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22 Dec 2016, 12:40 pm

My son's teacher wants to do IEP meetings. My son is 10 and he attends a private school. We've started the process, but I have NO idea what IEPs really do/accomplish/etc.

Can you tell me about your IEP experiences?


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ASDMommyASDKid
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22 Dec 2016, 1:39 pm

We were in public school, so I can't speak to the differences in what private schools do.

Your experience, thought will depend on what the needs of your child are. Does the teacher want it in place in case there are issues so thing s can move faster? Is there a need currently for academic or behavioral support/modifications or accommodations.

It will be easier for us to answer if we know what the goals are.

It involves a meeting with a myriad of professional, in our case, it was the teacher, principal, district rep, and professionals who were relevant like the speech teacher.

It is nice if you can get a pre-meeting meeting and hash out details before the meeting in case something need to be signed. Often they will expect you to sign at the end of the meeting, and I don't like that. it is better to make them give it to you in advance or ask for time to review it, if you don't immediately love it. Or just in case you think of something later.



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22 Dec 2016, 2:47 pm

I think it would be for behavioral support and accommodations.

My son has wild mood swings, trouble with transitions, and sensory issues. He loves the planet and nature more than humans and sees humans as a threat to nature (this is the one thing I want him to be inspired by and move through and not end up antisocial). (A lot of people use the word "antisocial" incorrectly...like to say they are introverted. That's asocial. I meant to say antisocial. I don't want him to end up being against humans.)

His teacher decided to give him unlimited time and the ability to read quietly aloud when he took the language portion of the Star test.

He tested maybe 5-10 grade levels ahead in 1st grade and he hasn't really grown a ton educationally since then and that gap is closing. He's still at least a grade level ahead in everything, but if you look at his accomplishments they've been stagnant.

HOWEVER, I'm not terribly concerned with that (and neither is his teacher). It honestly doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't have the social skills to get people to listen to you. You know?

Our public system will do a one-time IEP set-up and then we can do it by ourselves after that. So, I've started that process.

Does that info help?

He also is developmentally behind in fine motor skills.


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I have been diagnosed with Aspergers and MERLD
I have significant chronic medical conditions as well


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22 Dec 2016, 3:06 pm

There are a lot of things that can be out into an IEP. WrightsLaw (website) has a lot of information, maybe too much, on a lot of what issues may crop up.

The advantages to an IEP process in that your child will have modifications and accommodations in writing, and legally they have to provide what is in there.

So if he needs longer times for tests or whatever else it would be in effect codified. You have to be careful with at b/c it means that if something is not working, they still have to do it. For example. My son was put in a time out b/c he refused to participate in daily motor lab that was put in there to calm him down. He got upset at being pulled, and then they punished him and made him more upset. So if something like this is a possibility put something in there with wriggle room for your child (not them).

Edited to add: We home school now, so I don't have the old IEPs handy, but what we had was a behavioral plan that outlined strategies of how to deal with meltdowns and that kind of thing. it also contained his OT and Speech services and goals, as well as social goals for how he should deal with other kids. it does not guarantee that they will work on these things with your child, but at least they can be held somewhat accountable if there is little goal progress and you can ask them why they think there is low progress, and get other specific assistance added explicitly, if needed.

Also if your child is having social issues with people and/or pragmatic speech issues, he might be eligible for speech and that can be put in the IEP. OT for fine motor skills can be out in there as well. Often times you have one IEP meeting to call for the testing to be done, and than once the testing is done, another IEP meeting to talk about the services they will offer (or not) based on this testing.

It is very important to make sure you know what they are planning to discuss ahead of time, and it is usually a good idea for them to know in advance what you want. This usually saves time, and can cut down on the number of meetings.

They generally add goals that are separate from the curriculum, that are individual to your child with what everyone wants to see him accomplish. They are theoretically measurable and usually look something like, "Student will do x thing 75% of the time" Then they keep track of the progress and change the goals either upping the percentage or upgrading the actual goal.



Last edited by ASDMommyASDKid on 22 Dec 2016, 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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22 Dec 2016, 4:29 pm

Thanks. I'm still super confused.

