Tuesday, May 25, 2010

IEP Step One: Notice

I made a big ole deal on this blog about how I think it’s better to work with the system as opposed to against it.  I think I’m gonna stop writing stuff like that. Hand to God, it’s like the Universe is getting my RSS feed.  It reads one of my optimistic posts and promptly sends over a big pile of crap.

Seriously, Universe, it’s time to unsubscribe.

Tuesday I got a call from Charlie’s future teacher telling me that his IEP was scheduled for Friday.  For those who don’t know, IEPs are a big, big deal. It’s basically a huge meeting where all the people who will be involved in Charlie’s education get together and try to figure out what he’s going to need to be successful.  When you’ve got a kid as complicated as Charlie, it’s a bit of a production.  Just a bit.

So when I got the call, I knew it was important that I be there.  I also knew that I was going to be out of town from Friday morning until Monday evening, so there was no way a Friday appointment would work. 

I explained my situation.  I tried honey. I did. I begged her to just have it on Wednesday. She was having none of it.  School’s last day was Monday and that was the last day she’d be showing up to work. 

At this point I could feel my attitude beginning to bubble forth.  I don’t have a degree in special ed, but I taught it for two years and learned a couple of things along the way.  Things like IEP notices should be in writing.  Things like you need ten days notice before having an IEP.  Pesky little details like that.

I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this woman, so I went ahead and told her to make the thing for Friday and I hung up. 

wheelchair 031

I then did what any smart, confident, forceful woman does when faced with an  obstacle—I cried.  Yes, I cried, but then I picked up the phone and called Charlie’s case manager.  I was still a little weepy, but I explained that the situation was unacceptable, that I’d been given no options, and that I was well aware that our rights were being violated.

Thirty minutes later I got a call from the transition coordinator who gave me the option of having the IEP done with the summer school staff the first week of June.

Ding. Ding. Ding. 

Got what I wanted. 

I wish I had grace under pressure.  I wish I wasn’t a big wuss who cries like a seven-year-old.  But those things don’t matter as much as getting Charlie what he needs.  


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Pictures of Charlie in his new ride. Seems to like the new perspective.  Less thrilled about the shoulder straps.