May 26, 2011

A brief IEP update

Having written about Schuyler's impending IEP meeting, I suppose I should give a brief follow-up. The short version is that it felt like a very positive meeting, particularly from Schuyler's special education team and her therapists. Her elementary school team did a great job of preparing a plan for her transition, and the team leader from her new school was outstanding. She was incredibly positive, and she listened to us, really listened. After the meeting she sat down with Julie and me for an extremely candid chat, and we walked away feeling like we'd been heard. For parents of a kid with a disability who are trying to navigate the public school system, that's no small thing at all.

That's all I really have to say about it for now, although there may be another post about one extremely troubling aspect of the meeting coming soon after Schuyler's last day of school, depending on whether or not Julie and I are still pissed by then. (Smart money says watch for it.) There are still a lot of anxiety-inducing aspects of the transition to middle school to keep us up at night, everything from mean girls to mainstreaming to marimbas, but coming out of this meeting, we felt some real excitement and optimism for the future. And again, that is no small thing.

21 comments:

Rebecca said...

Great news to hear that someone actually listened! This happens so few and far between. We too are going into an IEP meeting in a few short days for our son (who is also speechless) and going to First Grade.
Keeping our fingers crossed that with our new advocate beside us, that we get heard too.
Thank you for sharing your stuggles, its a relief to know that we aren't the only parents going through school crap.

bleu said...

Hi Rob, I think it's great that the IEP went well. I have a 6 year old son, going into 1st grade and I had to reschedule my IEP so the special education director was there. At first I was a bit nervous because I had a couple of issues to discuss, but then after speaking with the director, I think they are listening. It definitely feels good to be heard! Good for you and your daugther :)

Niksmom said...

Rob, I'm so glad the IEP went so well. It's always such a crap shoot, isn't it? (We seem to be having them nearly monthly; something's clearly not right!) I love that you and Julie felt heard. Sometimes, that's all it takes to make things smoother, right?

Robert Hudson said...

(Yes, I deleted comments. Don't like it? Want a place to say whatever you want? Start your own blog. It's easy.)

robyncz said...

Rob--I'm surprised, with your connections, that you haven't come up with a marimba. Would you like me to make some inquiries among my band friends here in Austin? I'm wind, not percussion, so I don't know the technicalities, but would a beginner in Austin use the same kit as a beginner in Plano?

And I'm glad the meeting went well. I hope the bit that pissed you off resolves well and you guys can look forward to a positive and productive transition.

Robert Hudson said...

I'm working on the marimba, I've got feelers out. I'll let you know if we hit a dead end!

Robert Hudson said...

My fun new rules for comments.

SunSpotBaby said...

Ha ha ha ha ha!! LOVE your new post rules. I think I am going to make those my new house rules.....

robyncz said...

I think the correct term is "assmonkeyness" although I've heard "assmonkeydom" used in some circles. Maybe the usage is regional and "assmonkeyhood" is preferred where you're from. Who am I to judge?

Kim in Alaska said...

But assholery on your part IS allowed? heh heh

Robert Hudson said...

Yep.

StaceyEsq said...

Your blog, your rules -- hear that, all you assmonkeys!

Asshats and asswipes . . . you're next.

Very glad that you and Julie took away positive vibes from the IEP meeting. Fingers crossed that the sense of being understood will continue and net Schuyler the services she needs without too much of a shit storm.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!!

Kelsey said...

I think the best comparison I ever heard was, "Look, I don't come into your house off the street and start insulting your taste in decor and calling you unsavory things and picking fights. Why would I let you come into my figurative house on the Internet and do those things to me?"

Go Rob! Make those jerks play in someone else's neighborhood.

Rebecca said...

As a teacher of students with special needs I really appreciate parents sharing their IEP successes and non-successes. I think it helps me be a better teacher and advocate for the students with whom I work. Thanks for sharing your life. I hope all the positives keep working for you guys.

Lauren said...

Speaking of marimbas, here is Evelyn Glennie speaking at TED and performing on the marimba. She is the first person in the western world to make a career as a solo percussionist. She is also profoundly deaf.

http://www.ted.com/talks/evelyn_glennie_shows_how_to_listen.html

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob, I wrote you an email about a week ago. I live in Plano as well, so I thought that was a neat coincidence. If you can find the time to reply back, I'd love that as well! I am borrowing the memoir from a friend, and almost two weeks in I realized that you and Schuyler signed the cover page, and I was in awe. I had no idea my friend and you guys have met. I am liking the book so far and would love to hear from you, only if you have the time to. Happy Memorial Day! Love, Lucy

fern said...

Glad that you were heard at your IEP meeting. When I was a special ed teacher I always wanted parents to understand that I really believed we were a team, all wanting what was best for their child--but that they were the experts in their child. I was very disappointed (and angry) that the opposite happened when I was the parent of the special needs child. I had many conferences where I had to be insistent and tough (glad I knew the lingo and my rights). I ended up helping other parents navigate the system, too.
After a number of years and conferences, and me just getting more defensive and angry at the system and so-called professionals, and a teacher who actually e-mailed me that he did not have to respond to me because the IEP did not apply to his class--and the director of spec. ed tried to make excuses for that (Incidently, that e-mail was forwarded to the dean and I believe that teacher is no longer there and they have a new spec ed director). I finally had a conference that turned it around. At one conference a regular ed teacher was invited, and he did not even know my kid. I was really pissed off. But this teacher came up with a suggestion that no one had ever made before--it was a great idea and he has won my respect and admiration. Sometimes, it works out really well.
My long winded message is--parents are the experts in their own children and have to stay on top of things and advocate for their child (as you do). But sometimes, there is someone unexpected on the sidelines who can really make a difference.

Beth said...

Just a quick note to say how avidly I follow your blog and your journey. You open a door on an oft-closed process regarding the IEP, and in so doing, you make things just a little less isolated for the rest of us. No small thing, that.

Stacy said...

I'm so glad to hear that you walked out of the meeting feeling like your concerns were heard. You're right: that's no small thing.

Stacy said...

Just read your new rules. I love that the Management has an eye patch.

Anonymous said...

1) Please say that you can include "I am the final arbiter ..." on your business cards. PLEASE!?!

2) Please, as soon as the marimba is accessible, take a new photo, with the eyepatch, for the management photo. Because that would open up a whole new level of Awesome.

Look upon my eyepatch and marimba, ye assmonkeys, and despair.

(You could gird yourself for anticipated craptastic school meetings in such a fashion, as well.)