My son has been on an IEP since he was in first grade; he is now in 5th. His IEP falls into the category of Other Health Impairment. My son has a number of medical conditons including Epilepsy, Anxiety Disorder, ADD, Sensory Integration, Tourettes, and Tremors. Along with these medical issues he has a number of learning disabilties. Reading is real difficult; right now he is reading at the level of year-end 2nd grader. He is about one year behind in math. And is not able to print or write.
My experience has been if I come up with a recommendation backed by a medical professional the school will put the suggestions into the IEP. My son has had extensive neuropsych testing by neuropsychologists who do not work for the school. My issues fall into 3 categories:
1. If I or medical expert do not present an idea to adjust the educational process to make my son's needs, the school rarely comes up with ideas of their own.
2. The goals in his IEP never seem to get accomplished. He has always been rated "Making Progress." So I don't see items accomplished.
3. When something is agreed to and it involves assisted technology, the school does not devote enough time to get the technology working or integrated into the school setting. For example, they tried for 2 years using voice recognition software and never did get it working. I even bought the software for at home. We got it working, but the school did not.
4. I beleive my son lost out on any progress for his entire 4th grade due to attitudes of teachers.
5. The school does not seem capable of dealing with a child that is in the middle of the road between main stream students versus severly mentally handicapped.
6. The school is not capable of dealing with disabilties that may be related to psychological factors.
I feel like my son is being left to fall further and further behind. They show no urgency in anything they do. They just seem to be going through the motions.
I also they worry about funding more than what needs to be done for my child.
It takes them months to implement anything. One time it took them almost 3 months to make contact with a psychologist who had made some recommendations dealing with the Tourettes and Anxiety. Three months! Ridiculous.
Also, when we facing the first year of the state tests, the IEP became all about the state tests and the accomadations that need to be done. It took up the majority of time in our IEP meeting. Then it turns out he is not required to take the test. The priorities are just not right.
Then the biggest thing that sent me over the edge occurred last year. I had been paying for my own tutor for two years, including summers, to help my son with reading. I then see a notification to the parents that the school is going to offer free tutors after school to help children with their reading, and the tutoring was done by the teachers of the school. The notice said more information would be coming shortly. So I waited about a month and heard nothing. So I asked the principal what was going on. He told me that they had selected students who would be helped and they did not select my son. He said they picked students that were on the borderline of being at their grade level. I asked the principal how they could do that and that my son deserved just as much free access to free tutoring as any other student. I warned him that he had better evaluate this process, because he is going to get sued. He was pretty silent. After hearing about this, I think they were giving special tutoring so they could impact the state tests. We will see what happens this year. I will be watching.
Sorry for all of the random thoughts. I am very frustrated with the IEP process and the school systems themselves. I feel like I need to intervene in more ways than I am, but am not sure what I should do. And this is only elementary school - what is this process going to be like in middle school or high school?