Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Year of the IEP: Meeting One

It looks like we're going to be attending several IEP meetings this school year.

Basically at today's meeting, we didn't get what we wanted most, which is a one to one aide for Jack. But we get another shot at it because we're also asking for more speech and occupational therapy. So they're reviewing our independent evaluations and we will have another IEP meeting to determine if he gets those services.

They are bringing in some other people to consult with for ideas of how to help Jack, which is great. And maybe by the time the next meeting rolls around, Jack will have improved enough to not need a one to one aide. I don't think that will happen, but if it does, great. If it doesn't, and we still think he needs one to one support, I think we're going to take our lawyer.

So while they didn't really say yes to anything, they also didn't close any doors. Yet. But this meeting was still valuable. I learned a lot about what Jack's team thinks about him. I learned who the players are and what their arguments against us are. I also learned that we're probably going to have to take it to the next level if we want that individual aide.

There's a lot more running through my head right now, and a lot more nuance that happened at the meeting, but there's my in-a-nutshell summary for all you nice people who have been wondering. Thank you for your thoughts and support!

17 comments:

  1. bring an attorney. I'm not just saying the, b/c I am an attorney and know the attorney you would use, but bring one. You'll thank me.

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  2. Good job. Get that lawyer lined up now. We want Jack to have a successful year!

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  3. Good for you for being able to process so much at the meeting. I'm also glad they didn't close the door on anything. Also, going without the attorney the first time sets you up as reasonable and with the intellegence you have gained gives him/her information to hone the arguements for the next meeting.

    You are a great advocate for Jack and your willingness to be momma bear with reinforcements as necessary is great.

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  4. Wow, sounds like you are fighting the good fight right now. Hope that everything goes well.

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  5. It sounds like you have a lot to think about. It's good that you know what you want from them and you are willing to fight for it. Whatever it takes to get what Jack needs.

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  6. Stimey,
    I know someone who is an IEP parent advocate. Lemme know if you would like her name/number.

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  7. Glad to read this update -- I've been thinking of you and Jack. You probably already know this (and maybe I've said it before?), but I HIGHLY recommending writing a follow-up letter (disguised as a "thanks-for-the-meeting letter") briefly summarizing what was said, what's supposed to happen next, and what you want for Jack. A paper trail is critical. I learned the hard way that if it ain't written down, there's no proof it happened.

    Sounds like you have a good plan. I hope it's not too long until the next meeting "rolls around." Hang in there.

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  8. Jack is so lucky to have you and Alex to fight for him like this. Keep us posted.

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  9. No closed doors is good...and I have no doubt you'll do whatever is necessary to get Jack's needs met. Good luck, I am pulling for you!

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  10. good luck my dear. This will all work out. Just remember that you don't have to sign anything in the IEP that you don't agree with. Just remember that you can not sign saying that you want more. I would suggest taking your lawyer and hopefully Jack will get everything he needs. I'm always here.

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  11. Thanks for the update. I've been wondering how it went.

    ~C

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  12. You are an amazing advocate for your son. I've already learned so much from you.

    Keep us posted on everything (and not just because I benefit from your knowledge - but also because I am now madly in love with Jack).

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  13. My son was in special ed preschool and when we were wanting to mainstream him in kindergarten, we went to our neighborhood school to talk to administrators, find out what would be involved if he did need extra support, etc. The principal hemmed and hawed a bit and finally said "well - we might not have a place here for him." !!! That happened 20 years ago. Wouldn't happen now for sure.

    But my our thoughts at the time were - if they don't really want him - then we don't want THEM. We were quite aware that we could have enrolled Andy there regardless. But that was not what we chose.

    We went to the school across town and found a fabulous staff and faculty - and a principal who actually served as an aide to my son on some of his more difficult days, because he really didn't need a full time aide.

    We were lucky to find a place that accepted Andy and was willing to work with us and him in an incredible environment. It's SO much easier when you know it's the right place.

    I wish that for you, that this place, this school, is the right one for Jack.

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  14. Sounds like you are very much on the ball. And that they are at least listening.
    Good luck.

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  15. You are a wonderful advocate for Jack! I can see why you were hesitant to bring a lawyer at first, because you don't want to look confrontational right off the bat, but now that you know the chances of getting what you want are slimmer, you might as well introduce one into the process. Or, at least call your lawyer, and see what s/he thinks. I agree that writing a follow-up letter would be a good idea, and that may be a good place to broach the idea that you have a lawyer, maybe even saying that s/he is the one who suggested that you write the letter to make sure everyone is clear before the next meeting. That would let them know you have one, and are Serious, without being blatently threatening. It might get the ball rolling faster if they know you're ready to go to the mat.

    One of the problems with getting a one-to-one aide, I imagine, is budgeting. I'm on the budget committee for our county's school board, as a parent-reviewer, and things in our county are pretty tight. Yours, though, being a more... um... endowed county, doesn't have as much justification, in my mind, for refusing based on cost.

    Keep us posted. I'm really interested, both because I like you and because of my nephew, who is going through the system, too.

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  16. It's amazing how complex the process is, isn't it? I love to get updates on Jack -- thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.