Wednesday, March 28, 2012

IEP Genius

If you ever have to go into an IEP meeting that might be in any way contentious (I probably could have stopped after "IEP meeting" to avoid redundancy), I beg of you, for the sake of your kiddo: Take a page from my husband's genius book - or should I say notebook? - about IEPs. Seriously, this is priceless advice.

See, we had our IEP today, and given the fraudulent and unscrupulous treatment our family has received previously, I went in with low expectations and high preparations. Three hours later, my husband and I emerged, weary, but satisfied, to drive to our separate jobs. I called him from my car.

"I just wanted to say that we did a good job for our boy today," I told him. Then I said something like, "I felt like our concerns and our son's needs were taken seriously today. I felt like the people in the room understand now that they can't mess with us and expect us to tolerate less than our rights. And you handled yourself very well."

And my sweet and wonderful husband laughed in a way that told me he had a story to share.

He asked me if I had noticed his notebook. I had seen it - I noticed he took careful notes, but I didn't read them, as I busily wrote my own notes. "Why?" I asked.

Just before the meeting began, he explained, he had grabbed his pen and scribbled a named in large letters on his pad. Underneath, he wrote a phone number. Then he casually left the writing in plain site for the duration of the marathon. I mean meeting.

The name? On his notebook? The name was of the attorney made famous in these parts over the last four decades for representing people with special needs, and successfully fighting to ensure that private and governmental agencies provide the services to which they are entitled by law. No one has fought harder or to greater avail to ensure compliance with IDEA, ADA, or the Lanternman Act, that this woman. She pretty much calls the district on their shameful acts, makes them straighten up and fly right, then sends them a hefty bill for her hard work, and says, "You're welcome." She says to the world: You will not abuse or neglect the vulnerable and the innocent. I think she probably has a fan club, and I would like to join it.

My husband never threatened legal action with my son's current school or district (yet), though parties withing the district have admitted to actions that would likely justify it; it didn't (yet) seem to be in Rooster's best interests, and right now, what is best for our boy is our top priority. Nothing is off the table - we just want what is right and what is fair, and we are committed to do what we need to for our adorable Rooster.

I am very proud to say my husband speaks quietly and carries a big notebook.

And so can you.


kim mccafferty said...

I've also heard of leaving their business card in plain sight on the table. Good for him, and great post!

Darcy said...

OHMYGOSH I LOVE IT!!!! What a great idea! That man is brilliant!

I laughed out loud, and called my husband in to read your post. He laughed too.

Gwyneth said...

I knew there was a reason I always liked that guy! Good for him.