The Yearly IEP Meeting

Yesterday was Ben’s yearly IEP meeting. In case you’re not familiar, IEP is Individual Education Plan. I believe it’s called something different across the pond. Anyway, in American public education most students are held to generic standards. (Makes me think of Pink Floyd and The Wall)  When a student isn’t meeting these standards or if they have special educational needs then they get an IEP. Since King Ben is autistic and has many needs be has had an IEP since preschool.

The meeting date and time was given to us with no choice. Apparently it was the only time that everyone in staff could meet. I guess they didn’t really care if it fit our schedule or not. Ben’s mama had been working many nights previous to yesterday’s meeting and was exhausted. The meeting was set for noon so she only got about two hours sleep before.  We both wanted it to go quickly so we could get back home and rest before school let out at 1:30pm.

Usually there are six to ten people besides us at these meetings. People from the Special Education department, Ben’s classroom teacher, his speech therapist, his occupational therapist, the school principal, a regular grade level teacher, a school or district psychologist…sooo many people. Yesterday it was his classroom teacher, his OT and speech and a district psychologist and us. I thought we’d definitely get out of there fast.

The super fantabulous, awesome news is that Ben met and even surpassed all of his goals for the year. He is doing so well at this school. I wish they’d placed him there earlier. Of course, it’s a “non-public” school so the district has to pay his tuition. I’m sure that’s part of why they kept trying to place him in different autism classes within the district. Anyway, he’s doing great. His teachers adore him and they’re really excited at the progress he’s making. Especially since he’s been at this school less than a year. We set some goals for the coming year and were ready to sign all the papers and get on out of there. Unfortunately, the psychologist from district was a complete twit and figured out after we’d all signed that she’d printed the paper wrong so it has to be reprinted and re-signed. For whatever reason (like she’s a COMPLETE TWIT) it took her twenty minutes to reprint the paper. It’s now 1:20pm and school is out in ten minutes. We want Ben to ride home on the bus. We’ve had many problems in the past with him refusing to get on the bus home or having “behaviors” because he saw us at school and wanted to leave with us. We wanted to avoid all that. Finally, the correct papers are printed and signed, the teacher made a call to the classroom to keep Ben inside, mama and I put our hoods up and sneak out of the school like criminals. Whew! We made it.

The car is pointed homeward and we got bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway. This is not normal for 1:30pm. We’re only about ten to fifteen minutes ahead of the bus, but they’ll be stuck in the same traffic so we’ll get home first.

Murphy’s Law being a major factor in life at Casa Cuckoo, we got home in time but all those wonderful things we were all saying about Ben and how there have been so few behavior problems jinxed us. He got off the bus and went Tasmanian Devil on us. It all started because he wanted my phone. Over break and on weekends he would use my phone for YouTube and “Ned-fix”(Netflix) when the battery on his tablet died. Now he just randomly wants my phone instead of his tablet and that’s not how it works. Basically he had a temper tantrum that turned into a full on meltdown. He was punching the dog, punching me, punching his mama. He cracked the screen on his tablet by biting it. Screaming in our faces, laying on his back kicking the walls and doors, knocking things over…just a tornado of destruction. Forty -five minutes this went on. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating, not to mention painful. Little stinker packs quite a punch. Now poor Zeus flinched when we go to pet him. Zeus was two when we reached him from the shelter. He’d been abandoned and had separation anxiety which has finally been getting better and now he’s getting whaled on by Mr. Bootyhead.

Ben is finally calmed down and an hour later mama’s two best friends show up cuz they’re going out to celebrate mama’s birthday which is Sunday. Chaos ensues. Mama is turning thirty and thinks her youth is over. She’s old now. Puh-leeeeez!!! They finally are all coiffed and made up and ready to go. Ben is in bed and I’m ready for some quiet.

My house was quiet but the neighborhood was not. We live near a little corner market and there were several arguments and a couple of actual fist fights by the market last night. Something in the air yesterday is all I can figure.

