Monday, December 8, 2008

IEP Warrior, take 2

Well, we had our second IEP meeting to finish up what we hadn't finished previously at the first meeting. It was completely pointless. I came out feeling 10x's more frustrated than before I walked in to the meeting. Javi is not really making a lot of progress in his current setting. In fact, he has regressed to the beginning of the year last year academically. His teacher said he is making slight and slow progress, but that is progression from a regression, so I wouldn't exactly call it real progress. Just as I said in my last post about this, it seems to be a complete class mismatch.

We attempted to use the "easy way out" and use an address change to switch him to a new class. Javi technically lives with his dad now, so using his address would put him at a different school. It was recommended and affirmed by a few people that this would be the easiest way to avoid all the complication of pointing the finger and saying that this was a crappy fit for Javi. The program specialist, flat out said he will not even be considered for a move until next year. She also said "considered", not guaranteed. She also seemed completely insensitive to the fact that Javi has no friends this year and that the kids in his class are starting to "tolerate" him now a little more than they were before. I guess in her eyes, the fact that he is tolerated instead of flat out ridiculed like he was before, is progress. I can also tolerate a pebble in my shoe, but it doesn't mean that I am going to learn to like it being there. I don't get a sense that Javi will ever truly be accepted in this classroom. I think his behaviors will be tolerated sometimes, but he may always be considered "the pebble".

We did at the very least, get a better feeling about the teacher. Definitely not to the level of caring we have felt from previous teachers, but a better feeling than we received in previous meetings with her. She seemed to show more of an interest in Javi being in a good place and making progress.

Ultimately what it comes down to is this, you can have every modification, assistance and service set in place in the IEP, but what matters most is whether or not the child is happy. Happy children typically produce better work and progress (just like happy employees). It's obvious to us that while Javi may be getting "used to the routine" he is not happy, not by comparison to previous years. I know that we can't go back to Deer Canyon (his previous school, the program specialist had eluded to the fact that this was not Deer Canyon and that there was no placement for him there) , nor do we care if we can. We just want our son to be happy and succeed to the best of his abilities. We want him to be well-liked and accepted and feel like he has friends, just like any other parent.

How long do we have to wait before we say enough is enough? How long will he have to struggle before they do something about this? I am willing to give it to the end of January, which would be when the semester is over, but if we don't see some positive changes and improvements, I think we may consider taking this to the next level. I think half a year for an "adjustment period" is long enough.


~Mama Skates~ said...

i agree - a semester is more than enuff time for an adjustment period! poor javi - i wanna squeeze him hard & tell him it'll b alright! i can't imagine the frustration & helplessness u're feeling right now! it would drive me crazy 2 know what it is that needs to change to help ur child, but not b able to change it! good for u sticking to ur guns & continuing to press the issue tho - u IEP warrior u! eventually, ur voice will b heard & hopefully it's soon enuff to get javi back on track academically! praying for u guys!!!


~Mama Skates~ said...

btw...i felt really down this eve cause report cards came home...jaden went down in 4 of his 6 grades & even brought home 2 C's this 6 weeks! i was shocked & disheartened...but then i read ur blog & realized, it could b a lot worse...i'm anxious to meet with the teachers 2 find out what's up...all 3 still attached glowing comments, so i can only assume it's cause the curriculum is getting more difficult...but u know how it is - wanting so bad for ur SN kid 2 'catch up' and b able to hang with the 'normal' kids! thx for being honest & laying it all out for us regarding ur struggles with javi's really helps to know we're not alone in this never-ending struggle!

JSmith5780 said...

I am sorry things didn't go as planned. Stick to your guns though. At what age can the kids themselves participate in the IEP process? Maybe if they hear from him directly, about how bad it is, it'll help?

Do you know Erin on the IS group? She knows a TON about IEPs and how to get things for the kids. Maybe she'd have some suggestions for you. Her screen name is elmmcann. If you can't find her, email me and I will sned you her email.

Jonathan said...

Did you see that Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie last night? It was really good...made me cry even! I can't help thinking about it in relation to what you're going through. Obviously I have zilcho advice. Even tho Toby's the same age...I'm his teacher...soooo it's moot. I know you'll do the right thing. ((((hugs)))


Shanna Grimes said...

thanks everyone!
Sharon, sorry to hear about Jaden's report card. I'm sure he will bounce back. He's had a lot of stuff to think about lately.

Jen, We are enlisting the help of our friend Roxanne. She works with all the districts in California and trains the program specialists (the district reps in the IEP meetings here) and gives seminars on IEP stuff. She helped us with our very first IEP. It would be interesting to talk to Erin though and get her opinion. Technically, they are providing everything they are required to provide, so we don't have much of a leg to stand on, but I was hoping Roxanne could find a hidden loophole we are missing. Unfortunately, happiness isn't part of his IEP and regressions are natural in this situation. Right now, we just need to be a little more patient to see what happens. We are going to call another meeting in Feb if we don't see significant changes.

Danielle, No, I missed it. What was it called?

baby trevor's mommy said...

Head of the Class...really good! It was about a boy with Turrets (I think the real guy has been on Oprah?) who was undiagnosed for a loooong time...and how he battled being misunderstood throughout much of his life. Eventually he went on to be Teacher of the Year! It was really good...