The day before the IEP meeting, I just couldn't find a care about anything- not even the fact that we lost our cat. Completely apathetic. I prayed for help... and I got it. Just not the way I wanted. The day of the IEP started wonderfully :/ I went to bed at a decent time so I could be fully rested. Then I had a dream...
Natalie, skip it. Serious.
Alex had impetigo. As much as I doctored it, it just kept spreading and spreading until it covered his whole body and he turned into a zombie. Now, you know zombies aren't safe friends to keep around, but this is my baby. I need him to be ok as a zombie before he runs off to do zombie things. I kept him in the back yard until the other kids wanted to go out, then I walked him to the front yard so the other kids could be safe and to see if he was ready to wander off with the other zombies. He hasn't figured out yet that he eats people and I'm kind of worried about that because how will he survive as a zombie if he doesn't know how to eat? about the 3rd or 4th yard trade between Alex and the other kids, he started wandering along the fence, exploring things. This must be a good sign, right? I'm wondering if he's almost ready, thinking the wandering must be a good sign, when he yanks the cat off the fence and blood and gore and the horrific cries of the cat slam me out of dreamland and into panic. at that moment, I was done sleeping. DONE. I didn't want anymore. Unfortunately, it was 12:28am so being DONE wasn't an option.
This morning, anxiety is still high. so high.
Driving to Alex's school, I'm considering things like... if they keep the full 60 minutes of OT, are they still going to add consult minutes? If they don't add consult minutes and we added 2 new goals for OT, how is he going to work on bilateral integration in the classroom? should we trade one of the new goals back to bilateral integration? because I'm not willing to give that up.
Bilateral integration is important for a lot of things. Using an ipad, feeding himself, dressing himself... which is the #1 reason I made my own goals to keep working on his bilateral skills. I want him to be able to dress himself. He's already mastered moving his limbs to aide in dressing, he's almost conquered pulling his pants up, he totally rocks taking his clothes off, but the next step is to use both hands together to put socks and other clothing items on. They said we can't do those because they don't fit in with the school day. Goals have to fit with the school day. Now, the bilateral integration goals fit with the school day- carrying his tray, zipping his backpack... things like that. I need bilateral integration. I don't care how they work on it, but I need that skill and I need OT to work on it because it's important. This is one of my very few lines in the sand.
I'm not really nervous about this meeting because we've already discussed everything, now we just need to make the plan. I am nervous about seeing the person who still wants to talk about the things I said but that takes a back seat to how to keep 60 minutes (my line in the sand for OT and speech) and get 15 minutes of consult time for OT. I'm desperate enough for this that the plan I came up with was to take the extra 30 minutes of speech and split it between OT and ST for consult minutes.
Alex doesn't really need the extra 30 he has for speech. Nice, but not necessary. If I remember correctly, there should be no documented need for those 30. It started in 1st grade, the regular school messed up big time that year. In one meeting, where I was letting them know how they messed up, by the time I got to the speech therapist, no one in the room was happy and the assistant principal was in shock. That's when she had to admit that she had been following the ESY schedule instead of giving him his full 60 minutes, to fix it, she doubled his time to 120 minutes/week. That was eventually brought back down to 90 but I cannot remember an evaluation resulting in a need for more than 60 minutes. 60 is my line and I am willing to trade.
but trading is not necessary. Consult minutes do not come out of anyone's minutes. They don't have to be found or traded. Now I don't know what to offer. I don't know what leverage I have to make a deal.
"The only deal you'll find, I'll gladly take your soul." -Avenged Sevenfold. ;)
I breathe and have faith that we'll figure it out.
Before the meeting, I was able to talk to Alex's teacher. There is no IEP signing. This is bad news for me because if there is no IEP signing, there is no place to note attachments. She said if I disagree with the IEP, I just send it in as an attachment, we have another meeting and then it goes to due process. This also isn't good because I fell for that last year. The regular school "lost" my entire packet that was the formal written request for evaluation- including Goofy's private evaluation, my request for prior written notice, and my request to inspect and review all educational records with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement and the provision of FAPE for my child before any meeting- until the day of the eligibility meeting. and I'm supposed to trust that they wouldn't "lose" a parent attachment? Yeah, that's so going to happen. and I need to figure out a way they can't "lose" the new formal written request for evaluation. I still have a few days to figure it out and today is about Alex.
This meeting was great. perfect. Alex's teacher printed up an extra copy of what she was reading so I could follow along. I also had the ones she sent me ahead of time that were already marked where I needed to pay attention to make sure my concerns were addressed. Unfortunately, I didn't make a list of concerns. All of my concerns are already in the IEP because I had an active role in making it. I should have probably written a summary of what we talked about. I'll remember that for next time.
The good news is, I think we changed something in OT's goals to bilateral integration for self care. She said they could totally work on socks and putting pants on. Alex takes his socks off all day long. Ok, I have no clue what all is changing but it's all stuff that I like and the teacher said she'd send me a new copy to look at before the next meeting so I'll really know what we're doing.
ABA- I love ABA. She's looking at his behaviors. His Behavior Intervention Plan is still accurate, no need to reevaluate. His behaviors are great, it reflects the classroom support or something like that, which, no. it doesn't. It's not the classroom whatever, it's the staff. She's going to send me a copy of last year's chart as well as this year's chart to talk to the principal about because the supports have always been the same. The difference is staff change. The difference is the difference one person can make. I need that one person again next year. whether it's Aide 1 or Aide 2 or the teacher, I need one person to stay the same and here is the proof in charts that it works.
Music therapy was the hiccup. Not that I care about music therapy, but I care about being a hypocrite or holding staff to different standards. There was a thing earlier in the week... I always tell you to ask nicely the first time. well, I did. and then it went beyond the first time into ugly places that aren't fun to go into. I was upset about prior written notice and what exactly prior written notice is. I am entitled to prior written notice within a reasonable amount of time before the school proposes to initiate or to change the identification, evaluation, and educational placement and the provision of FAPE (including related services. which, I haven't figured out if therapies are a related service or if they are special education in Missouri because if they are spec ed, Goofy qualified for an IEP last year based on the OT eval). IDEA and the procedural safeguards specify what should be included in prior written notice. Without prior written notice or any warning, she proposed to cut music therapy to no direct minutes and keep the 60 consult. The reasoning was good- the progress levels were significantly higher in the classroom and other therapies than they were in music therapy. I agree that cutting music therapy, based on the collected data, is a good move. But. I should have gotten prior written notice. that pisses me off. and since there was no one there who would be useful in this, temper tantruming would have been pointless.
Which really upset the OT. not that she said so, she wanted to, but she didn't. She started to say that my quick agreement based on the data and conversation is the reason she likes to discuss this in person but that's not it. Whether the music therapist had been there or not, even if I had cared if he had music therapy, looking at the data, I would have agreed to cutting it. I need the information. Without the information, I cannot make an informed decision. Still to this day, I have not seen any data that would suggest converting OT time from direct to consult would be beneficial for Alex. Show me the data and we'll talk. Until then, I have a whole list of goals we can work on once he makes sufficient progress on these 2.
All in all, it was a good meeting. A lot better than I expected.
Next up, Goofy's Psychological Evaluation.