpy ask for a re-evalution and put her through the rigors of going through the re-eval process but in the end we didcided it was time to pull the plug.  So we requested he be withdrawn from services and as of today, he is IEP free.  I think much of his earlier developmental lags might have just been from picking stuff up from his brother, but who knows?  In anycase, he is exceptionally in his own way.  He’s definitely the kid you want in YOUR class and the kid you hope your kids want to hang around.

And then there is Thomas who recently turned 10.  While he is generally a good kid, he would drive you absolutely nuts if you were his teacher.  Academically, he can be pretty sharp at least until things get too abstract.  But socially and behaviorally he can be a handful.  And he has inherited a total disdain for homework, which now drives his mother (and me) nuts.  The boy can dig his heels in for hours…or at least until I get home.  At that point there is no more nonesense because I haven’t the patience for it.  I can get him to do it but it bugs me that so much of our interaction involves having to do this junk that I hated as a kid.  Now most of my interactions with him are negative because I’m having to correct, reprimand and generally get snarly on him.  He might pick up on the fact that I’m not into it, but I’m not sure how he thinks not doing it until I get home will make things any better for him.  Life is infinitely easier for him when he gets it done right away.

I’ll have to devote more blogspace to him and his drama later, but suffice it to say that he can generate enough of it for two people!  But at least there will be one less yearly IEP to worry about.

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3 Responses to “A Final IEP”

  1. brown March 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    I usually just follow your blogs, but today felt the need to comment. I am in a somewhat similar situation as you, I work for the school system, and if fact my son has the same Kindergarten teacher that your sweet Percy had. I know your wonderful wife and have even been blessed to meet Thomas. My son (AB ) was given a PDD NOS diagnosis last April and we got an IEP right at the end of last year. So we are currently in the same boat, I would like AB to be in a regular ed setting, not in coteaching, as I am not too impressed with the sped co teacher. The reg ed teacher this year agrees with me, the sped teacher (this years) agrees with me, but the administration and sped teacher for next year do not. They would like for me to put him in a self contained class for academics and to allow him to go to specialties and suchwith the reg ed class. So I am screaming, WAIT !!!!
    This is not about your sped numbers, this is about my son!!! AB is very similar to Percy, both are academically ahead of the others in class, both are able to get by socially, making friends, communicating is not a major problem. It seems to me sometimes the least restrictive enviroment is forgotten in favor of who wants that child and what “extra” am I going to have to do for said child. I am not in denial of my son’s capabilities, in fact I am very in tune with them. I do my part, we work with him all the time, he goes to OT privately, I take classes as often as I can to benefit him, and I provide anything needed in the class for modifications. If only the schools would hold the sped teacher, and OT to their jobs and demand they sped children are ALWAYS receiving their time. That may mean more subs when adsences are nescessary, and subs during IEP annual reviews. My son and all of the other sped children are still sped during annual reviews!!! So I always enjoy reading your blog, you have a wonderful family and I am so excited that Percy is venturing into the next school year IEP free, He Will Do Great!

  2. waitingfor60 March 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    Dan, On SDD eligibility, students can now remain there until the age of 9! Way too long in my opinion especially if they have been placed into a self-contained class like mine because no one knew where to put them after sp. needs pre-k! I have had to fight tooth and nail to get some of these students moved out of my room after their K year to give them a chance in reg. ed. I have seen students stay in self-contained rooms (not mine) until they are in 2nd grade and then when evaluated everyone finds out that they are really only mildly disabled and they are put in reg. ed with little support and way more expectations. If I have a student who starts catching on pretty quickly I push to have them into as much reg ed after Christmas holidays. That way I can work with the reg. ed teacher to help them and my student. So far it has worked and by the time the new IEP rolls around I have secured a solid space for them in reg ed. for the next year.

  3. Daniel Dage March 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    Thanks for commenting Ms. Brown! I am thankful you are at your school and are working to gradually (albeit slowly) changing the culture and education level in that building. It takes a ;ot of perseverance. As far as substitutes during annual reviews, that is nearly impossible and worthless for anything beyond babysitting in the case oof OT and PT and related services. See my post below for that awful choice. Thanks for commenting!

    Thanks for the update WF60. Yes, at some point between my two kids the SDD was allowed from 7 to 9. I think that is great that you are aggressively moving them along. I’m hoping a lot of the problems you are running into will be minimized by the whole RTI and POI business. *Especially* at your level! Once they get to high school, they are in a world of hurt without the background content.

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