Spoiling for a Fight

I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone who has a child on an IEP – if you don’t make sure that they live up to the goals in the plan, they tend to go by the wayside.

Going a step further, bear in mind that we live in a major city with a record of having issues living up to the IEPs.  The biggest issue, really, is the lack of resources that the city has and their inability to really apply what they have effectively.  This is clearer still when you notice that our city is finally owning up to just how much deferred maintenance they have – to the point that several schools will be closing over the next few years, and most of the rest going under serious renovation.

In the Monster’s IEP, we insisted on regular reports from his providers.  Specifically, as stated in the IEP:

A comunciation system will be established between the classroom teacher and parent.  This log will discuss any challenges, follow up suggestions/recommendations and/or successes throughout the school day.

(For the record – yes, I keep a copy of his IEP in PDF form in my Dropbox, so I have it everywhere.)

His teacher is not the greatest at keeping us updated, but I think at least she’s trying – she does make notes, at least once a week, in the log book that travels back and forth between us.  I’ll admit that I would prefer emailed reports after hours, and more frequently, but I’m going to give the woman credit for making an effort to live up to the spirit of the IEP goal.  It’s his other therapists that are doing a lousy job – which is to say that the speech therapist has perhaps sent us two reports and the occupational therapist hasn’t even bothered to introduce herself.

I officially made the request this morning to the school’s IEP Coordinator for a team meeting – involving all of his providers – and for the written reports they are required to file after each session to be made available for us to review.  (Now, if the teacher hadn’t given me a wrong email address, the initial email would have been more effective.  I’m waiting currently on a correction.  Failing that, tomorrow morning I’m driving over to the school to hand it – in writing – to the principal, followed by emailing the CEO of schools to let him know that I’m finding any communication vis-a-vis enforcing my son’s IEP to be difficult.)  As I put it:

Part of his IEP was a requirement for frequent contact on his progress so that we can do our proper part in trying to further his progress.  We feel that we are not receiving this contact adequately, per the IEP – while we do receive periodic updates from [general education teacher], we do not receive any such from the speech therapist (who has, admittedly, reached out to us on rare occasion with updates), and we have not heard a single word from his occupational therapist.  As such, we feel that we must review the written reports and have opportunity to have a dialogue with staff directly.

I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t like taking a confrontational approach, since everyone who knows me knows that I do like being the proverbial “bull in a china shop”.  The fact is that it gets results, especially here in Baltimore, where many of the parents aren’t anywhere near as ‘activist’ as the wife and I are.  It’s results that we do need, though, and since some of his specialists apparently feel that they don’t have to tell us anything about what they’re doing… I’m going to make them tell me.

Now, I’m also not being unreasonable – I’m putting the ball in their court with regards to when this is scheduled, bearing in mind that the wife and I can be flexible and come either before, during or after school to meet with the staff, in a fashion that won’t interfere with their other duties.  We’ll see what they counter with, and how far I need to escalate this to get their attention.

Update (1:08 PM) – The teacher forwarded the email to the IEP coordinator and gave me the right email address. We’ll see what happens.

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