Raising Cam: The IEP Edition

If you know me, you know I’ve been helping out with my late aunt’s kids after her untimely and unexpected passing last year. I’m not a part of the day-to-day raising (thank God because I am hella ill-equipped), but my main responsibility when it comes to them is making sure that everything is on track education-wise. As a part of this responsibility, I’m known as point of contact for the two younger ones for anything regarding their schooling. The older of the two younger ones is a senior in high school (& also 18), so my involvement with her schooling is somewhat waning.

The younger one, however, is only 9 and in 3rd grade. This little guy is my heart. If you follow me on any sort of social media, you’ve read me talk about (or post pics of) him a time or three. He is terribly behind academically and has been on an IEP since kindergarten, basically. He struggles most in reading and math. One of these subjects is my strong suit, the other…well…oh look, a butterfly. : )When his mom was alive, I’d accompanied her to a couple of his IEP meeting in which the etchers and other resource workers that were at his school talked about his progress and areas in which he struggled. Recently, we had to switch schools.

This vexed me mightily because I was in LOVE with his Dream Team at the old school. They loved my little guy like he was their own and did everything in their power to make sure that he received every single resource he needed and then some. They were also very communicative with me when it came to his performance on a daily/weekly basis as well as offering solutions for things I could do at home with him in order to help him progress. He’s been at the new school for about 3 weeks now and we’ve just now met the new dream team. I hope you are paying hella attention to those lowercase letters because after the meeting that’s how I felt. They were more like…hmmm, I dunno fleeting thought team. I’m being hyperbolic, it wasn’t all bad. Let me start with the good…

They love my boy as much as the ladies at the old school love him. Every person that works with him that we talked to mentioned his amazing spirit and overall positive attitude. The smiles on their faces were genuine as they recalled the many ways that they too have been captured under his spell. Guys, I’m so serious. This kid is so special. He charms the pants off of anyone who he meets for more than 15 minutes. You can’t help but fall in love with this kid. That love, however, is not necessarily translated in the manner in which his transition to the new school has been handled.

Cam is on a 2nd grade level for both math & reading. So a grade level behind. When he was registered at the new school, his big brother informed them that he was on an IEP AND the old school sent his latest evaluation (that we’d just done in November) to the new school. For a week and a half, Cam was receiving homework that he could not complete. When calls were made, none were returned. So I walked in this meeting with a  chip on my shoulder.

They go through their spiel and its mostly what we were working on at the old school, with a few variations. Near the end they asked if we had any questions, so I got to scrolling back to old notes I had from the previous school’s IEP meeting and asked them ensure that things that we were addressing at the old school that they missed would also be addressed here. I don’t think they were quite ready for that because one of the resource teachers commented “oh wow, you have notes from previous meetings. that’s great.” with about as enthusiasm as I typed that sentence. Yes miss lady [expletive], I do have previous notes because I want to see a marked increase in his skills every time. I want to make sure goals are met and if not, then I want to see where we (or they) dropped the ball and move forward making strides. So yes, lady. I do keep notes. Detailed and thorough notes.

Oh and at the end the special ed resource drops this gem in our lap “If he isn’t where we want him to be by the end of the year, then we may need to reassess his options and put him in a classroom that is more…suited to his needs.” Before I knew it, my neck rolled and I said “So you’re saying he needs to be in a fully SpEd room for the entire day? Not just pulled out of his normal classroom and resourced as necessary? Because you can just say that. You don’t have to beat around the bush.”

Rude? Absolutely. But seriously lady, be real with me. Don’t do me. Don’t use jargon or try to avoid saying what you’re truly trying to say. We are not ignorant of his condition and realize that going forward if he is not progressing at a decent rate then things definitely need to be reassessed. But don’t count him out just yet. Give us some time to learn, grow and mold him.

I’m not cut out for this parenting thing because my moods are too sharp. I am impatient and short-tempered. I am selfish and I am at times the worst decision maker on Earth. This is why I am choosing not to expel any from my womb biologically. But I’ll be damned if I give up on this kid at this young age. So we’re beginning bootcamp starting this weekend. He’s probably gonna end up hating me, but I’ll be damned if I see him taken out of mainstream classrooms where he’s thriving to be put him a class where he’s not challenged and being catered to. I won’t allow it.

 

This was a bit all over the place, but my brain has been racing since the meeting and I needed to get this out. Thanks to anyone who reads. : )