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First IEP meeting, what do I expect?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by Singledad, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Singledad

    Singledad New Member

    Okay, my DD4 (nearly 5, march 3rd) has been in headstart since 3 years old. The teacher there was concerned about her fine motor and asked me to ask the doc about it. I did, and was basicly told she will catch up on her own, it is too early to worry.
    this year, she is still in headstart (mornings) and afternoon is in 4K. She still has issues with fine motor skills, and I personally believe she has trouble with Sensory as well.
    at the first parent teacher conf. of the year her 4k teacher asked for permission to get her evaluated for an IEP. spefically under the "significant developmental delay." citing not just fine motor skills, but also her high lvl of anxiety and inablity to stay on task without direct adult invovlement.

    I gave the permission, the evaulations are done, and now we have set up our first meeting, to discuss the findings of the evualation, and what are are going to do (IEP, nothing, OT, etc).

    I just want to know, what should I expect when I walk into this meeting. I assume everyone will be sitting at like a conference table. I know who is going to be there (Her teacher (who is also the special education teacher, so even if they want to have her helped by the SE teacher, it is the same one, so no changing of classrooms or anything.), I asked for the headstart teacher to be included (and she is going to be there.), the OT, and the case manager type dude. and of course me.)

    Will they have actual copies of the results, for me to keep? can I request them if they do not?

    Do they go around the table and each say what they tested (I know what tests were done, from the sheet they sent me to approve the tests), the results and what they suggest from the results? or will just the head guy say, 'this is what we want to do' and the others agree or disagree?

    I am not very good in any sort of social interactions (very very high anxiety issues) and just trying to prepare myself.

    I am in Wisconsin if state matters, but I figure most of these type meetings must be similarly run.

    any suggestions of things I should make sure to do/bring at this very first meeting?

    I'm not antisipating any problems, like them suggesting something I don't agree with... but what if I like what they have, but still don't feel they are addressing the sensory issue (which is why I think she has the trouble with anxiety and staying on task.) ? (I did ask for them to evaluate for SPD, and they did include a questionnare type thing to try to see if that needs to be evaluated. sorry, wish I had my paperwork on this with me right now so I could give you the actual name of it)

    I feel so out of my element here.... :confused3
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  3. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

    Someone will be there as a representative of the school or district to "commit" them to whatever the IEP team decides (this may be the case manager). Any clinician or educational professional who performed a part of the evaluation should be there to interpret and answer questions about that evaluation. you may also bring anyone who you believe can help you and has knowledge of your child or your situation. You may also bring an Advocate (either volunteer or paid)
    What you will do at the evaluation/classification is to decide if you child has a qualifying disability under IDEA regulations and then if it is impacting her education (FAPE). There are 2 components to education, academic and functional (developmental areas like motor skills, sensory adaptation, social skills, EF executive function and so forth). If either is impacted then she qualifies
    You will get copies (which you can request ahead of time) of the scoring and results of the evaluation tools (you do not get copies of the actual evaluation notes or forms).
    If you have brought up concerns about SPD then they should have evaluated for it since they are required to evaluate for all suspected disabilities and areas that have impact. Quite honestly with the motor skills, EF issues, sensory and the anxiety issue they should be evaluating her for Aspergers/ASD. This is especially true since you indicate anxiety related to social interactions. Most schools do not have the diagnostic "skills" to properly evaluate girls who are as young as your daughter for Aspergers so they may have to look to a specialized clinical group at a regional hospital for assistance.
    If it looks turns out that she has the genetics related to Aspergers then congratulations, since you are blessed with a amazing gift and child who has an amazing potential to change the world for the better. OF course this is all contingent on getting the full supports that she needs to be comfortable in her educational (and societal at large) environment so anxiety does not become damaging, has the functional intellectual compensatory skills taught, that are missing with these genetics, and that her gifts and different style of leaning are respected and supported.
    If you want to lean the basic about this area Get a copy of "The complete guide to Aspergers" by Tony Attwood which is available on Amazon for about $17. If it looks like this is a stong possibility also get a copy of Genius Genes by Fitzgerald and Obrien which is also available on Amazon. The third book I recommend is "perfect targets" which outlines one of the critical areas of damage that can happen with these children.
    One other note is that if your anxiety interferes with your ability to be effective as the parent at the IEP meeting they must accommodate that under ADA (such as taking breaks so you can distress).
    On rare occasions, when the school portion of the team is fully educated in IDEA and disabilities and focuses on meeting the needs of the child the IEP meeting are easy and go well, unfortunately this is the exception in multifaceted cased like you describe.
    You can get local help from your states parent information center


    I hope that helps a little,
    Feel free to ask anything else

  4. Singledad

    Singledad New Member

    Actually, her anxiety is more related to the fine motor, "I can't do this" and the I am unsure what I should be doing with the stuff in front of me variety. I am the one with the social interaction troubles.

