I probably should have pounded a few of these before yesterday's meeting, or at least brought some lube.
Yes, it was one of those IEP meetings, however I managed to walk out - 2 hours later - with exactly what I wanted.
*NOTE* Not only was it one of those IEP meetings, it is now going to be one of those posts. Some of you will want to stop reading now. Please do!
When we checked in at the office (Mike attends these meetings with me) I learned that there were several people attending the meeting who were not on the original invite (that's a BIG procedural no-no).
Although I walked in with an open mind and a good attitude, finding 8 teachers and administrators in the conference room, when I was expecting to see 3, kind of soured my good attitude.
The first part of the meeting was to decide if Cam is still eligible for special education services (his trieneal determination).
Cam has been on an IEP since he was 6. When we lived in Minnesota, he qualified for services under the "Autism" disability category. Illinois doesn't use that category, instead lumping autism (and several other disability categories) under "Other Health Impairment" (OHI). Cam has qualified for special education services under OHI for the past 9 years. This should have been routine.
All was well and good until the Education Service Specialist summarized the determination review, stating that he recommended Cam qualify for services under the Emotional Disturbance (ED) category, with OHI being secondary.
Why did this happen?
Because there were questions surrounding why Cam originally received services under the autism designation when he had never had an autism diagnosis. Because I trusted school administrative personnel when I had been told by a medical professional not to.
It was my fault.
I shared - in confidence - Cam's original diagnosis with the school social worker and the Education Service Specialist in a meeting we had in October.
When Cam was diagnosed with Aperger's, he was also diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Both diagnoses were printed on the report that I shared with the school social worker and the Education Service Specialist, and even though I was clear that I was providing the report for informational purposed only (not to be included in his permanent record), the Education Service Specialist chose to ignore my instructions.
He took one look at that ODD diagnosis and ran with it. ODD is a conduct disorder.
Kids with conduct disorders are often placed in self-contained learning environments as they are considered dangerous - their behavior is consistently troubling to others and outside of the range of what is considered normal or acceptable. Kids with conduct disorders often show little remorse, guilt, or understanding of the damage and the pain inflicted by their behavior.
This is where I needed the lube. The Education Service Specialist was fucking me right up the ass, and he wasn't even sneaky about it.
There were some terse words. I refused to accept the ED designation - Cam's behaviors do not meet the criteria for ED and I sure as hell wasn't going to allow the Education Service Specialist to focus on one component of a 10-year old diagnosis while ignoring all of the other more recent test data available.
Eventually, I won.
It wasn't pretty.
It was insightful.
My suspicions that the administration wants to outplace Cam? Confirmed.
And their plan to do so? Currently foiled.
Now ... to figure out how I'm going to keep things this way for the next 18 months ...