10 November 2009

It's NOT Ok.

Woodjie goes to preschool soon, and it's going to be so special. Too bad it has to be in this district, and too bad for me that I'm heavily invested in this house and didn't know back when I was house-hunting what I know now...

I went to get testing results yesterday. To my mind, testing results and IEP drafting are separate things. But I got a "draft IEP" foisted on me during this meeting and was told I *MUST* sign it within ten days. Well... I have a problem with this.

Then there's the fact that these IEP goals look like they've been written for someone else. Maybe because they HAVE! Someone else's child's name is on some places in this IEP! OH... and guess what? Childname was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. That's nice to know, because Woodjie does not have a formal diagnosis!! ... hmm...

This is an obvious cut and paste job, and not only that, it's an obvious violation of privacy for that other family! I've googled his unusual first name and can't find his folks. (Better believe I'd call his mom and tell her what's up if I found her!) I've googled the preschool and can't find a student directory. I know there is another boy with the same sorts of difficulties who would have started the same preschool this month. Bet you that's his IEP. How stinkin' convenient can it be to just put them both in the same therapies, work on the same goals, check off the same lists?

Crap. Not to be paranoid, but I think that's what's going on. You know, there's this idea floating out there in Educationland (somewhere near Happytown and Flowerville) that sometimes parents like to CONTRIBUTE to the IEP.

I don't like causing trouble, particularly since this preschool is the only nice bunch of people this side of middle school. But... I'm being pressured to sign an IEP that doesn't have special goals for Woodjie, that obviously isn't even written for him... to fulfill some sort of state timeline that I "have" to get done.

I'm feeling angry and stuck. I'm also feeling it's going to get worse as time goes on for my little fella. I'm also feeling sometimes I might have to plain old deal with things that are JUST PLAIN WRONG because Woodjie needs extra help. If Woodjie were an only child, I might be able to homeschool him now. I'd have TWO hands to grab him if he started to run in parking lots. He'd have total undivided attention all day. But he doesn't get that. It's just impossible.

I wish for the strength and energy to fight this... but more than that... I wish to know where to begin and what the potential consequences might be. You know, the ones that aren't written down.

Then again, am I a pessimist to think that it's all gonna go to crap later anyway, so I might as well get people angry now? I'd hate to do that. I was hoping to get along with these people and play nice for a couple years.

Why does parenting these kids have to be so hard? And no, I don't mean the special needs of the kid... I mean dealing with coordinating all the stuff the special needs kid ought to have and figuring out what's available, plusses and minuses, and then figuring out the best. And then knowing the best is never perfect. Knowing things will not always turn out well.

Ah, well. Maybe I should just be grateful they're not going to lock him in a closet and shut up already. Maybe I should just be grateful, period. But I feel let down this morning.

15 comments:

  1. That is totally not ok. Doesn't the I in IEP stand for "individualized"?

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  2. http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/law/section1414.pdf

    It's SUPPOSED to! :p

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  3. Go get 'em, Mrs. C! This is appalling!

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  4. I think so too, Deb. Thanks.

    I have to clarify that I don't want to "get" 'em so much as help them realize these errors are not acceptable. Siiiigh. I knew what you meant, though. I hate making people mad... but what can you do?

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  5. Would it be possible to call them and let them know that you would be glad to sign a new IEP that has the proper information on it? You shouldn't put your signature to anything with mistakes.

    I know that wouldn't solve the root problem, but if you just calmly point out that you can't sign the thing until they fix it, they would know that you are on to them. You don't necessarily have to act mad to get across the point that what they have done has not escaped your attention, and that it's not acceptable (though you have every right to be mad and disgusted).

    I'm so sorry that you even have to deal with this at all.

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  6. It's appalling.

    I hear your frustration.

    And even if they are going to make the same goals because it would be easier to manage, why don't they explain that??

    It's like hitting your head against a brick wall.

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  7. This is what I got so tired of. I just gave up and brought Chaz home with me. Not only that, but they would talk down to me.

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  8. We didn't bother checking out the school in our area when we bought our house 12 years ago. We didn't have kids back then and it didn't occur to us to check out the school before buying the house.

