Dr. XYZ Retired

Imagine my surprise, and anger, when I asked why Dr. XYZ, with her PhD, wasn’t at the emergency meeting I called in regards to Shantel being attacked by the boy at school. After all, it was her decision that Shantel wouldn’t have an assistant walking with her in the halls. The new District Department Head Of Special Education, we’ll call him Mr. R, told me Dr. XYZ retired over the summer. So, after putting me through all that HELL, I find out she wasn’t even going to be around to support the IEP she wrote and forced me to sign! But, that whole IEP was going to change now anyway. So, in reality, it was a blessing in disguise!

As I was becoming more and more comfortable with how Arizona disability laws work, I was also learning that individual educational plans (IEP’s) can, and should, be parent driven. But, the parent(s) need to really know, and understand the laws, and not be intimidated by the IEP team members. And, more importantly, parent(s) need to know how to approach the IEP team members with accurate information, that supports their child’s special needs, and the support requests must be reasonable, doable, and must be measurable in time. Now all that sounds complicated and it is, but, if you are dealing with a school district that has just screwed up big time with your child’s safety, you can pretty much ask for, and get whatever you want.

Now, the new District Department Head of Special Education, Mr. R, was a very nice, mild-mannered man, and that worked to my advantage. He was a welcomed relief from the overbearing Dr. XYZ. However, Mr. R, made the mistake of letting me know, in our very first meeting, what all his weaknesses were. He basically told me he was “assigned” to this new position, he hadn’t applied for it, and he really wasn’t sure how everything worked. He said he was working hard to learn the ropes, and that he would do all he could to support Shantel and her needs. He even asked for my support in helping him understand what those needs were. Well, now, that was music to my ears!

Just like in the jungle, if you show wild animals your fear, or weaknesses, you may end up being their dinner…So, I took full advantage of helping Mr. R re-write Shantel’s IEP that included having an assistant with her at all times. I also made sure her IEP clearly stated that she was to have all her work brailled for as long as she needed it. The IEP also stated the district would provide Shantel with a computer equipped with the JAWS program allowing it to speak to her, and she would be provided qualified training and full technology support for as long as she needed it. In addition, I requested Shantel have a full technology assessment, to determine the best equipment for her to use, and had it written into her IEP that whatever the equipment recommendations were, the district would provide all the equipment, training, and equipment support to Shantel for as long as she needed it. Things were looking up!

Next: Musical Chairs!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 01:17:57

    YEAH for YOU for knowing how to play the game! xoxo


  2. Megs
    Mar 18, 2012 @ 20:08:08

    WOW! Ditto on knowing how to play the game. You are amazing!


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