IEP vs Parent Teacher Conference

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-09-2003
IEP vs Parent Teacher Conference
4
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 2:45pm

Hi, I'm new to this forum.  I'm Elizabeth and have 4 children.  My youngest, William is in 2nd grade and has PDD-NOS and SPD (he was diagnosed at 4).  We just moved from NC to MI over the summer.  We had his first IEP meeting at our new school in October (they followed his old IEP as they were supposed to, and then we discussed what they observed, and basically it stayed pretty much the same).  He gets st, ot, and social skills class at various points throughout the week.  One of the things they are working on in social skills is outburts, and the school social worker who runs the class has given him startegies to use when he feels upset.  Of course he's 7, so sometimes he remembers and sometimes he doesn't.

Anyways, my real reason for posting is about his parent teacher conference in November.  When we got the sign up sheet, there were 15 minute blocks for the parents and teacher to meet.  I asked my DH if he wanted to go, and since we just had the iep 3 weeks earlier, and this was *just* a parent teacher conference, we didn't think it was necessary for him to go. HaHa on us.  When I got there, not only was my meeting with his regualr teacher (and of course she was in on his iep meeting the previous month), but the social worker was also there.  My first thought was 'what is going on here.'  They even asked if my husband was coming, and I mentioned that we didn't think it was necessary for a prent teacher conference. Anyways, apparently my son had been getting more and more upset in school, outbursts were more often and he was becoming harder to settle down.  As the social worker put it 'the honeymoon is over.'  Anyways, she said that since he seems harder to control, and he is not utilizing the calming strategies she has provided him, it is time to look into anxiety meds.  Anyways, I'm not for meds and I'm not against meds.  If he needs them, he needs them.  But I don't think that a 7 year old who has just moved 1/2 way across the country and has started a new school is going to always remember the strategies told within the first quarter of the school year.  I think she just doesn't know what to do with him, so why not medicate him (which has never been brought up before by his old school or the developmental pediatrician we saw in NC) Anyways, I felt really ambushed at this conference, and told them that I"d talk to my DH and our dr about this.  Needless to say my DH was not happy that this sort of thing was discussed at a regular conference, and without him present, and we both feel it should have been brought up at a scheduled time with others from the special ed department.  We've talked to William about his behavior, and he has improved since (last I was told, when I saw his teacher last week, she was always with another student, but I'm positive she would've stopped me and told me if things were not going well).  This morning, thankfully I was not home at the time, the social worker called me to follow up on our conversation at the conference...so I told DH he could deal with her and set up a time to talk to her.  We haven't set up a time to talk with our dr yet, as we were just going to wait until his regular physical in January.

So my main question is, was this 'legal' to do at a regular conference, or should something have been scheduled to include the special ed people as well?  I know I will never go to a conference of his alone again. I can't find anything in our school district's book of rights, or online,  that even addresses this sort of thing. 

Thanks for any insight.

Elizabeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2010
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 3:30pm

Well you don't mention that they were talking about making changes to the IEP, so I don't see that it was an IEP meeting.  They wanted to talk about what is going on with him and I would think the point of the conference was to come up with some strategies to help him.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but you didn't want to further discuss it without your husband--so I think it should have been ok to reschdule so that he could be included or talk about it and plan a follow up meeting with your husband to discuss it etc.  I am surprised the social worker told you that you should get him on meds.  Most schools are not allowed to give medical advice like that and never bring up a student needing meds, who isn't on them.  (Not sure what the law says in any particular state or what it says in IDEA, but I have heard this quite a bit).

If you think the subject brought up at the conference should be discussed by the whole IEP team (probably should), I think it would be acceptable to tell the school you would like to have a meeting with the IEP team, since the teacher & social worker brought up a concern that relates to his IEP.  

“Clearly," said Arthur,"you're an idiot- but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.” 
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-09-2003
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 4:19pm
Thank you for responding so quickly. I had thought I was just going in to talk to the teacher about his report card (which he does fine academically), and was totally not expecting what I was hit with. It hasn't sat well with me since (obviously), and when I got her message today, it got me thinking more about it again.
Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 8:54pm
Have they tried the 5 point scale with him? He should be involved with creating it and it can be pictoral or written word as he can handle. If they don't do the 5 point scale, can they make a card with the calming strategies on it to keep on his desk and in sight as a visaul reminder? Is the OT familar with Alert Program to help him self regualte or is she just working on fine motor stuff? It is completely out of line for them to suggest medication.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Tue, 12-11-2012 - 12:32pm

Our parent teacher meetings are just that, we only get 5-10 min and usually there is a line so its little a cattle call. His special ed teachers are avaliable as are any enrichment teachers but we go to them. Now we are in a dual class with a general ed and special ed teacher, how that works on confrences I don't know since I skipped it since we had the IEP 2 weeks later. Seemed redundant to me.

I'd be a little off put, just because it took me off guard. They are VERY to the book here. His 1st grade teacher wanted to address and issue that was less acedemic more his particular issues and she pre warned me the OT was invited. I think any time you catch a parent off guard they are  going to go on the defence, but now I am wondering this could be protocal at his school when IEP are involved that you don't just meet with teacher at the confrence.

DS is ADHD we held off a LONG time and school never said get him on meds, but it was an we did all we can and they did, they tried all these accomidations and still having issues. It was encouraged to speak with family physician but they were happy he was medicated. I wasn't a fan and DH really isn't but I will say it makes a difference. You have to go with your gut.

DS has meltdowns, happy to report they are MUCH less now but some is maturatiy and some is getting himself under control. HE is ADHD and he can get way over stimulated and it was just a recipe for meltdown...

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