Alex’s long awaited IEP and Placement Meeting has concluded. It was three hours long.
I have to say, besides being long and a couple of the IEP goals being pretty weak, it went pretty well as far as IEP meetings go.
Everyone read their observations and labeled him.
They determined special education eligibility.
They read the suggested IEP goals.
They offered Speech, Occupational Therapy, TVI, and O&M.
Placement was pretty painless. The first option was a traditional preschool setting. Which, of course, was not going to meet his needs, so I declined that one. And the next offer was VIPS. Of course, I said yes.
Overall, pretty painless, we got what we wanted. I am grateful. I have been dreading this day for months. The entire reason we uprooted our family depended on the outcome of this meeting. So yea! Awesome! Great news!
So why am I so sad today?
I’m not naïve. I know my son has issues – many. But it is hard to hear (repeatedly) the word severe used to describe his limitations.
Severe receptive language disorder.
Severe expressive language disorder.
Social, Cognitive, pretty much everything, so they lump that all together and say severe global developmental delays.
And that’s what I hate about IEP meetings (that and the fact that they have to read everything to you.) Let’s make a list of everything that is wrong with your kid and discuss it at length with total strangers who think they are experts because they observed your child for 45 minutes. I can talk all day to therapists and teachers about my kids because I know they love my babies and they want them to succeed as much as I do. I don’t get those nice warm fuzzies from total strangers. I overhear comments about how much they were getting paid that day to sit in this meeting and all the other things they needed to do. I saw people on their phones not paying attention. These are professionals. They have a job to evaluate, present facts, and move on. Nothing that happened yesterday has any impact on their lives AT ALL. It effects me and my son for the next year. It just seems cold and heartless. I guess in a perfect world, teachers, therapists, and parents would come up with the perfect plan and make it happen. But someone has to pay the bills, and with kids like Alex, there are a lot of bills. So we have laws that say schools have to provide. So we have professionals to make determinations. So we get what we need.
Soon I’ll put his file away and forget about this process. He’ll keep going to school. He’ll get therapy and be taught at his awesome school by amazing teachers. And his teachers and I will focus on his accomplishments and his successes. No one will use the word severe. And most importantly of all, Alex will grow and be happy. And that is why I go to these meetings every year so Alex can progress - and he will be awesome!