Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My ten days are almost up. The clock is ticking. And now I am in a flurry of activity to get my changes in. I am not a procrastinator by nature. I am always on time. When I say I'm going to do something I do. I am rather predictable. My predictability for IEP's is that I'm going to put it off. While I went into talk to Daniel's teacher 2 days after the IEP (crying the whole time) I was waiting for a response. She talked to the middle school and some of the things we discussed were met with a positive response from them. So far so good.

Yesterday I sat down with my cup of coffee, turned off the tv and computer snuggled up on the couch with my chenille blanket (only to rip it off at the next hot flash as they've been plaguing me for months now) and read the IEP from start to finish. I made notes on post its (so when the draft went away, my notes wouldn't as per mama mara's suggestion) I came up with several points. I'm just going to paste in the email I just sent to the appropriate players. Here is what I sent (I have taken out some specific names of schools and street names to make it more general for the internet)

Good Morning, Here are the things that I have found that we feel need to be changed with Daniel's IEP. I don't know if this will make sense to those who haven't seen the whole IEP or if you haven't ever even seen one. But these are my points.

1. Functional Performance:

He currently "participates independently in lunch and recess" this is true that currently he does, but we would like that changed. We would like to see Daniel have para support during lunch. This has been the one area at (current school) that he has had difficulty and coming in during 5th grade he had a very hard time. There was teasing from the students who didn't know him and even some from those who did. Some of the kids who had been with him for years were picking on the easy target while they were trying to deal with their own anxieties of a new school. We feel this will be even more likely going into middle school. Daniel will also be quite anxious trying to find his way and doesn't know how to navigate this very social situation of trying to find people to eat with etc. He is just working on starting conversations and navigating a middle school lunch room is a very big undertaking for anyone, not yet Daniel. He has even had an occasion recently that peers were "fanning the flames" with him during lunch. Without para support with him we feel he will be not only lost, but a target.

2. Supplementary Aids/Personnel Supports:

Under para Educator support there are times for (current school) 8:55 - 3:48 entire school day. Shouldn't we add another line with middle school hours with entire school day?

3. Present Level of Academic and Functional Performance:

His birthday is wrong at the top of the page. It should be 1996 for the year :)
Also here, the lunch support is mentioned.

4. Special Education Programs/Related Services

Speech. As I mentioned in an earlier email we are requesting additional speech services beyond the 45 minutes per session, 3 -4 times per month. This is only half of his current services. Of any service he receives (besides para educator support), we feel this is most critical. He needs so much work on his conversation skills. Without those his ability to function in the world will be severely altered. We feel very strongly about this. Daniel currently gets 60 - 90 min. per week PLUS we pay for an additional 60 min. group session outside of school. With the addition of this 60 on top of 60 - 90 min per week we have seen a big improvement and have received numerous comments from the staff of his expanding skills. This wouldn't be a good time for the district to cut back on speech services. He is responding positively to his sessions and it also seems to alleviate some of his frustrations with communicating. We will be continuing our extra 60 min per week indefinitely at this point (and through the summer). So we are requesting one more session of 30 - 45 min in length that could happen during his academic support hour.

5. Transportation:

Do we need to write anything in for this? In my perfect world I would like the gen ed bus to have a closer stop so that Daniel can safely get on the bus without having to cross (major busy highway) or walk up (busy secondary) road to (next street). Ideally the bus would pick up at (next street) and turn into our neighborhood and pickup on our street. This would take very little time. Daniel is always prompt and would be waiting for the bus. He also needs the seat behind the bus driver to be reserved for him and this should be written in the IEP. It has been in the past.

Thank you so much, we look forward to hearing from you.

That's it. I've never asked for this much change before. I'm curious to see what will happen. Today is the last day before spring break. I doubt we can get this hammered out today! So we will go over the 10 day period.

I mentioned to my walking buddies today that I had put these changes off too long. They countered that I was "processing" everything. I do believe this to be true. I don't think I would have asked for more speech had I signed earlier. I said in an earlier post that something was bothering me and I didn't know what it was. Well I think that was it. There is just so much information it's overwhelming. I don't know what other IEP's are like but mine is 20 pages long. His supplementary aids and services are two solid pages. It's a lot. Meanwhile I asked my walking buddy who is a nurse why with my hot flashes I'm getting chest tightening and feel like I'm gasping for air, she alluded to the chance that it is a bit of a panic thing and being overwhelmed. I tend to show a very calm exterior and panic inside (where I don't even know that I am!) and I guess that makes sense. I'm glad I'm getting some exercise again. I think it will help. I can hear that clock ticking. . . is it the hot flashes or the IEP deadline? Maybe both.


kristi said...

Good for you! My sons IEP's are around 9 or 10 pages long.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Great job advocating! Definitely press for the para at lunch - I can't stress that enough. Nigel sorely needed that when he began middle school and didn't have one. The results were terrible. I'm still upset over it. Also good that you requested the seat behind the bus driver - Nigel needed this too. Way to go, Michelle!