It was after the holidays and we met for our monthly meeting. I was informed by my son’s case manager that neither my request to see the inclusion class or my request to have the draft IEP with goals was possible. Of course, why would they want me to be prepared at our next IEP meeting? I wrote a letter documenting our conversation and asked that they re-consider.
On February 9, 2004 I received the case managers response. They would not budge on their decision. She stated, “The annual review meeting is the designated time for the team to work together to develop the IEP. Teachers and therapists enter their student progress information, and the proposed goals, into the computer approximately one week before the meeting. On the day of the annual review meeting, you are invited to work with us to select services and to determine how often he needs the services, to achieve his goals.” My request to see the inclusion class was also once again denied.
I wrote back and asked that if the draft was done in advance that I still would like to have a copy and also stated that if the inclusion class was proposed that I be allowed to see the class prior to the fifteen days they had to implement the proposed IEP. Because in New Jersey the only time the parent had the power to not allow an IEP to be implemented was the initial IEP. However, once you signed off on an initial IEP for your child to receive special education any proposed IEP by the district after that would go into effect unless the parent initiated their due process rights. In that instance, the IEP would remain in “Stay Put” until a decision was made by an administrative law judge or a settlement was reached. “Stay Put” simply stated was that the current IEP could not be changed by the district until a decision was made. In this same letter, I also asked that they include my parental concerns in the IEP document.
The parental input and concerns stated, ” Our strongest concerns about our son is that he is still not reading at grade level and still requires an aid to help him during times of academic frustration. His placement this past year in the mainstream with resource room along with his aid and one on one tutoring in Project read have started to increase his abilities to read. He is eager to learn but still battles self esteem related issues because his reading is not the level of his peers. He does work at his best with the help of positive reinforcement. He has problems with short term memory. He also does become overstimulated in large noisy groups such as assemblies. Transition can be a problem if there is not a “warning bell” and sometimes he may need a few minutes to settle in. His strengths are art, math, science and his imagination. He loves anything that deals with science, nature, outdoors, and his imagination. He also has incredible physical strength and is very energetic. He tends to be the caretaker of his peers. He has a great understanding of people’s feelings and tries to make them happy.”
In the meantime, as much as the district wanted me to be unprepared I started doing my research and I decided to see if I could get in touch with the makers of Project Read. Not only was I able to, I got to speak directly to Tori Greene who was one of the co-authors of the Project Read program. You can read read more about Tori Greene at:
And Tori gave me a crash course on Project Read that would initiate alot of questions for that next IEP meeting. She also gave me her home and cellular phone numbers in the event I needed to reach her quickly. Thank Goodness for her mid western hospitality…
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT