A Letter to My Son’s…and My Daughter’s IEP

Hi There! It’s me again…

It’s been a while since I’ve actually opened both of you. Maybe it’s because I have you memorized like the back of my hand. Or maybe, it’s because I truthfully get a bit sick (both physically and mentally) of you sometimes… You and I both know that there are some reasons for that.

Regardless, once again it’s January, and in a few days, we will be meeting along with several others. They call us a team. Your drafts have already been sent home for my review, my notes and questions have been made.

In a few days a copy of your 25+ pages will be passed out to each member of the team. We will start by introducing ourselves; and then the real fun begins. Over the course of two hours (sometimes longer) we will discuss my parent concerns and then your present levels of functioning. We will discuss your goal data, and determine whether the goals written on your precious pages have been met. If your goals haven’t been met, we will discuss the possible causes, brainstorm solutions and reword the goal until the verbiage is so intricately precise. All in hope of giving my son and daughter the best chance possible to make progress in order to achieve academic success. We will then discuss and determine each of their classroom accommodations:

Will a 4×6 or a 3×5 index card be allowed to be brought to class to remember math and science formulas? Yes, your words are that specific.

You state that you do not allow double sided worksheets/articles to be given to my son or daughter for flipping back and forth is too distracting.

You make it clear that study guides are to be given no less than 4 days in advance.

You state that tests are to be read to my children, there are to be no true /false questions and they are to get the double allotment of time to take assessments for, their processing disorders make all of the above challenging.

I won’t bore you with the many  other speech, OT and social work accommodations that you hold. You know exactly what it says.

We both know that an enormous amount of time is dedicated to combing through your words, for, as nit-picky as it is, these very important details help to ensure that my children achieve academic success. A few more loose ends are tied up. And if everything goes well, and everyone is in agreement, signatures are obtained and your new pages are ready to be followed….that’s in a perfect world.

Now don’t get me wrong, most of the team takes you back and begins to painstakingly implement your every word immediately. But there’s seems to  always be  that one team member. The one who thinks that they are above you. The one who thinks that it isn’t their job, but someone else’s, to read you or even acknowledge you. The one who thinks part, if not all of you is stupid. The one who thinks that they don’t have time for you. The one who takes your precious pages and tosses you aside, throws you in a drawer. It’s funny how that one team member is always the first to roll their eyes at my children, get frustrated  when they aren’t understanding or performing. And they are always the first to call and tell me. It has to be an awful feeling to be abandoned like that after the entire team worked so hard to create your pages. If only your words were read. If only you were heard.

Honestly,  as much as I truly love and appreciate you, I really wish that you were not a such an enormous part of my life. Oh how I wish that I could send my children to school and go about my day without you being on my mind, every hour, heck, every minute for that matter. How I wish that I did not have to use up precious vacation time to meet with the team or field phone calls and emails.. I mean, a beach and an umbrella drink sounds so much better than a board room; and if given the choice, I would think that you would much rather still be a tree.

And then there’s my reputation that you have indirectly helped me to achieve. I know that I am “That Mom”. I know that I have been called a b*itch. I also have heard through the grapevine that I am a “piece of work”. That’s been my favorite phrase to date. But no worries, as the old ‘sticks and stones’ adage goes…..names will not hurt me. You and I both know that my children are entitled by law, to receive a free and appropriate education; so therefore, you are the law.  you are to be followed. I guess that together, we will have to continue to be that reminder. If only we were all a part of the team.

So, in a few days, the team will be gathering to pour over your precious pages. We will review you, discuss you,  dissect you, and sign you. I just sincerely hope that this year, everyone spends time with you and really gets to know you. Because after being a part of an IEP team for 13 years, I know that you really truly do have a lot to say. You really do know how to make the lives of all those involved a WHOLE lot easier.  You just need to be heard.

With Love,

Mom

 

 

6 thoughts on “A Letter to My Son’s…and My Daughter’s IEP

  1. Hello! I stumbled across your blog and as a first year special education teacher, I can tell you that I understand what you are going through. I have seen the negatives and heard people talk poorly of each other; service providers, staff, and parents. I would suggest that if you know there are ANY discrepancies with ANY service provider or staff member of the institution with following your child’s IEP to first schedule a conference or IEP meeting to check progress. Ask for data from the teachers. Ask to see what strategies they have implemented. They should absolutely keep data. If this is not effective, write a formal letter to the administration voicing your concerns. If this doesn’t improve the situation, file a compliance complaint with your state’s Department of Education.
    I know this seems like a lot. During my student teaching and as a teacher, I was surprised by how many things get ‘overlooked’ because some think it does not apply to them or choose to not put in the extra effort to help a child succeed because of the additional time it may take.

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Unfortunately, my words come from working through this broken system for the past 13 years. I have two children with IEP’s one for autism, and one for sld. Our district has been very fortunate to hire a phenomenal assistant superintendent of special education just this year. She is working very hard to help educate parents and work with our concerns. I am now part of a newly formed parent advisory board for IEP’s in our district. I am hopeful and confident that we can together work to resolve the concerns not only that I have but that other parents in our district express. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for becoming a special education teacher. I wish you the best of luck in your career.

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