Tuesday, April 9, 2013


This morning, Himself and I attended the first of the two end-of year IEP meetings at school required for Thing Two.  (IEP stands for Individualized Education Program: these are put in place for children who have been determined to have some kind of disability per specific federal regulations.)  The point of this particular meeting was to formally update us on his progress and to jointly determine whether or not any further testing should be done before the end of the year.

First, Thing Two is doing very well.  He has challenges and deficits, no doubt, but both his homeroom teacher and school speech therapist were very positive about the progress he has made this year.  And second, they are not recommending any further testing for him at this point, which is HUGE.

Now, this whole paragraph is a guess on my part: I admit it freely.  But here's what I think is happening.  They want to continue providing services to him.  They see that he is responding to the help he's currently receiving, and understand that he really needs that help.  And they are concerned that if they test, he may not do badly enough (because he is very bright under all the crossed wires in his brain--and also because the performance level that justifies receipt of services in this state is unbelievably, scandalously low!) to qualify for the language help that every professional who has ever worked with him says that he needs to keep him moving in the right direction.

But, regardless of whether my guess is right or wrong, the net result of today is that they are leaving his status as is, and next month, we will meet again to decide exactly what will be in his IEP for next year.

I've heard a lot of Child Study Team and IEP horror stories, and am beyond grateful that Thing Two's case manager has gone to bat for him repeatedly ever since he was classified.  It is a blessing beyond compare to have our meetings be cordial and cooperative, as they are, and not confrontational, ugly and lawyer-filled!


  1. I think I mentioned before - I taught in two states (in four districts) and had many kids on IEPs and I never heard of annual testing or so many meetings as you seem to have. Good for them for not over-testing even if it's the norm there!

    And special education is under federal law, not state - the state or district can't really make many determinations about such things. Though, sounds like your state is well above the federal mandate (which is probably too low) so maybe that's what you mean.

  2. I misspoke...given two seconds to think about it, I'm sure the service-qualifying baseline is federally mandated, not from the state. In your experience, did you find it crazy how far below average a child has to be to qualify for help??

    1. The part that is crazy to me is that there has to be a gap. So when I had kids in the "shaky 80's" - barely above mental retardation qualification - they didn't get any services at all. They couldn't understand much of what was going on but because they were deemed to be performing at their level, they got no services. Very, very frustrating!

    2. If you're curious, I wrote a paper on the federal laws that intersect for special education, particularly in New Orleans (with its vast charter schools scheme). I could send it to you.

    3. I guess, by definition, if you are going to set a federal standard for classification, wherever you might reasonably put it, some people are inevitably going to fall just on the "normal" side of the line even though they would clearly benefit from help. This is one of my great fears for Thing Two, actually: there is absolutely no question that he needs professional help with processing language, but he might very well test into the gray area where he would qualify for no services because he is bright otherwise. (Never mind that your IQ is totally irrelevant if you can't understand what people are saying to you or compose a coherent sentence to say back to them!) I would love to read that paper, actually...the longer I am in the system with this kid, the more I find it necessary to educate myself. At your convenience, it would be great if you could send it to me at kgcba(aht)yahoo(daht)com. Many thanks!!

  3. I should also say that our testing isn't annual: more like every two or three years. Lots of meetings, though: two to three a year!


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