The IEP

Sorry it has been so long since my last blog, but life gets in the way…

Everyone with a child in special education, who has a blog, posts at least once on the IEP, so here are the thoughts tumbling around in my mind right now.

I have been doing a lot of reading of blogs of adults with aspergers and gaining a lot of insight from their perspective.  Thank you to all of you out there [Karla’s ASD Page, John Elder Robison, Inner Aspie and The Autcast].  Their writings strike a cord with me especially in the areas regarding what expectations are put on them by the mainstream (neurotypical) world.  By asking them to learn to be “normal” we are by implication saying that who/what they are is bad or wrong.  I don’t want my son to have that impression about himself or his life.  He is awesome just how he is.

So back to the IEP.  Being fairly new to the process (my son is only in 1st grade), I have just gone with what the special education teachers recommended.  For kindergarten that was fine since it really hadn’t even been determined what he would need at that point anyway.  Going into 1st grade I wasn’t really happy about having him pulled out for special ed services which primarily focus on social skills since from what I have read these types of things are not really generalized to other situations anyway, so I called and asked if more could be done in the classroom.  I was told that this was the standard schedule for special ed and basically that was all that was available, so I went with it again.  This year my son is starting to notice that he gets pulled out and other kids don’t.  He has mostly asked about it in reference to his sensory breaks.  I asked if he would rather give these up and he does not; he needs these in order to be able to focus the rest of the day.  He does not complain about his social skills group, but I have noticed that several times he has had problems with the transitioning to and from this group.  Less transitions for him seem to be better.

Well, now that I feel more educated, I think I am about to make myself disliked by the special education team in recommending for next year that we remove the social skills group and goals from his IEP and focus more on organizational skills, reading and writing and behavioral goals.  I believe these will serve him better in the long run.  He is at grade level in reading and writing, but it is a struggle to get him to participate in the class work that is done in these areas.  We need to find out what can help him do what he needs to do instead of having to call in help for him when he won’t do what he is supposed to do.  I don’t know the answer to what that is, but to me it is a better IEP goal than social skills he most likely won’t generalize.

I would also like him to start to be involved in telling us what is working and what isn’t.  I always ask him and then communicate with his teacher, but maybe we need to all meet together and let him start speaking for himself.  Some say 7 is too young, but I am not so sure it is.  He may need help or prompting, he may get bored, but he should be heard.

Please share any experiences you have!

Update: The IEP meeting went well.  The many accommodations that we have talked about and implemented were discussed and will get put into writing.  I am not sure how they will be weaved into the IEP, but get the sense they will mostly be in the accommodations section.  I’d like to see them as goals, but we’ll see what they return to me.  I am still going along with the social group because he doesn’t seem to mind it at this point and it is scheduled at a time when he really needs the break from reading and writing exercises.  In my opinion, the thing that makes the biggest difference, however, is the teacher and aide in the regular classroom which is where my son is most of the day and thank God we have great ones!  I am so happy to have an enormous amount of communication which benefits all.  Two great years in a row (not easy, but great), dare I ask for another?

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3 Responses to The IEP

  1. I’ve stood in your son’s shoes before in a way I don’t have AS, but I have been in that whole Special Ed system, and I think that there’s a few you things that you as a parent need to be aware of.
    When I was going through school I was a little slower than my classmates and instead of getting a tutor, or a little extra help I was placed in the Special Ed classes; which I spent most of my academic career trying to get out of. What unfortunately wound up happening in my case; because none of my teachers or even the school district officials would listen is that I had to drop out of school to get my GED. The reason for that being is that all those Special Ed teachers cared about was only teaching me certain skills. Skills that I already had, but what they weren’t teaching me was Math and English. They would teach me to a certain level, but would never let me go beyond that level.
    When I did drop out I taught myself and had to do the whole GED process on my own. It was tough because there were many areas in English and Math where I had gaps, and so I had to fill them.
    What I’d like for you to be aware of is that sometimes these Special Ed teachers just don’t care and they’ll just let your child get further and further behind, and I’d hate to have that happen to your son; because then he won’t feel like he’s good enough for an education, or later in life to not go after a career that he loves just because he’s had a few problems learning wise.
    So if you ever feel like this is happening with him do whatever it takes to help him tutoring, or whatever else is out there. I know that you said he’s not behind in his regular classes so just keep a watchful eye and make that he doesn’t fall behind.
    I wish you and your son the best.

  2. Sandy says:

    I also have a kiddo in 1st grade (diagnosed PDD-NOS) (I think in the same city/state as you – we have a mutual friend who lives in the Desert now) and we have an IEP and take it month to month. I want to support you in modifying the IEP any way you see fit – do not worry about being disliked by the team. It is a team, but you are the team lead and they are to always follow and consider your desired changes, as you are the parent and primary advocate. I insist on working with the team, validating their input and advice, but I have the final say. I will never let it be a combative situation. It’s been quite the experience for me to grow in confidence in navigating this new territory. Take care!

  3. Pingback: Your Child’s IEP: Focusing on What They Can Do | Krystyann Krywko, Ed. D.

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