Countdown to the IEP …

Ah, that yearly event, the gathering of the team for the Individualized Educational Plan …

To prepare for your IEP meeting, repeat each line three times, and do this four times a day until the IEP.

  1. “NORMAL. What part of NORMAL do you not understand? The goal is for her to be NORMAL.”
  2. “She is regressing in that area. How about we say ‘she will be less messed up than the curve shows she will be’?”
  3. “I will get you two doctor’s notes that say she needs twice that.”
  4. “I’m sorry, I did not know that K-Mart sold school nursing degrees.”
  5. “What exactly does ‘education’ mean to my daughter? Do you honestly believe that every single student can be ‘educated’?”
  6. “If the school day ends at 2:20, how is it possible that my daughter gets home at 2:25? Exactly when does she leave the classroom and why is her day shorter than the NORMAL students?”
  7. “No, not having a vision therapist is YOUR problem, not my daughter’s.”
  8. “Why is there no male in this room other than me?” (only practice if you are male) (or confused)
  9. “You think she communicates because you understand her intent? And you understand her intent … because she communicates? And this makes sense on what planet?”

To otherwise prepare for the meeting …

  • Wear your “Helen Keller Rocks” T-shirt
  • Bring along a tall male friend wearing a dark suit, red tie and sunglasses. He is to sit to your right and sip Pellegrino out of a bottle the entire time, not saying a word. Introduce him as your lawyer, Moishe.

The following was received when I sent a draft of this post to one who loves Pearlsky and me (and vice-versa):

What would you like to change in Pearlsky? Seriously and realistically, what would you like to see addressed? Is there anything? Something like her putting her hand in her mouth? This is the one time that you can really address an issue that you are concerned with. Evaluations concerning the issue can be ordered and then solutions pursued. You know all this. Take it seriously and use the system. What about a standing program? A swimming program? What about using a straw to drink with?

What would you really like them to address with Pearlsky this coming year?

I know I sound awful and as if you are a new parent, but I feel compelled to remind you that this is your opportunity to try and address an issue(s) that might make Pearlsky’s care easier for you or for others along with Pearlsky’s physical well-being on top of all the usual stuff. Plus it adds a positive focus to the meeting and uses the education system for something other than a daycare.

You have so much more power in the IEP than the school does. So wield it.

I’m sorry, but you are so much better than the knocks in the post. I understand completely your anger, frustration, and hurt, and I enjoy your humor, but make the system work for Pearlsky. You are a most charming and amazing man; make sure everyone in the room knows this.

Yes, she does know that my points above were in jest, but I wanted to reproduce her email her because there are some serious, and excellent points (including the “most charming and amazing man” part, did you get that? It is in the last sentence … but I won’t highlight it at all, you saw it, right?).

The “using a straw” thing was a goal on Pearlsky’s first five IEP’s. She never attained it, and the point is that now she is in a different school, different people, maybe they can. That simple goal was a part of my frustration, no goal has ever been reached, so what’s the point?

Although I do go into every IEP hoping for a change, working with the team to make life better for Pearlsky (an entire topic in its own right) I can become cynical, and that is not always helpful.

So, I stand by my exercises and preparation above, and bring Aphrodite’s words to you in the hopes that they help all of us.

I will update you on the IEP (and the wheelchair) shortly … now please wish this most charming and amazing man luck at the IEP …


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