Sunday, February 27, 2011

IEP's please don't hate me I am just a Mom

Hopefully we are now in the final draft of Elizabeth's IEP. In December we had Elizabeth's IPRC (Identification Placement and Review Committee) meeting and she was identified due to her physical disability and her hearing loss. An initial IEP was created by her SERT (Special Education Resource Teacher) and with Elizabeth's Hard of Hearing Itinerant Teacher. After consultation with some of my work colleagues it was felt to be a little 'slim'. Slim being only 2 goals; to interact with her peers appropriately (being aware of eye contact, cues etc) and saying 'please, thank you, would you' during social interactions.
Trying not to to react with my heart wanting to yell and scream 'after 6 years of intensive work learning to talk, walk, play, hear and learn and after sacrificing ourselves financially and emotionally you want her to say PLEASE and THANK YOU'? But I tactfully and with much research and returned the revised document which addressed areas that we work on at home and in her PT/OT therapy. As this is her SERT's first IEP regarding physical impairments she also sought expertise from the Principle and the Spec. Ed. Itinerant and we sat down to review the revised edition. I commend her SERT for being honest in stating that this was an area she was not used to and for seeking guidance but after frequent comments I still don't think she understands why we push Elizabeth so hard and we try to stay on top of things. Comments like 'having her under a microscope' and that she is following the SK gym curriculum without assistance drive me crazy. Is Elizabeth doing well at school 'yes' she is doing amazing and she is always improving but will she ever catch up physically 'no' and that's okay. We stopped a long time waiting for her to catch up but others still want us to go back to that painful time of trying to 'catch up'. With appropriate modifications to her environment she can try to keep up where her peers are but there also needs to be physical assistance and close supervision and that needs to be on her IEP (or in writing as her SERT says I like to have).
I left her school defeated I hate being talked to as 'the parent' when I am professionally one of them on my working days. I hate that the school staff think I am such a mean pushy mom who places her child under a microscope and makes them write everything down.
What I am thankful is for support in creating her new IEP and a much needed Safety Plan (thanks Krys) that the school now has in place. What I hope over time is the school understands why we work Elizabeth so hard and why we want the school to do the same and that I am an okay mom.


Sherry C said...

Your doing such a job. Don't doubt yourself. Sounds like your SERT needs so much help. It's too bad she didn't realize that and ask for more input. I was lucky Ashley's SEST was assisted greatly by the schools very experienced PT,OT and CTN's Augmentative Team.

Ruby said...

I get the same feeling at IEP meetings. I've attended many on the "school" side of it, but on the "parent" side, it is an entirely different experience.

I think I have to be a pushy mom, just to get what my kids need. I almost feel the same way towards school officials as I do about my kids. My role is not be a friend, but my role is to be the best mom I can be for my kids.

Anonymous said...

Pushing a child, as long as it is not causing severe psychological symptoms, allows them to reach their full potential. As a child growing up with Asperger's Syndrome, my parents always had high expectations for me. In fourth grade, I was assessed by an unqualified woman who stated that I was simply parroting things and had no real comprehension of academic concepts. She suggested to my parents lowering academic expectations. My parents refused to budge on that one. In December (although it took six years, I graduated with a bachelor of psychology with a 3.5GPA). Yesterday, I received notice of my acceptance into graduate school. It is only pushing too hard when a child has no oppertunity to be themselves or have free play. My parents allowed me time at home, out of the public eye to engage in my special interests and be myself. This was important so I could regroup for my next day out in the world. You're doing a great job. Keep your expectations high for both Elizabeth and the school.

Cris and Liza said...

You are an amazing mother who just wants the very best for her child - never let anyone question you on this because NO one understands what goes on behind the scenes! Elizabeth is so blessed to have you as a Mom.- way to advocate!