Let’s just say some people need people skills. Here is a little bit of what happened.
First off, they start the meeting with “We are in a time crunch and have to finish in less than an hour due to the fact she has to teach a class.” Boy we feel so warm and welcomed. Let me just say, the school psych is fabulous. She really took time to get to know Nolan. The connection the two made is genuine. She had really wonderful things to say about Nolan. She shared about a recent time when he showed empathy, as well as situations when a young man keeps pushing Nico’s buttons in group and Nolan is very calm and doesn’t explode. However the teacher of record is a sweet lady that feels challenged when we, the parents, don’t agree with her choice. She states that she doesn’t feel appreciated. My response to that is “I appreciate everything you do for my child. I may not agree with it. These two are separate issues and one has nothing to do with the other.”
During the meeting, we came up on the part of the push-in support of the shadow. This is where my husband and I mentioned our concerns of the current shadow who is becoming overbearing and embarrassing Nolan. She became enraged and said, “I am not discussing that right now.” WHAT???? I said, “Why not this is the IEP meeting, we are on the topic of the shadow.” She just become unglued and yelled at my husband and I. Her behavior was atrocious.
Her suggestion for high school is for my son to have a shadow “for his safety as well as the safety of others.” Are you kidding me? My husband and I vocalized our feelings about this situation and demonstrated how the current situation is not working. My husband explained to the teacher of record, “We will think about your recommendation and weigh the pros and cons. This is a delicate situation where we don’t want to stigmatize him as a trouble maker. In addition, Nolan is on his way to becoming a man. This is a sensitive issue and not one we take lightly. Furthermore, Nolan is who he is and he has this disability and it isn’t going to go away. The teachers need to be more understanding when talking to Nolan.” Right on Mr. D!!!!
It was 2:05 pm and the teacher of record closed her file and left the room. At that point I told the Special Ed Coordinator that her behavior was extremely unprofessional. The counselor for the AB3632 even chimed in stating that Ms. Booth needed to communicate to us, the parents, the remedies of the situation between the shadow and Nolan instead of her response of “I took care of it and I am not going to discuss this.”
The positive is that the Special Ed Coordinator is going to change the language of the IEP in the section of the IEP where it describes the duties and interaction of the shadow. The way a shadow should work is as follows: A shadow should work with a group of students. With in that group of students is the special ed student the shadow keeps an eye on. This way none of the non-special ed students know who the shadow is for. We are having that descriptive language written into the IEP. In addition, we are asking them to have incentives if Nolan is responsible and takes care of his business, then the shadow will give him more space.
All I have to say, in my school district at my site, we would never yell at a parent during an IEP. We would listen respectively. Parents of children with special needs have the right and need to be heard. The IEP is meant to be a team meeting not a dictatorship.