IEP Drama Comes to an End

In case you are too busy to read to the very end of this story, I’ll give you the moral up front: talk, talk, talk to the people who are in charge of your kid.

The End.

Just kidding–you didn’t think I was going to let you off that easy, didja?

So here’s what happened:

Two days before Charlie’s IEP, I stopped by his class–I can’t even remember why–and his teacher sat me down and just asked me what I wanted the most for Charlie. I told her all about how I wanted him to be in classes with typical students more often. I told her that that was probably teh most important thing of all. She listened to me and we talked some more the next day.

We showed up for the IEP and the principal was there, a representative from special education, and the usual cast and crew (teacher, therapists, etc.).  I’m always really impressed by how many people come to the IEPs. I actually taught special ed for a few years and I NEVER saw that kind of attendance at an IEP. Usually it was just me and maybe one or two other people. This is not the point of this story, though! The point: Charlie’s IEP–after a lot of discussion about goals, the principal presented us with the following, very special, she-obviously-got-really-creative solution for my Charlie.

Here’s what we’re doing: We’re holding Charlie back and he’s going to do another year in Early Intervention Preschool. For reasons I don’t completely understand, this is NEVER done, but they’re are opting to do it because of my intense desire to see Charlie spend time with his typical peers. The past three years he’s been in a self-contained class most of the day with about fifteen minutes in a regular class. Next year he will be enrolled full-time in a “combo class.” This is a class where half the students are typical and the other half are special education students. How cool is that? He’s also going to do morning routine in a class called “transitional first,” which is a class for kids who are old enough for first grade, but who are mature enough. In the afternoons, we will still give Charlie the option of going back to the self-contained class for rest or a nap since he does still get very worn out by the school day routine.

Basically, I’m getting everything I wanted. We will still have to find a place for him for actual first grade, but I think that doing next year this way will open up a lot more opportunities for him.

All this because I said exactly what I wanted. And his teacher moved the earth to get it for us. We are so blessed.

kitchen dancing


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  1. I think my cousin is in a class like that. If I’m right I can’t wait to see what happens for Charlie. My cousin’s personality & skills exploded, in a good way.

  2. YAY!! Sooo awesome! I am so happy for you all.

  3. I’m so glad it is working out for you. I called an IEP after conferences last week. We’ll see how things progress for us. Did you ever use that advocate? I’m seriously thinking about hiring one but holy smokes, they are expensive!

    • Our advocate was kind of a disaster, but there’s an agency that provides them for free here. If it were me, I’d go it alone, and if that doesn’t work, I’d head straight for a lawyer–a friend of mine said you get a lot more bang for your buck with a lawyer. Happy I didn’t have to use either, though.

  4. It’s so great to have wonderful teachers, isn’t it? I’m glad you got what you wanted and needed.

  5. Totally awesome and amazing. So happy for you guys…and good on you for telling them what you wanted…and yeah for a teacher that moved the earth for you.

  6. Yay! I’m so happy for you and Charlie! Good things, very good things!!!

  7. I like this option. In Missouri it would have never been considered. The state pays all of early childhood special education (3-5). Once you are age-appropriate for kindergarten you have to go or you won’t receive any services and will have to pay for pre-school.

    Before you take a lawyer to an IEP meeting make sure it is OK – we aren’t allowed.

  8. SUCH an amazing happy ending…to a beginning! I am so thrilled for Charlie, and you.

  9. AWESOME!!!!

  10. Hooray! All your hard work paid off! This sounds like an awesome plan for Charlie.

  11. yea!! that is great news!

  12. Paulette says:

    This makes me smile! It sounds like a perfect plan.

  13. when you know what you want, it’s amazing.

  14. WONDERFUL! Time to breathe. :)

  15. I think part of the reason you got what you wanted was because you had a clear picture of what you wanted and expressed it will to everyone involved.

    I have a special needs son, who is now 12 and we are homeschooling him, partly because we are already a homeschool family, but also partly because the schools refused to service him on the level he needed to be serviced at and after reading your piece above, I feel that part of the reason they would not do that was because I could not articulate to them what I wanted for him – I don’t think I KNEW until NOW what that was – I wanted what you wanted – I wanted him to be in a classroom with normal kids that he was on a similar level of development with. He is about 2-3 years behind in his development, and he is big for his age and the school said they could not hold him back at kindergarten because he was already the oldest kid in his class (because he had done an extra year in the special preschool, much like Charlie) and he would be SO much bigger than all the other kids – that always has – still does – seemed so wrong. If he was a small kid he would get what he needed? What’s up with that? So he ended up in an inclusion classroom with 45-120 minutes in a ‘normal’ classroom each day depending on the day of the week/subjects offered there. That was the second best option for him, and at least met his educational needs better than their ‘first plan’ which was to mainstream him completely (just put him in second grade, after he essentially failed first grade) (at which point I called the school in August and told them I would be bringing him in WHEN they had a better plan for him – at which point THEY decided they needed to test him – extensively – I think, in order to prove me wrong that he needed ANY special service – what they found was that he qualified for the full-on special ed classroom, which was what I was saying all along)
    I think, had we stayed in that district, eventually, we might have gotten him mainstreamed into a lower grade classroom (when the kids that are two years younger than him, were closer to his size?) but we moved, and when we moved, I decided to try homeschooling him, so that he could just progress at his own rate, and that has worked reasonably well.

  16. I am so glad they worked things out for Charlie…he deserves it. And I LOVE the picture of Charlie and Daddy….it’s need printed and framed!