What would be an example of something that would be in the IEP?

It's a small private school and his teacher emails me easily, so I would imagine changes would be easier. I would think..


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22 Dec 2016, 5:48 pm

Well, there might be socialization goals, behavioral goals. There may be goals for fine motor skills. It depends on what your kid needs. If he needs speech, or OT, that would be in there too.

Here are some online examples and info. Obviously they are not designed with your child specifically in mind.

http://trainland.tripod.com/sample.htm
http://www.autism-society.org/living-wi ... -plan-iep/
https://www.naset.org/fileadmin/user_up ... or_ASD.pdf

A lot of the examples are not necessarily based on kids who are super advanced academically, but the process is the same. The goals are just tailored for what your child needs.

The other thing is, even if you have a super responsive cooperative teacher now this keeps the school accountable for making sure the next teacher has to follow whatever modifications etc. are decided.



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24 Dec 2016, 9:35 am

screen_name wrote:
HOWEVER, I'm not terribly concerned with that (and neither is his teacher). It honestly doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't have the social skills to get people to listen to you. You know?


Disagree there. The social skills have less and less currency nowadays. I had a friend that had zero social skill, behaved like an 8 years old. He nonetheless got a job at Goldman Sachs. Worked for a few years, made enough money to retire. Last I heard he was living on an island with his dad. I can still find him over the net, helping people to solve impossible mathematical problems. What's in high demand today is creativity in problem solving, not social skills. That's today, it'll be even more so tomorrow.

You have the priorities of your son backward. You want him to be an average Joe. You would be so happy to see him as an average Joe. But he is not your average Joe. His destiny is not to fit in, but to stand out. His destiny is not to be a follower, but a leader.

I did not fully feel comfortable making eye contacts until into my thirties. I was a shy person, too. Nowadays I don't have eye contact issues anymore, and I can stand up in meetings, be respected, and see the audience paying full attention to me. The only wish I have is that this type of things could have happened earlier. See, I built radio receiver/transmitters when I have 9 years old. However, neither my family nor my school have created opportunities for me to present my results to a larger audience. I learned some German through listening to shortwave radio while a teenager. Though I don't remember my German, now, I still speak 5 and a half languages. See, these kids have their interests, your job is to develop them in the direction of their interests.

Quote:
He also is developmentally behind in fine motor skills.

That's intended by Mother Nature. Look, autism is not something new. It has been with us for about 50,000 years, in my opinion. I always like to bring up the example of baby turtles. On day one, baby sea turtles are able to break out of their egg shells, start to crawl, then run to the ocean, jump into the water, start to swim, and fetch food to feed themselves. On day one they are fully independent. If you measure them with a tIQ scale ("turtle independence quotient"), they'd score 100 percent. Now, you measure a human baby on the tIQ scale, and they'd score 0 percent. Question: do humans need to set up IEPs to help baby humans to crawl, swim and fetch food for themselves so that they can achieve the milestones of baby turtles, on day one? We don't do that, right? Everyone would think that's crazy, that it would be child abuse trying to force newborn babies to do what baby turtles can do. Yet, we commit the same child abuse with the autistic children in our society, and nobody says anything. It's kind of silly to lament about baby humans when you compare them to baby turtles, right? Sure, baby humans are so much weaker: they need to wrapped in a blanket, they need to wear diapers. But have turtles ever developed a written language, or made a rocket to send their folks to the Moon? I don't think so.

Autism has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. It's a feature, not a bug. It's intended that way, because it helps to the survival of human clans. These kids have powerful brains. Their physical weakness is what has allowed them, historically speaking, to be excused from physical activities. That's how they acquired time to do the brainy work, and made a difference to the survival of their clans, by participating in strategy planning, accounting, tool development, weapon system design, etc. Without their physical weakness, they would have been drafted into physical work and do all the fighting, and would have no chance to contribute with their brain power. The stone age was extremely violent. Clans that had those physically weak geeky guys had a much better chance of survival than clans that did not have those physically weak geeky guys. (That is still true today.) Guess what? Those weak geeky guys couldn't compete in the mating market when they were younger, and got no women to marry and make babies. However, they of course acquired power later in life with their contributions, right? That's precisely what we see today: the chance of having autistic children grows significantly with parental age. Trust me, it's all been encoded by Mother Nature into our collective genes: she knows precisely what we need in today's society, when more and more people are getting higher education, postponing marriage and/or having babies. Symbiotic engineering. Don't underestimate the wisdom of Mother Nature: she's had more DNA molecules to play with, than the total memory capacity of all our supercomputers, combined.