15 thoughts on “The Yearly IEP Meeting

  1. Well at least there’s plenty of blog fodder to talk about. πŸ™‚ I enjoy reading your stories, as heartbreaking as it all sounds…

    Here in Canada my husband is a college prof and teaches in the aviation department. At that point, they don’t call it IEP anymore, they call it ‘accommodations’. He gets list after list for people who require accommodations. Let me say that for about half of these people, the accommodation requests sound more like ‘I can’t cope without special attention’ than actual medical or psychological need, to me. Others, like say a hearing impaired person who requires a transcriber or a thingy to tape the lecture, they sound more legit. Extra time to write a test if they have a physical disability and write/type slower than average. That kind of thing. But the college profs like my husband find that the accommodation requests are getting so out of control that every little thing now needs formal administrative approval for specialized accommodations just to make it through a class. In college. At age 18 or older.

    I’m not mentioning this here to negate the need for IEP, especially for kids in school who have a legit reason for needing it, but more of the entire sociological culture of today who reaches semi-adulthood thinking that the world will bend over backwards for every little ache and discomfort they experience. Takes away the time and effort to help those who truly need it, in my view.

    Side note: I struggled with hearing loss all of my life (childhood illness) and never asked for a single accommodation except to sit close to the teacher (i.e. in the front of the classroom). That was before the internet was invented. Life is much more convenient today for us struggling to hear… πŸ™‚

    Best of luck with your little tornado.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you. People who truly need extra help deserve it but it seems that many people work harder finding ways to buck the system than actually doing the work.
      I also have hearing loss from Scarlet Fever when I was little. I had lip reading instructions and was placed in the front of the classroom but never had any big deal made about it.
      My life is hectic but never boring. I laugh about most of it. After the fact of course.πŸ˜΅πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like some January blues madness! Let’s hope it’s a minor blip as the meeting sounds as if it was really positive. So pleased to hear Ben is doing well at school. Well done to you all too for your hard work and efforts. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1. That is TOTALLY AWESOME he met his goals!!! Wahoooo!!! I am totally loving this school for him! So many cool activities (minus a total twit, of course :-)). Go Ben!
    2. Ugggghhhh – so sorry, lady about the meltdown. Bummer, that really stinks. I have the same issue here with the phone – D used mine a couple of times and now he just takes it (and then forgets where he put it) (Funny part though – if he is near me I will hear my phone vibrate for a notification – and HE will blurt out “You did NOT just get a text” and I’m like “So, I got a text, right?” And he just leaves :-)) And he broke his screen biting it? Oh man, that is TOUGH. I am so sorry – but so SUPER THRILLED about #1 – Yay, Ben! Here is hoping the air cleared and things are better at home!


  4. Well, that was thrilling! I’m really glad you made it home before the bus. Like I always say, “never let an autistic child run loose in the neighborhood”, though hopefully the bus driver knows that.

    We haven’t had her evaluated yet, but my daughter is showing some ASD traits, including daily olympian tantrums that involve punching and kicking and can go on for half an hour and longer. So far she’s doing well in school, however, so no IEP yet, but she’s also in a great Montessori school, so she has a lot of freedom to do things the way she wants/needs to do them.

    We also have the same struggles with her and her twin brother wanting our phones when the tablets conk out. I used to refuse mine, but eventually I started making exceptions, and now I have to beg to use my phone sometimes.

    Great news that the King is doing well in school. He’s a champion! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yikes! I’m sorry your daughter is having problems so often. We went through times where there were several meltdowns a day.😡 Ben has gotten better at self regulating which is a blessing for all of us….and our possessions.πŸ˜‰πŸ‘

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to hear King Ben is making progress. Those IEP mtgs are intimidating. Every year, I would call CARE (Center for access in resorces and education) and a gal named Louise always helped me. She would help me know what services my child was allowed, etc. She walked me through many years of those mtgs. And when Andrew graduated from College Louise came to our celebration. She has since retired. I loved her because she knew what we were going through. Her son was autistic too, but died one day of a seizure. So sad, yet she was always there to help us.
    And i def get not changing the routine with the bus ride home. these kids need structure and don’t do well when you change things up even for one day. Plus, having those extra minutes of quiet time while they are on the bus,really helps.
    I wish we lived closer so I could help you.
    My Andrew is now 27 and finishing a coding class at UC Berkeley, then hopefully on to a full time job. Keep fingers crossed.
    Take care

    Liked by 2 people

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