    I have thought of in the back of my mind about ASD/PDD however she is 'missing' some pretty key 'signs' as far as I know. She is NOT repetitive. Not in body movements, not in play, I've not seen repetitiveness, not even in what her interests are. She also is great choas surviver. Changes in schedule/routine do not really phase her. if we switch things up, she is more :banana: woohoo something new. and finally, she has always been our little empath. She really can 'read' people.

    from my research and obersvations, I'd guess she has the same/similar fine motor skill issues I have, SPD (she is a seeker.) and ADD inattentive type... :surfweb:

    most of which there is family history of all over the place. both my side and her other parent side, including the parentals ourselves. :confused3

    Well, I will learn more in a week, just wanted to know the basics of how this would work. Glad to know I can copies of scores/results. (I'll even let the manager type guy know I want them ahead of time. :thumbsup2 )

    that is the issue I already had with the SPD request. I asked about Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT)... and they said that the only person near that can give those is an hour and a half away, and they have found often that the information from it isn't 'helpful'. :confused3 so instead they suggested Sensory Processing Measure (found the paperwork!). Which I went ahead and approved as an acceptable compromise. If the measure shows what I expect, I will push for the formal evaluation, SIPT. :rolleyes1

    Thanks again for the information!

    Now to just wait a week when I want to know *now*. :upsidedow
  5. StephC1217

    StephC1217 New Member

    I'm not from Wisconsin so I dont know the state rules here but I can speak from the experience of a teacher of severe special needs, as well as a parent (my son receives speech therapy). In Ma, you receive a written eval of test results before the IEP meeting so you can read the results of testing prior. At my school, the district LEA is present, as well as the principal, teacher, therapists. When I went for my son, it was just the teacher who evaled him (he doesnt go to the school he was evaluated at) and a speech therapist. It will probably be around a conference table. Everyone will sign in and introduce themselves so you will know who everyone is. Then they will ask you what your concerns are as a parent (you should mention everything you said here so they will be able to address your concerns in the IEP). They will briefly go over the results of the testing, probably each person who tested will go over their results individually. They may do it more in depth for you if you did not receive the written results yet. They will talk about your child's strengths and interests. They will ask you where you see your child in the next 1-5 years (your vision for you child)- or at least they do in Ma. Each person involved (OT, Teacher, etc) will go over results of the testing, how your child is currently performing, what goals they would like to see your child reach over the next year- probably fine motor goals, maybe some social/behavior goals, whatever pertains to your child. They will tell you how often they want to see your child (the OT may want to see your child 1 or 2 times a week for 30 min). If you have any goals you would like to see your child reach- like getting dressed, or another fine motor skill, you should bring it up and they can add it to the IEP or let you know why or why not they can address it. It will be a fairly informal meeting and remember that YOU are a big part of it. Dont be nervous- make sure you bring up all concerns and questions you have. They are there to help you and your daughter. I know its easier said than done (I get very anxious in social situations and in IEP meetings- both as the parent AND as the teacher:rotfl:) But they are there for you. If you dont agree with something, bring it up. If you have concerns, bring them up. If you want to see something done for your daughter sensory-related, bring it up. If you want to have her tested for something, bring it up. The more involved you are, the better! Dont feel like you are being a pain for bringing up concerns or asking questions. Once the meeting is over, they will write up the final IEP- making any changes to it that need be. Then you read it over and sign it. Once you sign it, they are obligated to follow it by law- so make sure its what you want before signing it. But if you change your mind after, you can always call another IEP meeting. If you feel more comfortable with someone else there, feel free to bring someone. You can hire an advocate but they are expensive and since your are not anticipating problems, it is probably not worth it right now. If you and the school disagree then you may want to hire one. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to ask or shoot me a message!!:goodvibes
  6. jodifla

    jodifla <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

    Schools aren't often the best evaluators, unfortunately. They don't really look at the "whole" child either, just the part they need to get schoolwork done.

