Sunday, July 7, 2013

IEP Top Meeting thoughts: #1 Planning ahead

This segment is from the author's book: Aspie Extremes- the Book. Depending upon the readership will depend upon this list continuing.
IF there is something you would like me to include in subsequent posts regarding IEPs  please let me know.

Number 1: Try to plan ahead, read the draft IEP and look prepared.


We like to bring relevant materials to discuss.

So ya know, relevant materials can mean prior IEP's, a usable copy of the State Laws (our copy is tabbed, lettered and numbered) and any doctor's recommendations (in triplicate). Make certain your plans make sense and are tangible/possible or reasonable. Feasibility is the key especially if you are asking for something more or additional to what is currently in use on the IEP.

This is important and relevant not only in this venue but also with other points as well. You may need doctor’s notes for additional snacks or activities.  In our early IEP days, I would bring in two or more binders and all the data that I thought we needed for the meeting. This could include doctor's notes, and other medical forms for the upcoming school year. I liked having it all done at once. In addition, it also meant doing what I called "Signing your life away." This means that the school, teachers and pretty much anyone there could have complete and total access to our son's docs and free access to our home at any and all times. We gave everyone access to "tip toe through the tulips of our personal life and home" while they were and are working with our son. This feeling of no privacy really made the cuter half and I uncomfortable but we felt it necessary to get full understanding of what was going on with the boy.

For example, recently, a local school district came up with a comprehensive “Health and Safety” plan that did not take into account that some of the students that are at school from 7:00-6:15 PM (before and after school activity times) and those students might get hungry. This new plan allowed students to ONLY eat in the cafeteria. Therefore, if a student were at an after school activity and there was no place to go to eat, said student were to stay hungry until they got home.
 
How stupid is that?
Stupid.
 
Essentially, this new policy was for those students with nut allergies and no other student needs were considered. I realize that nut allergies are hazardous and that serious consequences can result, but these standards have to be met and used with some sort of practicality. Making a broadcast promise like that to a family with a kid with an allergy like that is not practical.
 
At this juncture, we were required to get the doctor’s notes so that our son could have a snack in his case managers office after school when he staid for practice or other activities. The school was accommodating to our son's needs but I still had to provide the doctor's notes indicating that not having food would have been an immense hardship and would have effected his education adversely Otherwise, we would have been stuck with a starving kid at school; and a bear in child skin when he got home.

We were stuck with the bear in child skin anyway as he was only allowed one "meal" in the cafeteria. Did you know that 4 cheese sticks equates a meal??? I thought that was a snack or appetizer. Nope, in some school districts, that is a meal and that is all your student can buy during a lunch period. Good grief no wonder the kid was a crab when he got home. His blood sugar was at almost "0". We would walk him to his room, throw food on the plate and RUN..... then wait forty five minutes until he had eaten before saying, "Hello".

Keep these (unusual) school "plans" or some other kind of thing in mind when developing a plan at home for an upcoming IEP meeting. What your child needs and what the requirements or rules or new "Health and Safety Plans" are may be two separate things. Make sure you read any of the "plans" from the schools prior to the IEP's otherwise your student may be stuck with something they are not completely happy with. It also means that you may end up running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to access doctor's notes and other materials that you are going to have to have to complete the IEP prior to the beginning of the school year.

I normally think, "Be careful what you pray for because you may get it and then what will you do?" BE very careful what you ask for at your IEP, because once you got it, baby; it may not be what you thought it was.
 
For example, having a teachers aide in a classroom may not be what you thought it was. At one school, there were TONS of aides throughout the building, many were in classes together so not only would the teacher have one aide per kid, there could be three to four aides overall in a team taught classroom. At one point, there could be more aides than students in the class: insanity!
 
copyrighted by Aspie Extremes -The Book
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