Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IEP Changes

Today I attended another IEP (Individualized Education Plan). On the agenda was ESY (Extended School Year) for David. He has received this service for many years, but this year I was originally told that the school didn't provide it. After explaining my concerns and the fact that his school goals had not been met I was told he would be eligible. So this morning's meeting was to discuss if he would receive the socialization skills and behavioral reinforcement needed to bridge the gap over the summer. I came prepared with my file folder of referal copies and suspension notices over the last couple of months. I didn't need this because they had decided to make this accommodation. The service provided here would be considerably less then what was provided in the past, but it should help prepare him for the fall.

Construction Man David
The next issue was a referral that he received yesterday. In the past he would be suspended for 3 to 5 days, but this obviously has not worked. The suspensions have only resulted in more meetings and less learning. So the school has agreed that he is not to be suspended, but instead to be given after-school detention. How many days he must serve will be based on the behavior that resulted in the referral. If he serves ten days detention he will then have to attend Saturday School. One of the wonderful teachers he has is willing to spend three hours on Saturdays to make him work and learn. She, like we, believes it will only take two Saturdays for him to learn not to display these behaviors.

We then broached the subject of his grades. He is failing three classes, mostly due to the suspensions for his behavior. I was asked if I was still set on his failing and repeating seventh grade. I explained I would prefer that he pass to the eighth grade, but if he hasn't earned it by his grades he needs to repeat. I was told that they don't like to fail Special Education children. It would be different if I thought David wasn't smart enough to do the work, but David just doesn't want to do the work.

David and me having fun
I explained to the school that to me this is a life lesson issue. If we pass him without his having to try or do the work and gets the same reward (passing) as those who worked hard we are failing to teach him about life. As an adult he will need to go to work and then do the job assigned to him or he will not receive the same rewards as those who do. He will probably even get fired. I would much rather he learn this now and not when he is an adult and the lesson would be much more harsh. My concern is that we don't enable special education students to become reliant on the system to meet their needs for life because we have not prepared them.

This life training is needed for all children, not just special education students. Just like in learning to walk, they need baby steps. I can't send him to a job at twelve, but I can teach him that school is his job. If he fails to do his job he can't expect to get paid (graduated into the next grade).


Anonymous said...

I've said it before -- I'll say it again -- God gave David to the best parents available. It is discouraging when "the system" is more interested in kids feeling good than having appropriate consequences for behaviors.
Rita in Oly

Lilly said...

I came here to thank you for the wonderful comment on my blog! Please feel free to visit ANY time!

Peace & Love,

Kim said...

Rita- thank you so much for your encouragement. It is greatly appreciated. I feel like you that the system is short changing kids in special education. When you haven't done what's right or your best you shouldn't feel good about yourself. When I have tried and accomplished goals that were hard it gives me a true sense of pride.
I know it will be hard if David has to repeat a grade, but at least we will be dealing with his unwillingness to even try to learn the material.
Lilly- I enjoyed your blog, keep up the good work.