Thursday, May 10, 2012

The End of IEP Season

So, it turns out that I have done two things with my post about Jack's IEP meeting. I have (a) caused every parent of a second grader to freak the fuck out about what is going to happen to their kid next year, and (b) learned that an Asperger's program is not a common thing in public school systems.

I would like to start today by addressing Issue the First. I am sorry. Please don't freak out. Every kid is different. Your kid will be okay because you are advocating for him or her. Keep an eye on said child and keep doing what you have been doing. Really. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and keep your eyes open. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

As for the Asperger's program, everybody was all, "Asperger's program?! What the whut whut?!" It's like the time I was emailing with a parent in Los Angeles about a problem her kid was having and I suggested that maybe she talk to the school counselor and, via email, she managed to convey incredulous laughter because, hello, LAUSD. They don't have, you know, things there. Oh, and fuck you, you and your Montgomery County, Maryland choices.

One day I will think before I type. One day. Probably not today.

In other news, I had another IEP meeting today, but this one was for Quinn. He has an IEP because he's been getting OT services for a couple of years. Today he graduated. It felt a little weird for them to take away his disability code and for me to be okay with it. It was the right thing to do, weird pencil grip notwithstanding, but I felt like I should upend a table and start yelling about services for my baby. What I did was stand up, say thank you, and then went home. There's something to be said for 15 minute meetings.

The other result of today's meeting is that I do not have any more IEP meetings this year. Thank God. In fact, I might refuse to discuss special education for the next five weeks just on general principle.

That, at least, would prevent me from scaring all of you to death. You are welcome.


Thank you so much to Cheetah contributors the Paulsons! It's not too late to donate and it is certainly not too late to come to the Cheetah-thon on Saturday from 5-7 pm at the Rockville Ice Arena. You guys, it's going to be so much fun and there will be raffles for fantastic prizes and fun skating and great families and we are going to have such a blast!


  1. well. . . what are you going to write about?  NOW I'm scared.

  2.  Topics to include: Algernon, hockey, and how Jim W. should send me money. And flowers. And topic ideas.

  3. Yay for no more IEP meetings this year! What's it like to have services discontinued? I feel like we're always piling more on....hmm. Glad Quinn is good to go!

    As for the 3rd grade thing, my oldest's team scared me. You kinda just confirmed it. ;) Seriously, though, I feel like we have a good plan for next year, and I'm the most confident I've been about my kids and school in a long time.

  4. Will you stop living the same days I am? Tuesday had a 45 minute IEP review meeting for my youngest. We agreed that things were going great, no changes, and walked out of their smiling. 45 minutes? I almost asked to go back in there to get my full hour of ranting :)
    Yay for Quinn and progress. Yay for no more meetings!

  5. My oldest made the transition to third grade very well this past year.  Once we got his seating worked out so he was not facing any reflective surfaces and had an interim meeting in September to adjust his IEP after the first three weeks of school things went swimmingly.  He just aced the state testing in Reading and is at grade expectations in Math.  So just to reassure not necessarily a third grade cliff to fall off.
    But like you I am looking forward to a summer of no IEP meetings or therapy, just swim team and zoo camps and (hopefully) lots of sunshine.

  6.  Having a good plan is perfect. Good luck!!

  7. Shall I middle finger salute Montgomery County?  Will that help???  And if you didn't get your full hour of bitching, yelling and screaming in your last IEP, I'd demand a refund.  Or at least one of those pencil grippies.  They can sport one of those can't they???

  8.  No middle finger today. For the first time in a long time, I'm actually feeling a little okay with MCPS. :) And wouldn't you know it, Quinn refuses to use the little grippy thing. Of course.

  9. C's doctors instilled the fear of 3rd grade in me. No worries! I have already cried in front of her current teacher and case worker pleading for a kind and sensitive teacher next year, so I may be all set. :-)

  10. It really sucks that what kind of school experience your child has depends on where you live.  For all kids.  I have friends who live in SoCal and the education situation there sounds dire.  

    You shouldn't feel like you half to tread lightly when you talk about what kinds of services you get from the schools.  I can understand why some might be envious but it's not like you write about it just to rub it in our faces.  

    This dovetails nicely with Jess's (Diary of a Mom) May 10 post about pushing for help from the top down.  So that things can get a little more equitable.  

    But, I like Algernon and hockey too.  I'll take stories about them as well.  

