Thursday, April 7, 2011

better late than never

(m with her sweet friend henry, looking like they are 18 and not two.)

m's iep.
(for those of you not in the world of education, or who don't have a child who needs additional services, and iep is basically what the school district comes up with to provide your child with equal access to education. 

here is how the government describes it: 
Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.)

at 3 years old, a child transitions from an ifsp (individualized family service plan) to an iep, and it can be a very dramatic change in services (one reason? the pot of money funding it changes.) if you are in this world of hearing loss very long you hear many stories of awful iep's and difficult battles with the district, lawyers, etc. i have friends who have fought for a very long time for their child to receive appropriate services. (hence why i was so nervous.)

as you may remember, i was feeling kind of nervous.

i'm going to break this into two posts so that it isn't super long...
m had been evaluated by SO many people: her teacher, therapist, and then from the district a team of professionals - a teacher of the deaf, a psychologist, an auditory specialist and a speech and language pathologist. some of them had tested her multiple times. m does fantastic in one on one testing; she's been doing it since she was born (literally,) so she performs for adults who test her speech and language. i had one person from the district say, "wow- she should be in a commercial for cochlear implants" and another say, "this is so fun! i've never done such a fast speech sample!" i think m assumes that all children "play" in small rooms with double sided windows, vocabulary flashcards and adults who like to ask questions.

i was kind of expecting that the district would see the areas in which m is thriving and then ignore (or minimize) our areas of concern. i had very low expectations and i was gearing up emotionally to be frustrated, misunderstood and disappointed.

i had had a few parents tell me that one of the best things they did was write up their own parent assessment (since by the way, all of the aforementioned teachers, therapists, etc. had each written assessments on m to go along with their observation.) i waffled back and forth over whether i should write one- after all, matt and i were going to be there, and the parents are always able to share about their child and what they see. was it overkill? was i being too hands on? at the last minute i decided that matt and i knew her best and that i should write about her strengths and our concerns. the night before our iep i took a couple of parent write ups (thanks to my friend katie, whose daughter sam is in m's class, and julia, a blogging friend whose son ben is a year ahead of m) and modified them for m. i ended up staying up super late working on it, but it turns out that it was a key part of our iep! my mother-in-law, who had flown up to go to the iep with us, suggested i email it to the iep team before the actual meeting so they could look over it. again, i'm so glad i sent it to them ahead of time. (i'd requested copies of their evaluations ahead of time, which they gave me.)

more on the rest of the iep to come in the next post...

1 comment:

  1. A good article. I liked the smile of an angel dressed in white!


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