We had another IEP meeting for Anthony, and I am relieved we came out with a plan I am excited about.
Last spring, I had rejected Anthony’s IEP plan and took him into Children’s Hospital for their full learning disabilities program testing. After two and a half years with the same type of services (language and reading pull outs 2-3 times a week) on his IEP and no visible improvement, I was tired of the black and white meetings.
Once I entered the world of autism with Aidan, it really opened my eyes to what it takes to advocate for your special needs children. Prior to last years IEP meeting I always blindly trusted the school system. Big Mistake! Don’t get me wrong, Anthony’s teachers have all been remarkable, especially his SPED teachers. However they don’t get to make all the decisions on what services your child gets, there’s a bunch of people behind the scenes who may in fact care about what your child needs as a student but its also there responsibility to care about the schools budget.
Last year when I brought his education up to some teacher friends I was told “the squeaky wheel gets the goods” another words, if you don’t push for what you think your child needs, there’s a good chance you’ll get jumped over to the parent who’s making a fuss. Well it definitely feels like I’ve become the squeakiest wheel in the city with the 3 kids.
The testing revealed that Anthony has a severe language disorder that will not improve with the education plan that the school had continued to lay out. Anthony needed a smaller, language based program, comparable with an ESL classroom but in a sped setting.
When we reconvened last week, I was pleasantly surprised that the school already had their language class room’s teacher in the meeting and a plan to put Anthony into the program for a majority of the day. I also instantly fell in love with how well his new language teacher advocated for him. By the end of the meeting she had gotten him more services than I had even planned for.
All in all I am excited for this year because understanding fully what the issue is and having the right service plan in place gives me great hope that he will be able to catch up to his peers.