What the hell is an I.E.P?
Well fact is I happen to know what it is. It is a term used in Early Intervention Services for an Individual Education Plan. My Handsome has been in Early Intervention Services for almost 3 years now. It started with speech in 2005.
I have spoken very little about my son's early education (here is a little background on why the whole process was started in the first place) on my blog because the whole process is such a bore and truly mostly unnecessary. While I agree that early intervention is very important, I think that most professionals fail to consider personal life experiences and base everything on a few charts written up by other professionals.
Today, while sitting in yet another I.E.P meeting with a bunch of people as we decided on how to proceed with my son's services, I was reminded of my first impression of these people.
I walked into the meeting armed with an envelope of pictures of my son. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and beat the shit out of anyone who said anything I considered negative or personal. This was my son, a 2 year old baby who just welcomed a new sister into his life and these people, these strangers were going to tell me how I should handle him and his speech delay based on calculations they come up with from interviewing him. Interviewing my 23 month old!
I threw the envelope on the table as I wheeled my sleeping newborn in her carriage into the meeting. "This is the boy you are about to discuss. I know he is only a name on all that paperwork. Here is is." They were excited to look through the pictures and said that they wished more people came in with them. I softened a bit and waited to hear what they had to say. I agreed with only about 25% of their findings and felt that a lot of things were taken out of context. I had sat down the night before and gone over all the paperwork and there was a lot of it. Every therapist who sat with him for 10-20 minutes had a report of about 10-18 pages long. I had made notes in the margin and highlighted things that I wanted to address. Things that were incorrect, taken out of context or had changed since the interviews.
The group decided on speech therapy, occupational therapy and special instruction. I thought and still think that everything else is totally unnecessary and tell every new therapist that starts exactly that.
The meeting today was nothing like that first meeting. Because I am in their face and make myself available, say hello when I am in the building they know me, my daughter and my son by face and name. The meeting which included my two kids today (who were awesome by the way) went really well.
I think this post is long enough so I will stop here for now. Tomorrow I will write more about why the meeting was called today and the decision I have to make. Until then I wanted to leave this message for my son.
Baby Boy, everything I do is for you. I want you to always know how proud I am of you and how far you have come. I have recently watched some video of you from a year ago and I am floored with your advancements. You are incredibly smart, very interested in learning, love writing, recently your newest addiction is Xbox. You play for 1.5 - 2 hours as a reward for doing well in school. You beg to play it daily but the 3 school days are enough for now. I put you on a timer and you know when it rings your time is up and shut it off. The therapists and every professional in that meeting were extremely impressed with how intelligent you are. You are a little shy at times but occasionally you are very much the social butterfly wanting everyone to talk to you. You are a big help to me with your sister and I love how you play the big brother role for her. Helping her with her shoes, coat, turning on lights or setting up a game for her. You love reading books, pretend playing and reading along to tapes. Your sensitivity surprises me sometimes. You don't like me to be angry with you and cry when you feel I am mad.
I love you with every beat of my heart. You are my heart on legs and I can't wait to see what you do next.