Tuesday, March 17, 2009

IEP Woes

So we've hit a bit of a snag in our IEP process.

I called our liaison at the school yesterday to let them know that we would be unavailable on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th, because Connor has his surgery on the 23rd and will spend either one or two nights in the hospital. I hadn't yet received any word about Connor's IEP scheduling, but I wanted to make it easy on them, as we could do any other dates in March EXCEPT for those three days.

I received a call back later that evening. Was I absolutely sure that we couldn't do the 25th? Um, yes, I was sure. Well, they only schedule IEPs on Wednesdays, and April 1st was over Spring Break, so they'd just schedule us for April 8th. No problem, right? I told them that the day would work for me, but I'd have to check with his Birth-to-Three therapists as Connor's third birthday is April 1st.

So the last Birth-to-Three therapist called me back today. NONE of them are allowed to come to the IEP meeting if it is after Connor's third birthday. Also technically it's illegal to hold the meeting after Connor's third birthday. I called back and left a voice message for our liaison's office telling them that we really needed the meeting done before April 1st, and that ANY other day in March except those three, including weekends, we could make. I haven't heard back from them yet, but we have an informal meeting up at the school tomorrow morning (with an unspecified number of people to apparently let the IEP team get a better feel for Connor) so I'm sure we'll talk to them about it then.

I guess I could probably just go to the IEP meeting by myself, but the truth is that I'm a little intimidated, especially since I've only met one person from the IEP team (and they had NINE people at the last meeting, so Lord knows how many will be at the actual IEP) and I'd feel better having advocates along that know the law backwards and forwards and sideways and are on board with what we feel would be the goals and accommodations needed for Connor to get an adequate education. I also have kind of gotten the vibe in the last few phone calls from the school that they'll be pushing for Connor to go into the Special Ed classroom instead of the Deaf and HoH class, so it's especially important for us to have someone there from his Family Conversations team as we feel without an interpreter the Special Ed classroom would be entirely inappropriate for him. I don't want to start off the school year by being antagonistic, but I really feel like his team needs to be there and I'm kind of the opinion that, well, the school had three months in which to schedule their IEP meeting, and it's not MY fault they left it until the last possible Wednesday, so what can I do? I don't think I'm being unreasonable by asking for his IEP meeting to happen before his third birthday, though maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill by wanting his birth-to-three therapists there. I'm sure they have busy schedules, so I feel kind of guilty. What do you all think? Am I asking too much?

We'll see what the school has to say tomorrow. Wish us luck!



Michelle said...

You are obviously a great advocate for Connor and could go to the meeting alone, but your team of therapists would be tremendous back up as they have grown to know him so well. Silly scheduling issues! I hope it all works out.

P.S. Love the olive in your last medical art - nice touch!

Carrie said...

You know what bothers me about this process is that they should understand what life with a child NEEDING an IEP is like and work WITH you on finding a time instead of only having certain dayson this. Hopefully you can wait until you get some backups with you -- but regardless, I know you will fight for Connor! You are THAT good of a mom :)

Julia said...

No, you're not making a mountain out of a molehill. This is a ridiculous situation. I know, confrontation always sucks, but there's a difference between being assertive and being antagonistic. What I want to know is why his BT3 people can't come to a meeting after he's 3. Aren't you allowed to invite whomever you want to an IEP meeting? You're allowed to have whatever experts, advocates, or support people you want. His BT3 therapists have invaluable information, and you have every right to insist on their presence. (So speaks a person who has never been through the IEP process, but that's what I've gleaned from the listenup and cicircle listserves. BTW, if you're not on it already, I recommend you hop on listenup and ask for help -- tons of people there know IEP law in and out.)

Anonymous said...

You definitely want to bring all the people you can bring. I guess technically you could go alone, but I have the feeling that most school districts would take that as an invite to roll right over you, and your child wouldn't get everything educationally that they need and deserve.

Good luck with the IEP!

Holly Nappi Collins said...

I don't think you're asking for too much at all--as someone who has been through years and years of IEP meetings, and probably have seen it all (I at least hope so), then you should feel as comfortable as possible... However, you are your sons best advocate.. as time goes by, you will feel so much more comfortable with meetings--and the school will respect you for doing whatever you need to do for the sake of your child.

Connor's Mom said...

Thanks everybody!

We got the situation resolved-- they immediately changed the date without any protest. I'm glad that I spoke up because I really, really want some of Connor's team to be there. Thanks for letting me know I wasn't just being silly!


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