Monday, July 15, 2013

IEP Tip #2 Tell the kid and asking univited guests to leave.

Having uninvited guests at your kid's IEP is similar to having a voyeur in your bedroom. They don't need to be there.You are allowed to tell the uninvited or uninvolved or non team person to leave. Don't be polite and don't hesitate. You are the parent; and unless one of the team members wants to take on your parental role......well you are allowed to have only your regulars there.

Number 2:  Tell the kid.

 Most of the time the younger kids will not wish to attend an IEP, but there will be a time that they do want to be there...they need to know about the meeting at least. At the age of fourteen, they are expected to attend any and all IEP meetings; so, as parents, just be mentally ready for their participation. This is not an easy thing to participate in; the intimidation factor alone of being in a room with parents and teachers can scare a kid half to death.
In his younger years, our son finally asked to attend a meeting because he told us that he had something important to say. Initially we did not know what he was going to say and it was as much a surprise to us as the staff that was at the meeting. Initially, I thought he had come for the free doughnuts. I was mistaken.

While at the meeting, he admitted that he was not able to handle another student and needed assistance with coping with this kid. Although, this was not a scheduled part of the meeting, a bully has targeted the boy for several years now and the boy finally decided that he wanted to come to a meeting to let them know that he has had enough and it must end NOW. Up until this point, the school had put it all on the boy to handle the problems with this other student, and that if the boy could not deal with it he was in trouble.  What ended up happening was that the boy was told he would get help if he needed it and he had to work at not being around this kid but at least it was not all stuck on him anymore. This kind of responsibility is not appropriate for an Aspie kid, it is very difficult in a normal situation, but for an Aspie it is 10 xs as difficult. Socially, this is so complex that our kids are not able to handle such a large responsibility. Many times, if a serious problem comes from the kid it will work better because that means that the kids are vested in what is happening and want to be a part of the resolution.       

This is the hard part; kids get embarrassed. If IEP meetings get to be too much emotionally, there is a waiver you can have the child sign off so they do not have to attend. This waiver is only required after the child turns fourteen, prior to that their attendance is not recommended or required.

FYI- for the first year of High School the kid should be at the transition meeting if possible. This does make the kid feel involved and invested in the process and that is a huge part on the road to improvement for the kid in question. Although, try to find out if the elementary school is going to pop up with unpleasant surprises. If they do your child will be very uncomfortable in the meeting situation. At our first transition meeting, we were lied to and told she had never been to a transition meeting before. This teacher, who was not on the boy's team, making comments and informing us that the boy was essentially a moron. She got her digs in about how he was not able to handle himself and that he was removed from her classroom. This was the teacher who taught, "cat", "at" and "tv" for spelling words. We didn't have a lot of respect for her comments.

After this school transition meeting, the cuter half and I got out of the meeting and went directly to the district office, filed a complaint against the uninvited teacher and proceeded to cry as if our hearts were breaking. Our refusal to leave the district office until we met with the Assistant Superintendent was a big deal. We stood in the hallway and got in everyone's way until we were heard. Our complaints that day, to the district assistant superintendent helped a little. AT a later meeting we were able to get an administrator to admit in the next meeting that an "A" from his school wasn't really an "A" and that the kids attending his school (special ed and gen) were generally not ready to attend other schools.

After that experience, the boy was so upset by the loud voices and hurt feelings, he had refused to come to another IEP meeting that year; but was aware when they were happening. He just could not stand or handle the raised voices or hurt feelings of his parents or favorite staff members. Having a teacher there who disliked the boy and us was devastating. On that note, be careful whom you allow to stay for your meetings. You are allowed to ask educators to leave, especially if they are not a part of your son's team and placed there to be the "bad guy".

Now that we have had that kind of experience, we will be certain to request people leaving our son's upcoming meetings. We may have had negative experiences with them or just are not capable of working with them, either way we will be asking them to leave the meeting. This is not a time to stand on your "Miss Manner's Guide" and be polite. It is a time to admit you are uncomfortable with a certain person in the room. There is no embarrassment if you are not comfortable having someone there who is not sympathetic to the goals for your son. Tell them, "Nice to see you, thanks for stopping in, Goodbye."

copyrighted by Aspie Extremes -The Book
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