Anticipation of an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for special-needs people can be painful. I remember not being able to sleep on the nights before our son’s IEPs.
An IEP is held as long as the person’s program is funded by a school district, usually until age 21. Some of those in attendance are the parents, some of the teachers, advocates for the special-needs person on behalf of the parents and the school district representative (who makes the decisions to allow or not allow additional services or programs.) The special-needs person is always invited but in our reality, this guy doesn’t sit through meetings!
This week is our son’s annual IEP. Some of the anticipation comes from remembering painful meetings from the past.
There have been IEPs in which school district representatives made decisions not in our son’s best-interest. We would request more help for him; the bottom-line was that there were not enough funds to provide it. Sometimes they would bring in school therapists or psychologists who would say that he didn’t need the services and it was difficult not to tell them that we know our son better than they. We are labeled by them as “lay care givers” and they label themselves as the experts.
We are always outnumbered by professionals in the meetings and only they are allowed to take what they called valid notes for the record. I remember re-reading their notes and finding parts that were way off the mark with regard to what our son needed, followed by a line such as “Parents agree with this decision.” I also remember how restless the school district representative became while we re-read her notes, saying that she had an important meeting that she needed to leave for, but I kept reading anyway. I did not give in to the pressure. But the pressure was there and it is remembered with each year’s IEP.
To be continued…