Friday, November 1, 2013

*freight train*

Remember the other day when I said, "With Alex's school, I haven't even tried fighting because I don't need to."? Yeah, well, eventually, I'll learn to keep my freakin' mouth shut and stop tempting fate to mess with me.

It started Wednesday afternoon. I got an e-mail from Alex's OT with some disturbing news that sent me into panic mode. She wants to change some of his direct minutes to consult minutes and then she didn't respond to my panicked e-mail asking wtf she was talking about. I spent all afternoon terrified that the answer I would get is that Alex isn't making enough progress to warrant continuing OT (which I have heard of happening from other parents these past few weeks) and I didn't know how to fight it. All I could do was hold back my tears and pray to God that they weren't giving up on my baby, that they didn't see him as a lost cause. I started mentally cataloging all the many, many ways he's made progress over the years with OT. Not leaps and bounds, but progress. Hopefully enough to keep OT.

until my heartache turned into fury.

The paper that was sent home was NOT prior written notice, which turns out to be not what I needed anyway. The Notice of Meeting, or the invitation, must tell parents:
  • the purpose, time, and location of the meeting
  • who will be at the meeting
  • that parents and public agencies have the right to invite other people with knowledge or special expertise about the child, including related services personnel as appropriate, and that the party inviting the individual makes the determination that the invitee possesses the requisite knowledge or special expertise regarding the child
  • that the parents may request that the Part C service coordinator or other representatives of the Part C system be invited to attend the initial IEP meeting for a child previously served under Part C of the Act in accordance with §300.321(f).
because knowing each of these elements in advance of the meeting gives parents the opportunity to prepare and more fully participate in meeting discussions and decisions.

Instead, what I got was pure ridiculousness.

I'm furious. They tell us that what they are offering is the real deal, act like it's a back alley kind of favor and we should be grateful that they are even offering this much out of the goodness of their hearts, but instead, we are being ripped off. What they are selling is nothing more than a cheap imitation at full price. How can we be expected to sit back and be patronized when they tell us how important it is for us to be involved in our children's educations, what a vital part of the educational equation we are, how we are valued as important members of our children's team while we know they sit back and laugh at how we fell for it every. single. time?

"You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now"

I know my rights and I'm not falling for this shit again.

I'm going to fight this. The first thing I did was go back to the post McClain Special Needs Advocacy posted on my page about a Parent Attachment to the IEP. I Googled for more information and sat back to consider how to go about it. I remember reading on her page that when you do the parent attachment, you need to make a notation beside your signature on the IEP.

Now, this is a conundrum. I still haven't figured out exactly where you sign the IEP. Last year, I was determined not to sign it. I was going to wait and have a chance to read it over and THEN I would sign it. That never happened because there was no signing anything. ever.


mother... you have got to be kidding me!!!

They wouldn't.

The only thing I have ever been asked to sign is the attendance sheet before the meeting.

"Oh, it's nothing," they said. "It just states that you were here for the meeting," they said.

So I asked around to some of my local parents... same thing. several different schools. No IEP signing. Just attendance. "Huh," they say, "that's odd. We've never had to sign an IEP."

So, I ask my good friend Google. and yup, They did:

The cover page records the name and address of the family, the purpose of the IEP meeting, and the people in attendance. Often when the cover sheet is presented:
  • IEP team members are introduced. Each person's relationship to the student should be explained. Parents and legal guardians are introduced as participating members of the IEP team.
  • The purpose of the IEP meeting is explained. For example, the meeting's purpose might be an initial IEP, an addendum to the IEP (e.g., parents or educators may want to add services or other changes), an annual IEP, or a transitional IEP (e.g., for students age 14 or 16).
  • Parents or legal guardians sign the cover sheet at the end of the IEP meeting. This signature determines if they AGREE or DISAGREE with the contents of the IEP.

sneaky bastards.

Now, I am really pissed. I feel violated. How many times am I going to find out I have been lied to? How many different ways are they going to take our rights and crush them right along with every dream we ever had of being a true part of the team? Vacant hopes of them just accepting us as partners of equal standing without having to fight and push and force our way in? Of being heard without having to scream and yell and demand to grab their attention long enough to be heard?

"I walk the fields through the fire,
Taking steps until I found solid ground
Followed dreams reaching higher
Couldn't survive the fall
Much has changed since the last time
And I feel a little less certain now
You know I jumped at the first sign
Tell me only if it's real"

My heart has been ripped out, my grudgingly offered tiny nugget of trust thrown back in my face, my faith in my team's willingness to do what is right for my son has been mocked... I'm wondering if they are pretending ignorance just to be able to fuck with me, guaranteeing I have no weapons to fight with and guaranteeing they get their way, or if they really don't know what our rights are (I don't even know which one would be worse) while the violation of our rights is glossed over and ignored, waved off as insignificant... and I need to watch my mouth.

At least they heard me.


  1. Check with your state DOE for the official IEP form (it should be on their website). ASK directly about it. In my state, we have BOTH an attendance page AND the 10-day notice page which is where we sign our agreement (or note our disagreement) with the IEP. It sounds like someone is trying to pull a fast one. That stinks.

  2. Get on wrightslaw- your new best friend. HOLY SHIT, Mac. I cannot (but can) believe they've screw y'all over so hard. You know, you MIGHT have reason for a lawsuit. As in, class action? You have ALL been lied to.

    1. I love wrightslaw :) I found PDFs for all of IDEA in one of their articles :)

  3. here in Ohio we sign an attendance sheet AND we sign off as to whether we agree with the IEP. A couple of times I signed the attendance sheet but asked that I NOT be asked to sign the IEP until I showed it to my husband and the kid's therapist. So yeah...... they need to know what they're doing is wrong--- pretty sure it's the same in all states.

    1. I found a comment somewhere that Missouri doesn't even require signatures for IEPs, and talking to even more parents here, some have pages to sign, some don't... Now it's just getting confusing. :/

  4. I've only ever signed the cover sheet in AZ that shows we participated in the IEP creation. Last I was told, there is no agree/disagree to sign, the IEP is a working document that can be adjusted at any time at parent request.... Not sure if they are telling me the truth or not, but that's the way its been here for awhile... I would try to get a clear response from the OT about what grounds they have to change his service hours before you go in guns blazing...You've got to know what you are up against before you can fight it. It's possible that she wants the consult minutes so that she can teach aides or teachers how to incorporate the OT skills into other parts of his day, which could be a good thing. Of course, it could also be BS to take direct hours away, but try to get them to demonstrate what and on what grounds....

    1. Thank you. That's a very good idea.