I don’t even know where to begin. I know I have a tendency to praise the district in general and criticise the teacher and I’m sure that doesn’t seem fair to some. It may strike folks as a “shoot the messenger” issue. I try, very hard, to give his teacher credit for how much she loves Monkey and how badly she wants him to succeed. At times during yesterday’s meeting she teared up as she talked about what a special little guy he is and I think that does speak volumes. I do not question whether her “heart is in the right place.” It is. 100%, it is.
I don’t know right now if I’m more angry, discouraged or depressed. The meeting was just that good.
As I mentioned below the meeting was a chance to evaluate his progress and set goals for next year. We had agreed to 4 evaluations in advance so that we could, I thought, incorporate that new information into his IEP. I think I said 3 previously, I forgot about 1 and boy was it a doozy. So, let’s start with the evaluations.
1. Classroom functioning – this is the report that had my blood boiling because the timeline was so far off. She stated at the meeting, as soon as she started reading, that the timeline was off. She recited from memory a timeline that was much closer to what we experienced and I was able to take a deep breath and relax. She talked for nearly an hour and it was a 3 page report. We were given a chance to ask questions and I did ask her what her conclusions were leading to, I wanted to know what she was thinking in terms of placement. They collectively danced around the issue but did begin to voice concerns that he wasn’t able to learn in his current environment as it stands.
2. Functional behavioral analysis – we had received a copy of this in advance. We did not have any concerns about her observations but we did think she was drawing some faulty conclusions based on her observations because she’s not familiar with FXS. We pointed out a couple of places in her report that were “classic Fragile X” behaviors and she acknowledged that she did not know them for what they were. We told the team that we had sent the reports to Dr. G and asked her to review them specifically FX related issues that we may have missed. They were receptive to that and we’ll share those findings with them later.
3. Assistive technology – this has not yet been done, they’re going to work on it over the summer and we’ll have the results in September.
4. School psychologist – this is the one we had forgotten about. We had signed off on it and no one ever mentioned it again. When we insisted on getting copies of the evaluations 48 hours before the meeting or rescheduling only the 3 above were delivered or explained. This one was handed to us when we sat down at the beginning of the meeting. She tried to dive right in but Duhdee and I insisted on taking our time to read the report thouroughly before we proceeded. She wasn’t happy. Neither were we by the time we finished. Duhdee mouthed “Bullshit” to me after he finished. Yes it was. Her final suggestion speaks volumes, she suggested we needed to call DMR (Department of Mental Retardation) for respite services as he ages. She doesn’t see any hope of independence for him. He’s 4 and she has observed him 3 times in a classroom. If that’s not bullshit I don’t know what is.
The best part of the meeting was after we had finished the evaluations and proceeded to the progress reports. His ST listed all the progress he has made and said she wanted to adjust his goals b/c they are ASL heavy and he’s using much more vocalization now and she wants to add whatever assistive technology that we ultimately decide upon. The school psychologist stopped her and said we cannot change his goals, this was not an annual review. She said this should have been done at the annual review. At which time 6 of the 8 people at the table responded, this IS the annual review. Apparently the teacher had set up the wrong TYPE of meeting. Argh!
This began an hour of back and forth about what is and isn’t allowed and what type of meeting this was or should be or could be. Total “clusterf*ck” to quote my eloquent husband. Duhdee and I sat there just stunned at the incompetence and bickering. Finally it was decided that this SHOULD be the annual review (hello, we’re already a month beyond that due date) and that goals should be updated. The new goals will be delivered to us today by his teacher and we will sign off on them by tomorrow IF that’s all that changes. I made it very clear that I will not consider any changes to services or placement on this IEP. We also added the summer preschool to the IEP, it was already in his IEP that he needed summer services due to risk of regression but we had home services last year, not classroom services so that had to be added.
They were clearly pushing us in the direction of a substantially separate classroom or a split between a substantially separate classroom and the inclusive class. You probably won’t be shocked to hear that I told them I was not comfortable with either of those suggestions.
When we left I told Duhdee that we’ll homeschool first and he was in total agreement. We are also in total agreement that we are re-hiring our advocate. We thought we could do this alone, we’re wrong. We don’t really have money to throw around (who does?) but this is a priority and we’ll make it happen. She runs a tight ship and would never have allowed the meeting to be run in such a manner.
So, round 1 is done, we just have to sign the revised IEP today. Round 2 is set for September and we’re lining up all our ducks and bringing in the hired gun. Knowing that we have the homeschooling option and that my husband is on board (essential since he’s the primary caregiver here) will perhaps make the next meeting less stressful. I doubt it though.