International Adoption Book

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yet Another IEP Meeting

I attended C's IEP meeting this morning. I was really rather pleased with how the IEP was written. C's Deaf/HoH teacher was able to include some of my needs for C, albeit in a manner more fitting to what can be included in an IEP rather than my specific demands. I must admit that I was quite worried that my desires (more importantly, what I felt was best for my daughter) wouldn't be addressed as clearly as their desire to see her speak/use her cochlear implant. So, to say that I was pleasantly surprised that my concerns were addressed as best they could is an understatement.

Oh, I know that they've listened to me all year long (they really do) but they can only do so much with the program that they started within the school district. Especially when they have parents clammoring for so many different communication instructions (most of whom wanted an oral based Total Communication while a select few, okay... Only me, wanted an ASL based program). I actually feel very sorry for C's Deaf/HoH team because of this very reason. And, to be perfectly honest, I'm the biggest culprit.

Knowing how difficult I made their world, I was certain that my concerns would have been brushed over with minimal effort. Oh me of little faith... That trust that I have in Mr. K (who has been my guiding force since moving here) should have seeped over onto everyone else.

Needless to say, each and every one of my desires for C's education were placed in the IEP in the best manner Mrs. H could possibly add them. So, my sincerest thanks to her and her team for listening to my concerns.

I do have to admit, before anyone reading this thinks that this school has done anything to the contrary, that Mrs. H and Mr. K have both completely understood and empathsized with me regarding C's education. In a nutshell, C was removed from an amazing deaf/hoh Total Communication program that was well established with an emphasis on ASL and SEE (for reading) and had numerous children her age who all signed as their main corm of communication and placed in a new Total Communication program that was Oral Based and designed for preschoolers. This means that she's been mainstreamed for Kindergarten and goes to the Self-Contained Deaf/HoH classroom in the afternoon. The initial school gave C the social ability to interact with her peers (and by peers I FIRMLY mean other DEAF children within her own age range). She completely lost this ability since the students she got put with are her HEARING peers. Though C can interact well with anyone, she does best in a situation where she is able to interact with those who are most like her (just as the rest of humanity does).

So, though the program C is currently in is doing very well (and is expanding tremendously), it just was not what I felt was right for C. Seriously, would you willingly move your child from a school where they are getting A's and excelling at everything they do to a school where nobody was like them and where your child had to rely on a select few adults to interact with their peers? This would be the same as taking your child from an English speaking school and placing them in a Deaf school with an interpreter and expecting them to do well and socialize with the other kids. It's not fair to do that to a hearing child, so why do that to a deaf child?

This is my philosophy and I fought for this change for the majority of the school year. Obviously, I had to conceed and it's turned out fine (not as good as if she were in the other program, but I've been fairly content with her progress). It's been great to hear that she's in the top of her class for reading! And she's so smart and able to adjust to whatever environment she is put into, so I rarely worry. I just want the absolute BEST for my children!

And, I think that Mrs. H was able to accommodate most of my concerns, while leaving the IEP open just enough to be able to work more fuildy within C's perameters (since she's so swift at picking up new tools).

In fact, Mrs. Kinder-H (C's Kindergarten teacher) validated my concerns by stating that her students want to interact with C but always needed the interpreters help to talk with her. In so doing, they loose the one-on-one interaction, though they would try. In addition, Mrs. Kinder-H felt that C never connected with her. It wasn't until yesterday while I was waiting to pick M up from school that C acknowledged her with a huge wave and a smile, the first time C has acknoweldged her without prompting.

So, with a hearty thanks to Mrs. H, Mrs. Kinder-H, Mr. K (especially) and the ENTIRE team who worked with C, Thank You for all you have done this year and for putting up with a demanding parent!

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