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  9. Thanks, Sue. I have called First Steps to ask for advice on how to deal with this. Until Woodjie is three, technically he's still "their" kid. That gives me a couple weeks of free help. :]

    Nikki, that's just the thing. Now I'll have NO WAY of knowing if these are really the goals they wanted for Woodjie, or if they're just plain old convenient for them because they have another child only a few weeks older with the same problems, and they can kill two birds with one stone. Likely... maybe almost certainly... this is what schools usually do, but we never knew it before!

    Virginia, that's what happened at the elementary school. So much depends on the "culture" of the building!!

    DF, I looked into schools and that sort of thing, but you don't know all the ins and outs if you have a special needs kid... unless you talk to other parents. Which is tough when you're moving in!

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  10. Mrs. C,
    I remember going through that with Christian. We went from Easter Seals preschool which was so wonderful and set so many great goals to a very small public school. It was hard because even though there was a better option available at another school the district would have had to shell out a lot of money for him to go there. They made his IEP goals so low that even if he arrived and made it through half the day it looked like they had accomplished their goals with him. Unfortunately at the time both of our kids were very young and I had NO experience with IEPs and not a lot of knowledge about autism at the time.
    It is good that you know what are good goals for him and what to expect. I know it can be hard to gear up for another fight when you have fought so many already. I really don't like the way schools view all kids with the same diagnosis the same. We both know they definitely aren't all the same.
    I hope you are able to work it out and that Woodjie loves his new school and that they love him too!
    Prayers and (((cyberhugs))),
    Bronwyn

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  11. You need to go back and insist on an IEP that is HIS IEP.... not someone else's! They cannot cut corners like that. It's not right. Don't sign it.

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  12. I really feel for you in this situation. I, too, wonder how hard to push in the public school (you get more from honey, etc). You do have to have some sort of relationship with these folks. Ugh.

    In our school district in So. Cal. I know people who have convinced the district that their school does not provide the services their child "needs." Some have their services provided by private schools or individuals. In addition to them, there are others that have switched schools to stay with a beloved teacher. I don't know their specific situations and perhaps they managed these feats through lawyers (that's a big business around here). I would imagine that the people in my neck of the woods would be thrilled to have in their hands a "generic" IEP that, in fact, violates privacy laws. I would think that they would use that as their Golden Ticket!

    Sometimes it just gets so darn exhausting, doesn't it? I'm sending happy thoughts/prayers/hugs/smiles your way!!

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  13. Thank you, Bronwyn. I can't say I disagree with many of the goals, but feel some of them may be a bit ambitious. Potty-training? Brushing his own teeth? And some things, like matching, he can already do. Why write it in?? And the proposed IEP doesn't specifically mention safety or that he may need special behaviour plans... I would hate for him to get BISTed down the road because I didn't come out of the closet now with his difficulties.

    ((Chris)) Thanks for your support! I have no plans to sign it as-is.

    Melanie, I'm singing the "I've Got a GOLDEN TICKET" song all day now that I've read your comment. In truth, the proposed IEP offers plenty that could be considered the "golden ticket." An aide for him, speech twice a week and all kinds of special accomodations.

    I am starting to wonder, though, if TOO much honey makes people think you're a pushover. My mortgage is public record. I'm sure people research this sort of thing and can tell who's likely to sue, and who's likely to pull out of the system and save 'em a bunch of money later.

    Maybe because of my bad experience before (read sidebar on "why we homeschool") I am distrustful. But I have reason to be. :]

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  14. Marissa is back in school this year. She is in a psychiatric day treatment program actually. The worst part of the whole thing is doing IEP meetings again.

    Wait no... part of her "treatment plan" is to participate in family counseling. So, every Thursday a young woman who has never parented a teen, let alone a teen with FAS -- she isn't a parent actually -- comes to my home to help me parent. Last week I wasted an hour looking at photos and discussing non-verbal communication.

    Sorry. I don't know how to fix this for you. But know I feel your pain.

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  15. Julie, I have to wonder at these bureaucrats sometimes that this has to be part of a "treatment plan." It might be helpful for many families... but it seems like such a waste of money, time and etc. I wish they had a case manager/advocate for parents that would help determine what is really necessary for the CHILD. You know? Because Marissa really needs some extra help, but here they spend money on other stuff and "don't have" funds for what she probably needs...

    Um, with G we are going through similar things, but the counseling is really more for him. He gets to see from SOMEONE besides Mom and Dad the way life really is, things to think about, etc.

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