It’s that time again. I got the e-mail to set up a date for Alex’s IEP and all of a sudden, I just feel ill. I so don’t want to deal with this right now. (who does, right?) I’m just so sick of all of it. I’m tired. so very tired.
I went to print my IEP wish list, sat back in my chair with my eyes closed and could have fallen asleep forever. I’m wiped out. I sit there and I wonder what the point in this meeting is because every year- every single year- it’s complete regression over the summer break. It doesn’t matter what goes into the IEP, it could stay the same things forever and it wouldn’t matter because it’s the same thing year after year. Complete regression, no overall progress.
I don’t know the reason for it. It could be the 6 schools in 7 (8?) years, it could be the constant changing of staff, it could be the constant changing of goals, it could be Alex. I was hoping that this school would be the difference. This school would be exactly what he needed to finally just … get it. I just knew that this was the school for him. and I can’t say it’s not. I really don’t know what to expect from this school yet. Last year we had a rough start but this year has been better. at least he kept the same teacher all year… so far. I worry about what we’re facing next year. I think about promises made, promises kept, promises broken, truth told and truth deflected and I’m still not sure where we stand. I’m not sure how much trust is there. but then I wonder what I’m pushing for. does it even matter? Would it make a difference?I’m looking at my wishlist and it just seems ridiculous. All of it. When the goals started all those years ago, it made sense. Have a big goal, make the IEP goals steps to the big goal. as the years go by and he masters each one, move on to the next step until he gets the big goal. but as the years go by and the Team changes and people leave and new people come in this goal doesn’t make sense and that goal doesn’t make sense, he’s not getting anywhere here, he’s done with that one so let’s work on this, this and this instead and right now, I have no clue what the big goal is anymore and I don’t know where he’s at on his way to mastering it. It seems he’s bouncing around from one thing to the next, never finishing what he started.
And so, I’m considering. What’s the point? How much do I really need to be involved in what they decide to do for him? It would be easy enough to just show up and say, “Ok.” no matter what they offer because what they offer doesn’t matter. At this point, looking back at what feels like all of the wasted years, it seems like he’s just passing time until he ages out at 21. If that’s what he’s doing, if that’s all he’s doing, is my energy best spent somewhere else?
Hopefully, I’ll have the answer to that before March 29th rolls around. Until then, I’m going to assume that I’m tired and have a bad attitude. I’m going to study his current IEP until I know every dotted i and crossed t and every typo in there, I’m going to put together the suggestions and concerns I have, I will have a list of strengths ready to rattle off. I will assume that this school will be the difference. This school will be exactly what he needs to finally just … get it. I just know that this is the school for him and this is the year that everything will fall right into place. …*fingers crossed*
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0 thoughts on “Growing Weary of the IEP”
I was very touched by your post, and am sending you a digital hug! I hope you can find some meaning to your son’s IEP. Can you take a friend/support person to the meeting? My recommendations are to speak honestly about your feelings to the teacher before the IEP, as it is difficult when everyone is sitting around the table looking at the time and wishing they could be somewhere else. Open up an honest conversation and invite the teacher to share her hopes and fears for your son too. I would also look very carefully at the assessment results from his last triennial – what are his cognitive levels and strengths/weaknesses (look for FSIQ: Full Scale Intellectual Quotient)? Some individuals make slower progress because they have intellectual delays. Look for the cognitive test results and then google what each area/score represents to get more information. A word of caution though – any test is a measure of the examinee’s desire to do well and to please the examiner – behavior and social skills can negatively impact test scores!
Also look carefully at the current educational setting your son is in. Are there concerning behaviors that might limit his access to the instructional environment if so does he have a behavior plan? Are they focusing on motivation as a key component in their instruction (so important for learners with autism)? A good source for info on how to target motivation is Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching. How much training does the staff have on autism? Are they using the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) templates from the NPDC? If your son has the same IEP goals from year to year, then I would definitely be concerned. If he also exhibits significant intellectual delays, then take into consideration that you might need to alter your expectations and focus more on what he can do and where his interests might lie for future vocational success.
Go into the IEP with a friend, ask good questions, remember you only have to sign the parts you agree with, and do something for yourself afterwards! Good luck, and remember an IEP is just one part of the educational process – it doesn’t completely define your son…