The IEP Meme.

Rather regularly, parents have been writing about the struggles they undergo in attempting to obtain appropriate educational services for their children.  We write about the fights, the attempt to give us less and “save money” by the schools and the deception they engage in to get us to take it.  We write about getting additional minutes of this or that or extra services. I don’t find that we always clearly share what our children are receiving as a result of the IEP.

This really hit me when Lizbeth at Four Sea Stars posted a photo of her son in class which shows a number of his accommodations. This was an eye-opening post for me and I urge you to check it out here.   When I saw all the things her son has to help him out, I felt lame.  Because my son does not have a single one of these.  And hopefully, Lizbeth will comment here and let us know how effective those things have been in helping him get through his school day.

Most of the blogs I follow regularly have written a piece (or 10) on IEPs.  I think it would be helpful to all of the autism community (and hey- me), as well as to newly diagnosed families just finding us, to learn what “tools” and services have been provided as accommodations to those of us who have battle scars.  We may learn things from each other that we just didn’t even realize were helpful (or not).

So, that being said, I’m sharing today, what Tootles receives as a result of his currently out of date IEP.  I’m considering this post a “meme”.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to thank me…  But by tagging people – I’m trying to get all of us comparative help in preparation for our future IEPs.

Each of us has loads to offer on the battlefield but what tools and services are we really all fighting for?  Do we know what is available?  By the way, who is paying for those special things?

So, simply put, as I tag you, and hoping that you are willing to share, there are only three things I’m looking for answers to in this meme:

  1. A list of tools (special chairs, iPad, visual schedules, gums, chewlery, squishees, headphones, whatever devices help focus and sensory issues);
  2. Services (Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA, TEACCH, Special Ed teaching rooms, aides during class, tutors, etc. ) and how many hours per week of each your child receives;
  3. Your opinions of the effectiveness of (1) and (2) above.

I know. I know.  Every child with a special need is different and requires different accommodations.  Beyond that, I think we will find common ground.  We may find that despite the emphasis on the differences, the school districts may be offering the same stuff to everyone.  Who knows until we share?

The goal is that the next time any of us is faced with an upcoming IEP we can peruse our friends’ lists and see what may be useful to our own child.

With that said, I’ll first share my answers with you:

A.  Tools/Assistive Devices.

Nada in terms of what the school district provides to my son.  They have given us nothing.  Zilch.  They’ve offered nothing.  I’ve asked for nothing.  I have Tootles take his iPad to kindergarten with him every day.  It is used as a positive reinforcement for listening in class.   He is allowed to take about 1 minute outside class to have the reinforcement after getting through “centers” where he must do an activity that requires following instruction in a group setting by the teachers to the class as a whole rather than individual instruction.  It is used alternatively as reinforcement with his Nintendo DS – also provided from home.

B.  Services:

Occupational Therapy: The school provides one 45 minute session of Occupational Therapy, individually to Tootles, one time per week with their OT.  The sessions usually consist of joint compression brushing, riding on a tire swing, crawling through a tunnel carrying puzzle pieces he puts inside the puzzle on the other side and either hopping on a trampoline or playing some type of catch ball for about 5 minutes.  While Tootles enjoys this time and loves his OT, I have seen no improvement in his focus or abilities as a result of this intervention.

We privately pay for a separate 50 minute session of OT at a private facility.  At this facility, I have seen him grow.  I’ve seen his oral sensitivity decrease.  I’ve seen his focus increase at times – but inconsistently.  I’ve seen his core strength grow with the rigorous exercise the OT there puts him through (he does about 30 sit ups in a row during his sessions there).  She too, does joint compression and brushing but it is just more skilled in execution.  He does a zipline combined with falling into a bean bag where he is squished.  He walks an obstacle course, swings in a dark swing on occasion, does sit ups and works on either a writing activity for his fine motor skills or works on his oral sensitivities chewing and swallowing.  This is worth the expenditure.

Speech Therapy: The school again, provides one 45 minute session of Speech Therapy per week.  Quite frankly, I feel this Speech Therapist’s personality is not conducive to good progress with my son.  She is very kind but she treats my son – how do I say this?  Like he’s much further behind in his skills than he is.  For his part, my son manipulates her and I don’t think he takes her seriously at all.  He intermittently listens to her and spends the rest of the time doing the bare minimum.   She is nice.  I’ve tried to get her to listen to the recommendations of our ABA provider and she has tried to implement these but she just does not have the personality to carry it off successfully with my kid.

