Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bazillion adults, itty bitty conference room

Today was the big IEP meeting day. First up was the Girls, which she declined to attend. We were discussing just what the heck to DO with her, since I pulled her out of the program. There were more than enough "experts" there, coming up with some pretty crappy suggestions for alternative programs. I started out by saying that the one program they were really pushing would not be palatable to either me or the Girl for a variety of reasons. This program is not held at the high school which she is not about to consider due to it's location. She wants to be at school. This program also has, out of the 20 kids currently attending, two girls that she has been friendly with in the past, but who have gotten her in HUGE trouble. The Girl's NVLD seriously affects her ability for social situations because she misses so much of the non-verbal communication. It's estimated that at least 60% of the non-verbal cues blow right over her head, meaning that she has a lot of trouble distinguishing fact from fiction with her friends, and she's very easily persuaded to do things that are wrong, illegal or morally troubling because her "friends" tell her it's OK. So there is no way that I want her in a program where she's just going to go backward and get in serious trouble.

With nothing resolved we decided to consider several options, but truthfully, the Girl is furious about all of this because she's set her heart on the one program that is absolutely unfeasible for her, the Boy's program. They don't take siblings, the siblings in question do not get along well, and it would be a disaster for the Boy, who is just about to return to school.

The last 10 or so minutes of the meeting I had them bring in the Girl, but she was totally shut down and would not speak. She wore her IPOD and refused to take it out, and she was pissed. In speaking with her therapist later, who was also at the meeting, we determined that she was so tuned out that she didn't even hear what was said.

When that meeting ended, it was time for the Boy's re-entry meeting. While in the same house conference room, the environment was lighter, more humorous, and a lot less angry. The Boy is excited to return to school, he's done remarkably well in this alternative program, he's working well with his tutor to catch up, and everyone was really pleased with his attitude and his demeanor. When asked right at the beginning if he felt he had completed the work expected of him at the program, he said, "Well, I've created the cure for cancer, so I guess so." The kid is clever, I'll give him that!

He'll be heading back to school on Tuesday after the long weekend, and we're all very hopeful that he's ready now to start anew.

However, his return to school leaves an opening at the program that we're trying to get the Girl into. She is NOT HAPPY about it, but then again, he wasn't happy about it either, and it took him weeks to buckle down and get to work. Like her brother, she's just not ready to be at school right now. A bunch of stuff is happening to her social life, and this is a kid who takes every other kid's issues and internalizes them, so she's a hurting buckaroo right now. It's apparent to all concerned that she's blown this school year, missing the first term and then blowing the second term by skipping classes and doing no work. She's got all M's (medical excuse) on the first term, and this term she's got all Incompletes. Meaning, she's missed half a year of school. In her favor, she had so many credits from last year that she can stay on track by only making up a few credit hours, which they would do with tutoring. To me, this is the best alternative, although she's totally not interested in it at all.

Needless to say, after 3 hours of IEP meetings, I came home and passed out on the sofa. I woke up to make some important phone calls regarding the meetings and then crashed out again. This stuff exhausts me. It's so stressful.

Lastly, the SpEd teacher I reamed out did attend the meeting but did not say one freaking word. Not one. Which has to be a record for him. I believe I finally silenced his crap. Good on me!

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Blogger Daisy said...

IEPs exhaust me, too. We've had some tough ones. Amigo gets stressed, too, but at least he's an active participant. I'm proud of him for that. We had an administrator for several years...well, never mind. That's a post or three in itself.

17/1/08 9:39 PM  
Anonymous bethany actually said...

Wow. I have so much respect for what you do. I pass out on the couch just from taking my 3-year-old to Wal-Mart. I cannot even imagine 3-hour long meetings with multiple specialists. I'm thinking of you all and praying for you as you all make these transitions!

17/1/08 10:04 PM  

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