    So I'd be prepared to know what you want, and to get outside evals if theirs sound all wrong. (Seriously, the people doing the evaluations sometimes don't even have the training to do it properly!!!!)

    And don't be surprised if they try to slap an "educational autism" Dx on your child. In many states, that label comes with lots of extra cash behind it.
  7. Singledad

    Singledad New Member

    thank you StephC1217 for a very clear idea of what the meeting may be like.

    @jodifla sadly i know where you are coming from, but thankfully i do NOT see any of that as an issue at this school. I chose this school when she was still a newborn, because not only is some of the staff extended family members, and not only did it make a national top list for the high school (details escaping sleep deprived brain.) but it is also know as one of the better schools for taking care of not labeling kids if they don't need them, nor do they fight against you for getting you what the child needs. Heck, if I said that the SIPT was the only test i would accept, then they would have made the arrangements. The special education director/LEA guy just asked if it had to be SIPT or if we could do the measure first to make sure that they didn't waste not just the money to get the testing done, but my daughter's time as well. (my words not his. he explained his reasoning and waited for MY decision.)

    but yeah, i understand the need to know what my wants are as well.

    thanks again everyone!
  8. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

    Girls are a different world, so that is why they are so hard to pinpoint.

    In reality you have to educate yourself as to every possibility since you know your child much better than any clinicain will ever be able to.

    Good luck at the meeting

  9. SmallWorld71

    SmallWorld71 New Member

    I am a special ed teacher from MA as well. My two biggest pieces of advise are:

    1) Bring someone with you (spouse, sister, friend, someone who you feel comfortable with); it can be overwhelming to be at a meeting as the only one not from the school. It's nice to have someone with you to support YOU while you are supporting your child. Also, they may hear things/ remember things a little differently. I have also found the meetings to be more productive for whatever reason.

    2) Remember that nothing is official until you sign it. And, even then, things are not set in stone and can be changed if it is deemed necessary.
  10. LMC

    LMC <font color=green>aka 3senuf<br><font color=dark

    Start writing down all your questions so you don't forget them. If you have private evals then they must consider those. Where I am that is all they have used in the past several years; they have not done their own testing. They have not followed those private recommendations, but they used them as their reference and said "we don't do that, we can't do that". So if Wisconsin is anything like here, you may hear alot of that. That is wrong. You have more rights than they want you to know. My sons attorney enlightened me last summer. They can not tell you we can't or we don't if it is a documented need. I had VERY good detailed documentation and recommendations they ignored for 5 years but we are on the tail end of getting that resolved.
    You must be firm. DO NOT sign an IEP if you do not agree with it. Get up and leave. Do not sign anything at the beginning of the meeting. Here, they used to hand you a form at the beginning and it said "I have met and agree to this IEP", well, wrong how can you agree if you haven't even had the meeting yet! Well now the pre-meeting form just states who is in attendance. I read it word for word and then sign it. I don't sign anything based on what they tell me it says; I read it word for word. I don't care it we sit there for 2 hours while I read documents. I won't sign it if I have not read it or I don't understand it.
    If you don't understand their language in the IEP have them re-write it in more plain language. Here they like to use confusing verbage and then tell you it says this or that and then later it doesn't say what they tell you it says but because it is worded so confusing you cant understand it.
    Don't be intimidated to ask to have it re-phrased. I told our people last summer to write it so a 3rd grader would understand it. It was a little better but probably because I had an attorney. We still have to finalize some things in April because it didn't happen before January and I have a new job and can't get off work but I won't sign it if I don't agree and they have a resolution agreement at this point they must follow so I am not too worried about getting it resolved now.
    Good luck.
  11. SmallWorld71

    SmallWorld71 New Member

    :scared1: That's insane! I have also heard people say that they signed IEP's during meetings. How is that even possible. :confused3 Here, we have the meeting, then I (the liason) write the IEP and then send it to the director of spec. ed. for proofreading. We have 10 school days from the meeting to get it to the parent. They then have 30 days to read it over, see if changes need to be made and then return it to the school signed if they agree.
  12. LMC

    LMC <font color=green>aka 3senuf<br><font color=dark

    See to me THAT's insane!!! Here when you walk out it is DONE. You better know what you are signing because that's it. I know the schools lack resources but I was told NO and CAN'T so much (yes I have it recorded because it got to where I had to record our meetings!!!) that it was frustrating. A teacher event last spring led us to seeking help from a professional and she was dumbfounded by what she saw. It was bad. I really want this resolved without taking it further and I hope we get there but I am prepared to do what I have to, to make sure my child gets the services needed.
  13. SmallWorld71

