IEP – Advocating For Your Child

One mother's experience during an IEP meeting for her special needs child

Sonia Billadeau April 11, 2014
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3955153817_6095f44e53_q[1]So we finally went to the meeting for my daughters IEP. It has been about a month since I last wrote about it, but I was absolutely shocked at how the teachers would not take responsibility for their actions. It seems as though they were trying to blame everything on my daughter and the fact that she has a disability but without saying that because, obviously, they can’t.

The IEP meeting started by reading her goals.  It was funny because they started doing all of these assessment tests to try to show that my daughter was making a lot of progress. I, of course, have been monitoring my daughter’s education, and I have a tutor working with her. I’m working with her on skills as well so the progress that they showed me was what I already knew. They essentially sat across the table and didn’t really care to hear what I had to say.  They thought that I was being the Big Bad Wolf because I was demanding certain things to be enforced that are already in my daughter’s IEP.

Even though my daughter’s IEP states her deficits, the school is not doing anything to accommodate that. For example, my daughter took a test that had fractions on it, and they graded her off of this test. However, when she did not get any of them right. they felt she should have since it was a fourth grade skill even though it hadn’t been taught at that time.

Now I agree that my daughter has to do her part, but as a child with BIF (Borderline Intellectual Functioning) and ADHD she is very forgetful, and it’s hard for them to learn new skills and concepts. I don’t understand why they would have not gone over it with her before they decided to give her a test which she failed. It infuriates me that the school system put so much pressure on the parents to produce something that they can’t produce. I can’t make my child any smarter any quicker. What I can do is continue to work with her on skills, and hopefully she will pick up on some of the habits.

After the IEP meeting, they sent over the meeting notes and wrote the parent concerns in such a way that the teachers were not doing anything wrong. I, of course, was not happy with that, so I asked them to rewrite the IEP amendment along with all the notes and comments that everybody discussed when we were at the meeting. This made them even more upset with me because I would not accept what they wanted to give me.  I’m not going to let them put something in my daughter’s file that’s not worded properly.

Dealing with the school, much less the special education system, can leave you drained and tired, but we must not give up on our children. It is our responsibility to make the school provide the services that are needed for our children with disabilities. On the other hand, even though our children have disabilities, they have a responsibility to do the best they can to advocate for their own education. I told my daughter that if you knew that you were having trouble with something, and you didn’t tell your teacher, you are not doing your part as a student.

I teach my daughter to advocate for herself while she’s at school. I know she’s a child, but she must learn that this is her education and I’m there to support her. Hopefully I can get this all resolved and wrapped up this week so that I can move forward. However, I know that it’s going to be a long battle dealing with the special education department, so I guess there’s no rest for the weary!

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Sonia Billadeau


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