- I expected a new post much sooner than this but as we all know well, life happens. I find myself now attempting to juggle responsibilities from two new jobs and still find time for everything else that comes along. I wanted to get something out though, even if it is a rushed post.-
If you don’t have any idea what an IEP is, you’re lucky. An IEP is an individualized education program, it is meant to ensure that a child with disabilities gets the proper form of education to fit their specific needs. An IEP has certain rules and regulations that are put into place to make sure the school does not miss anything that may be beneficial to the child. For us, it has been a lot of meetings and paperwork and involves all of the child’s providers, any family that wishes to be involved and sometimes…dun dun duuunnn, a lawyer or two.
My experience with the entire IEP process is horrendous. I worry for weeks before each meeting, I get shaky and sweaty and feel like it’s impossible for just one person to cover every single thing that needs to be involved in my daughter’s education, simply put, it is traumatic.
Luckily, I have these two pretty hardcore sharks on my side, SUPER GRANDPARENTS. The super grandparents have these wonderful IEP fighting super powers like “assertive confrontation”. I’m not saying I can’t fight for my daughter, I get hardcore too when I need to but I don’t see a single person being able to walk into one of these meetings and coming out alive.
There is this one school representative we have issues with frequently, let’s just call her Maleficent, for fun. Maleficent enjoys tearing off faces and eating them for breakfast. She does this thing where you make a suggestion and she goes, ”NO!” like lightning, you see the flash but you’re not totally sure what just happened. She also says things like, “I hear where you’re coming from but I just don’t see how that will work.” I despise people who say things like that. My own personal pet peeve, never tell me you get what I’m saying but at the same time you don’t get it. What does that even mean?!
Then there are the followers, the ones who like to stir up the pot and stick to Maleficent like glue, they are always on either side of her or across the table from her so they can make constant eye contact and share disapproving glances as I speak. They make suggestions that either benefit their wallets or benefit the school but in the end have nothing to do with the child.
I’m not in any way saying that every IEP is going to be difficult but in my experience they are beyond difficult. I know that the majority of care providers enjoy what they do, enjoy helping children succeed and don’t have a single selfish bone in their body. BUT somehow over the years we have managed to find all of the ones who enjoy the money more than the job, or become frustrated with Aurora and don’t know how to move forward.
We constantly find ourselves asking these providers to explain themselves, “Why do you need 60 extra minutes a month for “consult” time when you have made no plan for Aurora after 3 months of working with her and we are still waiting on equipment for a walking program?” or “How is staring at Aurora for 30 minutes every week helping her interact with peers?”. I would say those questions are valid, Maleficent thinks we’re crazy for asking.
Something that I feel is missing in the IEP process is accountability. I have read/ heard dozens of stories where the child was just put through the motions, no creativity, no new ideas. It’s disturbing to think that so many children with disabilities are being written off by schools and providers that don’t understand them. It comes down to “he/ she will never reach that goal so let’s not work on that”.
Every child learns differently, we know this. So, why is it hard to understand that every child with disabilities will progress differently? I have faith that my daughter will be able to do whatever it is she chooses to do. That is not delusional, it’s understanding.
Aurora may be a mystery to many but she is a miracle to me. That is what we fight to get her school to see. That she is not like every other child, that her education is just as important but may be more difficult to organize.
Difficult is something my daughter’s school does not handle well. We have spent a combined 8 hours attempting to put an appropriate IEP together for Aurora who has now been in school for 4 months this year (most IEP meetings last 2-3 hours).
We don’t ask for much, a proper walking/standing program, realistic and attainable goals, more of the therapies that work and less of the ones that have shown no progress over the last 3 years.
We walk into these meetings knowing exactly what we want and hoping the school is willing to work with it, we walk out feeling like we were torn down and nothing was accomplished.
Something I want to get into further in the next post is how important it is for parents to know exactly what is happening in the classroom when there is an IEP in place. We have been lucky to have Aurora’s grandmother as her Para-educator which is why we know the mistakes that have been made. Many parents may not know that the IEP is not being followed, many parents may not even understand how the IEP is set up. It can be confusing and overwhelming.
-Thank you for reading. This post was definitely rushed but I hope I can find the time for the next one. ❤ SHARE, COMMENT, BE AWESOME! <3-