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Mar 31

How I Am Surviving Sam’s IEP Process

Quick disclaimer – I don’t recommend this path. It’s counter to everything I think the IEP process should be, and it’s exhausting on every level. But it does work – because while I’m not done, I’m slowly getting everything we wanted for Sam for next year.

Okay – here it is. I just cry.

The problem with the public school system is that it’s designed to educate mass numbers of children. They’ve got thousands of kids to process, and do their best to provide the best for the most. And with most of kids – it’s fine. I’ve got two girls in public school, and they’re both thriving.

But with Sam – he NEEDS the Individual Education Plan. He can’t get crammed into whatever works for most kids. I wish he could, God, I wish he could. But the reality is that with the anxiety and the vision loss, this kid NEEDS his own individual plan. But trying to get it is so incredibly hard. It’s just not what they do – and because Sam’s so specific in his needs, I need to involve the homeschooling department, the Special Ed department, mental health, TVI’s and we also needed approval to send him to a school outside of our district.

The struggle is getting people to see Sammy. Really see the kid, and what he needs, so that they understand why I’m asking for what I’m asking for. And the only way I’ve found to do is to just sob.

I elevate without hesitation, going to the school committee, Directors, department heads, principals. Anyone I can. And I explain, exhaustively, over and over again. And without fail, I just break down and cry. But what that does is force the system to acknowledge his humanity. I need them to see who Sammy is and the best way to do that is through my eyes.

We’re not done yet. There’s still a lot left to accomplish, but we were able to confirm that he’ll be able to attend the school I wanted him to, despite it being out of district, and we’ve already got approval for partial enrollment. The school department is looking at it as we’re still homeschooling, and that’s fine, but he’ll be taking English, Math and braille at school, and I’m shooting to add in homeroom, lunch and art, and then gradually increase him up to full enrollment. It might take me a year to get him to full time enrollment, and we might decide to pull back and do more of the education at home.

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