So we made it through June...The last few weeks were so incredibly busy, and for awhile there I felt completely overwhelmed, but we got through it...It's July now, and I can breathe again.
First was the IEP. It was scheduled the week before Maddie turned three. I had so many questions leading up to it...about goals, about qualifications, and about just what I could expect at the meeting. There's nothing more nerve-wracking than stepping into a situation unprepared, and I felt the need to learn everything I could before it came. I called my local parent advocacy office for advice often. One of those days, I waited to get a call back and it never came…so I called a different branch. The person who took my call was the authority on all things IEP. I had a basic question about one of my goals, but she wanted our whole backstory first. When she heard what little Maddie had been qualified for she was livid. She insisted that we fight the evaluation results…That we push for reassessments in OT and PT. She cited laws and cases until my head was swimming. I was past this…I had decided to take what we were given and possibly ask for a reassessment in 6 months or a year….Not now. Not 4 days before the IEP. But here I was listening to her go on and on about what Madison deserves, and I realized I couldn’t walk away from this without feeling terrible about myself…and wondering if I should have done more. So 4 days before the IEP, we decided to fight.
I worked my tail off all week, reading up on the disabilities handbook, learning Bulletin 1508, and relating each issue back to Maddie’s Pupil Appraisal. The driving force behind all of it was the advocate from the other office, so you can imagine my frustration when I learned she wouldn’t be attending the meeting. Instead I received a call from the advocate in my district, saying she would be attending with me. And then to my complete shock, she announced that she would not be allowed to speak on my behalf at all in the meeting…Seriously?!? She said they had been reprimanded because they are a state-funded organization, and could not argue for parents with the state-run school system. I was baffled. What does an advocate do then? Apparently they sit quietly, while we make cases for our kids… Luckily I didn’t need her to speak. I had documented everything; I had our therapists there backing me up, and the school made no arguments against our requests. It went really well, in fact. Maddie will be reevaluated in August by a completely different team, and we will go from there. Aside from that, we still managed to get all of our goals in the existing IEP, so I feel good about it either way….but mostly, I’m glad it’s over.
And just because no post is complete without some pics... Here are the bugs at Mason's T-Ball party that weekend.
The next week was Maddie’s birthday party, and our final sessions with our EarlySteps team….stay tuned.