IMG 0221 150x150 Postscript to Flying without an IEPYesterday was a complete whirlwind of activity. My husband and I had been discussing going without an IEP for weeks and feeling any number of feelings – ill, morose, crotchety, anxious, unconvinced, fearful, and overall just tense about the whole scenario. I can honestly say I just KNEW it was the wrong decision.  I do appreciate why the school district feels they way they do.

My little one, he is the polar opposite of his sister in almost every way I can imagine. Katherine is my attention seeker, attention grabber, in your face vibrant personality child. Everything about Katherine is bigger than life, from personality to her disabilities and illnesses. She does NOTHING halfway. Donovan is shy, reserved, sweet, and except for playing Star Wars – is everything mild and calm. Which makes Donovan a constant balancing act. With Katherine, her disabilities are so obvious, so in your face. With Donovan I frequently get the question “Autistic? Are you sure??” And every time I begin to think maybe…..nah. It’s there. It’s just mild, it’s not in your face, constantly obvious. For that reason I feel guilty, even now, because Donovan inadvertently gets the short end of the stick too often. I think it’s not unlike a neurotypical sibling or the wheel that doesn’t squeak. Sometimes, it honestly just gets overlooked or doesn’t take the priority over the profound and overwhelming.

Yesterday, a really amazing woman who I will have to find a proper way to thank sent me a DM on twitter and told me in essence – don’t give it up if you believe it’s needed. You can always ask for an IEE (Independent Education Evaluation). Oh heck, sometimes the answer is in front of your face and you miss the forest for the trees!!

I am NOT a confrontational person. I’d go so far as to say I actively avoid situations that would put me in that role of confronter. Maybe that’s why I didn’t come to it until literally minutes before the meeting yesterday. Nope…I just wasn’t going to agree to ending the IEP. I let myself for any number of reasons bow to the pressure of the IEP team. I’m happy to say with a nudge and a quick phone call to the hubby when it counted, I did my job and advocated for Donovan. While it didn’t come to an IEE yet, the school has agreed to a complete reevaluation of Donovan to determine need for services before his birthday in August.

I came to a few lessons out of the past 24 hours…some of which may help you.

  • Don’t go to IEP’s alone. You don’t necessarily need a paid advocate with you but don’t put yourself into the position of being the only person on your side of the table. Bring a friend or relative for moral support if nothing else.
  • Don’t keep your own counsel. Open up to others – other parents, professionals, friends – even twitter! Best thing I could have done was getting commentary from all of YOU! When you’re in the middle of it you just don’t see it the same way as an outside pair of eyes. Tunnel vision can happen to anyone.
  • DO remember you’re the only voice your child has. BE the voice no matter how far out of your comfort zone you need to go.
  • DO TRUST YOUR GUT. If for ANY reason it doesn’t feel right make sure you listen to that voice. NO ONE knows your child better than you do.

Thanks to everyone that took the time to get their thoughts to me. Especially Dennise Goldberg. It made all the difference. I’ll keep you all up to date on how it goes from here.

Related posts:

  1. Flying without an IEP