The IEP process feels like Chinese water torture sometimes. Call a meeting to discuss if your child has an educational disability…DRIP. Allow people whom you don’t know to evaluate your child in what feels all too personal…DRIP. The excavation of medical and school records…DRIP. The observation of your child…DRIP. The family interview…DRIP. It feels interminable.
Yesterday, I went to the hospital for the IEP team meeting where the IEP team met to discuss Grace’s proposed IEP. This is all a part of this process. The last meeting we had was for the purpose of telling our resident district that Grace qualified for an IEP and what our expectations for her treatment and education would be which are, at this time, one and the same. This meeting is a bit like a review of the evaluation findings, but I already knew what the findings were because I provided all the records upon which the IEP was founded. The only things I didn’t provide were the in-hospital observations. Grace came into the hospital with a complete neuropsychological evaluation report from another center which was completed in May 2012. For your information, a school cannot do an IQ test on a student in the same year that a previous IQ test has been done. So, since Grace had already endured a fairly thorough neuropsychological work-up, according to IDEA, she could not be put through those tests again. This IEP evaluation was largely a records review combined with some observations and a family interview.
Why do I want to whine? Grace has her IEP. It’s what I have been after since last August.
I’ll tell you. I’ve lost my objectivity when it comes to our resident school district. I will be the first to admit that. I tend towards being a trusting person. I went into Grace’s school in late August of this year when she was still in the in-patient stabilization unit and explained to them what was coming their way. I explained how ill she was. I gave them copies of all the records that I turned over to the intermediate district that just finished evaluating her for her IEP. Her resident district thumbed through those records and said, “Nope. She doesn’t qualify for an IEP. Her test scores last year were fine. She has a 504 plan already. We’ll just give her some breaks. Send her to the break room, let her play with her fidgets.” On September 14, she stabbed herself, and we were at the behavioral health emergency room for hours. On September 19, I was sending out emails, begging them to do an evaluation; she had come home and told me that she had been hiding in the school bathroom because the Three Men had been chasing her. She didn’t know what was real anymore. No one would listen to me. No one would help her. I called the Ombudsman’s Office for the oversight of mental health and disabilities and spoke with them. Finally, on October 11, we had our IEP evaluation meeting which is only a meeting to discuss whether there will be an evaluation. The SPED evaluator didn’t listen. She had already prepared the order of evaluation before the meeting took place. Grace would be subject to functional behavioral analysis (FBA), and, in their opinion, she would never qualify for an Other Health Disability-IEP (OHD-IEP) because the law says that sort of IEP is reserved only for kids with ADHD. WRONG! A fight began, and it was nasty. As soon as the regional Ombudsman phoned them to come back to the table for a real IEP evaluation, they cut me off. They also refused to speak to the Ombudsman but instead sent the district’s attorney who gave the Ombudsman the runaround by claiming that he had never heard of the Ombudsman’s office. He made her read him the statute that explained that office’s authority in the matter of IEPs. Valid information was withheld from me, and the superintendent of my district even ambushed me in an early morning phone call. The very woman that has been representing our district in these IEP meetings at the hospital is the same woman that phoned my home and badgered one of my daughters. To say that I am weary, angry, and emotional when it comes to this district is…understating it. I see their faces, and I want to cry.
Again, why do I want to whine (please pardon my verbosity)? Because I have to do an intake and tour with Grace next week at her new school, and that woman from our district who’s been coming to the IEP meetings wants to come along. Yep. Something that is supposed to be a good experience for Grace will be stressful and tense because SHE will be there. Why? I have no idea. Does she have to be there? Hell if I know. I wouldn’t think so. I don’t want her there. I don’t want her there at all. I don’t like her. I don’t like any of them, but, as I said, I’m not objective anymore. I’m upset. I’m very, very, very upset.
I am going to make an appointment for the tour and intake. I’m not going to tell anyone from the district about it. I wasn’t told that I had to do so. If she shows up, then she shows up. My husband said that perhaps she wants to see the school and be a part of the process because she hasn’t participated in anything like that before. Perhaps they are trying to educate themselves since Grace’s situation is indeed rare. He might be right, but it feels a little late for that. Alas, I need to try to get over this. I live here. I need to try to behave in a conciliatory manner. I need to model appropriate behavior, and I have been. I am very polite in these meetings. It just feels so raw. They still have no idea what they’ve done nor what they deprived Grace of. She lost an entire semester of education because of their tomfoolery (I feel like my grandmother using the word ‘tomfoolery’).
Deep breath…I know that I will do what is necessary, but one grows tired of that. Always doing what’s necessary rather than doing what one wants. I want to take that tour with Grace. I want to build her up and point out all the fantastic possibilities. I know that I will feel like this woman is there to observe Grace as a spy (I know how paranoid that sounds. As I said, I’ve lost my objectivity). She will be watching her, seeing if she really needs to be there. Is she really that sick? After all, our district is hiring this intermediate district to educate Grace, and I suspect they don’t really want to do that. And that, I fear, is the real reason this woman wants to come on this tour and intake with us–to judge, assess, and observe. Not to be educated. I am willing to be wrong. I am so hoping that I am wrong, but I don’t trust them.
Why should I?
Now…about that cheese…