Thursday, June 9, 2011

Negotiating IEPs

I'm entirely too wiped out to be wearing Mom Cave Shoes right now, which is exactly why I've made myself put them on. I just loaded my dishwasher wearing them--not very gracefully, I might add.

A small group of friends and I just spent nearly three hours going over one child's current and future placement at school. It is CSE time--negotiating time with district Committees on Special Education. We looked at individualized education plans (IEPs) and behavioral plans. We talked about classrooms and behaviors. We talked about teachers and functioning levels of the student. It is such a PROCESS. Thank goodness for our circle of fellow parents.

My family has had had five years of school age CSE seasons with our older son, yet he is so complex and requires so many services that it usually takes several meetings each season to finalize his plan. I have definitely depended upon the advice of those around me as we work our way through state regulations in an effort to get our son the best program possible. My husband and I both have law degrees, and we even had to hire an attorney once to help us advocate for our son.

It can be done. With work and with planning, it is entirely possible for parents to navigate the special education system for their children. But today I sit here in my Shoes, and I'm concerned. I'm concerned for the moms that don't have a circle. I'm concerned for the kids that don't have strong advocates. I'm concerned for the parents with support but no direction. I'm concerned for the families who don't understand the politics involved. I'm just concerned.

Services are not handed out on a silver platter. Well, a certain amount are, but, are they the right services? Are they services which will help the child in the direct ares of need?

Does each IEP really take into account the individual child?

Next week, we begin the process again with our younger son, and, before I start to edit the drafts of his paperwork for those meetings,I'm wearing my Mom Cave Shoes for a burst of energy. I'll look forward to having CSE season settled so that we all can just go back to our regular, irregular lives.


  1. Right on, Amy! Those are my concerns, as well. I often wonder if my own kids' IEP can't be tweaked even further.

    Can't imagine how parents without support groups or those without education backgrounds muddle through it all...

    It is a PROCESS, and one that takes so much time and consideration, not only from parents, but from providers struggling to get reports done while continuing with their everyday workload teaching kids.

    So much time from so many sources, and though valuable for planning, it is indirect time to the kids.


  2. Is any IEP perfect? I doubt it. But, negotiation is also part of the process. You have to factor in give and take with the district...