Again, we privately pay for a separate 50 minutes of Speech Therapy at the same private facility my son attends for OT.  The Speech Therapists there have varied but the one who he has now has been with him for the better part of a year.  He is an exceptional teacher.  On one occasion, I had our ABA Case Manager attend a speech therapy session with this teacher (early on) and Tootles.  She made suggestions that he took to heart.  He is stern and strong with Tootles but also a lot of fun.  He makes my son work, takes copious notes and gives me detailed reports after each therapy session showing me progress, and areas to work on in our home.  Again, night and day contrast with the school district personnel.

ABA –  The school district currently funds three hours per day, five days a week of Tootles, EIBT program.  This is Early Intensive Behavioral Therapy.  This means that the school is funding a full-time one-on-one ABA/EIBT trained professional tutor who attends school with my son every day.  [They don’t want to do that anymore and this is the source of our current fight.]

Tootles is in kindergarten five days a week for 3.25 hours per day.  After school, when he is not in speech or OT, he has about another 10.5 hours per week of ABA run programs where he works one-on-one with an ABA trained therapist on different skills including desensitization to dropping things in the car or changes in routine, eating skills, school transition skills, play skills, reading comprehension skills, behavioral skills (loud versus quiet voices) etc.  The remainder of this weekly EIBT time is funded by a California state program for special needs children.

So, there you have it.  Our world of services (no accommodative devices).

I want to say I tag all of you because I really want to know what each of you gets and what you think of it.  And if you do want to do it, consider yourself tagged.  In particular though, I think tagging four (4) people is fair and I’m very curious about what you are doing and how good it is.  Since Lizbeth was my inspiration, you can blame her and she escapes (I leave it to you to tag her).  Here are my chosen victims:

Grace at That’s Right I Said It Dot Mom because you foolishly commented on the Lizbeth post I referenced above, and I want to know more about Ryan’s dislike for the disco seat and the gum;

Rhonda at Going Insane, Wanna Come (I have no idea what you think of the meme because I don’t remember seeing you do one but I am too curious not to tag you because Tommy is older and you are an expert at IEPs);

Kelly at Unplanned Trip to Holland (because even though the boys may not be in a public school right now, I know you are brilliant and got an advocate and kicked some butt at the last IEP); and

Flannery at Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles because I know that she too has IEPs and accommodations and is tough and smart (and I’ve been thinking of Flat Flannery and how much I miss her – why did she go away?)…

Hope this becomes a resource we can click on and turn to for support!  Happy Monday!

I'm supposed to have some sort of badge and I'm just no good at that so you can consider this meme badgeless or use this unity photo as the meme badge...

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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34 Responses to The IEP Meme.

  1. Awesome post and awesome idea!! Can’t wait to read more!

  2. Flannery says:

    Oh geez, how will I write about the IEP madness in 800 words or less?

    I will try….

  3. Thanks so much!!!!! Im so happy to do this. I LOVE the meme hahaaaa!!! My daughter and hubs are meme addicts lol

  4. Lizbeth says:

    This is a great idea Karen. I think that’s part of the reason why I post about school and accommodations so much—-so other people can see what we’re doing and hopefully others can use (or not use) what will work for them or get some new ideas. I’ve not yet put up the IEP tab up top—too much to do, so little time.

    Remember for us, Alex is in second grade. In KG I was clueless. CLUELESS. Because I didn’t know anything about the whole IEP process, what to ask for and even who to ask….

    Thanks for the mention. Muwwah. 🙂

  5. Karla (Mom2MissK) says:

    Great idea, Karen! I also look forward to seeing what folks have to say!

    And look… I learned my lesson – no “neeners” this time 😉

  6. blogginglily says:

    I’m hurt that I wasn’t tagged. But. . . not so hurt that I want to BE tagged. Please do NOT tag me. . . I just said that to make you feel guilty.

    *deletes comment*

  7. Teresa says:

    Thank goodness someone is being proactive. The IEP was making me cry and feel helpless 25 years ago. I can’t wait to read what is working. You Rock!

  8. Grace says:

    Wait. . .there’s an 800 word limit?? I’m in trouble.

    Seriously, this is a great idea. I’m on it. Give me a few days, though. My schedule this week is even more insane than usual. And thanks for thinking of me.

