The Re-Evaluation- IEP meeting was set for July 27, 2004. All the evaluations were in. Of course, the district invited their attorney although I did not have one.
I remember arriving at the meeting and the Attorney picking up Dr. Kay’s report and saying, “This is a very good and comprehensive report.” In my mind I was thinking, “YOU BET YOUR ASS IT IS!” I was starting to realize it was all a big game to them. They wanted to see what they could get away with. I knew this, they were NOT going to take away my son’s one on one Project Read reading program. Over my dead body. In reality, I knew my dead body would be a joyous occasion for them. But I made a vow it would be to Due Process or Death. That is how long and hard I’d fight for my son. And as unpleasant as due process is it seemed like the better choice. I was lucky too because my son realized the lengths I’d go for him. Some nights in bed we’d lay there and he’d say, “Mommy, Thank you for helping me.” Or, “The reading program is really helping me.” Those words helped me motivate, strategically plan, and get through some very tough times. I knew my kid was counting on me. If I didn’t fight for him, who would?
The report was also in from the Extended School Year Teacher. She said my son would willingly and could successfully compose three sentences about a topic. However, he did not enjoy writing and seemed to rush to complete assignments. However, when coaxed he was cooperative and willing. She also stated that he was now able to read second grade books, comprehension was good, but fluency was labored. She noted that his laborious fluency did not appear to present a major obstacle. However, that was one statement I tended to disagree with. She also mentioned he tends to read aloud but when asked to read silently he complains that he ‘can’t”. However, when encouraged he will do so. He can complete written written responses to critical thinking and factual questions successfully, with little or no assistance.
Socially and emotionally she said he was a “pleasant and cooperative child.” Imagine that a year after I had won the one on one reading program my son was now pleasant and cooperative. Just a year before they were ready to throw him in the behavior disabilities class with children who were classified as “emotionally disturbed.” No offense, but those kids probably weren’t emotionally disturbed either. Anyway, the teacher also stated he was “eager to learn”, “eager to share” and that “he appears to get along well with the other students.” She also recognized that he needed to be reminded at times to stop banging items on his desk but complied quickly, had difficulty with waiting for assistance and chose to work independently at times rather then in a group. Yes, these were all difficulties stemming from his disability.
The conversation began. Of course, after seeing Dr. Kay’s report the district quickly agreed not to cut my son’s one on one Project Read program from five days a week to three as they had originally had proposed. At least that part was over but there was so much more to discuss.
One of the recommendations was that my son learn how to type due to his fine motor difficulties. Dr. Kay recommended a goal of thirty five words per minute by the time he left elementary school. When I brought this up at the meeting the Special Ed Director and Attorney laughed so loudly that I felt like a fool. Then they stated that neither of them could even type at thirty five words per minute even by the time they reached college. Although I felt unsupported and foolish I sat for a second and thought to myself, “But my son is smart!”
I then started asking alot of questions about the newly proposed IEP that was handed to me. Yes, they arrived with pre-drafted goals. Nobody could really answer my questions and the attorney jumped in alot. The people who attended the meeting were the regular education teacher, special education teacher, case manager who by trade was a social worker, the reading specialist, the special ed director, and of course the attorney. Seriously, were any of them qualified to determine the instructional implications of the latest assessments? In any event, we moved along but they knew I was totally dis-satisfied with their prepared goals.
When the issue of the district providing the recommended vision therapy was discussed the Special Education Director said, “That we can’t do.. It is the one thing we can’t do.” When asked why he replied, “I was told we can’t do it. Because vision therapy you have to go to a doctor’s office for. Anytime you have to go to a doctor’s office it is considered a medical treatment.” I countered with, “Well maybe it can be provided in a school setting with the right people.” He said, “I’ll have to take a run to the superintendent’s office. He is the one who really says he does not see that we are going to pay for a person to receive a medical treatment.”
We agreed to re-convene. It seemed here we were three years later and still we never agreed. Furthermore, the process seemed to never-end but I did feel we were in a much better place but at the same time I also knew we still had far to go…
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT