Friday, August 25, 2006

...real life interrupts...

We seem to have hit the ground running, now that we're back, so I'm interrupting my vacation journal briefly. We had 4 phone messages when we got home yesterday (we must've done a particularly good job of letting everyone know we were going away :). The last message was from our school district, informing us of a meeting about B's IEP that had been called for... the next morning at 9:00 am! It was an indistinct message with no real info. The call had come-in just about an hour before we got home. I quickly called the number that had been left & got a machine. I then called the special ed. co-ordinator for our school (a neighbour, as it happens) & she gave me another name & number (calling this I got another machine), & told us she had not been informed about the meeting. I was pretty upset, since we are supposed to be informed of any meetings about B's programme well in advance, & I was convinced that this meeting was not legal. Besides, we had no real idea why they had called the meeting. In the midst of unpacking & doing 3 loads of laundry, my gut clenched at the unknown & unwanted intrusion.

C decided that the only thing to do was for one of us to show up... so he got up early this morning. We had looked up the printout on parents' rights &, indeed, they were supposed to have given us 5 days notice by mail before calling this meeting. C decided to bring a tape recorder, since we had none of our support team from school with us for this meeting, & I was staying home with B. C also brought our copy of B's current IEP & the rights printout. Although the meeting was not down in the official meeting book at the school district offices, C managed to find it, plus the person I had called yesterday at the recommendation of our special ed. co-ordinator, who happened to be the head of special services for the district. She had not originally been part of the meeting, but she sat in, which was to our advantage. When C brought up the short notice for the meeting, he was informed that they expected him to sign a waiver- to which he replied "really?". They never brought it up again. When he requested to tape the meeting, they said he could, if they could, but no-one found a tape recorder... fortunately, it became quickly obvious to them that he was not going to agree to any changes to B's IEP without a full committee meeting. Apparently, the question to be discussed was about how B's school, which is a private school, was applying B's IEP, who was giving him the consultant teacher hours required by his IEP, & who was paying them. They wanted C to agree to change the IEP, but since no-one from school was present, & we did not know the implications of the change, he would not agree. The director of special services was very helpful to C & essentially told them that they would have to reconvene at a later date, with proper notice & the full team in attendance. C had gotten a sense that complying with state regulations had driven the whole thing, but it was pretty dumb to waste everybody's time by calling the meeting without having the necessary information & people in attendance (not to mention doing it illegally). C called our friend from school to let her know what had happened & warn her to look out for the notice of the "real" meeting.

We had a nicer afternoon... Since we are still technically on holiday, we decided to go to the science museum for lunch & take a wander around the exhibits. The place was mobbed- they were having a robot day, much to B's delight. He spotted the most recent Lego Mindstorms model & his exclamation was overheard by one of the exhibitors, who seemed quite pleased by B's knowledge. He asked B how he knew about the new legos & they discussed specs for a while. B was quite comfortable talking lego "shop" & it seemed to help him tune-out the hubbub fo the mobbed exhibit. We were given info about starting a lego robot club at school, too, which we'll look into.

We had a relaxing afternoon. B is back into Power Rangers, which is interesting. Just 6 months ago he was so self-conscious about them you couldn't say either word (we called them the "PR's" instead) without causing him to tic... He watched old episodes for a bit, then legoed like mad, before dinner. Grammie came over for our regular Friday night dinner & we had a hilarious game of Uno after. Now we are listening to Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince on tape (begun on the way to Washinton in June, then continued on this car trip to Penn.). B's back into Harry Potter, so it's fun to share our ideas about HBP again.


At 1:14 AM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Not a great welcome back from vacation------the district ought to have provided prior written notice about the meeting. I hope the next one proceeds in a more orderly fashion.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Julia said...

That's appalling that someone thought they could get away with convening the meeting without everything required by law.

So far (cross fingers!) our school district is good about everything like that. The next district over is not so good, apparently, which is unfortunate for a number of people. :(

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Lisa/Jedi said...

It was terribly disappointing because our district is generally really good & I have often found myself singing their praises. They are the only district around with a Spectrum Disorders Team &, aside from a few surly adminstators, these people seem to genuinely care about the kids. Certainly B is getting the best education around, & we're in the city, too!

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Julia said...

We're in a "bedroom community" of a suburb, if that makes any sense. :)

The resources beyond the school and fulltime teachers are shared between 3 districts; it's a small enough system (at the moment!) that the person in charge of evaluating children for the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities remembered me once I told her I was calling about [son's name] younger siblings in May. (And she let slip that she likes us, which made me feel good!) She was among the people there for my older son's last IEP - basically, everyone except the classroom aides (who were taking care of the class) who had any connection to my son's education were there, and it took a real effort for a couple of them, which I appreciated.

It's not perfect, but it's better than some in the area (including the one we were living in before we moved into our current house).


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