Last month I took Sophie to her evaluation appointment needed for our first IEP and transition into the school system. I was nervous but it really was an easy process. We met with a Psychologist and a Speech and Language Pathologist. They were so nice and taken with Sophie. They agreed she really needed good services and would do their best to help. We discussed our planned relocation and they explained that an IEP is a legal document that would be honored wherever we moved. I walked out of there felling so great!
The day before our scheduled IEP appointment I got a call that there was a scheduling conflict and they needed to reschedule plus they were not prepared so I agreed with no problem. I would prefer everyone be on the same page and ready for us. So it was moved to three weeks later. I declined the offer of Sophie’s Special Instruction teacher to accompany me because I really thought it was going to be a great experience and I did not want her to miss working for me. I really wish I would have taken her up on that offer!
The appointment was set for 2pm. I drove to my hubby’s job to switch cars, I took his and he took the babies and headed to pick up the boys from school. I arrived 15 minutes early. When I arrived I stood and rang the buzzer for several minutes and when no one let me in went around to the other entrance by the school. I was then taken back to a room where people I had never seen started introducing themselves and sat down to start the meeting when I looked down and realized I was in the wrong meeting. I was then taken back out to waiting area and the SLP that evaled Sophie walked by to make copies and saw me. She called over to the rest of her team which refused to go to her side of the building. Apparently they were stressed, yes I heard the whole conversation. She then leaned over the counter and went over the goals she had set for Sophie with me. She then handed me a copy for myself and one for the group and sent me on my way. So I headed to the other building where someone was waiting for me with the door open. I see the psychologist and another woman who would be taking over the file once the IEP is done (like a coordinator). In the meeting room was the person who is my contact and the one that did our initial pre-qualification interview along with someone from Deaf and Hard of Hearing. So it was myself alone with four other women. I felt so clueless!
When I sat down they asked where was the SLP, as if I knew, and started bickering amongst themselves about her not being there. Apparently she was supposed to be there but was not. I felt as if I was in a room full of teenagers. It was a mess! I was there for two hours and they spent more time discussing what the policies were than the IEP. Apparently their OT never got back to them so they will not add it to the IEP despite my request, but that’s ok because they included it in the part of why I was not happy with the IEP. Are you f-ing kidding me! Well we can give her PT they said and I argued, she needs more OT then PT but no I guess they know my child better than me. I try to be very nice and I held it all in. I wanted to scream and blow up something.
Sophie should have been evaluated by someone from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing before we even went to the meeting but of course no one did it. I then had to listen to the “who would be Coordinator” talk to me about the medically equipped facilities they had for children as if I’m just doing this because I feel like it. She then pointed out that the release gives her and her program the authority to check my child’s medical records periodically as if threatening me as to her qualifications for the Medically Homebound program.
I should not have to defend our decision to keep our child home because I am trying to keep her alive! This is beyond ridiculous. What part of compromised immune system do they not get. Her doctors all agree she is safer in a secluded environment who they hell are they to question that?!
My daughter is considered as significantly delayed according to her test scores. She is classified as Developmentally Disabled and they give me 120 minutes a week of teaching time. How the HELL is that going to do her any good!! Oh and 60 minutes of Speech therapy, let’s not forget that. A nonverbal significantly delayed child with a total of 180 minutes a week of learning/therapy. I am beyond livid! I HATE the PALM BEACH COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM. If I would send her to school she would get a ton more time, how does that make sense! So to make their job easier they would prefer I place her in a setting that could potentially kill her because according to them she will do better with other children. Other children that can carry bacteria that can be deadly to my child. I just don’t understand how this is justifiable!
And to top it all off I did not even get to bring home the IEP because they are still working on it! And instead of activating her IEP they extended her through Early Steps through the summer for 60 minutes of each Special Instruction and Speech. Her IEP will not take effect until August and by then they would need her to be re-qualified medically, your f-ing kidding me!
What a horrible experience I had! I could do without seeing any of them ever again, well, except for the woman who did the Hard of Hearing eval she seemed to be the only caring one there. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry! It’s so hard to sit there and listen to people talk about your child in a way that sets limits to who they are. To then have to fight for services they should automatically be entitled to is heart breaking.
I did however have the pleasure of pointing out that Florida is one of the worst states to raise children with special needs and the school system sucks here! I did not care that they looked pissed off! The truth hurts!
Our first IEP SUCKED big time but this won’t stop me. We will keep moving forward! I am grateful I am taking the montessori courses, that I will have the ability to teach her myself!