Duck! Here comes IEP Season!

by Sue Saladino
a Mother from Hell

We are veterans of the cold season, the flu season, and even the holiday season. But one season strikes panic in the hearts of parents of kids with disabilities: the IEP season.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, the season usually runs from late March through early June, but IEPs can strike at any time. An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan that is made each year for every student who qualifies for special ed services. These plans are insidious stacks of paper that can pit teachers against principals, parents against parents, and turn grown men into towers of Jell-O. There is no cure for the IEP, and no research is being done to eradicate this dread affliction. All parents can do is try to survive it.

The following are symptoms of an upcoming IEP: excessive testing, a variety of prying into your family's personal life, and a breakdown of communication with school officials. A parent will experience a racing heart, sweaty palms, excessive worry over little things, and an all-over sick feeling. Advanced symptoms include extreme paranoia, irrational thoughts of violence, and the desire to listen to Yanni CDs while weaving baskets.

Suggested treatments include extravagant preparation including photo murals of your child, charts, graphs, fresh baked goods and an interpretive dance depicting the future you envision for your child. Character references and a complete life history (typed, double-spaced, in triplicate) are also helpful.

In ordinary circumstances, these preparations are usually sufficient. In more difficult cases, the following are recommended: heavy drinking, antidepressants, and subtle hints to anyone who will listen that your sanity is teetering on the edge.

You can survive the horror of IEP season if you follow these three simple steps:

· document what your child needs and why;
· prepare ideas on how these services can be implemented, and,
· if all else fails, rant and rave like a lunatic. It doesn't hurt if school officials are a little afraid of you. Hit men have also proven effective, but are no way encouraged or approved by this author. (Psst—my husband is Sicilian.)

Now let's go kick some school butt!






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