Sure, that's how Mother Nature made us the way we are. It doesn't mean we need to follow Mother Nature all the way. It's always good to find some sport for your children. Jogging, biking, swimming, or just going to the gym, are all good things to do. Fine motor skills and gross motor skills are together. As for team sport? Uh, I was hit with a soccer ball on my face in high school. In grad school a Swiss roommate told me that soccer was fun and that I should join him. The same guy then stepped on my hand with those spiky shoes when I fell down. No thanks. I've never played soccer ever again. Ha ha.


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24 Dec 2016, 9:54 am

eikonabridge wrote:
screen_name wrote:
HOWEVER, I'm not terribly concerned with that (and neither is his teacher). It honestly doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't have the social skills to get people to listen to you. You know?


Disagree there. The social skills have less and less currency nowadays. I had a friend that had zero social skill, behaved like an 8 years old. He nonetheless got a job at Goldman Sachs. Worked for a few years, made enough money to retire. Last I heard he was living on an island with his dad. I can still find him over the net, helping people to solve impossible mathematical problems. What's in high demand today is creativity in problem solving, not social skills. That's today, it'll be even more so tomorrow.

You have the priorities of your son backward. You want him to be an average Joe. You would be so happy to see him as an average Joe. But he is not your average Joe. His destiny is not to fit in, but to stand out. His destiny is not to be a follower, but a leader.

I did not fully feel comfortable making eye contacts until into my thirties. I was a shy person, too. Nowadays I don't have eye contact issues anymore, and I can stand up in meetings, be respected, and see the audience paying full attention to me. The only wish I have is that this type of things could have happened earlier. See, I built radio receiver/transmitters when I have 9 years old. However, neither my family nor my school have created opportunities for me to present my results to a larger audience. I learned some German through listening to shortwave radio while a teenager. Though I don't remember my German, now, I still speak 5 and a half languages. See, these kids have their interests, your job is to develop them in the direction of their interests.

Quote:
He also is developmentally behind in fine motor skills.

That's intended by Mother Nature. Look, autism is not something new. It has been with us for about 50,000 years, in my opinion. I always like to bring up the example of baby turtles. On day one, baby sea turtles are able to break out of their egg shells, start to crawl, then run to the ocean, jump into the water, start to swim, and fetch food to feed themselves. On day one they are fully independent. If you measure them with a tIQ scale ("turtle independence quotient"), they'd score 100 percent. Now, you measure a human baby on the tIQ scale, and they'd score 0 percent. Question: do humans need to set up IEPs to help baby humans to crawl, swim and fetch food for themselves so that they can achieve the milestones of baby turtles, on day one? We don't do that, right? Everyone would think that's crazy, that it would be child abuse trying to force newborn babies to do what baby turtles can do. Yet, we commit the same child abuse with the autistic children in our society, and nobody says anything. It's kind of silly to lament about baby humans when you compare them to baby turtles, right? Sure, baby humans are so much weaker: they need to wrapped in a blanket, they need to wear diapers. But have turtles ever developed a written language, or made a rocket to send their folks to the Moon? I don't think so.

