Prepping to play Chess

May 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Next week we have our daughter’s annual IEP meeting.

This is our first meeting in a new building where they will be generating goals for my daughter.

Her current IEP is from her previous school.

I have such a process now of prepping. It’s mostly internal and I am guessing the night before I will get it all down on paper once it’s sorted in my head.

My process combines thoughts about what I thought was good about the year and what I thought was not.

It also becomes a “multi-player” game as I also try to anticipate exactly what the school team will say about the same issues and figure out how apart we are on each idea.   I have been in countless IEP meeting over the years.   I would say 10-20 on a typical year and situations that have occurred replay like movies in my head, perfectly stored for when they are needed. This entire process I often equate to “trying to play chess alone”.   You have to constantly figure out what you want to do but then switch sides and figure out what the response to your move will be.

Yes, It’s crazy making for sure.

Last year I spent countless hours prepping, worked with a professional who came to the meeting (not an advocate just a really educated person and expert in my daughters rare disability who was able to keep things positive).     Last year I paid this same person to meet with the teachers at my expense (without my presence) to know she was available to help my daughter and give them the freedom to address whatever they wanted without the pressure of me being in the room.  I also with the help of the Williams Syndrome Association  organized a professional conference for teachers/therapist in the district and surrounding towns.   Through all of this the team should have really gotten an understanding of my daughter’s learning profile and how to handle it.

But they didn’t – it was all for nothing.

One year later  and I am still begging for her work to be accommodated and modified.

So does prepping make a difference?  I am not sure.  I worked so hard last year to not be adversary.  I worked so hard so I didn’t have to “fight” later.

This year, I am prepping in a much different way.   I simply don’t have the money to spend that I did last year.  I am also entering which was once a hopeful situation as a disappointed parent.   and that changes everything.

It puts me in a crappy position.   I am walking though the door praying things will be great but knowing I am about to play chess for real.   It truly puts me in a reactive position.

Maybe they will read this?  Maybe they will act proactively and think about what should have been and what was.  Maybe they will do what’s right and admit they screwed up.   Maybe they will make things right moving forward.

A girl can hope can’t she?

In the mean time I prepare.  I visualize, I read and I anticipate.

MELTED ICE CREAM MESS

May 18, 2015 § 2 Comments

I can’t say it’s been the best year educationally for my daughter.  Honestly, I think it’s fair to say she has made no academic progress at all.

I take all the blame.  Yes I do! You see, this was the first year of middle school for her. It was a fresh start for all of us. I truly wanted to trust the school to do their job.  I truly didn’t want to complain, fight and struggle with them.    I kept having faith, I denied my inner voice of speaking out and speaking up.  I stopped writing for fear that they would read negative words (even if it’s  not about them) and my relationship with them would be soiled.  

Now…

In two weeks we are having an IEP meeting and I fear that all of this must be dealt with.

It has been a year without having modifications and accommodations as outlined, a year without encouraged indepence, a year of assignments she couldn’t access and worst of all no success at all.  Not one positive educational outcome. 

I should have stepped in sooner, I should have called them out.  By the time I was angry enough we found out she needed spinal surgery and it sent me for a loop. It sucked the wind out of our sails for quite sometime  – emotionally, energetically and physically.  I couldn’t find the fight in myself when I was just trying to make sure she was going to be o.k. – it was about priorities at that time.

Life is finally back to normal (if that’s a thing) and I am kicking myself. 

My daughter has completed hours of assignments for school, written paragraphs and paragraphs with very little instruction and never received one back with even the slightest comments. As a matter of fact she has received almost no feedback at all except for an occasional test grade which has not once been above a D.

I know one teacher blames her and her cognition. And I have to agree and remind that person of the accommodations and modifications on her IEPS to work around her learning disabilities. But yet they were seldom if ever used

I have noticed as we move closer to the IEP meeting itself that suddenly home work is coming home with accommodations of less problems on a page.  This is not at all what is reflected in her IEP.  It’s their last  ditch effort of looking like they have tried I suppose!

Parents – trust your inner voice, don’t let things slide – when you do it feels like cleaning out a tub of ice cream that has been left in the sun.  It’s all sticky and sliding through your fingers at the same time.

Teachers -do your job! That’s it! Is it really that tough?  You don’t know better than the IEP and even if you did, that document is an agreement – don’t break your end!  And for the love of God learn about feedback and clear expectations!  

I’m off to figure out how to clean up this mess!

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