Another Year, Another IEP Meeting

The date for this year’s IEP (Independent Education Plan or Program) meeting was emailed to Older Daughter back in October. As usual, we didn’t have any say in the date, December 11, it was the only day that all six of the various staff members could get together. As it turned out, one of the six wasnt able to make it, his Speech Therapist. The time they set was 9:30am. Older Daughter had work the night before so she asked them to move the time to 8:30am.

For those who don’t know what an IEP is, I’ll let Wiki explain:

An IEP outlines the special education experience for all eligible students with a disability. An eligible student is any child in the U.S between the ages of 3-21 attending a public school and has been evaluated as having (Specific Learning Disability, Autism, Emotional Disturbance, Other Health Impairments, Intellectual Disability, Orthopedic Impairment, Multiple Disabilities, Hearing Impairments, Deafness, Visual Impairment, Deaf-Blindness, Developmental Delay, Speech/Language Impairment, or Traumatic Brain Injury). The IEP describes present levels of performance, strengths and needs and creates measurable goals based on this data. It provides accommodations, modifications, related services, and specialized academic instruction to ensure that every eligible child receives a FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) in the LRE(Least Restrictive Environment)

It is a legal document. The district and the school are required to provide all the things listed in the plan. The school that Ben goes to now is a Non-Public School. It’s not a private school, they only accept public school students that cant receive adequate support in their home districts. There is a tuition cost and that is paid by the home district. The school is also supported by a non-profit foundation that holds fundraisers to provide all the extras, like weekly equine therapy at the school, community outings to stores and fast food restaurants, dances and carnivals, field trips, vocational training for the older students (up to age 22 at this school), the list goes on and on… it is a fantastic school and we are so happy that Ben is finally in a place where he can thrive.

So, Daughter had to work Tuesday night and because he’s Ben, I didnt get much sleep either since he bounced me shortly before midnight. He was AWAKE and he stayed awake until 6:30pm-ish Wednesday night.

Daughter got home from work about ten minutes before it was time to wait for the bus. The bus, of course, was late arriving. I changed clothes, tried to make myself semi-presentable, had a wee and it was off to the car with us. It took us 45 minutes to make the 8 mile drive from our house to the school. Welcome to SoCal freeway traffic.

Finally at the school and a miracle in the form of a parking spot was almost cancelled out by Ben almost seeing us. If he sees us at school, he he expects to leave with us and it’s a likely meltdown if that doesnt happen. Some aides noticed our situation and formed a visual block and held the office door open for us. Whew! Have I mentioned that I love this school? We were ushered straight to the conference room where everyone was waiting for us.

I wont bore you with the details of the entire two hour meeting. Basically, Ben met many of his goals from last year. The ones he didnt meet, he attained 60-75 percent achievement. He’s doing great!

A student teacher in Occupational Therapy is so smitten with him that she asked permission to take pictures of/with him to have for herself. Ben has always been a charmer and he attracts love. We are in contact with many of his past  teachers, going back to preschool.

The only sour note from the meeting was one of the ladies from the home district bringing up Ben returning to the home district. She mentioned it a few times. I’m sure the motivation is money because the district has to pay his tuition, but still… He’s doing great but that’s because he has so much support. If they think they are going to take him from this school they’re going to make me angry. I’m like Bruce Banner, you do NOT want to make me angry.

So we’re good for another year… as long as the district doesnt try to move him from this school.

(featured image by Brandon Peterson via wiki)