Last year, I found out that I can get copies of things to look over BEFORE the meetings so I can be prepared for what's coming and have my questions ready. I tried it last year with Goofy, was told no, and accepted the no because, come on, it's *just* an eligibility meeting. Not like it's *really* important or anything. They're just telling me what they found... and denying him an IEP. Yeah, that little lapse in judgment came back to kick me in the face hard.
It's hard for me to transfer what I know from the Goofy One to what I can do with Alex because it's two entirely different situations. With Alex's school, I haven't even tried fighting because I don't need to. Since I don't need to fight, I haven't put much effort into exercising my rights. If they know what they're doing and are all cool and everything, why do I need to be all informed and crap? right? So, eh, whatever.
This year, I decided to get up off my ass and actually participate. Well, last year I participated by telling them what I want and how they could work it in because they keep trying to take bilateral integration away. and this year I gave her my list from last year with a few edits. but, I mean to actually take part in making the plan. and, if I have the a copy of the draft IEP and a copy of the physical therapy evaluation report, I can note my questions ahead of time, plan my arguments, and know the results so I'm not blindsided by a fricking freight train coming out of nowhere.
Along those lines... the fricking freight train... I'm just going to expect a big, decisive "No." to all of it. I don't like hearing no. Not to things I actually care about like bilateral integration and physical therapy, so I'm plotting. I send off my asking-nicely e-mail asking for a copy of the IEP and the physical therapy report to review before the meeting then go take a bath and plan my argument on where they can stick their "can't" and why they "must." I get out of the tub, eventually check my e-mail and get a nice surprise.
The first part was a complete shock- Yes. Yes, she would send me a copy of the draft IEP as soon as she is finished with it. and just as shocking, she plans on being finished with it a full week before the IEP meeting! at the most, I was expecting 12 hours! That is awesome.
The second part infuriated me. until I went back and re-read it, lol. Last year, Goofy's Occupational Therapist told me, pretty much, that she couldn't send me the report before the meeting because it wouldn't be done. Their inability to manage their time wisely isn't my problem. My kids best interests are my problem. So when I read that I couldn't get the physical therapy report before this meeting, I was pissed and getting ready to throw a fit. I went back to read it again before responding, thank God. I can't get a copy of the report before the meeting because there will be no report before the meeting. It has to be documented as part of the IEP meeting that there is a need for evaluation, then he will be evaluated, then it will be put in his IEP.
This is not making much sense to me. at all. Instead of an addendum to add physical therapy, they want a full new IEP, which is fine (I hope), I'm eager to see what this new teacher will come up with. but now, we need to have an IEP meeting to assert a need for evaluation...? Then what is the prescription from his pediatrician? what happens after that? When do they decide if he's eligible for services? When do they decide how many minutes he gets? Does there need to be a new IEP meeting to determine how his need for physical therapy is addressed? What is my part in this? What if I disagree with the evaluation results? What if I disagree with how they choose to implement services? Even though I've never been in this situation before, getting services with an IEP already in place, none of it sounds right.
and it's not looking good. My heart is sinking and I wonder if I need to be ready for a fight even though they seemed so willing when physical therapy was mentioned.
One of my favorite friends recently gave me a song...
"I finally kept my pride
And hailed a cab
Those cuttin words you said
Were the last stab
There’ll be no tears this time
They’ve all dried up
No more sweet poison
I already drank that cup
This tunnel’s dark
But there’s a little light glowing
Just enough for me to run toward knowing
Nothing in this world will ever break my heart again..."
It's ok, because I'll be ready. When they tell me no, I will know what to do. How to get there? Where to find the information? I'm not sure, yet. but I'm determined.
I will not cry at or after this meeting because there will be no surprises.
I will not blindly trust the implied sweet promises of hope from friendly people.
I will go in fully prepared, with my eyes wide open, expecting reality and hoping for the moon.