    SmallWorld71 New Member

    Seems like maybe a happy medium is needed.:confused3

    Anyway, good luck OP.:goodvibes
  14. stace1214

    stace1214 New Member

    As a special education teacher, I have a few pieces of advice...
    - Definitely bring someone with you. It can be intimidating to go into a conference room on your own. You'll not only feel more comfortable, but you'll have a second set of ears listening to all of the evaluations and recommendations being made.
    - Make a list of questions as you think of them
    - Don't be afraid to ask the evaluators to explain things. Test scores and what they mean can be confusing and not everyone will explain them in ways that can easily understood
    - You are your child's very best advocate, if you're not happy with the IEP recommendations, speak up

    I hope your first meeting goes well!
  15. Disney4us2

    Disney4us2 New Member

    That happened to my DD when she was three. They did it to get her into a special pre-school program in the LAUSD school system. It turned out to be Auditory Processing Disorder. She has been in special ed classes since second grade. I hated going to those IEP meetings. It seemd like they were just picking your child apart. They did help though, she will be graduating in to middle school .
  16. SmallWorld71

    SmallWorld71 New Member

    I've seen this mentioned a few times on the DIS. I don't even know what that means. LOL To me, that's like saying educational diabetes etc... It's too bad that the system is set up to mislabel a child just for the purpose of getting money.
  17. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

    This is why the federal government has disallowed funding directly tied to educational classification. It is just taking a while for all the the states to comply. The criteria for an clinical diagnosis and an educational classification are virtually identical it is just lack of competency in both the clinical and educational world which creates both under and over diagnosis and classification.

  18. Singledad

    Singledad New Member

    Had that first meeting this afternoon. It went well :thumbsup2

    So glad I new my rights from the get go and had asked about the SPD eval, as it showed exactly what I thought it would. So they are going to help with that as well.

    Also, bookwormde they did mention that she does have a lot of autism traits, and I could tell they were very scared I was going to freak out over them saying the A word. :scared1: :confused3 but I didn't. :laughing:

    Her official label at this point is Significant Development Delay.
    Physical: fine motor,
    Communication was selected with hand written: "Pragmatic/social"
    Emotional or social
    and Adaptive (because of her self-care issues...)

    Since we ran out of time, within the next two weeks they will get to me copies of the reports they didn't have copies of today, along with the recommended stuff for the IEP itself. Then I have two weeks (so a month from today) to approve it, or get it changed to something I will approve of, or say thanks but no thanks.

    OT said she recommends at least two times a week of OT working on fine motor and the SPD. (she specifically mentioned a swing, but alas, we ran out of time.)

    So far, I am quite pleased with how things went. They were very happy that I didn't freak out when Autism was mentioned :cool1: and actually pleased that I had already considered it, and that I am still open to checking that out. They do have a good amount of education and training on the spectrum... I just forgot the names and titles and abbv. that go with them. and they are looking into sending her teacher to training for SPD this month actually. (Her teacher is already the special education for all students 6 yrs of age and younger. So outside of OT she will have the same teacher and everything.)

    Well, that is my update. fill in more details as I remember them and/or get paperwork and/or remember to.

    Yay for successful meetings!:woohoo: :cool1: :thumbsup2 :cheer2:
  19. Ctsplaysinrain

    Ctsplaysinrain New Member

    don't be surprised if they try to slap an "educational autism" Dx on your child. In many states, that label comes with lots of extra cash behind it.

    Ok- Just needed to do a little ROFL.. What state please??? I've had to fight tooth and nail for both my sons ( over 5 yrs for one) for the schools to even recognize my sons' Asperger's even with medical dx from an Autism center, 2 psychologists, and a psychiatrist...maybe we need to move
  20. Eeyore5

    Eeyore5 New Member

    I'm glad your meeting went well. The reason they were scared to say the A word is because a lot of times the parents do freak out. I'm pleasantly surprised when I mention the A word and parents take it well. Sometimes they just aren't ready to hear it. Other times when they hear it and have time to process it, the next time I see them, they are ready to talk about it more. Rarely will they either bring it up or when I bring it up be aware of the possibility.
  21. graciejane

    graciejane New Member

    Yay for a good meeting!!

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