  9. Thanks for posting this and thanks for sharing Lizbeth’s post with us. It was very helpful. Right now, all we get is Speech and OT. Gonna def work on some other stuff for next year. Luckily for us, my lil guy is still in Pre-k so we haven’t lost a lot of time. Good luck to you with getting all the services/accommodations that may help your son.

  10. Blue says:

    This is a great idea– can’t wait to read the posts that come from this!

  11. solodialogue says:

    Thank you all for thinking this idea is a good one! The first IEP Meme link is up! Yay and THANK YOU SO MUCH to Rhonda at Going Insane Wanna Come? Her post is truly enlightening! Check it out http://pugariffic.blogspot.com/2012/01/iep-meme.html

  12. solodialogue says:

    Yay for Grace at That’s Right I Said It Dot Mom!! She has posted her tools and services for her son on her blog with some interesting info. Here’s a link http://thatsrightisaiditdotmom.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/the-iep-meme/

  13. WOW – I love this idea. This is my first time here. But I am happy to link up. 🙂

  14. Jen says:

    I am jealous of your aba program. K could use that, but they staunchly refuse to provide any aba, whatesoever. She’s apparently too old at this point, which is a load of you know what, and why we pay a premium for an advocate to fight. Sigh… all that stuff he is working on we desperately need help with, too.

  15. This is a great idea! We have IEPs, but with both kids transitioning into Kindergarten and middle school this year, which is uncharted IEP territory, I have been looking for ideas. I’ll post what we’ve done in upper elem and preschool for them.

  16. Thank you for this! It has already proved helpful since my son’s IEP meeting is on Monday and the idea of a 3 hour day with ABA at home is just exactly the solution we’ve been looking for in some of our disagreements with his team. I sent them this as a suggestion and they seemed receptive. It seems that no one in our district has ever requested a shortened day for their child. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Best of luck to you with Tootles, and thanks again.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you for using this resource! I hope the shortened day works for your son. My son is just missing his “art” and “science” at kindergarten by a shortened day and he already know so much about science and has so little interest in art that his time is better spent honing other skills. It was suggested by our EIBT team behaviorist. Best of luck with your IEP! 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      My son also does the shortened kindy day, with 3 hours of ABA in the afternoon. It works quite well. I hope it does for your son! My son has made huge strides over the past 5 months using this arrangement.

  17. Jenn Garcia says:

    I have two sons on the spectrum ages 16 and 7 and I want to thank you ladies for all the wealth of information. As far as I am concerned, I will never be too informed. I am always learning. I plan on catching up on all meme’s starting now. =) Again, thank you.

  18. eof737 says:

    great approach to getting more insight on those dreadful IEPs 🙂

  19. Pingback: At Long Last, the IEP Meme « Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

  20. solodialogue says:

    So excited to share Flannery’s take on The IEP Meme. She has so much good advice and another perspective on what the school will offer and give (or not give) Check it out! http://theconnorchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/at-long-last-the-iep-meme/

  21. solodialogue says:

    Another Mama has shared her IEP tools and services. Karla at Beyond the Dryer Vent gives us her daughter’s tools and services here – http://beyondthedryervent.blogspot.com/2012/01/iep-meme.html

  22. solodialogue says:

    Kelly at Unplanned Trip to Holland has posted her IEP Meme. Go,http://bit.ly/z7tvSW learn more! I’m going to make a special page so we can all access it whenever an IEP comes our way. Hope to have it up by next week. Please feel free to keep posting links as you see them here!

  23. solodialogue says:

    Another great blogger has listed her tools and services – Jen is an experienced IEP’er (is that a word?) Check out what her daughter is receiving here! http://bit.ly/yCJjzM

  24. solodialogue says:

    Alysia from Try Defying Gravity has posted a slightly different take on the IEP Meme – reminding us that doing homework is an important part of preparing! Here’s a link http://trydefyinggravity.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/we-can-work-it-out

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  26. Pingback: What we get……the IEP Meme | Outrunning The Storm

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  28. Thought you might appreciate this post. http://wp.me/p13tWP-56

  29. Erin says:

    This is great! I noticed a few other bloggers doing this over the winter- now I see where they got the idea. What a great resource! Thanks for sending me the link. You – yourself and your blog- are a great friend to have on this journey. 🙂 thanks again.

  30. Pingback: What Our 504 Looks Like « life on the "j" train

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