Autism has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. It's a feature, not a bug. It's intended that way, because it helps to the survival of human clans. These kids have powerful brains. Their physical weakness is what has allowed them, historically speaking, to be excused from physical activities. That's how they acquired time to do the brainy work, and made a difference to the survival of their clans, by participating in strategy planning, accounting, tool development, weapon system design, etc. Without their physical weakness, they would have been drafted into physical work and do all the fighting, and would have no chance to contribute with their brain power. The stone age was extremely violent. Clans that had those physically weak geeky guys had a much better chance of survival than clans that did not have those physically weak geeky guys. (That is still true today.) Guess what? Those weak geeky guys couldn't compete in the mating market when they were younger, and got no women to marry and make babies. However, they of course acquired power later in life with their contributions, right? That's precisely what we see today: the chance of having autistic children grows significantly with parental age. Trust me, it's all been encoded by Mother Nature into our collective genes: she knows precisely what we need in today's society, when more and more people are getting higher education, postponing marriage and/or having babies. Symbiotic engineering. Don't underestimate the wisdom of Mother Nature: she's had more DNA molecules to play with, than the total memory capacity of all our supercomputers, combined.

Sure, that's how Mother Nature made us the way we are. It doesn't mean we need to follow Mother Nature all the way. It's always good to find some sport for your children. Jogging, biking, swimming, or just going to the gym, are all good things to do. Fine motor skills and gross motor skills are together. As for team sport? Uh, I was hit with a soccer ball on my face in high school. In grad school a Swiss roommate told me that soccer was fun and that I should join him. The same guy then stepped on my hand with those spiky shoes when I fell down. No thanks. I've never played soccer ever again. Ha ha.


I don't want my child to be an average Joe.

He does, however, have things he needs to change. And not to become an average Joe. That's not what I want at all. I just want him to not insult/hurt people. I think that's okay to want to change!

*I am on the spectrum too.*


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I am female, I am married
I have two children (one AS and one NT)
I have been diagnosed with Aspergers and MERLD
I have significant chronic medical conditions as well


eikonabridge
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24 Dec 2016, 1:55 pm

screen_name wrote:
He does, however, have things he needs to change. And not to become an average Joe. That's not what I want at all. I just want him to not insult/hurt people. I think that's okay to want to change!
*I am on the spectrum too.*


Donald Trump insulted/hurt everyone, yet he became the president-elect of the U.S.A. You want to compile a list of people that have told him that he needed to change? How many people have told Donald Trump to change? Did that ever work?

How many people told Bob Dylan that he should attend the Nobel Prize awarding ceremony? Did that work? He did not even show up for Obama's congratulatory event (for the U.S. Nobel Prize winners this year).

-----

This is what I wrote on the other thread.

Your desire is to change his behavior. You have started with your left foot. WHO are you to tell your son to change his behavior, seriously?! Treat him as an equal rights human being, please. Read Dr. Barry Prizant's book titled "Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism," where he said:
"Autism isn't an illness. It's a different way of being human. Children with autism aren't sick; they are progressing through developmental stages as we all do. To help them, we don't need to change or fix them. We need to work to understand them, and then change what we do."
Yeap, the children don't need to change. It's the parents who need to change.

-----

Whether your son wants to change or not, it's NONE of your business. He is sovereign about the decisions he makes. It is not your job to attempt to change your son. Attempting to change behaviors belongs to the realm of
(a) masters trying to change behaviors of slaves
(b) circus animal trainers trying change behaviors of animals

As a parent, your job is to provide shelter to your children, to provide opportunities to your children to grow, to help them to develop connections inside their brains. The rest is not up to you. There is something called "personal sovereignty." Wanting to invade into other people's sovereignty puts you in the categories (a) and (b) above.

What you can do instead is to provide skills to your son, and help him connect his good moments to his bad moments. Help him see that life has positive side to it. Help him see that people are not always evil and that most people have a good side to them. For teenagers, give them a digital voice recorder and tell them how to use it to establish a "space-time wormhole tunnel" to connect their happy worlds to their negative worlds, and vice-versa. See my other thread. Behavior issues, surprisingly, are best handled when your children are happy.


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24 Dec 2016, 3:02 pm

Jason, are you a parent?


Also, I really wish someone would have successfully changed Donald Trump.


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I have significant chronic medical conditions as well


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26 Dec 2016, 12:02 pm

screen_name wrote:


Also, I really wish someone would have successfully changed Donald Trump.


Heh, many people wish that. Honestly, social skills are not Trump's problems. He just pushes the envelope b/c he is entitled and always has been, and is very aware of what he can get away with. That is the opposite of not having social skills. A person without social skills does not know what he can get away with.