  11. Congrats to Quinn for not needing the IEP anymore!  And congrats to you guys for having an Aspergers program nearby...that really is awesome. To be honest, I don't know if we have one in our area, because I'm working hard to try and keep my daughter in the mainstream far, it's working well, the work was much harder this year but thankfully schoolwork isn't too bad for her, it's social stuff that freaks her out the most. Crossing my fingers for grade four her school, that's no longer "primary grades", and I have a feeling it's going to get a lot more serious....gulp!

  12. Keep writing about it all and never feel you have to apologise. Seeing just how many folk relate closely to your experiences (us included), and respond to your posts, is a demonstration of just what a fab job you are doing bringing everyone together. It can be a tough world out there for our extra special sprogs and their families and a lonely road to hike sometimes too. Bringing people together to share their worries about school, friends, bullying, IEP's etc etc is just what's needed. Thank you.

  13. Compared to a lot of other school systems, MCPS is amazing. But like I told a friend the other day who is moving here, who's son has a high functioning Autistic diagnoses. Its a great system but it is a bureaucracy and as such requires lot of parental advocacy. 

  14. Ha ha. We laugh at you and Monkey county from across the moat in Fairfax where we also have these weird resource things that the rest of the world wonders about, but unlike you our power doesn't go out every time it sprinkles.

  15. Congrats to Quinn! Mira just "graduated" from no more IEPs as well, with a weird pencil-grip as one of her issues, too.

    Cordy had a pretty good year in 1st grade, her first year fully mainstreamed. There have been some bullying issues, but she had a great teacher, which made a big difference. I don't worry so much about 2nd grade because she was in a combined 1st and 2nd grade class so she did ok with the older kids. I worry about 3rd, though, which I guess means I've got another year to put it on a shelf and wait to worry. (And puberty - oh, that scares the bejeebus out of me!)

  16. Oh, puberty. I'm in deep denial about that.

  17. Listen, this blog is your place to write your story, and if other people freak out after reading in, then that's kind of their issue, not yours.  And I mean that in the nicest way possible.  Please, please don't censor the way you write because of how it might affect others.

    Whenever I'm having a crappy parenting day, reading your blog reminds me to try harder.

  18. Keep your fingers crossed for us. We have ANOTHER IEP meeting this coming Wednesday (our second one this year). Our son is currently in a pre-k self-contained social communication classroom in our public school district (their way of avoiding labeling it as an ASD class). He was recommended by his teacher for a Head-Start classroom for next year. This would mean that he transfers to a new school(this would make his 4th placement and he is only 4yrs old) in August as the school he is at this year is not a consideration for Head-Start placement (even thought there is a Head-Start classroom- I was told it wasn't an appropriate placement for him- whatever that means).

    So, I went to visit two classrooms that supposedly were appropriate for him. The first one was definitely not an appropriate placement as far as I was concerned. I heard the teacher issue too many negative statements to the students. She also told one student that she was not allowed to keep digging in the mulch and physically lifted her up off the ground to make her stop (they were out at recess for part of my visit).

    The second classroom was like walking into the land of Oz. The teacher had every child engaged and asking questions. She used positive statements to redirect any behavior that wasn't up to par. An extreme from the first room.

    After all of this, we will probably have to decline placement. The reason being that our son has severe food allergies. The Head-Start program require all students to participate in the food program provided by the school. I am not comfortable with turning over the nutrition and food safety to a variety of individuals who could be absent when our son's food is being prepared or served. We specifically have it written in his IEP that he is only to eat food provided from home. So, I am a little annoyed at the fact that the Head-Start person that I toured with did not review that prior to offering us the option of Head-Start classroom. The food requirement is a federal mandate so I think were pretty screwed on this. I have already called the state and gotten that answer. My next call is going to be to D.C. to see if there is any way around this requirement. It would be a wonderful opportunity for our son to have a regular ed classroom experience prior to entering kindergarten.

    I could go on about other issues but will spare everyone.

    Does anyone else suffer from insomnia, dizziness, nausea, etc. the week or two leading up to an IEP meeting or is it just me?

    I feel like all we do is jump through hoops. I  would just like something to go smoothly for once.

  19. My heart was pounding so hard and my head spinning so fast, that I nearly passed out at our IEP meeting last Thursday.  We did carry the day, though, and our little guy will get another year of pre-school.


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