Kiddo’s recent IEP meeting went better than anticipated, though not as well as I would have liked.
First, the few good things. Kiddo’s new teacher is younger and better educated, has greater enthusiasm, and is much more open-minded than his last one. The district speech therapist has also been converted, at long last, to the Go Talk’s efficacy (thanks to Kiddo’s other speech therapist), and even claimed that she’d get him a 9+ for this year. At his meeting, we even sat in a circle instead of the “’professionals’ on one side, mom on the other” configuration that Kiddo’s mom had been subjected to in previous years. His mom was also a lot more assertive than I’ve seen her at previous meetings, which made me want to regularly yell “GO MOM!!!!”
However, too much of the meeting seemed familiar. The bulk of Kiddo’s IEP team seemed reluctant to put “needs augmentative communication” in his IEP plan. Their pitiful argument was “but what if he doesn’t need the Go Talk and is using verbal communication at the end of the year, we’d still be required to use it!” Never mind that if they miraculously got him to verbally communicate, we could always change the IEP. They eventually broke down though when Kiddo’s mom and I rebutted, “yeah, and his IEP was like that last year, and ya’ll just used it as an excuse to NEVER use his Go Talk.”
His teacher, while she’s certainly an improvement, didn’t offer many goals for the year. She wants him writing his name by the end of the year, and spontaneously communicating five times a week. That’s it. No colors, no numbers, no self-help or social skills, no alternatives to aggressions, etc.
Last year Kiddo could sort colors and do some basic sequencing with 100% accuracy. His occupational therapist can attest to this. When we asked how the school would build on these skills, they replied with “Oh, but he can’t do any of those things…” We asked how they tested him, and they were vague. I pressed again, and they tried to change the subject. I turned the bitch switch on and flatly informed them that he had been able to do these things last year, and that they’d just have to teach him again if he hadn’t maintained them. They reluctantly added “sort colors” to the IEP plan.
The meeting ended more abruptly than I had anticipated, with half the team suddenly getting up and excusing themselves. Go figure. After it officially was over, I gleefully reminded everyone about how wonderful it was that parents can choose to update an IEP whenever they darn well please. Kiddo’s mom smiled knowingly, his teacher looked a little afraid.
People in power should always be a little afraid. ;P