Monday, June 8, 2009

I.E.P's make me Grump.I.E

Help! I'm trapped in IEP hell!

Recently, Queen Teen's teachers and I met for her annual IEP. For those who don't know what an IEP is, it is basically a contract between the school district and myself (the representative of Queen Teen) which spells out what services the school will provide to ensure that Queen Teen gets an appropriate and accessible education. The document should be clear, concise, and complete, with specific, future educational goals and assessments of her current functioning. All future planning should be based on those assessments and reports. Each specialist writes goals and reports and then the Special Education teacher puts them all together to create the IEP.

I sat at a table with 8 educational specialists (physical therapist, mobility specialist, teacher of the visually impaired, her Special Education teacher, to name a few). The "working" IEP was handed to me and I tried to quickly look it over (I prefer to get it the day before the IEP meeting so I have a chance to read it and make notes!), but while I was reading I heard from some of the specialists that there were missing pages and "mistakes." Great, I thought. It's going to be one of THOSE IEP's.

Queen Teen is very complicated. She has multiple disabilities, including deaf/blindness, and yet she is intelligent and capable of learning. She should be a braille reader but her hands tremble from ataxia too much for braille to be an option. Neither are audio books a good choice because of her deafness. So helping her become literate is incredibly difficult, and yet, somehow, she has managed to learn some sight words, memorized all of her books verbatim, and is learning sign language much faster than I. It takes imagination, cooperation, and collaboration to create an educational plan for her. And it also takes a lot of organization.

The IEP was a complete disorganized mess.

I'll spare you all the specifics and instead simply say that after two hours of fumbling and miscommunication, the meeting ended without me signing the IEP document. Two reports were missing (and still are missing), and I need more clarification on how the intervener works within Queen Teen's program. Supposedly those pieces are in the works, but I'm a little nervous because the last day of school is this Thursday.

Did you hear that, people? School ends on Thursday and Queen Teen doesn't have an IEP document. And I will not sign it if it isn't complete.

I am not an unreasonable parent. I understand we are in the middle of an economic mess in California and schools are on the brink of shutting down. I'm not asking for the impossible, or even the moon. I just want clarity and actual written reports that are based on assessments so that her future goals and the recommendations in the IEP are backed up by those assessments. Don't make decisions without written reports. Tell me what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you'll do it. See, simple.

So if the IEP still doesn't answer those simple questions, I can't sign it. I don't know what will happen if she goes into the 8th grade without an official IEP.

I hope we don't find out.


Mother of Chaos said...

Gah. I'm hearing a lot of IEP complaints right now, from both sides of the desk, too.

Frustrating as hell!

mommytoalot said...

Glad we got our IEP over early this year...with no problems either.