Edited to add with regard to the other poster's remarks: Even if you are super smart and developed it does not guarantee that your child will be a special snowflake that society will allow to not follow the rules everyone else has to follow. There is a Latin saying: Quod Licet Jovi, Non Licet Bovi--that translates to what a god may do, an ox may not.

The ability to get out of the ox category in our society mostly hinges on money and status. Being super smart and super intellectually developed not does exempt you. The aspect of our society that is somewhat meritocratic is smaller than it ought to be, and it entails being able to accumulate an educational resume allowing one to get into a good school, and having enough social skills to do that, and to interview for and get a job. For many autistic people there are aspects that act as limiting factors (like in chemical reactions) If you have a huge supply of hydrogen and no oxygen, water is not going to form, no matter how hard you try. I don't believe Mother Nature knows what you need and gives it to you (that is a metaphysical topic if you want to anthropomorphize nature, or religious for many) Your gifts are likely random and you are not guaranteed you will survive with them.

These limiting factors are a major obstacle to many. My son is very spatial, and we are going to be doing geometry next. He is going to be very disappointed if he cannot do the constructions b/c he does not have the motor skills for a compass. I will probably end up letting him use a computer sim model of it, but it is not the same. If he were in public school maybe they would just give him a zero and I would have to persuade them to give an accommodation, like a beggar.

Employers don't give accommodations and there is no guarantee that any one autistic child is going to be the special snowflake who doesn't need to worry about that. That is not wanting your child to be an Average Joe. That is just recognition that most people have to collaborate with peers in their jobs and do other things that are not in the autistic person's natural wheelhouse.

If you look at the modern curriculum and the modern workplace there are many social/communication requirements. Common Core makes you explain everything (even math) Never mind the issue of showing your work, you are expected to translate math into English prose to show comprehension. The problem is if your native language is math like it is for my son, it is akin to asking him to translate English into Spanish. (A language he kind of knows, but is not native to him)

Circling back--that is the point of an IEP: to make sure the limiting factors do not prevent your child from reaching his/her potential.



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26 Dec 2016, 9:46 pm

Hi Screen_name.

A couple of things. Eikonobrigde is one of our more-care-needed contributors around here. Perhaps if you look at the other things he posts, you'll get a clear understanding of what I mean?

I was a special education teacher for about 12 years before I left because it was really hard for me to stay in that profession as an autistic person. Two of those years were spent as a learning specialist in a private school.

An IEP is a legal document that describes in detail the supports that your public school system is going to provide your son because of his disability. IEP stands for individual education plan. It is only provided for students who have a documented disability that is effecting their ability to access a free and appropriate education. Since it is a legal document, professionals get a little weird about it. But it's essentially a pretty simple document. There's a section on the state of your child's disability and educational progress. A statement of your broad goals for him, a section on the smaller, more immediately achievable goals for him, and a section about which professionals are going to provide services (help towards his goals.)

Contrary to what most people think, it IS possible to get an IEP if your kiddo goes to private school. Private school does not release the public school system from it's obligation to provide services. HOWEVER, it is very rarely done. It sounds like your learning specialist has worked the system before. That's great! It might be a good idea to hire the help of a parent advocate or a autsim coach so that you can have someone explain to you what's going on.

(I started doing so myself, as I was spending way too much time on boards like these giving coaching for free. Don't mean to solicit your business. I'm just making a point that we do exist. Sometimes, you can even get parent advocates for free through charity groups who serve families with children who have disabilities.)

Let us know if you have more questions. Try to be as specific as you can. The whole idea of IEPs is huge and broad, and can't really be answered without knowing a lot more about your child and why these services are needed. There are lots of people here with really wonderful experience and we will try to help you as much as we can.



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27 Dec 2016, 9:44 am

*Also, you should know that IEPs, as legal documents, are not easily altered. They cannot be altered by email. There are rules. These rules vary by state, but you and your learning specialist cannot do it alone. There has to be a meeting, notifications for all affected parties. It's a big rigamarole. That's one reason why special education teachers take it so seriously. They don't want to have to redo it!