I just counted 25 things I would rather do than go to an IEP Meeting.
Like, I’d rather change my name to MC HB aka Tenacious Cakes and tour the country spitting mad rhymes about the dangers of Easy Bake Ovens than go through another IEP.
Which is to say I do not want to continue preparing for my son’s meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
See, if you want to make the most of the conference from hell, you have to prepare.
There is a lot of legal jargon you must get through to understand your child’s rights.
Then there are the acronyms…
So. Many. Acronyms.
IDEA, ADA, FAPE, SP, OT, SLP, SPED, ABA…
Honestly, you need a degree, or at least a lot of time to get to know these bad boys.
ALL PARENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS HAVE TONS OF FREE TIME
And just when you think you can’t possibly take anymore…it’s time for the meeting!
Everyone there is stressed…SPED officials have deadlines, and they are under incredible amounts of pressure, and it’s part of their job to tell you what your kid cannot do.
SO. MUCH. FUN.
I have been a total stress case over this IEP for over a month now.
Today I needed a break.
So, I put together this list of all of the things I’d rather do than read case law, study acronyms, and, finally, attend the meeting.
25 Things I’d Rather Do Than Go To Another IEP Meeting
1. Read the explicit lyrics to “Get Low” by Lil Jon to a group of Senior Citizens
2. Explain all of my Amazon purchases to my husband…in person
3. Run down the beach next to Giselle Bundchen in matching bikinis on live television
4. Get my Lady Business waxed into the shape of a question mark
5. Roller skate through Walmart asking strangers if they are “The Gatekeeper.”
6. Get stuck in an elevator with Jay Z and Solange Knowles
7. Bathe a feral cat
8. Hang out in the airport smokers lounge while suffering from a stomach virus
9. Eat sushi from the sketchy Ethnic restaurant in the Atlanta Airport
10. Sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl making sure to raise my finger to point when I “hit the high notes” (I can’t sing)
11. Argue with an overly enthusiastic mother who feels powerful because somebody gave her a clipboard
12. Cover my body with spray adhesive, roll in glitter & offer myself up to the Mississippi mosquitos in July
13. Post a photo of myself with my tongue out on Facebook
14. Drink a tall glass of curdled milk after ingesting whatever is in that Tupperware container in the back of my refrigerator
15. Touch everything at the Pediatrician’s office-toys, doorknobs, magazines-without washing my hands or using Germ-Ex after
16. Wear a Leisure Suit to all of my daughter’s ballgames without offering anyone an explanation
17. Clean the port-o-potties after a Phish concert without gloves
18. Balance my checkbook
19. Star in a Urinary Incontinence Commercial
20. Trade in Wifi for Dial Up
21. Go Live on Facebook from my bathroom during a colon cleanse
22. Parallel Park
23. Wear crocs
24. Watch a marathon of Sarah McLachlan SPCA Dog commercials with my sensitive nine year old daughter
25. Go back to high school
Do not get me wrong.
I would walk through fire for my son.
That would be easier, actually, because at least then I would know the outcome.
See, there’s something about going into the IEP Meeting. You may be scared or intimidated, but you know exactly what your child needs.
You go to the meeting thinking you will be considered a part of the IEP Team, but that’s not always how it goes.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’ve got more work to do.
Let me help.
Start by reading posts like this http://kerrymagro.com/to-the-parent-whos-about-to-enter-their-childs-iep-meeting/ and this https://themighty.com/2016/09/questions-every-parent-should-ask-at-an-iep-meeting/.
Then take a glance at the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) right here http://www.smartkidswithld.org/getting-help/know-your-childs-rights/your-childs-rights-6-principles-of-idea/
Many states have a Community Parent Resource Center (CPRC) that offers support and training to parents of children with disabilities. You can find yours here http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/
I also found a lot of useful information here http://www.mspti.org/upload/file59_SpecialEducation-WhatDoINeedtoKnow-English.pdf and here http://idea-b.ed.gov/explore/home.html
I created this list of acronyms. It should help you understand the SPED language a little better.
I know that millions of special needs parents struggle with IEP’s this time of year…April. Which is also Autism Awareness Month.
I want you to be aware that IEP meetings are not supposed to be painful.
I want you to be aware of your child’s rights.
I want you to speak up on behalf of those that do not speak.
Like my son, Nathan.
Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.-unknown