IEP- am I unreasonable?

I am far behind over here.  I still haven’t written about our summer birthdays or updated you on the house which was painted about a month ago.  And, well, this post isn’t going to move me forward with either of those things.

This post is more just…me just needing some support.

You may remember last year, during IEP season, we worked to get Paul in General Ed for some additional time.  It was set to be the first hour of the day, from 8:30-9:30, and then recess, snack, and the lunchtime recess.


Except for the first two weeks of school-there was some confusion and he was in general ed all morning except for 1/2 hour.   They even did push in services like OT, PT, ST.  It wasn’t really what we were going for.  I picked up on this and then chatted with the special ed teacher.  I only have a glimpse of how this got confused.  The minutes were messed up, but not the Gen Ed minutes, only the Special Ed minutes, so they must not have looked at all of it.  And they certainly didn’t read the notes where it clearly laid out when Paul would be where.  Twice.


But ok.  So we scheduled an IEP to amend the minutes.  I observed Paul a couple of times so I could see how he was doing, particularly in the Gen Ed room.  After observing, I wrote out a few behavioral suggestions, along with a list of probably 20 sensory or fine motor activities his aide could do with him to “break up” the desk work.  The half hour of more intensive work from 9-9:30, mostly at the desk, was behaviorally problematic.  Paul was clearly bored and frustrated- becoming vocal, not wanting to sit at the desk, not wanting to do writing (hand over hand, or otherwise).

Then we had the IEP.  It was supposed to just be about amending the minutes, but when I was told how everyone was going to be invited, I knew something was up!  Lo and behold, the Gen Ed teacher recommended moving him out of the room from 9-9:30 and instead have him back in later (around 11, maybe?) for a snack and read aloud time.

So his Gen Ed minutes would stay the same, just at different times.

And I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass.  Really.

But I’m having some problems, and I never sign anything at an IEP meeting, so nothing is set yet.

First- yeah, Paul will be an angel during snack and read aloud time, because there’s food.  I haven’t really gotten an answer, despite an e-mail and a phone conversation, about how much of that time is munching on crackers and how much is work.  But I don’t want him to only behave when there’s food.  I want him to behave, period.  And he has to be taught how to do that.  We lose our opportunity to modify his behavior if we only allow him in Gen Ed when he poses no challenges.

But even more than that, I really want to believe that we’ve worked reasonably hard for Paul to be successful before we change up his schedule.  And I’m just not convinced.  They’ve been providing him with alternate sensory/fine motor activities for 2 weeks.  And the only things they’ve actually tried were things provided by me, along with Paul’s private OT, and their OT (her ideas were along the same lines as what we gave.)

I’m not the educational professional here.  Where are all their ideas?  When a child with DS and/or ASD is bored and frustrated doing desk work, what do you do?  SHOW me that you’re doing your job.  If you haven’t tried anything else, then tell me what you’ve at least thought about trying and why you didn’t do it.

I’ve got more ideas.  A whole page of ideas, and in 4 different categories- support ideas, new sensory/motor ideas, ways to modify the work, and behavioral support for the staff.  So what are they thinking of?

And just 2 weeks.  To me, that is not long enough.  It takes 6-8 weeks to modify behavior.  I think that’s how long we should work at it, and if he hasn’t improved in that time, then we can explore our options.

I mean, honestly, am I unreasonable?  It pains me to call another IEP meeting.  I’m a considerate human being.  I understand how busy they are.  I don’t like taking up more of their time.  But really,  have we made a solid effort to help Paul be successful?  I don’t think so.

And this negative behavior?  It needs to be dealt with now.  Not later.  Now. Because the kid is strong, and it will get harder.  And he is clever and could just become more challenging.  And above all, he’s smart, and we should all get to see that.

So tell me your thoughts.  And if anyone could shed some light on the expectations of each of the teachers when Paul is in Gen ed, I would appreciate that.  I am just not clear on what the general ed teacher is supposed to be doing with Paul.  Does she modify work, or is it solely the special ed teacher?  I know you can write in the IEP consult between the teachers every week.  I think because Paul has an aide with him, he is just sort of floating along in there, with the aide taking care of everything, and the teacher just letting that happen.




4 thoughts on “IEP- am I unreasonable?

  1. Kate

    I held my daughter (who has DS, like Paul, and was adopted from Lithuania at age 4.5) back from kindy until she was 6. She’s smaller than most of her classmates, plus I taught her to read and my hubby taught her ASL during the 18 month post-adoption, pre-kindy year.

    I think the fact that she’s academically on par or ahead of her typically developing classmates has allowed to her to thrive in a regular class, without an aide, for 90% of the day. K’s pulled out for speech therapy daily … and that’s about it. (Her speech is unintelligible, despite tons of effort on everybody’s part. Fortunately, several of her classmates are fluent in ASL too and it makes a huge difference).

    My suggestion would be that if Paul isn’t quite ready for kindy, maybe he needs another year of top-notch pre-school + additional therapies, to get him to a point where he can keep up with his peers (or not start a million miles behind).

  2. Meg Post author

    Another year of preschool sure would have been nice, but not much of a possibility in this area. I believe you are from Canada. In the United States, children with disabilities do not need to be able to “keep up with” their peers in order to be included in the general education setting. And truth is, Paul is very bright, and isn’t starting a million miles behind. Paul’s difficulties stem from being unable to communicate in as complex ways as he desires to, and his behaviors, which come from frustration and autism. Those two factors keep his intelligence hidden and make people vastly underestimate him.

  3. Moriah

    Have they tried modified seating? One of my favorites is the Kore Wobble Stool. It allows movement, but can’t roll away like a ball. It’s inexpensive in the world of modified seating and can be really motivating to kids. Also, if he likes to work for food, maybe he could earn 1 skittle or raisin, whatever he likes, for sitting at his desk for 2 minutes, and work to gradually increase that time w/ reinforcers. If the work is too hard, which may be causing behavior, his para, not the Gen ed teacher, should be partnering with the sped teacher to modify it. He can be included in the same activities, just have more tactile ways of learning the same concepts (manipulatives rather than math worksheets, playdouh to form letters during writing, etc). I could go on and on and on. Seriously, text or call if you need me.

  4. Meg Post author

    Ok, we already texted a bunch, but for posterity’s sake.

    No, they haven’t done any modified seating- in fact he is in his chair the entire hour except for a few minutes total when the kids stand (for the pledge, to move to a different rug, etc) And I’m pretty sure I remember his feet dangling!

    Reinforcers are definitely on my list.

    I’m not sure the work is too hard, so much as it does not interest him because it hasn’t been modified for him at all. He dislikes writing and even coloring, even though he knows what the letter A looks like and also what sound it makes. He needs visual things, like matching upper case and lower case letters to each other (and preferably not on a worksheet!) Or like you said, tactile ways of learning would be great for him. They said things were too rigorous or over his head because he starts to get vocal and bored sitting at the edge of a carpet while the teacher is sounding out the phonics and pointing to letters on a board.

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