Wednesday, May 09, 2007

An IEP Meeting Ends Well



Back in March, we had an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting with our school district that did not end well. The hubby and I had requested a change of schools for our son David. David is deaf and attends our local school with a sign language interpreter. We wanted to send him to Hinsdale South, a school that has nearly 70 deaf students. You can read about the previous meeting here.

After that disappointing meeting, we contacted a few lawyers and Equip for Equality. Leeanne Seaver, the director of Hands & Voices reminded me to get everything in writing and hand-deliver a letter to the IEP team. I sat down to write a three-page letter and delivered it to the team and included the superintendent and principal. I followed up with a phone call and I reminded everyone of the outcome that we desired.

So today, we had David's placement meeting and it went rather well. Beth (the mom of the 12 pound baby) attended as our advocate. Only one teacher voiced a bit of opposition this time but we were able to work through that. This teacher had children of her own in special education and was a big supporter of inclusion. We were fortunate that a social worker with a background in deaf education spoke in support as well as David's itinerant teacher. We ended up with the placement at Hinsdale South.

David is looking forward to attending the same school that his father went to. His friend Aubrey (Beth's daughter)is also going. The two of them have been friends since they were babies and they are excited about finally going to school together.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! That's wonderful!

mishkazena said...

Wonderful news! I am glad for you and your son

Lantana said...

Way to go, Karen! Keep us posted on your boy's progress.

Lantana
Lantana's Latitude

Karen Mayes said...

That is wonderful! Parents are children's best advocates. I remember when I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter, when I attended my first IEP meeting about my toddler son who was recently found to have progressive hearing loss. I wanted him to attend Rochester School for the Deaf and I got a lot of opposition from my home school district. The meeting went on for four hours, no interpreter, an audiologist from RSD volunteering to interpret, etc. God it was awful. Then they asked me to bring a note from my son's doctor stating that his hearing loss was PROGRESSIVE, so they could let him to attend RSD... only one condition... that if an availiablity in pre-kindergarten program opened up, I was to pull him out of RSD immedicately and mainstream him. I said OK, but in my mind, heck no. Anyway, he went to RSD and my husband and I moved out of the town to another town in Rochester, where the school district was more flexible in listening to the parents.

Boy. Glad to hear that you did a great job! Maddening to feel powerless though.

Anonymous said...

You are lucky!

At my time (1980-1990's), the school county refused to let me change my son's school to another. How did they prevent me? By not provding a school county bus!

Guess what! They screwed up my son's education & self esteem. I never forgave the county school system.

I ought to sue the
Gwinnett County System,
Georgia

Skye said...

Yay!

Karen said...

Karen and anonymous-- sounds like you went through quite a struggle. It is so frustrating to have to battle for access to communication for our kiddos!

groovyoldlady said...

I don't know if you realize it or not, but public schools receive funds based on student population. They're under a tremendous amount of pressure to KEEP students in the system.

That's one reason, aside from differing pedagogical views, there's so much oppostition to alternative education.

Karen said...

Groovy, I'm sure that might be part of it. It doesn't help that my son scores high on the annual tests-- they probably like keeping those scores too.

Jeff Brown said...

I'm so happy to read David will now attend school where you wished.

I too remember you at SOBCon 07.

John C said...

IEPs are something not every parent has to go through, luckily. For those that do, they should seek advice from other parents with children having special needs ASAP, months prior to facing anyone at the table.

While school staff may seem to be trying to make parents feel as comfortable as possible, the truth remains that they are creating a papertrail, usually have other staff sit in as witnesses, all in preparation to protect themselves and take advantage of opportunity to say 'no' when it meets their needs if possible.

Sorry, I don't mean to be the 'gloom and doom' commentor on this entry, but I know less parents that have successfully used the IEP system for their children's benefit than those that have had their children swimming in the quagmired barrier that takes years sometime to get out of.